Saturday, July 3, 2021

The Storm Clouds Gather


"You've sent a messenger to Number Five already I presume?" Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Jenkins asked the governor. He had his back to the man and was looking out over the ships anchored in the Piskataqua Harbor. Two transports just in from England and the frigate which had escorted them across the Atlantic.

"Yes Samuel, I took the liberty of doing so three days ago. The militia have already been mustered at Number Four, there seems to be no point in continuing to man Number Five. Especially as the natives seem to have evacuated the area." The governor poured himself another glass of port, then stepped away from his desk.

"I believe you know one of the company commanders from the 44th Foot, chap name of Jefferson. He's been here before." The Governor remarked.

Jenkins turned abruptly, "Surely not Will Jefferson?"

"The very same, so you do know him?"

"Yes, he led a band of Mohicans when I commanded at Number Five. Got them slaughtered he did, from what I recall. We never really did get along. He was always reminding me that a leftenant in the Foot Guards outranked a mere colonial captain. So now he's back?"

"Yes, he was mustered out of the Guards on account of his wound, officially. Unofficially the Crown was rather irked at his defeat by the Abenaki."

Jenkins thought for a few moments, swirled the remainder of his port, then downed it, slapping the glass down on the table. Which made the Governor jump, ever so slightly.

"Damn it man, must you always be so abrupt in your movements?"

"Sorry Sir. So we're to march to Number Five, then proceed north? To where I might ask?"

"Northwest actually, to Albany in New York. It seems that the Crown has designs on Fort Saint-Frédéric and Lake Champlain, as the French call it. But to get there from Albany I do believe Fort Carillon stands in the way. At any rate, our forces are gathering at Albany, for what purpose I am not privy to, just a glance at a map makes me look at the lake."

"That makes sense, my colonel has already sent a company ahead to build a fort at the conjunction of the Cannitticutt and the Upper Ammonoosuc Rivers. Once that's built, the company is to march to Fort Edward."

"Is that the company under Richard Rogers, that ranger chap?"

"It is Governor, it is indeed. Fellow is a bit of an adventurer from what I've heard."

"He knows the back country, that's for sure..." The Governor broke off as he saw the transports, which were now tied up at the wharf, begin to unload. "I say, that must be the 44th Foot, yellow facings, yes?"

Jenkins looked in that direction, damned if he could make out the colors of the facings. Damned Governor was showing off. As far as Jenkins knew, the 44th was the only unit disembarking in Portsmouth this day.

"Damned politicians," Jenkins thought.

"Sir! Natives approaching!"

Captain Rutland nodded at the Sergeant Major then went up to the ramparts to see what the fuss was. As he approached he heard, "English officer with 'em!"

After mustering the guard, Rutland had the gate opened, he was expecting a party of Mohawk Indians, this must be them. He half expected to see old Will Jefferson leading the Indians, now that man had been pretty effective in the wilderness, until he grew over-confident.

"Halloo the fort!" The Englishman shouted as he doffed his hat.

"Rutland, New Hampshire Provincials, Captain commanding this post. And you are?"

"Leftenant Rawlinson, Roger's Rangers. I trust you have received word of our coming?"

Rutland shook hands with the man, saying, "Yes, glad to make your acquaintance, your warriors look fit and ready. Are your men hungry Leftenant?"

"They are, but Dancing Bear, that's the big chap over there, wants to make camp and prepare their own rations. There's a likely spot down by the river..."

"Certainly Leftenant. Would you care for some of our boring, yet filling fare?"

"As long as you've got tea, I don't care what you feed me Sir!"

"Quite, come along then."

After a fine meal of Indian squash, beans, and a plump turkey, Lieutenant John Rawlinson sat back in his chair, "You make a fine meal, Mrs. Rutland. I dare say, if I might be so bold, that if I were your man, I fear I would have to buy new uniforms periodically to contain my ever expanding girth!"

Molly Rutland laughed and said, "Why thank you Leftenant, I think Edward would gain weight as well if it weren't for the stress of running the garrison here." Turning to her two sons, Daniel, eight, and Noah, five, she said, "Would you boys gather the plates and put them in the tub? Then run out to the well, get some water and heat it over the fire. We'll wash the dishes shortly."

"'Tis a fine family you have Captain! When we march for Albany will they go back to Rumford or perhaps back to the capital?"

