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PEARSON TRIES THE ICE.
TRUE TO THE OLD FLAG
A TALE OF THE
AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE.
G. A. HENTY,
Author of The Lion of the North," With Clive in India," "Through the Fray,"
In Freedom's Cause," "The Dragon and the Raven," "Facing Death," &c.
WITB EIGHT ULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS BY GORDON BROWNE,
AND SIX MAPS.
..-- -... --l ,,. ; 1-_
BLACKIE & SON, LIMITED.
WILLIAM BRIGGS, 29-33 RICHMOND ST. WEST.
THE COPP, CLARK COMPANY, LIMITED, 9 FRONT ST. WEST.
ENTERED according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year one
thousand eight hundred and ninety-six, by BLACKele & SON, Limited, at the
Department of Agriculture.
MY DEAR LADS,
You have probably been accustomed to regard the
war between England and her Colonies in America as one in
which we were not only beaten but to some extent humiliated.
Owing to the war having been an unsuccessful one for our
arms, British writers have avoided the subject, and it has been
left for American historians to describe. These, writing for
their own countrymen, and drawing for their facts upon
gazettes, letters, and other documents emanating from one side
only, have naturally, and no doubt insensibly, given a very
strong colour to their own views of the events, and English
writers have been too much inclined to accept their account
implicitly. There is, however, another and very different side
to the story, and this I have endeavoured to show you. The
whole of the facts and details connected with the war can be
relied upon as accurate. They are drawn from the valuable
account of the struggle written by Major Stedman, who served
under Howe, Clinton, and Cornwallis, and from other authentic
contemporary sources. You will see that although unsuccess-
ful-and success was, under the circumstances, a sheer impossi-
bility--the British troops fought with a bravery which was
never exceeded, and that their victories in actual conflict
vastly outnumbered their defeats. Indeed it may be doubted
whether in any war in which this country has been engaged
have our soldiers exhibited the qualities of endurance and
courage in a higher degree.
Yours very sincerely,
G. A. HENTY.
T. A FRONTIER FARM, . .. .. .. 9
II. AN INDIAN RAID, ... . . 25
III. THE RED-SKIN ATTACK, . . 42
IV. THE FIGHT AT LEXINGTON, .. . .. 60
V. BUNKER'S HILL, . . . 76
VI. SCOUTING, . . . 95
VII. IN THE FOREST, . . .... 114
VIII. QUEBEC, ... .. . . ..... .132
IX. THE SURPRISE OF TRENTON, . . 152
X. A TREACHEROUS PLANTER,. . . 172
XI. THE CAPTURE OF PHILADELPHIA, ... .. .200
XII. THE SETTLER'S HUT, . . .. 218
XIII. SARATOGA, . . . . 237
XIV. RESCUED, . . . . 258
XV. THE ISLAND REFUGE, . . 277
XVI. THE GREAT STORM, ... . ... 295
XVII. THE SCOUT'S STORY, . . .. .310
XVIII. THE SIEGE OF SAVANNAH,. ... .. .328
XIX. IN AN AMERICAN PRISON, .. .. 349
XX. THE WAR IN SOUTH CAROLINA.. . . .367
XXI. THE END OF THE STRUGGLE, .. . .. 388
PEARSON TRIFS TH IE, . ... Frontispiece. 322
"THAT WAS A PRETTY GOOD SHOT," . ... 33
THE SECOND ADVANCE AT BUNKER'S HILL, .... 84
JOHN COFFIN AND BAIRNSFEATHER IN THE BATTEYY,. .... 136
A TREACHEROUS FRIEND CAUGHT, . . 181
THE DEFENCE OF THE HUT, . . .. .226
"THE INDIAN DARTED OFF ACROSS THE ICE . .. 280
"THE HIGHLANDERS MAINTAINED A DESPERATE RESISTANCE," 334
PLAN OF THE ACTION AT BUNKER'S HILL, . 83
SKETCH OF GEN. PUTTENHAM'S POSITION AND BRITISH ADVANCE, 147
PLAN OF BURGOYNE'S POSITION AT SARATOGA, ... 245
PLAN OF THE SIEGE OF SAVANNAH . ... .839
PLAN OF THE BATTLE FOUGHT NEAR CAMDEN, ...... .347
PLAN OF THE BATTLE OF GUILDFORD, . .. 871
TRUE TO THE OLD FLAG:
A TALE OF THE AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE.
A FRONTIER FARM.
Concord, March 1, 1774.
"j Y DEAR COUSIN,-I am leaving next week with
my husband for England, where we intend to
pass some time visiting his friends. John and
I have determined to accept the invitation
you gave us last summer for Harold to come and spend
a few months with you. His father thinks that a great
future will ere many years open in the West, and that
it is therefore well the boy should learn something of
frontier life; for myself, I would rather that he stayed
quietly at home, for he is at present over fond of adven-
ture; but as my husband is meditating selling his estate
here and moving west, it is perhaps better for him."
"Massachusetts is in a ferment, as indeed are all the Eas-
tern states, and the people talk openly of armed resistance
against the government. My husband being of English
birth, and having served in the king's army, cannot brook
THE BEGINNING OF TROUBLE
what he calls the rebellious talk which is common among
his neighbours, and is already on bad terms with many
around us. I myself am, as it were, a neutral; as an Ame-
rican woman, it seems to me that the colonists have been
dealt with somewhat hardlyby the English parliament, and
that the measures of the latter have been high-handed and
arbitrary; upon the other hand, I naturally incline toward
my husband's views. He maintains that as the king's army
has driven out the French and gives protection to the
colony, it is only fair that the colonists should contribute to
its expenses. The English ask for no contributions towards
the expenses of their own country, but demand that at
least the expenses of the protection of the colony shall
not be charged upon the heavily-taxed people at home.
As to the law that the colony shall trade only with the
mother country, my husband says that this is the rule in
the colonies of Spain, France, Portugal, and the Nether-
lands, and that the people here, who can obtain what land
they choose, and till it without rent, should not grumble
at paying this small tax to the mother country. How-
ever it be, I fear that troubles will come; and this place
being the head and focus of the party hostile to England,
my husband, feeling himself out of accord with all his
neighbours, saving a few loyal gentlemen like himself,
is thinking much and seriously of selling our estate here
and of moving away into the new countries of the West,
where he will be free from all the disputation and con-
tentious talk which occupies men's time here.
"Indeed, Cousin, times have sadly changed since you
were staying with us five years ago. Then our life was a
peaceful and quiet one; now there is nothing but wrang-
ling and strife. The dissenting clergy are, as my husband
REASONS FOR MOVING WEST.
says was the case in England before the great civil
war, the fomenters of this discontent. There are many
busybodies who pass their time in stirring up the people
by violent harangues and seditious writing; therefore
everyone takes one side or the other, and there is neither
peace nor comfort in life. *
Accustomed as I have always been to living in ease and
affluence, I dread somewhat the thought of a life on the
Indian frontier. One has heard so many dreadful stories
of Indian fights and massacres, that I tremble a little at the
prospect; but I do not mention this to John, for as other
women are, like yourself, brave enough to support these
dangers, I would not appear a coward in his eyes. You will
see, Cousin, that as this prospect is before us, it is well that
Harold should learn the ways of a frontier life. Moreover,
John does not like the thoughtof leaving him here while we
are in England, for, as he says, the boy might learn to be-
come a rebel in his absence; therefore, my dear cousin, we
have resolved to send him to you. An opportunity offers
in the fact that a gentleman of our acquaintance is, with
his family, going this week west with the intention of
settling there; and he will, he tells us, go first to Detroit,
whence he will be able to send Harold forward to your
farm. The boy himself is delighted at the thought,
and promises to return an accomplished backwoodsman.
John joins me in kind love to yourself and your husband,
and believe me to remain your affectionate cousin,
Four months after the date of the above letter a lad
some fifteen years old was walking with a man of middle
age, on the shores of Lake Huron. Behind them was
A BACKWOODS CLEARING.
a large clearing of about a hundred acres in extent; a
comfortable house, with buildings for cattle, stood at a
distance of some three hundred yards from the lake;
broad fields of yellow corn waved brightly in the sun;
and from the edge of the clearing came the sound of
a woodman's axe, showing that the proprietor was still
enlarging the limits of his farm. Surrounding the house,
at a distance of twenty yards, was a strong stockade
some seven feet in height, formed of young trees pointed
at the upper end, squared and fixed firmly in the ground.
The house itself, although far more spacious and comfort-
able than the majority of backwood farmhouses, was
built in the usual fashion, of solid logs, and was evidently
designed to resist attack.
William Welch had settled ten years before on this
spot, which was then far removed from the nearest habi-
tation. It would have been a very imprudent act, under
ordinary circumstances, to have established himself in so
lonely a position, so far removed from the possibility of
assistance in case of attack. He settled there, however,
just after Pontiac, who was at the head of an alliance of
all the Indian tribes of those parts, had, after the long
and desperate siege of Fort Pitt, made peace with us upon
finding that his -friends the French had given up all
thought of further resistance to the English, and had
entirely abandoned the country. Mr. Welch thought,
therefore, that a permanent peace was likely to reign
on the frontier, and that he might safely establish him-
self in the charming location he had pitched upon, far
removed from the confines of civilization.
The spot was a natural clearing of some forty acres in
extent, sloping down to the water's edge, and a more
A SETTLER'S TROUBLES. 13
charming site could hardly have been chosen. Mr. Welch
had brought with him three farm-labourers from the
East, and as time went on he extended the clearing by
cutting down the forest giants which bordered it.
In spite, however, of the beauty of the position, the
fertility of the soil, the abundance of his crops, and the
advantages afforded by the lake, both from its plentiful
supply of fish and as a highway by which he could
convey his produce to market, he had more than once
regretted his choice of the location. It was true that
there had been no Indian wars on a large scale; but
the Indians had several times broken out in sudden in-
cursions; three times he had been attacked, but fortu-
nately only by small parties which he had been enabled
to beat off; once, when a more serious danger threatened
him, he had been obliged to embark with his wife and
child and his more valuable chattels in the great scow in
which he carried his produce to market, and had to take
refuge in the settlements, to find on his return his build-
ings destroyed and his farm wasted. At that time he
had serious thoughts of abandoning his location alto-
gether; but the settlements were extending rapidly to-
wards him, and, with a prospect of having neighbours
before long, and the natural reluctance to give up a place
upon which he had expended so much toil, he decided to
hold on, hoping that more quiet times would prevail, until
other settlers would take up land around him.
The house had been rebuilt more strongly than before.
He now employed four men, and had been unmolested
since his return to his farm, three years before the date
of this story. Already two or three locations had been
taken up on the shores of the lake beyond him; a village
had grown up thirty-five miles away, and several settlers
had established themselves between that place and his
"So you are going out fishing this morning, Harold?"
Mr. Welch said. "I hope you will bring back a good
supply, for the larder is low. I was looking at you yes-
terday, and I see that you are becoming a first-rate hand
at the management of a canoe."
"So I ought to be," the boy said, "considering that for
nearly three months I have done nothing but shoot and
"You have a sharp eye, Harold, and will make a first-
rate backwoodsman one of these days. You can shoot
nearly as well as I can now. It is lucky that I had a
good stock of powder and lead on hand; firing away
by the hour together as you do consumes a large amount
of ammunition. See, there is a canoe on the lake; it is
coming this way too. There is but one man in it; he is
a white by his clothes."
For a minute or two they stood watching the boat,
and then seeing that its course was directed towards
the shore, they walked down to the edge of the lake to
"Ahl Pearson, is that you?" Mr. Welch asked. "I
thought I knew your long sweeping stroke at a distance.
You have been hunting, I see; that is a fine stag you
have got there. What is the news?"
S"About as bad as can be, Master Welch," the hunter
said. "The Irroquois have dug up the tomahawk again,
and are out on the war-path. They have massacred
John Brent and his family. I heard a talk of it amongst
some hunters I met ten days since in the woods. They
AN INDIAN OUTBREAK
said that the Irroquois were restless, and that their chief,
War Eagle, one of the most troublesome varmint on the
whole frontier, had been stirring them up to war. He
told them, I heard, that the Pale-faces were pushing
farther and farther into the Injun woods, and that, un-
less they drove them back, the Red-skin hunting-grounds
would be gone. I hoped that nothing would come of it,
but I might have known better. When the Red-skins
begin to stir there is sure to be mischief before they are
The colour had somewhat left Mr. Welch's cheeks as
the hunter spoke.
"This is bad news indeed, Pearson," he said gravely.
"Are you sure about the attack on the Brents?"
"Sartin sure," the hunter said. "I met their herd; he
had been down to Johnson's to fetch a barrel of pork.
Just when he got back he heard the Injun yells, and
saw smoke rising in the clearing, so he dropped the barrel
and made tracks. I met him at Johnson's, where he had
just arrived. Johnson was packing up with all haste,
and was going to leave; and so I said I would take my
canoe and come down the lake, giving you all warning
on the way. I stopped at Burns' and Hooper's. Burns
said he should clear out at once, but Hooper talked about
seeing it through. He has got no wife to be skeary
S about, and reckoned that with his two hands he could
defend his log-hut. I told him I reckoned he would get
his har raised if the Injuns came that way; but in course
that's his business."
"What do you advise, Pearson? I do not like aban-
doning this farm again to the mercy of the Red-skins."
"It would be a pity, Master Welch, that's as true as
16 A tiIFFICULT DECISION.
gospel; it's the likeliest clearing within fifty miles round,
and you've fixed the place up as snug and comfortable as
if it were a farm in the old provinces. In course the ques-
tion is, what this War Eagle intends to do. His section
of the tribe is pretty considerable strong, and although
at present I ain't heard that any others have joined, these
Injuns are like barrels of gunpowder: when the spark is
once struck there is no saying how far the explosion may
spread. When one band of them sees as how another is
taking scalps, and getting plunder and honour, they all
want to be at the same work. I reckon War Eagle has
got some two hundred braves who will follow him; but
when the news spreads that he has begun his work, all
the Irroquois, to say nothing of the Shawnees, Delawares,
and other varmint, may dig up the hatchet. The question
is, what War Eagle's intentions are? He may make a
clean sweep down, attacking all the outlying farms, and
waiting till he is joined by a lot more of the red reptiles
before attacking the settlements. Then, on the other
hand, he may think himself strong enough to strike a
blow at Gloucester and some other border villages at
once. In that case he might leave the outlying farms
alone, as the news of the burning of these would reach
the settlements and put them on their guard, and he
knows in course that if he succeeds there he can eat you
all up at his leisure."
"The attack upon Brent's place looks as if he meant
to make a clean sweep down," Mr. Welch said.
