Thursday, August 26, 2021

Prelude to Disaster

The field of battle
(Source)

Alain Gaudry was alone for once. His brother Jacques had stayed behind in their village to await the birth of his first child. His wife, a Wyandot woman who had been baptized Marie-Jeanne, but who normally answered to White Fawn, was very pregnant. Though she was a very healthy woman in her late teens, Jacques worried.

Since the death of their Abenaki brother, Little Wolf, Jacques had become more of a settler than an adventurer. Now Alain was the adventurous one. Of course, he already had children, a boy and a girl from his wife Little Raven, a sister of White Fawn.

But when the governor of New France called for volunteers to help defend Fort Carillon, between Lac du Saint Sacrement and Lac Champlain, Alain readily joined a company of militia. These men were mostly Canadian but had a number of Wyandot and Abenaki scouts attached as well. Alain was one of the scouts.

At that moment they were to the south of the fort, seeking word of the English army that was coming to attack them. There, to the south, a large number of boats carried what seemed to be thousands of red coated soldiers. General James Abercrombie was indeed bringing his army north.

They looked unstoppable.


Captain Will Jefferson of Abercromby's Regiment of Foot (the 44th) marched beside his grenadiers. Since purchasing his captaincy and being accepted as the commander of the 44th's Grenadier Company, he had made a few changes. The first was concerning the man he wanted as his top sergeant.

His company sergeant major, one Sergeant Milton Lewis, had been with him on the Monongahela, he had promoted Lewis on the field and his superiors, having noted both men's performance that day, approved that.

While he was a strict disciplinarian, his men grew to appreciate his attention to detail and his willingness to accept the same risks as they did. Though his battalion commander often chided him for carrying a musket the same as his men, that officer did realize that war in North America was very different from Europe. Jefferson might be on to something, he realized.

No dressed lines, no careful approach to battle in the woods while maintaining dress and cover with the man next to you. No, here in the forests warfare was looser, more spread out. Though the "hat men" (the non-grenadiers, in fact the bulk of the battalion) still marched in tight ranks, Jefferson used his men more as individuals.


Roughly a mile ahead of the column of the 44th, Captain Edward Rutland marched with his own company of the 60th Royal American Regiment of Foot. He had managed to attract the attention of powerful men in London, including his own father, John Manners, Marquess of Granby. Though Rutland was a bastard, the Marquess's other sons had proved to be disappointments to him.

His eldest half-brother Richard, was a Lieutenant in the Blues, otherwise known as the Royal Horse Guards. Though Richard had managed to avoid going on active service so far, word from London indicated that he had left London to join his regiment in Germany. Rumors of pregnant ladies and outrageous gambling debts were left in his wake.

His other half-brother, Charles, managed the family estates and was a member of Parliament. His management of the estates was disastrous and he was considered a fool as an MP.

So the Marquess had taken a greater interest in Edward.

Captain Rutland didn't mind the attention, it had helped him advance his military career, but as he looked around at the steep, wooded hills around him, he realized that influence could only take one so far. At some point one had to actually perform.

He wondered where the New Hampshiremen were, supposedly they were also with Abercrombie's army marching north to seize Carillon and open Lake Champlain to King George. He would like to see the men he had served with at Number Five. Though it had been a few years since he'd seen them, his wife Molly had reminded him to seek his old comrades out.


The New Hampshire Provincial Regiment, also known at times as "Hart's Regiment," was indeed assigned to Abercrombie's force. However, they had yet to disembark from their boats. It was a large army, 6,000 regulars and upwards of 10,000 provincials, rangers, and Indians. It took time to land that many men.

"Damme Sarn't Major, what the devil is the bloody hold up?" Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Jenkins called out to Edward Jacobs, his long suffering Sergeant Major, at the prow of their boat.

"Hold yer water, Sir. We're about to land, the bleeding Connecticut boys are still clearing off from the shore. It's a dog's breakfast Sir. Let 'em get sorted, then we can get ashore!" Jacobs' tone would have shocked a more conventional officer, but Jenkins was used to it, in fact, he reveled in the rapport he had with his men.

Colonel John Hart, traveling with Jenkin's battalion, shook his head and turned to his aide, John Charles, "Frontiersmen, can dress 'em up, make 'em look like soldiers, but they're still rough around the bloody edges."

Lieutenant Charles just shook his head, he had heard stories of the Colonel when he had been a young officer in King George's War, some thirteen years ago. The men still told stories of those days. Seems that young Ensign Hart had been something of a hellion back then.

"No Sir, he ain't respectable like you Sir. Carries on like a young subaltern doesn't he?"

Colonel Hart looked at his aide, sure that he was being mocked. His days of swearing and carousing were well behind him. Damn it, he was a colonel now!

"Begging your pardon, Sir." Charles said, doffing his hat to his superior officer.

"Harrumph," was all the colonel could offer in reply.


As Abercrombie's army got itself in order near the ruins of Fort William Henry and moved to the north, they were being watched. Louis-Joseph de Montcalm-Grozon, marquis de Montcalm de Saint-Veran had scouts covering every possible approach to Carillon. He was ready, though outnumbered.

