Thursday, July 1, 2021

Return to Sender


"Are you sure about this Alain?" Jacques looked at his older brother with concern. What they were doing might be construed as treason in Québec, the capital of New France.

"Did you bother to tell Sergent Malheur of your plan?" Jacques asked his brother with some exasperation.

"Yes. And no." Alain answered.

Jacques looked puzzled, "That makes no sense mon frère, you either told him or you didn't."

Alain stood up from where he had been leaning against a tree, Little Wolf was coming, dragging two poles behind him. "This will work Alain, I made it strong enough to carry the anglais, but light enough so that two of us can pull it with ease." Little Wolf explained.

He then spread the poles on the ground, they were attached at one end in a "V" shape, bound at the top then held together with what appeared to be blood stained strips of leather running from one pole to the other. Little Wolf then nodded towards the unconscious English officer, "Help me load him."

Carefully they lifted Lieutenant Jefferson onto the device, which Alain later learned was called a travois by the French, the Abenaki called it a drag sled. Usually pulled by dogs, this was a larger version which the brothers, Abenaki and French, could use to take the Englishman to where they wanted. Without, apparently, Sergent Malheur's knowledge or blessing.

When Jefferson was strapped down, Little Wolf checked the man's wound once more, it wasn't bleeding but he applied more of the mud/plant mixture he had concocted and packed into the wound.

Jacques thought back to when the Abenaki had pulled his knife, the Englishman had passed out almost immediately, thinking that he was going to die.

Later, as Little Wolf extracted the ball from between two of the Englishman's ribs, then had scrubbed the wound with a rawhide pad and water, the Englishman had passed out again. As Little Wolf put it, "Even the strongest warrior swoons when his wound is cleaned like this. But it's the only way to make sure there is no foreign matter left behind."

Little Wolf had bound the wound tightly, essentially immobilizing the wounded man.

"Sergent?" Caporal Soult had had difficulty finding the sergeant in the fading light, they lit no fires and camped near where they had slaughtered the Mohican war party. After all, a fire would have attracted the Night Warriors, Little Wolf had told them what a bad idea that would be.

"Half of you or more they will kill in your sleep. The others will be taken to their village and tortured until you pray for death."

"No fires then, my Abenaki friend, we shall do as you say." Sergent Malheur had seen the wisdom of the thing.

"Where are the Gaudrys Little Wolf?"

"They are leaving, soon. Can you find your way back to Canada now?"

"Follow the river, stay on the eastern bank?"

"Yes Sergent, if you travel quickly, you should have no problems. Without the wounded man, you will travel faster still." Little Wolf still wondered if telling the French sergeant this was a good idea. But he noticed that Malheur nodded, then grinned.

"It has been a pleasure knowing you Little Wolf. I hope we meet again."

Malheur snapped out of his reverie, "What is it Paul?"

"The English lieutenant is gone, as are the Gaudrys and their Indian."

"I know Caporal, I know. Now quietly rouse the men, it will be dawn soon. When the sun begins to paint the eastern sky, I want to be on the river bank and moving north. Est-ce que ça tu convien?"

"Certainement, mon sergent."¹

As the sun rose over the valley of the Cannitticutt, the sentry on the westward facing rampart saw something which unnerved him.

"Sergeant of the guard! Sergeant of the guard!"

Sergeant Edward Rutland came out of the guardhouse near the gate rubbing his eyes. He had barely gotten to sleep when young Highsmith began his bellowing.

"Private, what's all this bloody nonsense? You'll awaken the entire garrison." As Rutland climbed up to the platform he saw what Lawrence Highsmith had seen. "Well done, laddie, call out the garrison."

The ringing of the alarm bell had the drummers on their feet and sounding assembly within seconds. Major Samuel Jenkins stood by Sergeant Major Edward Jacobs, who was mightily suppressing his own urge to yawn. "D'ya see it Sir?"

"Yes, I do. Rutland, give me ten good men. Sarn't Major, shall we go see who the chap wearing the scarlet coat of an officer is?"

"Very good Sir."

Lieutenant Will Jefferson, late of His Majesty's Foot Guards, awakened to a dull throbbing pain in his side. At first he was confused, then he remembered being ripped open by that Abenaki fellow, then patched up in rather rough fashion afterwards. Somehow he knew that the Indian had cut the ball from him. All things considered, he didn't feel too bad, stiff, oh God yes, but alive.