"Well,"the hunter continued thoughtfully, "I don't know
as I sees it in that light. Brent's place was a long way
from any other. He might have wished to give his band
a taste of blood, and so raise their spirits, and he might
THE HUNTER'S ARGUMENTS.
reasonably conclude that nout would be known about
it for days, perhaps weeks to come. Then, again, the
attack might have been made by some straggling party
without orders. It's a dubious question. You have got
four hands here, I think, and yourself; I have seen your
wife shoot pretty straight with a rifle, so she can count
as one; and as this young 'un here has a good idea too
with his shooting-iron, that makes six guns; your place
is a strong one, and you could beat off any straggling
party. My idea is, that War Eagle, who knows pretty
well that the place would make a stout fight, won't waste
his tiie by making a regular attack upon it. You might
hold out for twenty-four hours; the clearing is open, and
there ain't no shelter to be had. He would be safe to
lose a sight of men, and this would be a bad beginning,
and would discourage his warriors greatly. No, I reckon
War Eagle will leave you alone for the present. Maybe
he will send a scout to see whether you are prepared; it's
as likely as not that one is spying at us somewhere
among the trees now. I should lose no time in driving
in the animals and getting well in shelter; when they
see you are prepared they will leave you alone, at least
for the present; afterwards there's no saying, that will
depend on how they gets on at the settlements. If they
succeed there and get lots of booty and plenty of scalps,
they may march back without touching you; they will
be in a hurry to get to their villages and have their feasts
and dancing. If they are beaten off at the settlements,
I reckon they will pay you a visit for sure; they won't
go back without scalps. They will be savage like, and
won't mind losing some men for the sake of having
something to brag about when they get back. And now,
18 CALLING IN THE HANDS.
Master Welch, I must be going on, for I want to take
the news down to the settlements before War Eagle gets
there, and he may be ahead of me now for aught I know.
I don't give you no advice as to what you had best do;
you can judge the circumstances as well as I can. When
I have been to the settlements and put them on their
guard, maybe I shall be coming back again, and in that
case you know Jack Pearson's rifle is at your disposal.
You may as well tote this stag up to the house; you
won't be doing much hunting just for the present, and
the meat may come in handy."
The stag was landed, and a minute later the canoe shot
away from shore under the steady stroke of the hunter's
powerful arms. Mr. Welch at once threw the stag over
his shoulders, and, accompanied by Harold, strode away
towards the house. On reaching it he threw down the
stag at the door, seized a rope which hung against the
wall, and the sounds of a large bell rung in quick sharp
strokes summoned the hands'from the fields. The sound
of the woodman's axe ceased at once, and the shouts of
the men as they drove the cattle towards the house rose
on the still air.
"What is the matter, William?" Mrs. Welch asked as
she ran from the house.
"I have bad news, my dear; the Indians are out again,
and I fear we have trouble before us. We must hope
that they will not come in this direction, but must be
prepared for the worst. Wait till I see all the hands
and beasts in the stockade, and then we can talk the
matter over quietly."
In a few minutes the hands arrived, driving before
them the horses and cattle.
PREPARATIONS FOR DEFENCE. 19
"What is it, boss?" they asked; "that was the alarm-
bell sure enough?"
"The Indians are out again," Mr. Welch said, "and in
force. They have massacred the Brents, and are making
towards the settlements. They may come this way or
they may not; at anyrate we must be prepared for them.
Get the beasts into the sheds, and then do you all take
scythes and set to work to cut down that patch of corn,
which is high enough to give them shelter; there's
nothing else which will cover them within a hundred
yards of the house. Of course you will take your rifles
with you and keep a sharp look-out; but they will have
heard the bell if they are in the neighbourhood, and will
guess that we are on the alert, so they are not likely to
attempt a surprise. Shut one of the gates and leave the
other ajar, with the bar handy to put up in case you
have to make a run for it. Harold will go up to the
look-out while you are at work."
Having seen that all was attended to, Mr. Welch went
into the house, where his wife was going about her work
as usual, pale, but quiet and resolute.
"Now, Jane," he said, "sit down and I will tell you
exactly how matters stand, as far as Pearson, who brought
the news, has told me. Then you shall decide as to the
course we had better take."
After he had told her all that Pearson had said, and
the reasons for and against expecting an early attack, he
went on, "Now, it remains for you, my dear, to decide
whether we shall stay and defend the place till the last
against any attack that may be made, o? whether we
shall at once embark in the scow, and make our way
down to the settlements."
THE FINAL DECISION.
What do you think, William?" his wife asked.
"I scarcely know myself," he answered; "but if I had
quite my own way, I should send you and Nelly down to
the settlements in the scow, and fight it out here with the
"You certainly will not have your own way in that,"
his wife said. "If you go, of course I go; if you stay, I
stay. I would a thousand times rather go through a
siege here and risk the worst, than go down to Gloucester
and have the frightful anxiety of not knowing what was
happening here. Besides, it is very possible, as you say,
that the Indians may attack the settlement itself; many
of the people there have had no experience in Indian war,
and the Red-skins are likely to be far more successful in
their surprise there than they would be here. If we go,
we should have to leave our house, our barns, our stacks,
and our animals to the mercy of the savages. Your
capital is pretty nearly all embarked here now, and the
loss of all this would be ruin to us. At anyrate,
William, I am ready to stay here, and to risk what may
come, if you are. A life on the frontier is necessarily a
life of danger; and if we are to abandon everything, and
to have to commence life afresh every time the Indians
go on the war-path, we had better give it up at once and
return to Massachusetts."
"Very well, my dear," her husband said gravely. "You
are a true frontierman's wife; you have chosen as I
should have done. It is a choice of evils; but God has
blessed and protected us since we came out into the
wilderness; we will trust and confide in him now. At
anyrate," he went on more cheerfully, "there is no fear
of the enemy starving us out. We got in our store of
ON THE ALERT.
provisions only a fortnight since, and have enough of
everything for a three months' siege. There is no fear of
our well failing us; and as for ammunition, we have abun-
dance; seeing how Harold was using powder and ball, I
had an extra supply when the stores came in the other
day; there is plenty of corn in the barn for the animals
for months, and I will have the corn which the men are
cutting brought in as a supply of food for the cows.
It will be useful for another purpose too; we will keep a
heap of it soaked with water, and will cover the shingles
with it in case of attack. It will effectually quench
The day passed off without the slightest alarm, and by
nightfall the patch of corn was cleared away, and an
uninterrupted view of the ground for the distance of a
hundred yards from the house was afforded. When night
fell, two out of the four dogs belonging to the farm were
fastened out in the open, at a distance of from seventy to
eighty yards of the house, the others being retained
within the stockade. The garrison was divided into three
watches, two men being on the alert at a time, relieving
each other every three hours. Mr. Welch took Harold as
his companion on the watch. The boy was greatly
excited at the prospect of a struggle. He had often
read of the desperate fights between the frontier settlers
and the Indians, and had longed to take share in the ad-
venturous work; he could scarcely believe that the time
had come, and that he was really a sharer in what might
be a desperate struggle.
The first watch was set at nine, and at twelve Mr.
Welch and Harold came on duty; the men they relieved
reported that all was silent in the woods, and that they
had heard no suspicious cries of any kind. When the
men had retired to their room Mr. Welch told Harold
that he should take a turn round the stockade and visit
the dogs. Harold was to keep watch at the gate, to close
it after he went out, to put up the bar, and to stand beside
it ready to open it instantly if called upon.
Then the farmer stepped out into the darkness, and,
treading noiselessly, at once disappeared from Harold's
sight. The latter closed the gate, replaced the heavy bar,
and stood with one hand on this and the other holding his
rifle, listening intently. Once he thought he heard a low
growling from one of the dogs, but this presently ceased,
and all was quiet again. The gate was a solid one,
formed of strong timbers placed at a few inches apart,
and bolted to horizontal bars.
Presently he felt the gate upon which his hand rested
quiver as if pressure was applied from without. His
first impulse was to say "Is that you?" but Mr. Welch had
told him that he would give a low whistle as he ap-
proached the gate; he therefore stood quiet with his
whole attention absorbed in listening. Without making
the least stir he peered through the bars, and made out
two dark figures behind them. After once or twice
shaking the gate, one took his place against it and the
other sprang upon his shoulders.
Harold looked up and saw a man's head appear against
the sky. Dim as was the light, he could see that it was
no European head-gear, a long feather or two projecting
from it. In an instant he levelled his rifle and fired.
There was a heavy fall, and then all was silent. Harold
again peered through the bars. The second figure had
disappeared, and a black mass lay at the foot of the gate.
THE WATCH-DOG SLAIN.
In an instant the men came running from the house,
rifles in hand. "What is it?" they exclaimed. "Where
is Mr. Welch?"
"He went out to scout round the house, leaving me at
the gate," Harold said. "Two men, I think Indians,
came up; one was getting over the gate when I shot him.
I think he is lying outside-the other has disappeared."
"We must get the master in," one of the men said; "he
is probably keeping away, not knowing what has hap-
pened. Mr. Welch," he shouted, "it is all safe here, so far
as we know; we are all on the look-out to cover you as
you come up."
Immediately a whistle was heard close to the gate;
this was cautiously opened a few inches, and was closed
and barred directly Mr. Welch entered.
Harold told him what had happened.
"I thought it was something of the sort. I heard Wolf
growl, and felt sure that it was not at me. I threw myself
down and crept up to him, and found him shot through
the heart with an Indian arrow. I was crawling back to
the house when I heard Harold's shot. Then I waited to
see if it was followed by the war-whoop, which the Red-
skins would have raised at once on finding that they.were
discovered, had they been about to attack in force. Seeing
that all was quiet, I conjectured that it was probably an
attempt on the part of a spy to discover if we were upon
the alert. Then I heard your call and at once came on.
I do not expect any attack to-night now, as these fellows
must have been alone; but we will all keep watch till the
morning. You have done very well, Harold, and have
shown yourself a keen watchman. It is fortunate that
you had the presence of mind neither to stir nor to call
THE DEAD INDIAN.
out when you first heard them, for, had you done so, you
would probably have got an arrow between your ribs, as
poor Wolf has done."
When it was daylight and the gate was opened, the
body of an Indian was seen lying without; a small mark
on his forehead showed where Harold's bullet had entered,
death being instantaneous. His war-paint and the em-
broidery of his leggings showed him at once to be an
Irroquois. Beside him lay his bow, with an arrow which
had evidently been fitted to the string for instant work.
Harold shuddered when he saw it, and congratulated
himself on having stood perfectly quiet. A grave was
dug a short distance away, the Indian was buried, and
the household proceeded about their work.
The day, as was usual in households in America, was
begun with prayer, ane the supplications of Mr. Welch for
the protection of God over the household were warm
and earnest. The men proceeded to feed the animals;
these were then turned out of the inclosure, one of the
party being always on watch in the little tower which
had been erected for that purpose some ten or twelve feet
above the roof of the house. From this spot a view was
obtainable right over the clearing to the forest which
surrounded it on three sides. The other hands proceeded
to cut down more of the corn, so as to extend the level
space around the house.
AN INDIAN RAID.
rjHAT day and the next passed quietly. The first
) night the man who was on watch up to midnight
remarked to Mr. Welch when he relieved him,
that it seemed to him that there were noises in
"What sort of noises, Jackson; calls of night-birds or
animals? for if so the Indians are probably around us."
"No," the man said; all is still round here, but I seem
to feel the noise rather than hear it. I should say that
it was firing very many miles off."
"The night is perfectly still, and the sound of a gun
would be heard a long way."
"I cannot say that I have heard a gun; it is rather a
tremble in the air than a sound."
When the man they had relieved had gone down, and
all was still again, Mr. Welch and Harold stood listening
"Jackson was right," the farmer said, "there is some-
thing in the air. I can feel it rather than hear it. It is
a sort of murmur no louder than a whisper. Do you
hear it, Harold?"
I seem to hear something," Harold said. "It might be
RETURN OF THE HUNTER.
the sound of the sea a very long way off, just as one can
hear it many miles from the coast, on a still night at
home. What do you think it is?"
"If it is not fancy," Mr. Welch replied, "and I do not
think that we should all be deceived, it is an attack
"But Gloucester is 35 miles away," Harold answered.
"It is," Mr. Welch replied; "but on so still a night as
this sounds can be heard from an immense distance. If
it is not this, I cannot say what it is."
Upon the following night, just as Mr. Welch's watch
was at an end, a low whistle was heard near the gate.
"Who is there?" Mr. Welch at once challenged.
"Jack Pearson, and the sooner you open the gate the
better; there is no saying where these red devils may be
Harold and the farmer instantly ran down and opened
"I should advise you to stop down here," the hunter
said, as they replaced the bars; "if you did not hear me,
you certainly would not hear the Red-skins, and they
would all be over the palisade before you had time to
fire a shot. I am glad to see you safe, for I was' badly
scared lest I should find nothing but a heap of ashes here."
The next two men now turned out, and Mr. Welch led
his visitor into the house and struck a light. "Hallo!
Pearson, you must have been in a skirmish," he said,
seeing that the hunter's head was bound up with a blood-
"It was all that," Pearson said, "and wuss. I went
down to Gloucester and told 'em what I had heard; but
the darned fools tuk it as quiet as if all King George's
troops with fixed bayonets had been camped round 'em.
The council got together and palavered for an hour, and
concluded that there was no chance, whatever, of the
Irroquois venturing to attack such a powerful place as
Gloucester. I told them that the Red-skins would go
over their stockade at a squirrel's jump; and that as War
Eagle alone had at least 150 braves, while there warn't
more than fifty able-bodied men in Gloucester and all
the farms around it, things would go bad with 'em if
they did not mind. But, bless yer, they' knew more than
I did about it; most of them had moved from the East,
and had never seen an Injun in his war-paint. Glou-
cester had never been attacked since it was founded nigh
ten years ago, and they did not see no reason why it
should be attacked now. There was a few old frontiers-
men like myself among them, who did their best to stir
them up; but it was no manner of good. When the
council was over we put our heads together, and just
went through the township a talking to the women, and
we had not much difficulty in getting up such a scare
among 'em, that before nightfall every one of 'em in the
farms around made their husbands move into the stockade
of the village.
"When the night passed off quietly, most of the men
were just as savage with us as if it had been a false
alarm altogether. I pointed out that it was not because
War Eagle had left them alone that night that he was
bound to do so the next night, or any night after. But
in spite of the women they would have started out to
their farms the fust thing in the morning, if a man
had not come in with the news that Carter's farm had
been burned, and the whole of the people killed and
AN ATTACK ON A SETTLEMENT.
scalped. As Carter's farm lay only about 15 miles off,
this gave them a scare, and they were as ready now to
believe in the Injuns as I had tried to make them the
night before. Then they asked us old hands to take the
lead, and promised to do what we told them; but'when
it came to it their promises were not worth the breath
they had spent upon them. There were eight or ten
houses outside the stockade, and in course we wanted
these pulled down; but they would not hear of it. How-
ever, we got them to work to strengthen the stockades,
to make loopholes in the houses near them, to put up
barricades from house to house, and to prepare generally
for a fight. We divided into three watches.