His force numbered a mere 3,600, a mix of regulars, militia, and Indians, he had set up field works to cover the approaches to the fort itself. Les anglais would have to fight their way through abatis and trench to even begin to attack the stone walls of the fort itself.

So Montcalm had to consider what Abercrombie might have in mind. The only approach by land was to the northwest of the fort, where he had his field works. So far none of his scouting parties had reported any detachments from the English forces. No fleet of boats worked its way up to the shore below Carillon.

Surely the man wasn't going to attack him straight on?

That would be madness.


30 comments:

  1. Yesss! A very nice addition to this story line Sarge. That cemetery shot is a bit sobering and of course someone always has to have their cell phone out.

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    Replies
    1. I figured it was time to get back in the saddle.

      Delete
  2. Sighs. Cue minor chords for heroic and unfortunate occurrences.

    (Patiently waits for the charge of the 42nd Highland Regiment of Foot...)

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  3. Glad to see you back, Sarge.

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  4. A good morning! The French & Indian war serial is back again!

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    Replies
    1. It is indeed!

      At least until I have to go back to Sandy Eggo next week...

      Delete
  5. Ah! Drama! Stress! Daring-Do!

    Your build-up to the action is intense. And good on keeping the same peoples populating the pages. Gives us the feel of ownership of the action, very important.

    Glad you're back in the saddle.

    Still contemplating my first labelled-post and to what deviltry I can do with said labels. muhahahaha and all that, dontchaknow.

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  6. Good Lord, I had to fight urge to spoil myself by seeking wikipedia info on battle outcome.
    This looks like setup for the kind of glorious massacre that happens when over-optimistic leader walks his entire army into a trap.

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  7. Loving it. Your fiction is top notch and always leaves you wanting more!

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  8. Doesn't matter how long it took you to get re-started again, the important thing is...that ya did!! ;)

    PS: keep pushing fluids to help flush those yucky bugs out of your system...and if the decision is write more, or get sleep...Sigh, I'm going to say take a couple of tylenol with some honey/lemon tea and a cough drop and get some sleep, even if you are propped up a bit.
    Hanging up the nursing cap now. I just want ya to feel better...so ya can finish the story. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Getting a bit better each day. Not coughing quite as much, trying to stay well-hydrated.

      If I can't sleep I write, if I can't write I sleep. Sort of a win-win. 🙄

      Delete
  9. From the title of the post, I thought it was going to be about the upcoming 11 September. I have a sense of disquiet about that date, as I think the Islamist will do something to celebrate the day, and their victory in Afghanistan.

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  10. Ummm... continuity error alert...

    >>>
    The three men had gone into the wilderness to live with Little Wolf's people. Jacques and Alain had both taken wives and both men had fathered children. Jacques and his woman, Little Raven, had one son and one daughter who still survived. Alain and his woman, Strong Willow, had only a single son, he was known as Pierre to the French and Little Badger to the Abenaki.
    >>>

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    Replies
    1. Jacques, Alain, and Little Wolf, three men.

      Where is the error?

      Delete
  11. Sorry for the obtuseness....

    >>>
    ...Jacques had stayed behind in their village to await the birth of his first child...
    >>>

    Alternate definition of the word "first" ?

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  12. In "New Beginnings", 2 JUL:
    >>>
    The three men had gone into the wilderness to live with Little Wolf's people. Jacques and Alain had both taken wives and both men had fathered children. Jacques and his woman, Little Raven, had one son and one daughter who still survived. Alain and his woman, Strong Willow, had only a single son, he was known as Pierre to the French and Little Badger to the Abenaki.
    >>>

    In this installment, 26 AUG:
    >>>
    Alain Gaudry was alone for once. His brother Jacques had stayed behind in their village to await the birth of his first child. His wife, a Wyandot woman who had been baptized Marie-Jeanne, but who normally answered to White Fawn, was very pregnant. Though she was a very healthy woman in her late teens, Jacques worried.

    Since the death of their Abenaki brother, Little Wolf, Jacques had become more of a settler than an adventurer. Now Alain was the adventurous one. Of course, he already had children, a boy and a girl from his wife Little Raven, a sister of White Fawn.
    >>

    1. Who is married to Little Raven? Before it was Jacques; but now Jacques is married to White Fawn?
    2. What happened to Strong Willow?
    3. Who has two children? Before it was Jacques and Little Raven; now it seems to be Alain and Little Raven (unless we're torturing pronouns).
    4. Regardless of the family swap, both brothers have sired children so Jacques can't be waiting for his first child

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    Replies
    1. As I don't plan on ever finishing this, don't waste too much time finding errors.

      Delete
    2. probably wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't started reading it last night.

      The wife swapping thing I noticed when double-checking I wasn't going cross-eyed. You confused me. :lol:

      Shame you won't finish it - was enjoyable. Fickle little muse... New story is more nail-biter-y...

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    3. I just lost the will to continue that story.

      Delete

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Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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