Rutland shook his head, "Mrs. Rutland would scalp me if I tried to send her back to the towns. She loves it out here. When we march, she and the other families of the garrison will head south to Number Four."

"Is the Indian threat in this area that much diminished then?" Rawlinson asked, he was more familiar with the northern parts of New Hampshire and New York.

"The Abenaki have mostly moved north, closer to Canada and their French allies. They fought hard for this land, but we are so many and they so few. I tried to establish better relations with them, but they hate us. With good reason I might add. One of my predecessors at this post was not a friend to the Indians, he destroyed a village not far from here and put the people to the sword."

Rawlinson nodded, he understood why some Europeans wanted the Indians gone. For his part, he got along well with the natives. He never could understand why they couldn't co-exist, wasn't there enough land for everyone? He'd mentioned this once to another officer of the Rangers, who had said, "Plenty o' land in England too, doesn't stop the bloody lords from snapping up as much as they can, damnation to the poor peasants. They're all land hungry Johnnie, why would it be different here, in the New World?"

Rawlinson saw the man's point, but he also knew that many of the Europeans saw the natives as being somehow less than human. He shook his head at that, he knew many a fine man among the Mohawk, better men than many an Englishman he'd known.

"Leftenant. Leftenant?"

Rawlinson realized that he'd been daydreaming, "Sorry Captain, I'm afraid that I am far more tired than I thought. Your wife's cooking has made me rather sluggish I'm afraid."

"No worries Leftenant, go and get some rest. We can put you up here in the fort if you'd like?"

"Not necessary Sir, I'll camp with the Mohawk, wouldn't have it otherwise. If you'll excuse me?" Rawlinson stood up.

"Certainly Leftenant, sleep well. Have your men rest as well, I expect the rest of my regiment to be here in no more than three days time." Rutland stood and walked with Rawlinson to the gate.

"It certainly is lovely here, Sir." Rawlinson remarked as he watched the sun beginning to set across the river.

"Yes it is Leftenant, bloody shame we're always fighting over it."

"Indeed, I bid you good day Sir."

"Good evening Leftenant, I shall see you on the morrow."

A visit to the source below is highly recommended.
You can zoom in on the map in all it's colonial glory.

Link to all of the Chant's fiction.


  1. Veeerry interesting map to post Sarge, nice touch to give the link too, state of the art from 1755, neat to be able to zoom and see the detail of Boston Harbor.

  2. OAFS is becoming QUITE the historian.. :)

  3. Excellent background Sarge.

    Moving towards Fort Carillon. That is unfortunate…

    1. It is indeed. It's worth noting that the 44th were at that battle. They were also at the Battle of the Monongahela. Some interesting times are coming.

  4. Since we've moved up to the French and Indian War, Our Heroes aren't going to run into a small party of guys who intend to winter over in Cain-tuck-ee, are they?

    1. Probably not, we may see some fellows like that, but Natty Bumpo, Chingachgook, and Uncas? No, I wouldn't dare tread on the ground Mr. Cooper has covered.

  5. Families and life on the frontier. It's still odd (for me) to think of that area as out west...

    1. In these times sure, I have family friends who lived in Sudbury, MA. Their house was old enough to have seen an attack by Indians.

  6. Ah, the ominous signs of what almost doomed the colonies. Politics... Politics involved in war. Oh well.

    It will be interesting to see how you play your characters in the coming conflict.

    1. Politics has always been involved in war, always will be.

  7. I love maps and stories! All together in one place - great!
    I sent the link to my good friend in Manchester NH. I hope he looks at it. I have tried to get him to read your current blog. I don't know whether he has or not.
    oPlease keep the story going. So much learning, I am having.

    1. Thanks Lt Fuzz, I shall endeavor to continue!

    2. "So much learning, I am having."

      I may be wrong, but it seems our friend D4, er, LT Fuzz, is beginning to subconsciously (?) adopt the writing style of the late much-beloved Lex (RIP) :)

  8. Interactive maps are the best, and the image quality on this on is superb! Excellent find Sarge, thanks for sharing...and for the tales, as well!

    1. Many of the maps I used in my previous book were from the Library of Congress. One thing the Congress is actually good for.


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

NOTE: Comments on posts over 5 days old go into moderation, automatically.