"Well, just as I expected, about eleven o'clock at night
the Injuns attacked. Our watch might just as well have
been asleep for any good they did, for it was not till the
Red-skins had crept up to the stockade all round, and
opened fire between the timbers on them, that they knew
that they were near. I do them justice to say that they
fought stiff enough then, and for four hours they held the
line of houses; every Red-skin who climbed the stockade
fell dead inside it. Four fires had been lighted directly
they attacked to enable us to keep them from scaling the
stockade; but they showed us too to the enemy, of course.
"The Red-skins took possession of the houses which we
had wanted to pull down, and precious hot they made
it for us. Then they shot such showers of burning
arrows into the village that half of the houses were soon
alight. We tried to get our men to sally out and to hold
the line of stockade, when we might have beaten them
off if all the village had been burned down; but it were no
manner of good; each man wanted to stick to his wife and
DESTRUCTION OF THE VILLAGE.
family till the last. As the flames went up every man who
showed himself was shot down; and when at last more
than half our number had gone under, the Red-skins
brought up fagots, piled them against the stockade out-
side, and then the hull tribe came bounding over. Our
rifles were emptied, for we could not get the men to hold
their fire, but some of us chaps as knew what was coming
gave the Red-skins a volley as they poured in.
"I don't knowmuch as happened after that. JackRobins
and Bill Shuter, who were old pals of mine, and me, made
up our minds what to do, and we made a rush for a small
gate that there was in the stockade, just opposite where
the Injuns came in. We got through safe enough, but
they had left men all round. Jack Robins he was shot
dead. Bill and I kept straight on; we had a grapple
with some of the Red-skins; two or three on them went
down, and Bill and I got through and had a race for it
till we got fairly into the forest. Bill had a ball in the
shoulder, and I had a clip across the head with a toma-
hawk. We had a council, and Bill went off to- warn
some of the other settlements, and I concluded to take
to the water and paddle back to you, not knowing
whether I should find that the Red-skins had been before
me. I thought at anyrate that I might stop your going
down to Gloucester, and that if there was a fight you
would be none the worse for an extra rifle."
Mr. Welch told the hunter of the visit of the two
Indian spies two nights before.
"Wall," the hunter said, "I reckon for the present you
are not likely to be disturbed. The Injuns have taken
a pile of booty and something like two hundred scalps,
counting the women and children, and they moved off
at daybreak this morning in the direction of Totten-
ham, which I reckon they will attack to-night. How-
somever, Bill has gone on there to warn them, and after
the sack of Gloucester the people of Tottenham won't be
caught napping, and there are two or three old frontiers-
men who have Eettled down there, and War Eagle will
get a hot reception if he tries it. As far as his band
is concerned you are safe for some days; the only fear
is that some others of the tribe, hurrying up at hearing
of his success, may take this place as they go past. And
now, I guess that I will take a few hours' sleep; I have
not closed an eye for the last two nights."
A week passed quietly. Pearson, after remaining two
days, again went down the lake to gather news, and
returned a day later with the intelligence that almost all
the settlements had been deserted by their inhabitants;
the Indians were out in great strength, and had attacked
the settlers at many points along the frontier, commit-
ting frightful devastations.
Still another week passed, and Mr. Welch began to
hope that his little clearing had been overlooked and
forgotten by the Indians. The hands now went about
their work as usual, but always carried arms with them,
while one was constantly stationed on the watch-tower.
Harold resumed his fishing, never, however, going out
of sight of the house. Sometimes he took with him
little Nelly Welch, it being considered that she was as
safe in the canoe as she was in the house, especially as
the boat was always in sight, and the way up from the
landing to the house was under cover of the rifles of the
defenders; so that, even in case of an attack, they would
probably be able to make their way back.
THE HIDDEN FOE.
One afternoon they had been out together for two or
three hours; everything looked as quiet and peaceable as
usual; the hands were in the fields near the house, a few
of the cows were grazing close to the gate. Harold had
been successful in his fishing, and had obtained as many
fish as he could carry. He stepped out from the canoe,
helped Nelly to land, slung his rifle across his back, and
picked up the fish, which were strung on a withy passed
through their gills.
He had made but a few steps when a yell arose so loud
and terrible that for a moment his heart seemed to stop
beating. Then from the corn-fields leaped up a hundred
dark figures; then came the sharp crack of rifles, and two
of the hands dashed down at full speed towards the house.
One had fallen. The fourth man was in the watch-
tower. The surprise had been complete. The Indians
had made their way like snakes through the long corn,
whose waving had been unperceived by the sentinel, who
was dozing at his post, half-asleep in the heat of the sun.
Harold saw in a moment that it was too late for him to
regain the house; the Red-skins were already nearer to
Sit than he was.
Now, N4lly! into the boat again; quick!" he said.
." We must ke.,p out of the way till 'tis all over."
N-lly was about twelve years old, and her life in the
wo,:ds had I- iven her a courage and quickness beyond her
v4y-ars. Without wasting a moment on cries or lamenta-
I tions h l, sp'ai ng back into the canoe. Harold took his place
1.,:1 id- h~i-r. and the light craft darted rapidly out into the
lak,. Not until he was some three or four hundred yards
afi'i, tlie shore did Harold pause to look round. Then,when
ht felt he wasi out of gunshot distance, he ceased paddling.
-f4Cl h krldHrldpuet okrud hnwe
32 THE CANOE ON THE LAKE.
The fight was raging now around the house; from
loopholes and turret the white puffs of smoke darted
angrily out. The fire had not been ineffectual, for several
dark forms could be seen lying round the stockade; and
the bulk of the Indians, foiled in their attempt to carry the
place at a rush, had taken shelter in the corn, and kept
up a scattering fire round the house, broken only on the
side facing the lake, where there was no growing crop to
afford them shelter.
"They are all right now," Harold said cheerfully.
"Do not be anxious, Nelly; they will beat them off.
Pearson is a host in himself. I expect he must have been
lying down when the attack was made. I know he was
scouting round the house all night. If he had been on
the watch, those fellows would never have succeeded in
creeping.up so close unobserved."
"I wish we were inside," Nelly said, speaking for the
first time. If I were only with them I should not mind."
"I am sure I wish we were," Harold agreed. It is
too hard being useless out here when such a splendid
fight is going on. Ah! they have their eyes on us!"
he exclaimed as a puff of smoke burst out from some
bushes near the shore, and a ball came skipping along
on the surface of the water, sinking, however, before it
"Those Indian muskets are no good," Harold said con-
temptuously, and the trade powder the Indians get is
very poor stuff; but I think that they are well within
range of my rifle."
The weapon which Harold carried was an English rifle
of very perfect make and finish which his father had
given him on parting.
"THAT WAS A PRETTY GOOD SHOT."
A LURKING FOR. 6
"Now," he said, "do you paddle the canoe a few strokes
nearer the shore, Nelly. We shall still be beyond the
S range of that fellow. He will fire again, and I shall see
exactly where he is lying."
Nelly, who was efficient in the management of a canoe,
took the paddle, and, dipping it in the water, the boat
moved slowly towards the shore. Harold sat with his
rifle across his knees, looking intently over the bows
of the boat towards the bush from which the shot had
"That's near enough, Nelly," he said. The girl stopped
paddling; and the hidden foe, seeing that they did not
mean to come nearer the shore, again fired.
Harold's rifle was in an instant against his shoulder;
he sat immovable for a moment, and then fired.
Instantly a dark figure sprang from the bush, stag-
gered a few steps up the slope, and then fell headlong.
"That was a pretty good shot," Harold said. "Your
father told me when I saw a stag's horns above a bush,
to fire about two feet behind them and eighteen inches
lower. I fired a foot below the flash, and I expect I hit
him through the body. I had the sight at 300 yards,
and fired a little above it. Now, Nelly, paddle out again.
See!" he said, "there is a shawl waving from the top of
the tower. Put your hat on the paddle and wave it."
"What are you thinking of doing, Harold ?" the girl
"That is just what I have been asking myself for the
last ten minutes," Harold replied. "It is quite clear that
as long as the siege is kept up we cannot get back again,
and there is no saying how long it may last. The first
thing is, What chance is there of their pursuing us?
AN UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT.
Are there any other canoes on the lake within a short
"They have one at Braithwaite's," the girl said, four
miles off; but look, there is Pearson's canoe lying by the
"So there is," Harold exclaimed. "I never thought of
that. I expect the Indians have not noticed it. The
bank is rather high where it is lying. They are sure to
find it sooner or later. I think, Nelly, the best plan
would be to paddle back again so as to be within the
range of my rifle while still beyond the reach of theirs;
I think I can keep them from using the boat until it is
"But after it is dark, Harold ?"
"Well, then, we must paddle out into the lake so as to
.i'e well out of sight; when it gets quite dark we can
Sprddle in again, and sleep safely anywhere a mile or two
from the house."
An hour passed without change. Then Nelly said,
"There is a movement in the bushes near the canoe."
Presently an arm was extended, and proceeded to haul
the canoe towards the shore by its head rope. As it touched
the bank an Indian rose from the bushes and was about to
step in, while a number of flashes of smoke burst out along
the shore and the bullets skipped over the water towards
the canoe, one of them striking it with sufficient force to
penetrate the thin bark a few inches above the wafer's
edge. Harold had not moved; but as the savage stepped
into the canoe he fired, and the Indian fell heavily into
the water, upsetting the canoe as he did so.
A yell of rage broke from his comrades.
"I don't think they will try that game again as long
OUT ON THE LAKE.
as it is daylight," Harold said. "Paddle a little farther
out again, Nelly. If that bullet had hit you it would
have given you a nasty blow, though I don't think it
would have penetrated; still we may as well avoid acci-
After another hour passed the fire round the house
"Do you think the Indians have gone away?" Nelly
"I am afraid there is no chance of that," Harold said,
"I expect they are going to wait till night and then try
again. They are not fond of losing men, and Pearson and
your father are not likely to miss anything that comes
within their range as long as daylight lasts."
"But after dark, Harold ?"
"Oh they will try all sorts of tricks; but Pearson is up
to them all. Don't you worry about them, dear."
The hours passed slowly away until at last the sun
sank and the darkness came on rapidly. So long as he
could see the canoe, which just floated above the water's
edge, Harold maintained his position; then taking one
paddle, while Nelly handled the other, he sent the boat
flying away from the shore out into the lake.
For a quarter of an hour they paddled straight out.
By this time the outline of the shore could be but dimly
perceived. Harold doubted whether it would be possible
to see the boat from shore; but in order to throw the
Indians off the scent, should this be the case, he turned
the boat's head to the south and paddled swiftly until it
was perfectly dark.
I expect they saw us turn south," he said to Nelly.
"The Red-skins have wonderful eyes; so if they pursue
at all, they will do it in that direction. At anyrate no
human being, unless he borrowed the eyes of an owl,
could see us now; so we will turn and paddle the other
For two hours they rowed in this direction. "We can
go into shore now," Harold said at last. "We must be
seven or eight miles beyond the house."
The distance to the shore was longer than they ex-
pected, for they had only the light of the stars to guide
them, and neither had any experience in night travelling.
They had therefore made much further out into the lake
than they had intended. At length, however, the dark
line of trees rose in front of them, and in a few minutes
the canoe lay alongside the bank, and its late occupants
were stretched on a soft layer of moss and fallen leaves.
"What are we going to do to-morrow about eating?"
"There are four or five good-sized fish in the bottom
of the canoe," Harold replied. "Fortunately we caught
more than I could carry, and I intended to make a
second trip from the house for these. I am afraid we
shall not be able to cook them, for the Indians can see
smoke any distance. If the worse comes to the worst we
must eat them raw, but we are sure to find some berries
in the wood to-morrow. Now, dear, you had better go to
sleep as fast as you can; but first let us kneel down and
pray God to protect us and your father and mother."
The boy and girl knelt -in the darkness and said
their simple prayers. Then they lay down, and Harold
was pleased to hear in a few minutes the steady breath-
ing which told him that his cousin was asleep. It was a
long time before he followed her example. During the
AN ANXIOUS VIGIL
day he had kept up a brave front and had endeavoured
to make the best of their position; but now that he was
alone he felt the full weight of the responsibility of guid-
ing his companion through the extreme danger which
threatened them both. He felt sure that the Indians
would prolong the siege for some time, as they would be
sure that no reinforcements could possibly arrive in aid
of the garrison. Moreover, he by no means felt so sure,
as he had pretended to his companion, of the power of the
defenders of the house to maintain a successful resistance
to so large a number of their savage foes. In the day-
light he felt certain they could beat them off, but dark-
ness neutralizes the effect both of superior arms and
better marksmanship. It was nearly midnight before
he lay down with the determination to sleep, but scarcely
had he done so when he was aroused by an outburst
of distant firing. Although six or seven miles from
the scene of the encounter the sound of each discharge
came distinct to the ear along the smooth surface of the
lake; and he could even hear, mingled with the musketry
fire, the faint yells of the Indians. For hours, as it seemed
to him, he sat listening to the distant contest, and then
he, unconsciously to himself, dozed off to sleep, and awoke
with a start, to find Nelly sitting up beside him and the
sun streaming down through the boughs.
He started to his feet. "Bless me," he exclaimed, "I
did not know that I had been to sleep. It seems but an
instant ago that I was listening-" and here he checked
himself-"that is, that I was wide awake, and here we are
in broad daylight."
Harold's first care was to examine the position of
the canoe, and he found that fortunately it had touched
A FOREST BREAKFAST.
the shore at a spot where the boughs of the trees over-
head drooped into the water beyond it, so that it could
not be seen by anyone passing along the lake. This was
the more fortunate, as he saw some three miles away a
canoe with three figures on board. For a long distance
on either side the boughs of the trees drooped into the
water, with only an opening here and there such as that
through which the boat had passed the night before.
"We must be moving, Nelly; here are the marks where
we scrambled up the banks last night. If the Indians
take it into their heads to search the shore both ways, as
likely enough they may do, they will be sure to see them.
In the first place let us gather a stock of berries, and then
we will get into the boat again, and paddle along under
this arcade of boughs till we get to some place where we
can land without leaving marks of our feet. If the
Indians find the place where we landed here they will sup-
pose that we went off again before daylight."
For some time they rambled in the wood, and succeeded
in gathering a store of berries and wild fruit. Upon
these Nelly made her breakfast, but Harold's appetite
was sufficiently ravenous to enable him to fall to upon
the fish, which, he declared, were not so bad after all.
Then they took their places in the canoe again, and
paddled on for nearly a mile.