Looking up he saw Major Jenkins with a party of soldiers. Clearing his throat he managed to rasp out, "Good morning Major, I don't suppose I could trouble you for a drink of water? Tea if you have it?"

Jenkins shook his head, then said to Jacobs, "Get him into the fort Sarn't Major. I fear we shall have to listen to the Leftenant's tall tales for at least this day."

Jacobs snorted, "Yes Sir, I suspect we will."

Jenkins resisted the urge to ask where the lieutenant's war party was, he suspected they were dead or had fled into the forest. Jefferson was quite alone, and in very rough shape.

"Come along Sarn't Major, I don't want to be out here all day."


- End of Part One, La Rivière -

¹ Does that suit you?
Certainly, my sergeant.

Link to all of the Chant's fiction.


  1. Lt Jenkins is lucky to be back at the fort while the brothers are lucky to be able to leave the area after the ambush. Another rousing post Sarge, thumbs up.

    1. Should be Jefferson is back at the fort, as Tom noted below, I tend to merge the two officers at times. My bad.

      Thanks to Little Wolf, the brothers Gaudry are accomplished woodsmen.

  2. Hey Sarge - is it Lt Jefferson or Jenkins?. I thought the former but you seem to use them interchangeably in this installment. Other than that, your muse is rockin' lately!

    1. You're right, I gooned that up. (Again!)

      Fixed it. (Why oh why do I have so many characters with "J" names? Jenkins, Jefferson, Jacobs, I'm trying to stop that trend. I confuse myself at times!)

    2. Need to take a map and put people's names on pins and move them about like you're playing a wargame. Or not.

      Not like I've ever done that reading "Lord of the Rings"... (and, yes, it helped with following who did what where...)

    3. I normally maintain a spreadsheet, but that feels too much like work in this enervating heat, which is due to lift this weekend. Unlike Florida, in New England the weather will often bounce from "unbearable" to "ooh, that's perfect" to "why is so cool?" Sometimes in the space of a week!

  3. Chivalry in war.....seems long gone.

    1. It would seem so. Modern warfare being the impersonal thing that it is.

    2. I hope the three brothers do not come to regret their consideration.
      Oh and you gooned up the Sarn't Majors name too.
      Boat Guy

    3. One never knows what an action may cause down the road.

      D'oh! Fixed it...

  4. The barbershop was not open. Old Guns

  5. That was unexpected!
    The questions is will this be one of the "no good deed goes unpunished" acts? I'll guess we'll have to wait and see...

  6. The very best part is pretty subtle.
    "End of Part One," so we are promised more!
    John Blackshoe
    P.S- Buy the muse whatever she wants- drinks, new shoes, whatever...

    1. The plan for this story is to have it end on a Belgian field in 1815. 😉

    2. What? Not a Belgian field in 1917 or in 1940?

    3. I used the word "plan" for a reason. 😁

    4. On account of your muse being a bit of a fickle minx, eh?

  7. Thanks for the note of realism in the care of the wound - from what I have read, passing out was the least of worries (and more convenient undoubtedly in a forest of quiet as screaming from the pain would have attracted attention).

    I am excited to see what happens to the Lieutenant. He is now in a unique position.

    1. I try to keep things as realistic as possible.

      Now if I could only keep all the names straight!

  8. Hmmm. Would have been interesting if the Lt had woken up with a strange green glow coming from his wounds, but very interesting.

    Back on Kwajalein, due to the island being made of coral (solid, crushed, powdered) if you scraped a wound open, like road rash or some equally innocuous style kid-wound, they'd take you to the hospital and big goons would hold you down while they used a fingernail brush to debride the wound. Until it bled, bled profusely. Else the chance of getting a rather nasty infection was rather high. Yes to lots of antibiotics but first THE SCRUB OF DOOOM! Needless to say, no sliding in baseball there...

    Back on track, very good story. The boys (all three) are nice boys with a sense of honor. Oh, sure, they slaughtered all the other English, but were very nice to the one man... Such good boys. They need to get married...

    1. Keep in mind, the ones they killed were Mohicans, blood enemies of the Abenaki and les français. If they had been English instead, well, to be honest, I'm not sure how they would have handled that.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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