April 30. Once more we found ourselves traveling in good company to the banks of the Laughery. Though my companion was delightful, our travels were fraught with concern. upon occasion, we found wispy light clouds had settled into a bank of ominously dark clouds which threatened to spoil not only our travels but our entire encampment. Fair warnings had been given of the impending storm and it's expectant flooding, yet these warnings went unheeded as we felt the warm sun upon our cheek. Warning also of a gathering of savages with ill intent in their red hearts. My intent was clear to keep my small companion close by and in sight at all times.
Our arrival in the destined encampment was met with much joy. Acquaintance long forgot and in need of renewal were in company and friends not seen since year last upon these same banks brought pure delight. Ever watchful of the encroaching savages we made camp with good friends of McLeods Company of 78th Highlanders.
We found ourselves quite grateful for our canvas overhead as the sky opened and let forth a gusting wind, filled with light, a deep grumbling sound and a pounding rain. The valley fairly echoed with the booming of thunder, accompanied by the pounding of stakes deeper into the green earth as our mates hunkered down their canvas more tightly.
May 1. Upon the new day it was determined all had faired well with no casualties of the the storm. With drizzling clouds of rain washing through the valley we broke our fast and enjoyed the warmth of coffee under the sheltering canvas of the McAfee clan. With the rising sun the mist of the hills began to burn off and a glimmer of sun peeked through leaving silver and gold lines in the sky over head.
Though the skys seemed to clear, warnings reached us of impending battle. As we were guests upon the graciousness of our hosts of the McLeod company we thought it best to make ourselves into their very likeness, with hope of gathering forces to defeat the miserable French and their native allies.
Once kitted into the likeness of a Highland lad we endeavored to disguise ourselves entirely. Though in truth some may have noted the smoothness of cheek and soft curves of this lad, if inspected too closely. We assembled our forces upon the hill and fought bravely. With our great strength and superior ranks the small number of French found themselves and their allies unable to hold the field, and as they are wont to do, retreated from the field after an accord was struck. Our ranks celebrated the victory with little cheer as the French ranks had been so small as to hardly require our services, leaving foul and dirty muskets for almost no true fight.
Wishing to further our skills in the practice of musquetry we set off for the blockhouse and the range beside. Once a small group had assembled the troops broke into small groups of three and four. A small number of Voyageur had made an encampment and thought to show our men the handling of weaponry. Which, much to our dismay they surely did, their ranks having fired more truly than our own upon the determined target. Being French, they celebrated their success with much merriment and drinking of shrub.
Our time was our own for a while and as there were many good sutlers my companion and I partook of a few of their wares. Captain Jacobs, Mr. Browder and many others whose reputations are much esteemed, presented many fine items for the notice of the public. Though in truth, the foulness of the weather had kept many settlers snug in their dry cabins.
This fine reverie was brought to end as a runner brought news of savages nearby. Not wishing to be restricted in dress or by rank of military we made ourselves into our usual attire and prepared to meet the risk at hand.
Near a cabin upon the hill a small assembly of women and children were about their chores and a bit of merriment, when they were struck with the worst possible disaster, as the crack of indian rifles fired brought all men and lads to give rescue to their beloved. As my weapon is always my constant companion we gave back as much fire as was possible. Devastated were we as the number of women and children murdered by these sons of satan increased. Mistress Cole whose own dear children were among the first to fall could not be restrained in her fruitless searching for babies. Twas pure misery to see the field littered with the small bodies of innocence and the aimless wanderings of Mistress Cole, begging for her children to come to her.
Raging fire took hold of my very heart as we screamed warning to her, yet God's protection must have been upon Mistress Cole. for though she took no shelter and walked fully among the dead and through the rifle fire, no bullet found target in Mistress Cole, perhaps this was little mercy considering her bewildered status of mind and loss of her beloved children.
This fire once kindled in my breast could only be dampened in the blood of the savage. My aim was true and more than one of the red hearted cowards were turned in agony as we loaded each ball with the prayer it bring death and destruction upon those whom it meet. These prayers were many answered and yet it was that traitor to his people, one Simon Girty, miserable wretch, who found himself with a chance to fight not with his rifle, but hand to hand with this woman. Ah, ye know it was not an easy fight, not as he might have expected for as always my hatchet was at hand! The blow given was mighty and given with all possible strength, but being filled with a hatred of his own race Girty found his strength much stronger than my own. struggling for life and limb we were dealt a blow of uncommon strength which took the wind entirely out of ourselves and twas not long afore the disgusting traitor took advantage with his knife to liberate a portion of my scalp. Screams met, his and my own, one in bloody triumph, the other in pure agony.
The battle raged for only a few minutes more as the skulking red beasts deprived small bodies of their hair and mothers of their children. spoils of the field lay littered upon the hill as we pulled ourselves toward the relieve of men come too late to save our little community.
May 2. Ominous skys let forth with rain and mist all of this day, leaving little time for any pleasure. Though in company with Messers; Narjess, Haas and Prusinski, a bit of shooting ensued under the watchful eye of Mr. and Mistress Stern. Scores were settled and we found ourselves well pleased with the results, though mostly with the pleasure of spending time with frontier friends. My companion let not the rains trouble her at all, taking pure pleasure as only children do, and our travel home was filled with Lore of the Laughery.
(Photo Credit Graphic Enterprises Cummings, http://www.graphicenterprises.net/index.html)