"See, Harold!" Nelly exclaimed, as she got a glimpse
through the boughs into the lake, there is another canoe;
they must have got the Braithwaite boat; we passed their
place coming here, you know. I wonder what has
"What do you think is best to do, Nelly?" Harold asked.
"Your opinion is just as good as mine about it: shall we
A FRIENDLY STREAM.
leave our canoe behind, land, and take to the woods; or
shall we stop quietly in the canoe in shelter here; or shall
we take to the lake and trust to our speed to get away,
in which case, you know, if they should come up I could
pick them off with my gun before they got within reach?"
"I don't think that would do," the girl said, shaking
her head. "You shoot very well, but it is not an easy
thing to hit a moving object if you are not accustomed to
it, and they paddle so fast that if you miss them once
they would be close alongside-at anyrate we should be
within reach of their guns-before you could load again.
They would be sure to catch us, for although we might
paddle nearly as fast for a time, they would certainly tire
us out. Then as to waiting here in the canoe, if they
come along on foot looking for us, we should be in their
power. It is dreadful to think of taking to the woods
with Indians all about, but I really think that would be
our safest plan."
"I think so too, Nelly, if we can manage to do it with-
out leaving a track. We must not go much farther, for
the trees are getting thinner ahead, and we should be
seen by the canoes."
Fifty yards farther Harold stopped paddling. "Here
is just the place, Nelly."
At this point a little stream of three or four feet wide
S emerged into the lake; Harold directed the boat's head to-
wards it. The water in the stream was but a few inches
"Now, Nelly," he said, "we must step out into the
water and walk up it as far as we can go-it will puzzle
even the sharpest Red-skin to find our track then."
They stepped into the water, Harold taking the head-
HIDING THEIR TRACKS.
rope of the canoe and towing the light boat-which,
when empty, did not draw more than two inches of
water-behind him. He directed Nelly to be most care-
ful, as she walked, not to touch any of the bushes, which
at times nearly met across the stream.
"A broken twig or withered leaf would be quite enough
to tell the Indians that we came along this way," he said;
"Where the bushes are thick you must manage to crawl
under them; never mind about getting wet, you will soon
Slowly and cautiously they made their way up the
stream for nearly a mile; it had for some distance been
narrowing rapidly, being only fed by little rills from the
surrounding swamp land. Harold had so far looked in
vain for some spot where they could land without leaving
marks of their feet. Presently they came to a place
where a great tree had fallen across the stream.
"This will do, Nelly," Harold said. "Now, above all
things, you must be careful not to break off any of the
moss or bark; you had better take your shoes off, then I
will lift you on to the trunk, and you can walk along it
without leaving a mark."
It was hard work for Nelly to take off her drenched
boots, but she managed at last. Harold lifted her on to
the trunk, and said, "Walk along as far as you can, and
get down as lightly as possible on to a firm piece of
ground; it rises rapidly here, and is, I expect, a dry soil
where the upper end of the tree lies."
"How are you going to get out, Harold?"
"I can swing myself up by that projecting root."
Before proceeding to do so, Harold raised one end of
the canoe and placed it on the trunk of the tree; then
IN THE WOODS.
having previously taken off his shoes, he swung himself
on to the trunk; hauling up the light bark canoe, and
taking especial pains that it did not grate upon the trunk,
he placed it on his head, and followed Nelly along the tree.
He found, as he had expected, that the ground upon which
the upper end lay was firm and dry. He stepped down
with great care, and was pleased to see as he walked for-
ward that not the slightest trace of a footmark was left.
"Be careful, Nelly," he exclaimed, when he joined her,
"not to tread on a stick or disturb a fallen leaf with your
feet, and, above all, to avoid breaking the smallest twig
as you pass. Choose the most open ground, as that is the
In about a hundred yards they came upon a large
clump of bushes. "Now, Nelly, raise those lower boughs
as gently and as carefully as you can. I will push the
canoe under. I don't think the sharpest Indian will be
able to take up our track now."
Very carefully the canoe was stowed away, and- when
the boughs were allowed to fall in their natural position
it was completely hidden from sight to every passer-by.
Harold took up the fish, Nelly had filled her apron with
the berries, and carrying their shoes-for they agreed that
it would be safer not to put them on-they started on
their journey through the deep forest.
THE RED-SKIN ATTACK;
R. WELCH was with the men two or three hun-
dred yards away from the house when the In-
dians suddenly sprang out and opened fire. One
of the men fell beside him; the farmer stooped
to lift him, but saw that he was shot through the head.
Then he ran with full speed towards the house, shouting
to the hands to make straight for the gate, disregarding
the cattle. Several of these, however, alarmed at the
sudden outburst of fire and the yells of the Indians, made,
of their own accord for the stables, as their master rushed
up at full speed. The Indians were but fifty or sixty
yards behind when Mr. Welch reached his gate. They
had all emptied their pieces, and after the first volley no
shots had been fired save one by the watchman on the
look-out. Then came the crack of Pearson's rifle, just as
Mr. Welch shut the gate and laid the bar in its place.
Several spare guns had been placed in the upper chambers,
and three reports rang out together, for Mrs. Welch had
run upstairs at the first alarm to take her part in the
In another minute the whole party, now six in all,
were gathered in the upper room.
- THE PARENTS' ANXIETY.
"Where are Nelly and Harold?" Mr. Welch exclaimed.
"I saw the canoe close to the shore just before the
Indians opened fire," the watchman answered.
"You must have been asleep," Pearson said savagely.
"Where were your eyes to let them Red-skins crawl up
through the corn without seeing them? With such a crowd
of them, the corn must have been waving as if it were
blowing a gale. You ought to have a bullet in ye'r ugly
carkidge, instead of its being in ye'r mate's out there."
While this conversation was going on, no one had been
idle; each took up his station at a loophole, and several
shots were fired whenever the movement of a blade of
corn showed the lurking-place of an Indian.
The instant the gate had been closed War Eagle had
called his men back to shelter, for he saw that all chance
of a surprise was now over, and it was contrary to all
Red-skin strategy to remain for one moment unnecessarily
exposed to the rifles of the whites. The farmer and his
wife had rushed at once up into the look-out as the
Indians drew off, and to their joy saw the canoe darting
away from shore.
"They are safe for the present, thank God!" Mr. Welch
said. "It is providential indeed that they had not come
a little farther from the shore when the Red-skins broke
out. Nothing could have saved them had they fairly
started for the house."
"What will they do, William?" asked his wife anxiously.
"I cannot tell you, my dear; I do not know what I
should do myself under the circumstances. However, the
boy has got a cool head on his shoulders, and you need
not be anxious for the present. Now, let us join the
others; our first duty is to take our share in the defence
A BAD LOOK-OUT.
of the house. The young ones are in the hands of God.
We can do nothing for them."
"Well?" Pearson asked, looking round from his loop-
hole as the farmer and his wife descended into the room,
which was a low garret extending over the whole of the
house. "Do you see the canoe?"
"Yes, it has got safely away," William Welch said;
"but what that lad will do now is more than I can say."
Pearson placed his rifle against the wall. "Now keep
your eyes skinned," he said to the three farm hands; "one
of yer's done mischief enough this morning already, and
you will get your hair raised as sure as you are born
unless you look out sharp. Now," he went on, turning
to the Welches, "let us go down and talk this matter over.
The Injuns may keep on firing, but I don't think they
will show in the open again as long as it is light enough
for us to draw bead upon them. Yes," he went on, as he
looked through a loophole in the lower story, over the
lake, "there they are, just out of range."
"What do you think they will do?" Mrs. Welch asked.
The hunter was silent for a minute.
"It ain't a easy thing to say what they ought to do,
much less what they will do; it ain't a good look-out
any way, and I don't know what I should do myself.
The whole of the woods on this side of the lake are full
of the darned red critters; there are a hundred eyes on
that canoe now, and go where they will they will be
"But why should they not cross the lake and land on
the other side?" Mr. Welch said.
If you and I were in that canoe," the hunter answered,
"that's about what we should do; but, not to say that it
WELL NIGH HOPELESS.
is a long row for them, they two young uns would never
get across; the Injuns would have them before they had
been gone an hour. There is my canoe lying under the
bushes, she would carry four, and would go three feet to
"I had forgotten about that," William Welch said, and
then added after a pause: "the Indians may not find it."
"You need not hope that," the hunter answered; they
have found it long before this. I don't want to put you
out of heart; but I tell ye', ye will see them on the water
before many minutes have passed."
"Then they are lost," Mrs. Welch said, sinking down
in her chair and bursting into tears.
"They air in God's hands, mam," the hunter said, "and
it is no use trying to deceive you." ,
"Would it be of any use," William Welch asked, after
a pause, "for me to offer the Red-skins that my wife and
I will go out and put ourselves in their hands, if they
will let the canoe go off without pursuit."
"Not it," the hunter replied decidedly; "you would be
throwing -away your own lives without saving theirs, not
to mention, although that does not matter a straw, the
lives of the rest of us here. It will be as much as we
can do, when they attack us in earnest, to hold this place
with six guns, and with only four the chance would be
worth nothing. But that is neither here nor there. But
you would not save the young ones if you gave up. You
cannot trust the word of an Indian on the war-path, and
if they went so far as not to kill them, they would carry
them off; and after all I ain't sure as death ain't better for
them than to be brought up as Indians. There," he said,
stopping suddenly as a report of a musket sounded at
THE ATTEMPT FOILED.
some little distance off, "the Injuns are trying their range
Against them; let us go up to the look-out."
The little tower had a thick parapet of logs some three
feet high, and crouching behind this they watched the
"He is coming nearer in shore, and the girl has got
the paddle," Pearson muttered. "What's he doing now?"
-A puff of smoke was seen to rise near the border of
the lake, then came the sharp crack of Harold's rifle.
They saw an Indian spring from the bushes and fall dead.
"Well done, young un," Pearson exclaimed; "I told
yer he had got his head screwed on the right way. He
is keeping just out of range of their guns, and that piece
of his can carry twice as far as theirs; I reckon he has
thought of the canoe and means to keep them from using
it. I begins to think, Mr. Welch, that there is a chance
for them yet; now let's talk a little to these red devils
in the corn."
For some little time Pearson and William Welch turned
their attention to the Indians, while the mother sat with
her eyes fixed upon the canoe.
"He is coming closer again," she exclaimed presently.
He is watching the canoe, sure enough," Pearson said.
Then came the volley along the bushes on the shore, and
they saw an Indian rise to his feet. "That's just where
she lies," Pearson exclaimed; "he is getting into it. There!
well done, young un."
The sudden disappearance of the Indian, and the
vengeful yell of the hidden foe, told of the failure of
the attempt. "I think they are safe now till nightfall;
the Indians won't care about putting themselves within
range of that 'ere rifle again."
THE GARRISON OF THE FARM.
Gradually the fire of the Indians ceased, and the de-
fenders were able to leave the loopholes. Two of the
men went down and fastened up the cattle, which were
still standing loose in the yard inside the stockade; the
other set to to prepare a meal, for Mrs. Welch could not
take her eyes off the canoe.
The afternoon seemed of interminable length. Not a
shot was fired; the men, after taking their dinner, were
occupied in bringing some great tubs on to the upper
storey, and filling them to the brim with water from the
This storey projected two feet beyond the one below it,
having been so built in order that, in case of attack, the
defenders might be able to fire down upon any foe who
might cross the stockade and attack the house itself; the
floor boards over the projecting portion were all removable.
The men also brought a quantity of the newly-cut corn
to the top of the house, first drenching it with water.
The sun sank, and as dusk was coming on the anxious
watchers saw the canoe paddle out far into the lake.
"An old frontiersman could not do better," Pearson
exclaimed; "he has kept them out of the canoe as long
as daylight lasted; now he has determined to paddle
away, and is making down the lake," he went on pre-
sently; "it is a pity he turned so soon, as they can see
the course he is taking."
They watched until it was completely dark, but before
the light quite faded they saw another canoe put out
from shore and start in the direction taken by the fugi-
"Will they catch them, do you think?" Mrs. Welch'
AWAITING THE ATTACK.
"No, ma'am," Pearson said confidently; "the boy has
got sense enough to have changed his course after it gets
dark, though whether he will make for shore or go out
towards the other side is more than I can say. You see
they will know that the Injuns are all along this side of
the lake, but then on the other hand they will be anxious
about us, and will want to keep close at hand; besides,
the lad knows nothing of the other side; there may be
Injuns there for ought he knows, and besides, it's a skearey
thing for a young un to take to the forest, especially
with a gal in his charge. There ain't no saying what he
will do. And now we have got to look after ourselves,
don't let us think about them at present; the best thing
we can do for them, as well as for ourselves, is to hold
this here place; if they live they will come back to it
sooner or later, and it will be better for them to find it
standing, and you here to welcome them, than to get
back to a heap of ruins and some dead bodies."
"When will the Red-skins attack, do you think?" the
"We may expect them any time now," the hunter
answered; "the Injuns' time of attack is generally just
before dawn, but they know well enough they ain't likely
to catch us asleep any time, and as they know exactly what
they have got to do they will gain nothing by waiting.
I wish we had a moon; if we had, we might keep them
out of the stockade; but there, it is just as well as 'tis
dark after all, for if the moon was up the young uns
would have no chance of getting away."
The garrison now all took their places at the loopholes,
having first carried the wet fodder to the roof and spread
it over the shingles. There was nothing to do now but
THE NIGHT ATTACK.
to wait. The night was so dark that they could not see
the outline of the stockade. Presently a little spark shot
through the air, followed by a score of others. Mr. Welch
had taken his post on the tower, and he saw the arrows
whizzing through the air, many of them falling on the
roof. The dry grass dipped in the resin, which was
tied round their heads, was instantly extinguished as the
arrows fell upon the wet corn, and a yell arose from the
The farmer descended and told the others of the failure
of the Indians' first attempt.
"That 'ere dodge is a first-rate un," Pearson said; "we
are safe from fire, and that's the only thing we have got
to be afeard on; you will see them up here in a few
Everything was perfectly quiet; once or twice the
watchers thought that they could hear faint sounds, but
could not distinguish their direction. After half an
hour's anxious waiting a terrific yell was heard from
below, and at the doors and windows of the lower rooms
came the crashing blows of tomahawks.
The boards had already been removed from the flooring
above, and the defenders opened a steady fire into the
dark mass, that they could faintly make out clustered
round the windows and doors. At Pearson's suggestion
the bullets had been removed from the guns, and heavy
charges of buck-shot had been substituted for them, and
yells of pain and surprise rose as they fired. A few shots
were fired up from below, but a second discharge from
the spare guns completed the effect from the first volley.
The dark mass broke up, and in a few seconds all was as
quiet as before.
50 TRYING FIRE.
Two hours passed and then slight sounds were heard.
"They have got the gate opened, I expect," Pearson
said; "fire occasionally at that; if we don't hit them, the
flashes may show us what they are doing."
It was as he had expected; the first discharge was
followed by a cry, and by the momentary light they saw
a number of dark figures pouring in through the gate.
Seeing that concealment was no longer possible, the
Indians opened a heavy fire round the house; then came
a crashing sound near the door.
"Just as I thought," Pearson said; "they are going to
try to burn us out."
For some time the noise continued as bundle after
bundle of dried wood was thrown down by the door.
The garrison were silent, for, as Pearson said, they could
see nothing, and a stray bullet might enter at the loop-
holes if they placed themselves there, and the flashes of
the guns would serve as marks for the Indians.
Presently two or three faint lights were seen approach-
"Now," Pearson said, "pick them off as they come up.
You and I will take the first man, Welch; you fire just
to the right of the light, I will fire to the left; he may
be carrying the brand in either hand." They fired together,
and the brand was seen to drop to the ground. The
same thing happened as the other two sparks of light
approached; then it was again quiet. Now a score of
little lights flashed through the air.
"They are going to light the pile with their flaming
arrows," Pearson said; "War Eagle is a good leader."
Three or four of the arrows fel1 on the pile of dry
wood. A moment later the flames crept up, and the
smoke of burning wood rolled up into the room above.
A yell of triumph burst from the Indians, but this
changed into one of wrath as those above emptied the
contents of one of the great tubs of water on to the pile
of wood below them; the flames were instantly extin-
"What will they do next?" Mrs. Welch asked.
"It is like enough," Pearson replied, "that they will
give the job up altogether; they have got plenty of
plunder and scalps at the settlements, and their attacking
us here in such force looks as if the hull of them were
on their way back to their villages. If they could have
tuk our scalps easy they would have done it; but War
Eagle ain't likely to risk losing a lot of men, when he
ain't sartin of winning after all. He has done good work
as it is, and has quite enough to boast about when he
gits back. If he were to lose a heap of his braves here,
it would spoil the success of his expedition. No, I think
as he will give it up now."
He will be all the more anxious to catch the children,"
Mrs. Welch said despondently.
"It cannot be denied, ma'am, as he will do his best that
way," Pearson answered; "it all depends, though, on the
boy. I wish I was with him in that canoe. Howsomever,
I can't help thinking as he will sarcumvent them some-
The night passed without any further attack; by turns
half the garrison watched while the other lay down, but
there was little sleep taken by any. With the first gleam
of daylight Mrs. Welch and her husband were on the
"There's two canoes out on the lake," Pearson said;
52 A QUIET DAY.
"they are paddling quietly; which is which I can't
As the light became brighter, Pearson pronounced posi-
tively that there were three men in one canoe and four
in the other. "I think they are all Injuns," he said;
"they must have got another canoe somewhere along the
lake; w'all, they have not caught the young uns yet."
"The boats are closing up to each other," Mrs. Welch
"They are going to have a talk, I reckon. Yes; one
of them is turning and going down the lake, while the
other is going up. I would give a heap to know where
the young uns have got to."
The day passed quietly. An occasional shot towards
the house showed that the Indians remained in the
vicinity, and indeed dark forms could be seen moving
about in the distant parts of the clearing.
"Will it be possible," the farmer asked Pearson when
night again fell, "to go out and see if we can discover
any traces of them ?"
"Worse than no use," Pearson said positively; "we
should just lose our har without doing no good what-
ever. If the Injuns in these woods-and I reckon alto-
gether there's a good many hundred of them-can't find
them, ye may swear that we can't. That's just what
they're hoping, that we shall be fools enough to put
ourselves outside the stockade. They will lie close round
all night, and a weasel would not creep through them.
Ef I thought there was jest a shadow of chance of find-
ing them young uns I would risk it, but there is no
chance-not a bit of it."
A vigilant watch was again kept up all night, but all
was still and quiet. The next morning the Indians were
still round them.
"Don't yer fret, ma'm!" Pearson said as he saw how
pale and wan Mrs. Welch looked in the morning light;
"you may bet your last shilling that they have not caught
"Why are you so sure ?" Mrs. Welch asked; "they may
be dead by this time."
Not they, ma'am; I am as sartin as they are living and
free as I am that I am standing here. I know these
Injuns' ways. Ef they had caught them they would jest
have brought them here and would have fixed up two
posts, jest out of rifle range, and would have tied them
there, and then would have offered you the choice of giving
up this place and your scalps or of seeing them tortured
and burnt under your eyes. That's their way. No,
they ain't caught them alive, nor they ain't caught them
dead neither; for ef they had they would have brought
their scalps to have shown yer. No, they have got away,
though it beats me to say how. I have only got one fear,
and that is that they might come back before the Injuns
have gone. Now I tell ye what we had better do-we
had better keep up a dropping fire all night, and all day
to-morrow, and so on until the Red-skins have gone. Ef
the young uns come back across the lake at night and all
is quiet they will think the Injuns have taken themselves
off, but if they hear firing still going on they will know
well enough that they are still around the house."
William Welch at once agreed to this plan, and every
quarter of an hour or so all through the night a few shots
The next morning no Indians could be seen, and there
CLEAR OF INDIANS.
was a cessation of the dropping shots which had before
been kept up at the house.
"They may be in hiding," Pearson said in the afternoon,
"trying to tempt us out; but I am more inclined to think
as how they have gone. I don't see a blade of that corn
move; I have had my eyes fixed on it for the last two
hours. It are possible, of course, that they are there;
but I reckon not. I expect they have been waiting ever
since they gave up the attack, in hopes that the young
uns would come back; but now as they see that we are
keeping up a fire to tell them as how they are still round
us, they have given it up and gone. When it gets dark
to-night I will go out and scout round."
At ten o'clock at night Pearson dropped lightly from
the stockade on the side opposite to the gate, as he knew
that if the Indians were there this would be the point
that they would be watching; then crawling upon his
stomach, he made his way slowly down to the lake;
entering the water and stooping low, he waded along by
the edge of the bushes for a distance of a mile; then he
left the water and struck into the forest. Every few
minutes he could hear the discharges of the rifles at the
house, but, as before, no answering shots were heard.
Treading very cautiously, he made a wide detour and
then came down again on the clearing at the end farthest
from the lake, where the Indians had been last seen
moving about. All was still. Keeping among the trees
and moving with great caution, he made his way for a
considerable distance along the edge of the clearing; then
he dropped on his hands and knees and entered the corn-
field, and for two hours he crawled about, quartering the
ground like a dog in search of game. Everywhere he
THE HUNTER'S REPORT.
found lines where the Indians had crawled along to the
edge nearest to the house, but nowhere did he discover a
sign of life. Then, still taking great care, he moved down
towards the house and made a circuit of it at a short
distance outside the stockade; then he rose to his feet.
"Yer may stop shooting," he shouted; "the pesky rascals
are gone." Then he walked openly up to the gate; it
was opened at once by William Welch.
"Are you sure they have gone ?" he asked.
"Sure as gospel," he answered; "and they have been
gone four-and-twenty hours at least."
"How do you know that ?"
Easy enough. I found several of their cooking-places
in the woods; the brands were out, and even under the
ashes the ground was cold; so they must have been out
for a long time. I could have walked straight on to the
house then, but I thought it safer to make quite sure by
searching everywhere; for they might have moved deeper
into the forest, and left a few men on guard here in case
the young uns should come back. But it ain't so; they
have gone, and there ain't a living soul anywhere nigh
the clearing. The young uns can come back now, if they
will, safely enough."
Before doing anything else the farmer assembled the
party together in the living-room, and there solemnly
offered up thanks to God for their deliverance from dan-
ger, and implored his protection for the absent ones.
When this was over he said to his wife:
"Now, Jane, you had better lie down and get a few
hours' sleep. It is already two o'clock, and there is no
chance whatever of their returning to-night, but I shall
go down to the lake and wait till morning. Place candles-
A GLAD SOUND.
in two of the upper windows. Should they be out on the
lake they will see them and know that the Indians have
not taken the house."
Morning came without any signs of the absent ones.
At daybreak Pearson went out to scout in the woods, and
returned late in the afternoon with the news that the
Indians had all departed, and that for a distance of ten
miles at least the woods were entirely free.
When it became dark the farmer again went down to
the lake and watched until two, when Pearson took his
place. Mr. Welch was turning to go back to the house
when Pearson placed his hand on his shoulder.
"Listen!" he said, and for a minute the men stood im-
What was it ?" the farmer asked.
"I thought I heard the stroke of a paddle," Pearson
said; "it might have been the jump of a fish. There!
there it is again!" He lay down and put his ear close
to the water. There is a canoe in the lake to the north-
ward; I can hear the strokes of the paddle plainly."
Mr. Welch could hear nothing. Some minutes passed,
then Pearson exclaimed:
"There! I saw a break in the water over there! There
it is!" he said, straining his eyes in the darkness; "that's
a canoe, sure enough, although they have ceased paddling.
It is not a mile away."
Then he arose to his feet and shouted "Halloo!" at the
top of his voice. An answering shout faintly came back
across the water. He again hailed loudly, and this time
the answer came in a female voice.
"It's them, sure enough; I can swear to Nelly's
THE RETURN OF THE FUGITIVES.
William Welch uncovered his head, and, putting his
hand before his face, returned fervent thanks to God for
the recovery of his child. Then he dashed off at full
speed toward the house. Before he reached it, however,
he met his wife running down to meet him, the shouts
having informed her that something was seen. Hand-
in-hand they ran down to the water's edge. The canoe
was now swiftly approaching. The mother screamed:
"Nelly, is that you?"
"Mamma! mamma!" came back in the girl's clear
With a low cry of gladness Mrs. Welch fell senseless to
the ground. The strain which she had for four days
endured had been terrible, and even the assurances of
Pearson had failed to awaken any strong feeling of hope
in her heart. She had kept up bravely, and had gone
about her work in the house with a pale, set face, but
the unexpected relief was too much for her.
Two minutes later the bow of the canoe grated on the
shore, and Nelly leaped into her father's arms.
"Where is mamma?" she exclaimed.
"She is here, my dear; but she has fainted. The joy
of your return has been too much for her."
Nelly knelt beside her mother and raised her head, and
the farmer grasped Harold's hand.
"My brave boy," he said, "I have to thank you for
saving my child's life. God bless you!"
He dipped his hat in the lake and sprinkled water in
his wife's face; she soon recovered, and a few minutes
afterwards the happy party walked up to the house,
Mrs. Welch being assisted by her husband and Pearson.
The two young ones were soon seated at a table raven-
ously devouring food, and when their hunger was satis-
fied they related the story of their adventures, the whole
of the garrison being gathered round to listen. After
relating what had taken place up to the time of their
hiding the canoe, Harold went on:
"We walked about a quarter of a mile until we came
to a large clump of underwood; we crept in there, taking
great pains not to break a twig or disturb a leaf. The
ground was fortunately very dry, and I could not see
that our footprints had left the smallest marks. There
we have lain hid ever since. We had the fish and the
berries, and fortunately the fruit was ripe and juicy, and
quenched our thirst well enough, and we could sometimes
hear the firing by day and always at night. On the day
we took refuge we heard the voices of the Indians down
towards the lake quite plainly, but we have heard nothing
of them since. Last night we heard the firing up to the
middle of the night, and then it suddenly stopped. To-
day I crept out and went down to the lake to listen, but
it seemed that everything was still. Nelly was in a
terrible way, and was afraid that the house had been
taken by the Indians, but I told her that could not
be, for that there would certainly have been a tremendous
lot of firing at last, whereas it stopped after a few shots,
just as it had been going on so long. Our provisions
were all done, and Nelly was getting very bad for want
of water. I of course got a drink at the lake this
morning. So we agreed that if everything was still
again to-night we would go back to the place where
we had hidden the canoe, launch it, and paddle here.
Everything was quiet, so we came along as we had ar-
ranged. When I saw the lights in the windows I made
sure all was right; still it was a great relief when I
heard the shout from the shore. I knew, of course, that
it wasn't a Red-skin's shout. Besides, Indians would
have kept quiet till we came alongside."
Very hearty were the commendations bestowed on the
boy for his courage and thoughtfulness.
"You behaved like an old frontiersman," Pearson said.
"I could not have done better myself. You only made
one blunder from the time you set out from shore."
"What was that?" Harold asked.
"You were wrong to pick the berries. The Red-skins, of
course, would find where you had landed, they would
see the marks where you lay down, and would know
that you had paddled away again. Had it not been for
their seeing the tracks you made in picking the berries
they might have supposed you had started before day-
break, and had gone out of sight across the lake; but those
marks would have shown them that you did not take
to your canoe until long after the sun was up, and,
therefore, that you could not have made across the lake
without their seeing you, but must either have landed or
be in your canoe under shelter of the trees somewhere
along of the shore. It is a marvel to me that they did
'not find your traces, however careful you were to conceal
them. But that's the only error you made, and I tell
you, young un, that you have a right to be proud of
having outwitted a hull tribe of Red-skins."
THE FIGHT AT LEXINGTON.
AROLD remained for four months longer with
Shis cousin. The Indians had made several
attacks upon settlements at other points of
the frontier, but they had not repeated their
incursion in the neighbourhood of the lake. The farming
operations had gone on regularly, but the men always
worked with their rifles ready to their hand. Pearson
had predicted that the Indians were not likely to return
to that neighbourhood. Mr. Welch's farm was the only
one along the lake that had escaped, and the loss the
Indians had sustained in attacking it had been so heavy
that they were not likely to make an expedition in
that quarter, where the chances of booty were so small
and the certainty of a desperate resistance so great.
Other matters occurred which rendered the renewal
of the attack improbable. The news was brought by a
wandering hunter that a quarrel had arisen between
the Shawnees and the Iroquois, and that the latter
had recalled their braves from the frontier to defend
their own villages in case of hostilities breaking out
between them and the rival tribe.
There was no occasion for Harold to wait for news
BACK IN CONCORD.
from home, for his father had before starting definitely
fixed the day for his return, and when that time ap-
proached Harold started on his eastward journey, in
order to be at home about the date of their arrival.
Pearson took him in his canoe to the end of the lake,
and accompanied him to the settlement, whence he was
able to obtain a conveyance to Detroit. Here he took
a passage in a trading boat, and made his way by water
to Montreal, thence down through Lake Champlain and
the Hudson River to New York, and thence to Boston.
The journey had occupied him longer than he expected,
and Mr. and Mrs. Wilson were already in their home
at Concord when he arrived. The meeting was a joyful
one. His parents had upon their return home found letters
from Mr. Welch and his wife, describing the events which
had happened at the farm, and speaking in the highest
terms of the courage and coolness in danger which Harold
had displayed, and giving him full credit for the saving
of their daughter's life.
Upon the day after Harold's return, two gentlemen
called upon Captain Wilson, and asked him to sign the
agreement which a number of colonists had entered into,
to resist the Mother Country to the last. This Captain
Wilson positively refused to do.
"I am an Englishman," he said, "and my sympathies
are wholly with my country. I do not say that the
whole of the demands of England are justifiable; I think
that Parliament has been deceived as to the spirit existing
here. But I consider that it has done nothing whatever to
justify the attitude of the colonists. The soldiers of
England have fought for you against French and Indians,
and are still stationed here to protect you. The colonists
THE CAUSES OF DISPUTE
pay nothing for their land; they pay nothing towards
the expenses of the government of the mother country;
and it appears to me to be perfectly just that people here,
free as they are from all the burdens that bear so heavily
on those at home, should at least bear the expense of the
army stationed here. I grant that it would have been
far better had the colonists taxed themselves to pay the
extra amount, instead of the mother country taxing
them; but this they would not do. Some of the colonists
paid their quotum, others refused to do so, and this being
the case, it appears to me that England is perfectly
justified in laying on a tax. Nothing could have been
fairer than the tax that she proposed. The stamp-tax
would in no way have affected the poorer classes in the
colonies. It would have been borne only by the rich,
and by those engaged in such business transactions as
required stamped documents. I regard the present re-
bellion as the work of a clique of ambitious men, who have
stirred up the people by incendiary addresses and writing.
There are, of course, among them a large number of the
men-among them, gentlemen, I place you-who conscien-
tiously believe that they are justified in doing nothing
whatever for the land which gave them or their ancestors
birth, who would enjoy all the great natural wealth of
this vast country without contributing towards the ex-
pense of the troops to whom it is due that you enjoy
peace and tranquillity. Such, gentlemen, are not my
sentiments. You consider it a gross hardship that the
colonists are compelled to trade only with the mother
country. I grant that it would be more profitable and
better for us had we an open trade with the whole
world; but in this England only acts as do all other
A LOYAL GENTLEMAN.
countries towards their colonies. France, Spain, Portugal,
and the Netherlands all monopolize the trade of their
colonies; all, far more than does England, regard their
colonies as sources of revenue. I repeat, I do not think
that the course that England has pursued towards us
has been always wise; but I am sure that nothing that
she has done justifies the spirit of disaffection and rebellion
which is ripe throughout these colonies."
"The time will come, sir," one of the gentlemen said,
"when you will have reason to regret the line which you
have now taken."
"No, sir," Captain Wilson said haughtily. "The time
may come when the line that I have taken may cost me
my fortune, and even my life, but it will never cause
me one moment's regret that I have chosen the part of
a loyal English gentleman."
When the deputation had departed, Harold, who had
been a wondering listener to the conversation, asked his
father to explain to him the exact position in which
It was indeed a serious one. The success of England
in her struggle with France for the supremacy of North
America had cost her a great deal of money. At home
the burdens of the people were extremely heavy. The
expense of the army and navy was great, and the min-
istry, in striving to lighten the burdens of the people,
turned their eyes to the colonies. They saw in America
a population of over 2,000,000 people, subjects of the
king, like themselves, living free from rent and taxes on
their own land, and paying nothing whatever to the
expenses of the country. They were, it is true, forced to
trade with England, but this obligation was set wholly at
nought. A gigantic system of smuggling was carried on.
The custom-house officials had no force at their disposal
which would have enabled them to check these operations,
and the law enforcing a trade with England was virtu-
ally a dead letter.
Their first step was to strengthen the naval force on
the American coast, and by additional vigilance to put
some sort of check on the wholesale smuggling which
prevailed. This step caused extreme discontent among
the trading classes of America, and these set to work
vigorously to stir up a strong feeling of disaffection
against England. The revenue officers were prevented
sometimes by force from carrying out their duties.
After great consideration the English government
came to the conclusion that a revenue sufficient to pay a
considerable proportion of the cost of the army in America
might be raised by means of a stamp-tax imposed upon all
legal documents, receipts, agreements, and licenses-a tax,
in fact, resembling that on stamps now in use in England.
The colonists were furious at the imposition of this tax.
A Congress, composed of deputies from each State, met,
and it was unanimously resolved that the stamp-tax
should not be paid. Meetings were everywhere held, at
which the strongest and most treasonable language was
uttered, and such violent threats were used against the
persons employed as stamp-collectors that these, in fear
of their lives, resigned their posts.
The stamp-tax remained uncollected, and was treated
by the colonists as if it were not in existence.
The whole of the States now began to prepare for war.
The Congress was made permanent; the militia drilled,
and prepared for fighting, and everywhere the position
THE BREACH WIDENS.
grew more and more strained. Massachusetts was the
head-quarters of disaffection, and here a total break with
the mother country was openly spoken of. At times
the more moderate spirits attempted to bring about a
reconciliation between the two parties. Petitions were
sent to the Houses of Parliament, and even at this time,
had any spirit of wisdom prevailed in England, the final
consequences might have been prevented. Unfortunately,
the majority in parliament were unable to recognize that
the colonists had any rights upon their side. Taxation
was so heavy at home that men felt indignant that they
should be called upon to pay for the keeping up of the
army in America, to which the untaxed colonists, with
their free farms and houses, would contribute nothing.
The plea of the colonists that they were taxed by a
chamber in which they were unrepresented, was answered
by the statement that such was also the case with Man-
chester, Leeds, and many other large towns which were
unrepresented in parliament.
In England neither the spirit nor the strength of the
colonists was understood. Men could not bring them-
selves to believe that these would fight rather than
submit, still less that if they did fight it would be suc-
cessfully. They ignored the fact that the population of
the States was one-fourth as large as that of England;
that by far the greater proportion of that population were
men trained, either in border warfare or in the chase, to
the use of the rifle; that the enormous extent of country
offered almost insuperable obstacles to the most able army
composed of regular troops, and that the vast forests
and thinly populated country were all in favour of a
population fighting as guerrillas against trained troops.
Had they perceived these things the English people would
have hesitated before embarking upon such a struggle,
even if convinced, as assuredly the great majority were
convinced, of the fairness of their demands. It is true
that even had England at this point abandoned altogether
her determination to raise taxes in America, the result
would probably have been the same. The spirit of dis-
affection in the colony had gone so far, that a retreat
would have been considered as a confession of weakness,
and a separation of the colonists from the mother country
would have happened ere many years had elapsed. As
it was, parliament agreed to let the stamp-tax drop, and
in its place established some import duties on goods
entering the American ports.
The colonists, however, were determined that they
would submit to no taxation whatever. The English
government, in its desire for peace, abandoned all the
duties, with the exception of that on tea; but even this
concession was not sufficient to satisfy the colonists.
These entered into a bond to use no English goods. A
riot took place at Boston, and the revenue officers were
forced to withdraw from their posts. Troops were de-
spatched from England, and the House of Commons
declared Massachusetts to be in a state of rebellion.
It must not be supposed that the colonists were by
any means unanimous in their resistance to England.
There were throughout the country a large number of
gentlemen, like Captain Wilson, wholly opposed to the
general feeling. New York refused to send members to
the Congress, and in many other provinces the adhesion
given to the disaffected movement was but lukewarm.
It was in the New England provinces that the spirit of re-
THE EXPEDITION TO CONCORD.
billion was hottest. These states had been peopled for the
most part by Puritans; men who had left England vol-
untarily, exiling themselves rather than submit to the
laws and religion of the country, and among them, as
among a portion of the Irish population of America at
the present time, the feeling of hatred against the gov-
ernment of England was, in a way, hereditary.
So far but few acts of violence had taken place; nothing
could be more virulent than the language of the news-
papers of both parties against their opponents, but be-
yond a few isolated tumults the peace had not been
broken. It was the lull before the storm. The great
majority of the New England colonists were bent upon
obtaining nothing short of absolute independence; the
loyalists and the English were as determined to put
down any revolt by force.
The Congress drilled, armed, and organized; the Eng-
lish brought over fresh troops and prepared for the
struggle. It was December when Harold returned home
to his parents, and for the next three months the lull
before the storm continued.
The disaffected of Massachusetts had collected a large
quantity of military stores at Concord. These General
Gage, who commanded the troops at Boston, determined
to seize and destroy, seeing that they could be collected
only for use against the government; and on the night of
the 19th of April the grenadier and light infantry com-
panies of the various regiments, 800 strong, under com-
mand of Lieut.-Col. Smith, of the 10th Regiment, and
Major Pitcairne of the marines, embarked in boats, and
were conveyed up Charles River as far as a place called
Phipp's Farm. There they landed at midnight, having
a day's provisions in their haversacks, and started on their
march to Concord, twenty miles distant from Boston.
The design, however, had been discovered by some of
the revolutionary party in the town, and two of their
number were despatched on horseback to rouse the whole
country on the way to Concord, where the news arrived
at two o'clock in the morning.
Captain Wilson and his household were startled from
sleep by the sudden ringing of the alarm-bells, and a negro
servant, Pompey, who had been for many years in their
service, was sent down into the town, which lay a quarter
of a mile from the house, to find out what was the news.
He returned in half an hour.
"Me tink all de people gone mad, massa; dey swarm-
ing out of der houses and filling de streets, all with guns
on dem shoulders; all de while shouting and halloing,
'Down with de English! Down with de Red-coats! dey
sha'n't have our guns; dey sha'n't take de cannon and de
powder.' Der were ole massa, Bill Emerson, the preacher,
with his gun in his hands, shouting to de people to stand
firm, and to fight till de last; dey all shout, 'We will.'
Dey bery desperate; me fear great fight come on."
"What are you going to do, father?" Harold asked.
"Nothing, my boy; if, as it is only too likely, this is
the beginning of a civil war, I have determined to offer my
services to the government. Great numbers of loyalists
have sent in their names, offering to serve if necessary,
and from my knowledge of drill I shall, of course, be
useful. To-day I can take no active part in the fight,
but I shall take my horse and ride forward to meet the
troops, and warn the commanding officer that resistance
will be attempted here."
"May I go with you, father?"
Yes, if you like, my boy."
"Pompey, saddle two horses at once. You are not
afraid of being left alone, Mary?" he said, turning to his
wife; "there is no chance of any disturbance here. Our
house lies beyond the town, and whatever takes place
will be in Concord. When the troops have captured the
guns and stores they will return."
Mrs. Wilson said she was not frightened, and had no
fear whatever of being left alone. The horses were soon
brought round, and Captain Wilson and his son mounted
and rode off at full speed. They made a detour to avoid
the town, and then, gaining the highroad, went forward
at full speed. The alarm had evidently been given all
along the line; at every village the bells were ringing,
the people were assembling in the streets, all carrying
arms, while numbers were flocking in from the farm-
houses around. Once or twice Captain Wilson was
stopped and asked where he was going.
I am going to tell the commander of the British force,
now marching hither, that if he advances there will be
bloodshed; that it will be the beginning of civil war. If
he has orders to come at all hazards, my words will not
stop him; if it is left to his discretion, possibly he may
pause before he brings on so dire a calamity."
It was just dawn when Captain Wilson and Harold
rode into Lexington, where the militia, 130 strong, had
assembled. Their guns were loaded and they were ready
to defend the place, which numbered about 700 inhabi-
Just as Captain Wilson rode in a messenger ran up
with the news that the head of the British column was
THE FIRST SHOT.
close at hand. Some of the militia had dispersed to lie
down until the English arrived. John Parker, who
commanded them, ordered the drums to beat and the
alarm-guns to be fired, and his men drew up in two ranks
across the road.
"It is too late now, Harold," Captain Wilson said; "let
us get out of the line of fire."
The British, hearing the drums and the alarm-guns,
loaded, and the advance company came on at the double.
Major Pitcairne was at their head, and shouted to the
militia to lay down their arms.
It is a matter of dispute, and will always remain one,
as to who fired the first shot. The Americans assert that
it was the English; the English say that as they advanced
several shots were fired at them from behind a stone wall
and from some of the adjoining houses, which wounded
one man, and hit Major Pitcairne's horse in two places.
The militia disregarded Major Pitcairne's orders to lay
down their arms. The English fired; several of the
militia were killed, and nine wounded, and the rest dis-
persed. There was no further fighting, and the English
marched on unopposed to Concord.
As they approached the town the militia retreated
from it. The English took possession of a bridge behind
the place, and held this while the troops were engaged
in destroying the ammunition and gun-carriages. Most
of the guns had been removed, and only two 24-pounders
were taken. In destroying the stores by fire the court-
house took flames. At the sight of this fire the militia
and armed countrymen advanced down the hill towards
the bridge. The English tried to pull up the planks, but
the Americans ran forward rapidly. The English guard
THE ATTACK ON THE COLUMN.
fired; the colonists returned the fire. Some of the English
were killed and wounded, and the party fell back into the
town. Half an hour later Colonel Smith, having per-
formed the duty that he was sent to do, resumed the
homeward march with the whole of his troops.
Then the militiamen of Concord, with those from
many villages around, and every man in the district
capable of bearing arms, fell upon the retiring English.
The road led through several defiles, and every tree,
every rock, every depression of ground, was taken advan-
tage of by the Americans. Scarcely a man was to be seen,
but their deadly fire rained thick upon the tired troops.
This they vainly attempted to return, but they could do
nothing against an invisible foe, every man of whom pos-
sessed a skill with his rifle far beyond that of the British
soldier. Very many fell, and the retreat was fast becoming
a rout, when, near Lexington, the column met a strong
reinforcement which had been sent out from Boston. This
was commanded by Lord Percy, who formed his detach-
ment into square, in which Colonel Smith's party, now so
utterly exhausted that they were obliged to lie down for
some time, took rel'ug. When they were rested, the
whole force moved forward again towards Boston, har-
assed the whole way by the Americans, who, from behind
stone walls and other places of shelter, kept up an
incessant fire upon both flanks, as well as in the front
and rear, against which the troops could do nothing. At
last the retreating column safely arrived at Boston, spent
and worn out with fatigue. Their loss was 65 men killed,
136 wounded, 49 missing.
Such was the beginning of the War of Independence.
Many American writers have declared that, previous to
WHO WAS TO BLAME
that battle,there was no desire for independence on the part
of the colonists; but this is emphatically contradicted by
the language used at the meetings and in the newspapers
which have come down to us. The leaders may not have
wished to go so far, may not have intended to gain more
than an entire immunity from taxation, and an absolute
power for the colonists to manage their own affairs. But
experience has shown that when the spark of revolution
is once lighted, when resistance to the law has once com-
menced, things are carried to a point far beyond that
dreamed of by the first leaders.
Those who commenced the French Revolution were
moderate men, who desired only that some slight check
should be placed on the arbitrary power of the king, that
the people should be relieved in some slight degree from
the horrible tyranny of the nobles, from the misery and
wretchedness in which they lived. These just demands
increased step by step until they culminated in the reign
of terror and the most horrible scenes of bloodshed and
massacre of modern times.
Men like Washington, and Franklin, and Adams may
have desired only that the colonists should be free from
imperial taxation, but the popular voice went far beyond
this. Three years earlier wise counsels in the British
Parliament might have averted a catastrophe, and delayed
for many years the separation of the colonies from their
mother country. At the time the march began from
Boston to Concord the American colonists stood virtually
in armed rebellion. The militia throughout New Eng-
land were ready for fight. Arms, ammunition, and mili-
tary stores were collected in Rhode Island and New
Hampshire. The cannon and military stores belonging
THE DIE IS CAST.
to the crown had been carried off by the people, 40
cannon being seized in Rhode Island alone. Such being
the case, it is nonsense to speak of the fray at Lexington
as the cause of the revolutionary war. It was but the
spark in the powder. The magazine was ready and
primed, the explosion was inevitable, and the fight at
Lexington was the accidental incident which set fire
The efforts of American writers, however, to conceal the
real facts of the case, to minimize the rebellious language,
the violent acts of the colonists, and to make England re-
sponsible for the war because a body of troops were sent
to seize cannon and military stores intended to be used
against them, are so absurd, as well as so untrue, that it is
astonishing how wide a credence such statements have
From an eminence at some distance from the line of
retreat Captain Wilson and his son watched sorrowfully
the attack upon the British troops. When at last the
combatants disappeared from sight through one of the
defiles Captain Wilson turned his horse's head home-
The die is cast," he said to his wife as she met him at
the door. "The war has begun, and I fear it can have
but one termination. The colonists can place forces in
the field twenty times as numerous as any army that
England can spare. They are inferior in drill and in
discipline; but these things, which are of such vast con-
sequence in a European battlefield, matter but little in
such a country as this. Skill with the rifle and know-
ledge of forest warfare are far more important. In
these points the colonists are as superior to the English
CAPTAIN WILSON'S DETERMINATION.
soldiers as they are in point of numbers. Neverthe-
less, my dear, my duty is plain. I am an Englishman,
and have borne His Majesty's commission, and I must
fight for the king. Harold has spoken to me as we rode
home together, and he wishes to fight by my side. I
have pointed out to him that as he was born here he can
without dishonour remain neutral in the struggle. He,
however, insists that, as a loyal subject of the king, he is
entitled to fight for him. He saw to-day many lads not
older than himself in the rebel ranks, and he has pleaded
strongly for permission to go with me. To this I have
agreed. Which would you prefer, Mary?--to stay
quietly here, where I imagine you would not be molested
on account of the part I take, or will you move into
Boston and stop with your relations there until the
struggle has ended one way or the other."
As Mrs. Wilson had frequently talked over with her
husband the course that he would take in the event of
civil war actually breaking out, the news that he would
at once offer his services to the British authorities did
not come as a shock upon her. Even the question of
Harold accompanying his father had been talked over;
and although her heart bled at the thought of husband
and son being both engaged in such a struggle, she agreed
to acquiesce in any decision that Harold might arrive at.
He was now nearly sixteen, and in the colonies a lad of
this age is, in point of independence and self-reliance,
older than an English boy. Harold, too, had already
shown that he possessed discretion and coolness as well
as courage; and although now, that the moment had
come, Mrs. Wilson wept passionately at the thought of
their leaving her, she abstained from saying any word to
ARRIVAL AT BOSTON.
dissuade them from the course they had determined
upon. When she recovered from her fit of crying she
said that she would accompany them at once to Boston,
as in the first place their duties might for some time lie
in that city, and that in any case she would obtain far
more speedy news there of what was going on through-
out the country than she would at Concord. She would,
too, be living among her friends, and would meet with
many of the same convictions and opinions as her hus-
band's, whereas in Concord the whole population would
Captain Wilson said that there was no time to be lost,
as the whole town was in a tumult. He therefore advised
her to pack up such necessary articles as could be carried
in the valises on the horses' backs.
Pompey and the other servants were to pack up the
most valuable effects, and to forward them to a relation
of Mrs. Wilson's, who lived about three miles from
Boston. There they would be in safety, and could be
brought into the town if necessary. Pompey and two
other old servants were to remain in charge of the house
and its contents. Jake, an active young negro some
twenty-three or twenty-four years old, who was much
attached to Harold, whose personal attendant and com-
panion he had always been, was to accompany them on
horseback, as was Judy, Mrs. Wilson's negro maid.
As evening fell the five horses were brought round, and
the party started by a long and circuitous route, by
which, after riding for nearly forty miles, they reached
Boston at two o'clock next morning.
r ]rHE excitement caused by the news of the fight at
i:'-- Concord was intense, and as it spread through
C L.' the colonies the men everywhere rushed to arms.
The fray at Lexington was represented as a
wanton outrage, and the facts wholly ignored that the
colonists concerned in it were drawn up in arms to oppose
the passage of the king's troops, who were marching on
their legitimate duty of seizing arms and ammunition col-
lected for the purpose of warring against the king. The
colonial orators and newspaper writers affirmed then, as
they have affirmed since, that up to the day of Lexington
no one had a thought of firing a shot against the govern-
ment. A more barefaced misstatement was never made.
Men do not carry off cannon by scores and accumulate
everywhere great stores of warlike ammunition without a
thought of fighting. The colonists commenced the war by
assembling in arms to oppose the progress of British troops
obeying the orders of the government. It matters not a
whit on which side the first shot was fired. American
troops have many times since that event fired upon
rioters in the streets, under circumstances no stronger
than those which brought on the fight at Lexington.
EXCITEMENT IN BOSTON.
From all parts of New England the militia and volun-
teers poured in, and in three days after the fight 20,000
armed men were encamped between the rivers Mystic and
Roxburgh, thus besieging Boston. They at once set to
work throwing up formidable earthworks; the English
troops remaining within their intrenchments across the
neck of land joining Boston with the mainland.
The streets of Boston were crowded with an excited
populace when Captain Wilson and his party rode into it
at two in the morning. No one thought of going to bed,
and all were excited to the last degree at the news of the
battle. All sorts of reports prevailed. On the colonial
side it was affirmed that the British in their retreat had
shot down the women and children; while the soldiers
affirmed that the colonists had scalped many of their
number who fell in the fight. The latter statement was
officially made by Lord Percy in his report of the engage-
Captain Wilson rode direct to the house of his wife's
friends. They were still up, and were delighted to see Mary
Wilson, for such exaggerated reports had been received of
the fight that they were alarmed for her safety. They
belonged to the moderate party, who saw that there were
faults on both sides, and regretted bitterly both the obsti-
nacy of the English parliament in attempting to coerce
the colonists, and the determination of the latter to oppose
by force of arms the legitimate rights of the mother
Until the morning the events of the preceding day
were talked over; a few hours' repose were then taken,
after which Captain Wilson went to the headquarters of
General Gage and offered his services. Although Boston
SPREAD OF THE INSURRECTION.
was the headquarters of the disaffected party, no less
than 200 men came forward as volunteers in the king's
service; and Captain Wilson was at once appointed to
the command of a company of 50 men. He had, before
leaving the army, taken part in several expeditions
against the Indians, and his knowledge of forest warfare
rendered him a valuable acquisition. Boston was but
poorly provisioned; and as upon the day when the news of
Lexington reached New York two vessels laden with flour
for the use of the troops at Boston were seized by the
colonists, and many other supplies cut off, the danger of
the place being starved out was considerable. General
Gage therefore offered no opposition to the exit from the
city of those who wished to avoid the horror of a siege,
and a considerable portion of the population made their
way through to the rebel lines. Every day brought news
of fresh risings throughout the country; the governors of
the various provinces were powerless; small garrisons of
English troops were disarmed and made prisoners; and
the fortress of Ticonderoga, held only by fifty men, was
captured by the Americans without resistance. In one
month after the first shot was fired the whole of the
American colonies were in rebellion.
The news was received in England with astonishment
and sorrow. Great concessions had been made by parlia-
liament, but the news had reached America too late to
avoid hostilities. Public opinion was divided; many
were in favour of granting at once all that the colonists
demanded, and many officers of rank and position resigned
their commissions rather than fight against the Ameri-
cans. The division, indeed, was almost as general and
complete as it had been in the time of our own civil war.
FEELING IN ENGLAND. 79
In London the feeling in favour of the colonists was
strong, but in the country generally the determination to
repress the rising was in the ascendant. The colonists
had with great shrewdness despatched a fast-sailing ship
to Europe upon the day following the battle of Lexing-
ton, giving their account of the affair and representing it
as a massacre of defenceless colonists by British troops;
and the story thus told excited a sympathy which would
not, perhaps, have been extended to them had the real
facts of the case been known. Representatives from all the
colonists met at Philadelphia to organize the national re-
sistance; but as yet, although many of the bolder spirits
spoke of altogether throwing off allegiance to England, no
resolution was proposed to that effect.
For the first six weeks after his arrival at Boston
Captain Wilson was engaged in drilling his company.
Harold was, of course, attached to it, and entered with
ardour upon his duties. Captain Wilson did not attempt to
form his men into a band of regular soldiers; accuracy of
movement and regularity of drill would be of little avail
in the warfare in which they were likely to be engaged.
Accuracy in shooting, quickness in taking cover, and
steadiness in carrying out any-general orders were the
principal objects to be attained. Most' of the men had
already taken part in frontier warfare; the majority of
them were gentlemen-Englishmen who, like their cap-
tain, had come out from home and purchased small estates
in the country. The discipline, therefore, was not strict,
and off duty all were on terms of equality.
Towards the end of May and beginning of June con-
siderable reinforcements arrived from England; and, as
a step preparatory to offensive measures, General Gage,
80 BUNKER'S HILL
on the 12th of June, issued a proclamation offering in
His Majesty's name a free pardon to all who should forth-
with lay down their arms, John Hancock and General
Adams only excepted, and threatening with punishment
all who should delay to avail themselves of the offer.
This proclamation had no effect whatever.
Near the peninsula of Boston, on the north, and sepa-
rated from it by the Charles river, which is navigable and
about the breadth of the Thames at London Bridge, is
another neck of land called the Peninsula of Charles-
town." On the north bank, opposite Boston, lies the town
of Charlestown, behind which in the centre of the penin-
sula rises an eminence called "Bunker's Hill." Bunker's
Hill is sufficiently high to overlook any part of Boston,
and near enough to be within cannon-shot. This hill was
unoccupied by either party; and about this time the
Americans, hearing that General Gage had come to a
determination to fortify it, resolved to defeat his resolu-
tion by being the first to occupy it.
About 9 in the evening of the 16th of June a detach-
ment from the colonial army, 1000 strong, under the
command of Colonel Prescott, moved along the Charles-
town road and took up a position on a shoulder of
Bunker's Hill, which was known as "Breed's Hill," just
above the town of Charlestown. They reached this
position at midnight. Each man carried a pick and
shovel, and all night they worked vigorously in intrench-
ing the position. Not a word was spoken, and the watch
on board the men-of-war in the harbour were ignorant of
what was going on so near at hand. At daybreak the alarm
was given, and the Lively opened a cannonade upon the
redoubt. A battery of guns was placed on "Copp's Hill,"
THE AMERICAN POSITION.
behind Boston, distant 1200 yards from the works, and
this also opened fire. The Americans continued their
work, throwing up fresh intrenchments, and singularly
only one man was killed by the fire from the ships and
redoubt. A breastwork was carried down the hill to the
flat ground, which, intersected by fences, stretched away
to the Mystic. By 9 o'clock they had completed their
Prescott sent off for reinforcements; but there was
little harmony among the colonial troops. Disputes be-
tween the contingents of the various provinces were
common; there was no head of sufficient authority to
enforce his orders upon the whole; and a long delay took
place before the reinforcements were sent forward.
In the meantime the English had been preparing to
attack the position. The 5th, 38th, 43d, and 52d Regi-
ments, with ten companies of the grenadiers and ten of
the light infantry, with a proportion of field-artillery,
embarked in boats, and, crossing the harbour, landed on
the outward side of the peninsula near the Mystic, with
a view of outflanking the American position and surround-
ing them. The force was under the command of Major-
General Howe, under whom was Brigadier-General Pigott.
Upon seeing the strength of the American position,
General Howe halted and sent back for further rein-
forcements. The Americans improved the time thus
given them by forming a breast-work in front of an
old ditch. Here there was a post and a rail-fence. They
ran up another by the side of this and filled the space
between the two with the new-mown hay, which, cut
only the day before, lay thickly over the meadows.
Two battalions were sent across to reinforce Howe,
THE BRITISH ADVANCE.
while large reinforcements, with six guns, arrived to the
assistance of Prescott. The English had now a force
consisting, according to different authorities, of between
2000 and 2500 men. The colonial force is also variously
estimated, and had the advantage both in position and
in the protection of their intrenchments, while the British
had to march across open ground. As individual shots
the colonists were immensely superior, but the British
had the advantages given by drill and discipline.
The English lines advanced in good order, steadily
and slowly, the artillery covering them by their fire.
Presently the troops opened fire, but the distance was too
great and they did but little execution. Encumbered
with their knapsacks they ascended the steep hill towards
the redoubt with difficulty, covered as it was by grass
reaching to their knees. The colonists did not fire a shot
until the English line had reached a point about 150
yards from the intrenchments. Then Prescott gave the
order, and from the redoubt and the long line of intrench-
ments flanking it flashed a line of fire. Each man had
taken a steady aim with his rifle resting on the earth-
work before him, and so deadly was the fire that nearly
the whole front line of the British fell For ten minutes
the rest stood with dogged courage firing at the hidden
foe; but these, sheltered while they loaded, and only
exposing themselves momentarily while they raised their
heads above the parapets to fire, did such deadly execu-
tion that the remnant of the British fell back to the foot
of the hill
While this force, which was under the command of
General Pigott, had been engaged, another division under
Howe himself moved against the rail-fence. The combat
PLAN OF THE ACTION.
-- .. ,,LAN
AC TION AT BUNKERS HILL
I .n the I
ii 1 ."T ,' : .., :
C .. 6.
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--'. I( .';- .z_., .-
"or" June 1776. I
7 <' .."
A HEAVY REPULSE.
was a repetition of that which had taken place on the
hill. Here the Americans reserved their fire until the
enemy were close; then, with their muskets resting on
the rails, they poured in a deadly fire; and after in vain
trying to stand their ground, the troops fell back to the
Captain Wilson was standing with Harold on Copp's
Hill watching the engagement.
"What beautiful order they go in!" Harold said, look-
ing admiringly at the long lines of red-coated soldiers.
"It is very pretty," Captain Wilson said sadly, "and
may do in regular warfare; but I tell you, Harold, that
sort of thing won't do here. There is scarce a man
carrying a gun behind those intrenchments who cannot
with certainty hit a bull's-eye at 150 yards. It is simply
murder, taking the men up in regular order against such
a foe sheltered by earthworks."
At this moment the long line of fire darted out from
the American intrenchments.
"Look there!" Captain Wilson cried in a pained voice;
the front line is nearly swept away! do you see them
lying almost in an unbroken line on the hillside? I tell
you, Harold, it is hopeless to look for success if we fight
in this way. The bravest men in the world could not
stand such a fire as that."
"What will be done now?" Harold asked as the men
stood huddled upon the shore.
"They will try again," Captain Wilson said. Look at
the officers running about among them and getting them
In a quarter of an hour the British again advanced both
towards the redoubt and the grass fence. As before the
THE SECOND ADVANCE AT BUNKER'S HILL.
THE POSITION STORMED.
Americans withheld their fire, and this time until the
troops were far closer than before, and the result was even
more disastrous. Some of the grenadier and light infantry
companies who led lost three-fourths, others nine-tenths,
of their men. Again the British troops recoiled from that
terrible fire. General Howe and his officers exerted them-
selves to the utmost to restore order when the troops
again reached the shore, and the men gallantly replied to
their exhortations. Almost impossible as the task ap-
peared, they prepared to undertake it for the third time.
This time a small force only were directed to move against
the grass fence, while the main body, under Howe, were
to attack the redoubt on the hill.
Knapsacks were taken off and thrown down, and each
man nerved himself to conquer or die. The ships in the
harbour prepared the way by opening a heavy cannonade.
General Clinton, who was watching the battle from
Copp's Hill, ran down to the shore, rowed across the
harbour, and put himself at the head of two battalions.
Then with loud cheers the troops again sprang up the
ascent. The American ammunition was running short,
many of the men not having more than three or four
rounds left, and this time they held their fire until the
British troops were within twenty yards. These had not
fired a shot, the order being that there was to be no
pause, but that the redoubt was to be carried with the
bayonet. For a moment they wavered when the deadly
volley was poured in upon them. Then with a cheer
they rushed at the intrenchments. All those who first
mounted were shot down by the defenders, but the troops
would not be denied, and pouring over the earthworks
leaped down upon the enemy.
For a few minutes there was a hand-to-hand fight, the
Americans using the butt-ends of their muskets, the Eng-
lish their bayonets. The soldiers were exhausted with
the climb up the hill and their exertions under a blazing
sun, and the great majority of the defenders of the re-
doubt were therefore enabled to retreat unharmed, as,
fresh and active, they were able to outrun their tired
opponents, and as the balls served out for the English
field-pieces were too large, the artillery were unable to
come into action.
The colonists at the rail-fence maintained their posi-
tion against the small force sent against them till the
main body at the redoubt had made their escape. The
British were unable to continue the pursuit beyond the
In the whole history of the British army there is no
record of a more gallant feat than the capture of Bun-
ker's Hill; and few troops in the world would, after
two bloody repulses, have moved up the third time to
assail such a position, defended by men so trained to the
use of the rifle. A thousand and fifty-four men, or nearly
half their number, were killed and wounded, among whom
were eighty-three officers. In few battles ever fought
was the proportion of casualties to the number engaged
so great. The Americans fought bravely, but the extra-
ordinary praise bestowed upon them for their valour
appears misplaced. Their position was one of great
strength, and the absence of drill was of no consequence
whatever in such an engagement. They were perfectly
sheltered from their enemy's fire while engaged in calmly
shooting him down, and their loss up to the moment
when the British rushed among them was altogether
THE LESSON OF THE BATTLES. 87
insignificant. Their casualties took place after the posi-
tion was stormed and on their retreat along the peninsula,
and amounted in all to 145 killed and captured and 304
wounded. It may be said that both sides fought well,
but from the circumstances under which they fought the
highest credit is due to the victors.
The battle, however, though won by the English, was a
moral triumph for the Americans, and the British parlia-
ment should at once have given up the contest. It was
from the first absolutely certain that the Americans, with
their immense superiority in numbers, could, if they were
only willing to fight, hold their vast country against the
British troops, fighting with a base thousands of miles
away. The battle of Bunker's Hill showed that they
were so willing, that they could fight sternly and bravely:
and this point once established, it was little short of mad-
ness for the English government to continue the contest.
They had not even the excuse of desiring to wipe out the
dishonour of a defeat. Their soldiers had won a brilliant
victory, and had fought with a determination and valour
never exceeded, and England could have afforded to say,
"We will fight no more; if you, the inhabitants of a vast
continent, are determined to go alone, are ready to give
your lives rather than remain in connection with us, go
and prosper; we acknowledge we cannot subdue a nation
From the height of Copp's Hill it could be seen that
the British had suffered terribly. Captain Wilson was
full of enthusiasm when he saw the success of the last
gallant charge of the English soldiers, but he said to
"It is a disastrous victory. A few such battles as
these and the English army in America would cease
But although they were aware that the losses were
heavy they were not prepared for the truth. The long
grass had hidden from view many of those who fell, and
when it was known that nearly half of those engaged
were killed or wounded the feeling among the English
was akin to consternation.
The generalship of the British was wholly unworthy of
the valour of the troops. There would have been no diffi-
culty in placing some of the vessels of light draught so
far up the Mystic as to outflank the intrenchments held
by the colonists; indeed the British troops might have been
landed farther up the Mystic, in which case the Americans
must have retreated instantly to avoid capture. Lastly,
the troops, although fighting within a mile of their
quarters, were encumbered with three days' provisions,
and their knapsacks, constituting, with their muskets
and ammunition, a load of 125 lbs. This was indeed
heavily handicapping men who had, under a blazing sun,
to climb a steep hill, with grass reaching to their knees,
and intersected by walls and fences.
American writers describe the defenders of the position
as inferior in numbers to the assailants; but it is due to
the English to say that their estimate of the number of
the defenders of the intrenchments differs very widely
from this. General Gage estimated them as being fully
three times as numerous as the British troops. It is pro-
bable that the truth lies between the two accounts.
Captain Wilson returned with Harold greatly dis-
pirited to his house.
"The look-out is dreadfully bad," he said to his wife,
A BAD LOOK-OUT.
after describing the events of the day. "So far as I can
see there are but two alternatives-either peace, or a
long and destructive war, with failure at its end. It
is even more hopeless trying to conquer a vast country
like this, defended by irregulars, than if we had a trained
and disciplined army to deal with. In that case two or
three signal victories might bring the war to a conclusion;
but, fighting with the irregulars, a victory means nothing
beyond so many of the enemy killed. There are scarcely
any cannon to take, no stores or magazines to capture.
When the enemy is beaten he disperses, moves off, and in
a couple of days gathers again in a fresh position. The
work has no end. There are no fortresses to take, no
strategical positions to occupy, no great roads to cut.
The enemy can march anywhere, attack and disperse as
he chooses, scatter, and reform when you have passed by.
It is like fighting the wind."
Well, John, since it seems so hopeless, cannot you give
it up? is it too late?"
"Altogether too late, Mary; and if I were free to-
morrow I would volunteer my services again next day.
It is not any the less my duty to fight in my country's
cause because I believe the cause to be a losing one. You
must see that yourself, dear. If England had been sure
to win without my aid I might have stood aloof. It is
because everyone's help is needed that such services as I
can render are due to her. A country would be in a bad
way, indeed, whose sons were only ready to fight when
their success was a certainty."
The Congress determined now to detach Canada from
the English side, and prepared a force for the invasion of
that state, where the British had but a few regular troops.
Captain Wilson was one morning summoned to head-
quarters. On his return he called together four or five of
the men best acquainted with the country. These had
been in their early days hunters or border scouts, and
knew every foot of the forest and lakes.
"I have just seen the general," Captain Wilson said.
"A royalist brought in news last night that the rebels are
raising a force intended to act against Montreal. They
reckon upon being joined by a considerable portion of the
Canadians, among whom there is, unfortunately, a good
deal of discontent. We have but two regiments in the
whole colony. One of these is at Quebec. The rebels,
therefore, will get the advantage of surprise, and may
raise the colony before we are in a condition to resist.
General Howe asked me to take my company through
the woods straight to Montreal. We should be landed a
few miles up the coast at night. I suppose some of you
know the country well enough to be able to guide us."
Several of the men expressed their ability to act as
"I have fought the Indians through them woods over
and over again," said one of them, a sinewy, weather-
beaten man of some sixty years old, who was known as
Peter Lambton. He had for many years been a scout
attached to the army, and was one of the most experienced
hunters on the frontier. He was a tall angular man,
except that he stooped slightly, the result of a habit of
walking with the head bent forward in the attitude of
listening. The years which had passed over him had had
no effect upon his figure. He walked with a long noise-
less tread, like that of an Indian, and was one of the
men attached to his company, in whom, wisely, Cap-
tain Wilson had made no attempt to instil the very
rudiments of drill. It was, the captain thought, well
that the younger men should have such a knowledge of
drill as would enable them to perform simple manoeuvres,
but the old hunters would fight in their own way, a way
infinitely better adapted for forest warfare than any that
he could teach them. Peter and some of his companions
were in receipt of small pensions, which had been be-
stowed upon them for their services with the troops. Men
of this kind were not likely to take any lively interest in
the squabbles as to questions of taxation; but when they
found that it was coming to fighting they again offered
their services to government, as a matter of course. Some
were attached to the regular troops as scouts, while others
were divided among the newly-raised companies of loy-
Peter Lambton had for the last four years been settled
at Concord. He had, during the war with the French,
served as a scout with the regiment to which Captain
Wilson belonged, and had saved that officer's life when
with a portion of his company he was surrounded and cut
off by hostile Indians. A strong feeling of friendship had
sprung up between them, and when, four years before,
there had been a lull in the English fighting on the
frontier, Peter had retired on his pension and the savings
which he had made during his many years' work as a
hunter, and had located himself in a cottage on Captain
Wilson's estate. It was the many tales told him by the
hunter of his experiences in Indian warfare that had
fired Harold with a desire for the life of a frontier hunter,
and had given him such a knowledge of forest life as
had enabled him to throw off the Indians from his trail.
92 A FAVOURABLE OCCURRENCE.
On Harold's return the old hunter had listened with
extreme interest to the story of his adventures, and had
taken great pride in the manner in which he had utilized
his teachings. Peter made his appearance in the city
three days after the arrival of Captain Wilson there.
"I look upon this here affair as a favourable occurrence
for Harold," he said to Captain Wilson. "The boy has
lots of spirits, but if it had not been for this he might
have grown up a regular town greenhorn, fit for nothing
but to walk about in a long coat, and to talk pleasant to
women; but this will just be the making of him. With
your permission, Cap., I shall take him under my charge
and teach him to use his eyes and his ears, and I reckon
he will turn out as good an Indian fighter as you will
see on the frontier."
But it is not Indians that we are going to fight, Peter,"
Captain Wilson said; "I heartily wish it was."
"It will be the same thing," Peter said; "not here, in
course; there will be battles between the regulars and
the colonists, regular battles like that at Quebec, where
both parties was fools enough to march about in the open
and get shot down by hundreds. I don't call that fight-
ing; that's just killing, and there ain't no more sense in it
than in two herd of buffalo charging each other on the
prairie. But there will be plenty of real fighting; expe-
ditions in the woods and Indian skirmishes, for you will
be sure that the Indians will join in, some on one side
and some on the other; it ain't in their nature to sit still
in their villages while powder is being burnt. A few
months of this work will make a man of him, and he
might have a worse teacher than Peter Lambton. You
just hand him over to my care, Cap., and I will teach
PETER LAMBTON ON EDUCATION.
him all I know of the ways of the woods, and I tell yer
there ain't no better kind of education for a young fellow.
He larns to use the senses God has given him, to keep
his head when another man would lose his presence of
mind, to have the eye of a hawk and the ear of a hound,
to get so that he scarcely knows what it is to be tired
or hungry, to be able to live while other men would
starve, to read the signs of the woods like a printed book,
and to be in every way a man and not a tailor's figure."
"There is a great deal in what you say, old friend,"
Captain Wilson answered; "and such a training cannot
but do a man good. I wish with all my heart that it
had been entirely with red foes that the fighting was to
be done; however, that cannot be helped, and as he is to
fight he could not be in better hands than yours. So
long as we remain here I shall teach him what drill I can
with the rest of the company; but when we leave this
town and the work really begins, I shall put him iii your
charge to learn the duties of a scout."
The young negro, Jake, had also enlisted, for through-
out the war the negroes fought on both sides, according
to the politics of their masters. There were only two
other negroes in the company, and Captain Wilson had
some hesitation in enlisting them, but they made good
soldiers. In the case of Jake, Captain Wilson knew
that he was influenced in his wish to join solely by his
affection for Harold, and the lad's father felt that in the
moment of danger the negro would be ready to lay down
his life for him.
There was great satisfaction in the band when they
received news that they were at last about to take the
field. The long inaction had been most wearisome to
A PITIFUL PARTING.
them, and they knew that any fighting that would take
place round Boston would be done by the regular troops.
Food too was very scarce in town, and they were heartily
weary of the regular drill and discipline. They were
then in high spirits as they embarked on board the
Thetis sloop of war and sailed from Boston harbour.
It was a pitiful parting between Mrs. Wilson and her
husband and son. It had been arranged that she should
sail for England in a ship that was leaving on the fol-
lowing week, and should there stay with her husband's
family, from whom she had a warm invitation to make
their home her own until the war was over.
The Thetis ran out to sea. As soon as night fell her
bow was turned to land again, and about midnight the
anchor was let fall near the shore some twenty miles
north of Boston. The landing was quickly effected, and
with three days' provisions in their knapsacks the little
party started on their march. One of the scouts had
come from that neighbourhood and led them by paths
avoiding all villages and farms. At daybreak they
bivouacked in a wood, and at nightfall resumed the
march. By the next morning they had left the settle-
ments behind and entered a belt of swamp and forest
extending west to the St. Lawrence.
SPARTY of six men were seated around a fire in
the forest which covered the slopes of the
northern shore of Lake Champlain. The spot
had been chosen because a great tree had fallen,
bringing down several others in its course, and opening
a vista through which a view could be obtained of the
surface of the lake. The party consisted of Peter Lambton,
Harold, Jake, Ephraim Potter, another old frontiersman,
and two Indians.
The company under Captain Wilson had made its way
safely to the St. Lawrence, after undergoing considerable
hardships in the forest. They had been obliged to de-
pend entirely on what game they could shoot, and such
fish as they could catch in the rivers whose course they
followed. They had, however, reached Montreal without
loss, and there they found that General Carleton had in
all about 500 regulars, and about 200 volunteers who
had recently been engaged.
It was clear that if the people of Canada were as hos-
tile to the connection with England as were those of
the other colonies, the little force at the disposal of the
English general could do nothing to defend the colony