The Place Where Lucy Ferris Fled

Following the failure of the Virginia Regiment on the edge of Perdition, Major Flower, commanding the forces of the Crown in Saindoux has rushed reinforcements into the area known as The Devil’s Kitchen. Captain Queen of the 62nd (Royal American) Foot has been ordered to find and escort to safety a certain Mrs Ferris, the wife of an Irish officer in French service whose devotion to her king is greater than to her husband. She has knowledge of French plans but will reveal herself only to a British officer. Her young son, Lucien, knows where his mother is hid and accompanies the 62nd as a guide. The Mohawk known to the British as Captain Cutlass and his scouts are auxiliary to the main force.

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Mrs Ferris
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Young Lucien

Lieutenant Jacques Clouzeau of the Compagnie Franches de la Marine is hot on the trail of Mrs Ferris and intends to restore that lady to her husband and by that act restore himself somewhat in the good graces of his superior, Captaine Vindail, after earlier unfortunate setbacks. Clouzeau has brought along some of his Huron friends and what he hopes will be an unwelcome surprise for any British he might encounter.

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Overview

Clouzeau makes good time, despite the encumbrance of his ‘petite surprise pour l’Anglais’. Ensigne Maudit’s men have scoured the woods north of the Widow Black’s farm,  and his Huron allies are searching the wooded hills to the east. Clouzeau himself is approaching the Widow Black’s cabin, where he in sure that Mrs Ferris must be hiding and not a sign of les Anglais perfide.

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Maudit’s Men
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Clouzeau Approaches The Cabin

The first British to arrive are the skirmishers under Lieutenant Neiswanger and Sergeant Koch. They advance up the south slope of the narrow ridge causing Old Tobacco’s Huron to quit the trees.

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Neiswanger Arrives

Captain Queen is swift to follow with his small platoon. He hopes to catch Clouzeau’s exposed command in the flank but unfortunately has blundered forward towards some very swampy ground. Clouzeau, nonetheless orders his men back over the fence tout suite because Captain Cutlass’ scouts appear fleetingly in the woods ahead of him.

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Queen Approaches The Bog
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Clouzeau Recule Tout Suite!

It turns out that young Lucien only knows his mother’s location in general terms. Mrs Ferris may be in the cabin, or hiding in the woods between Old Tobacco and Neiswanger. At worst she may be across Serpent Creek to the north of the cabin, from where it will be the devil’s own job for Queen’s men to extract her.

The first shots are exchanged between Old Tobacco’s Huron and Neiswanger’s skirmishers. Sergeant Longrod, as popular with his men as with the ladies, cops a nasty one but with the added firepower of the men Neiswanger brings up, the 62nd avenge their sergeant, wounding Old Tobacco himself. To cries of ‘Put that in your pipe and smoke it!’, Old Tobacco limps hurriedly away, followed by his warriors, regrouping behind the thin white line that Clouzeau has formed facing Neiswanger’s men.

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Neiswanger Advances
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Clouzeau Reorganises

Maudit is bravely leading his force across Serpent Creek and into the Widow Black’s fields, more whooping Huron are running down to join their friends and the somewhat sluggish Eidelburger has caught up with his commander and is wondering how to negotiate the bog without dirtying his new boots. Queen has cleared the swamp, cleaned his shoes and is ready to support Neiswanger. Meanwhile Captain Cutlass still lurks in the woods by the cabin.

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French And Huron Gather
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Maudit Advances Through The Fields

The battle is about to start for real, and to Queen’s horror, with a maniacal laugh, Hugo de Nigot pulls aside a cunningly laid branch to reveal la petite surprise . . .

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Quelle Surprise!
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The Dispositions

Top centre, Ensigne Maudit. Top right, De Nigot and his gun.

Upper right (partially obscured), Old Tobacco and the unspeakable Ouaouackecinatouek.

Middle extreme left, Captain Cutlass. Middle right (partially obscured), Lieutenant Clozeau.

Lower centre, Capt. Queen. Lower right (partially obscured), Lieut. Neiswanger.

Bottom left, Ensign Eidelburger.

Clouzeau orders his men to present and unleashes a volley to clear Neiswanger’s skirmishers from his front. Neiswanger himself is wounded and one of his men falls; the rest are much shaken by the sheer volume and noise of the close range fire so Neiswanger draws them back to try and restore order behind the trees.

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Neiswanger Retreats

 

De Nigot can restrain himself no longer and fires the gun, the ball neatly decapitating one of Queen’s men.

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Le Boom!

Maudit is bringing his men up at a great pace through the fields and the unspeakable Ouaouackecinatouek is urging his warriors to cross the Eden Brook and get into the flanks of the British. Meanwhile Queen is struggling to get out of the bog and properly organised.

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Advantage France
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The 60th In Confusion

The wounded Koch’s skirmishers fall back through Queen’s men as Clouzeau wheels his line and advances it to the edge of the woods. Eidelburger makes good progress through the swamp, despite or because of the ruin wrought upon his new boots but his men come under fire from Maudit’s skirmish line, now arrayed along the fenceline. De Nigot, cackling like a lunatic urges his artillerymen to reload, and soon poor Eidleburger has more to worry about than his footwear. The canon does no real damage but the second volley from Maudit’s men kills three redcoats.

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Eidelburger In Trouble

Queen advances boldly to within a few yards of Clouzeau’s line. Numbers are about even, but who will fire first?

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Canadian Standoff

Archie Queen commands, and his men obey! His volley sees half a dozen Frenchmen put out of the fight! But the gallant Queen’s attempt to follow up with another volley and a charge see a far less effective outpouring of fire and only a hesitant movement towards the Canadians.

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Controlled Volley Fire
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Clouzeau’s Casualties

Maudit pours fire on Eidelburgers swamp-bound men and the ensign’s small line loses its cohesion. The Frenchman then turns his attention to Queen’s line and accurate fire from the Compagnie Franches skirmish line sees three redcoats fall. Neiswanger, having rallied his men, moves up and fires on Clouzeau, who sensibly begins a slow but steady withdrawal. Again, Queen’s men prove reluctant to close and merely shuffle forward a few steps through the trees.

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Eidelburger ‘s Attack Bogs Down
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Huron Across The Eden
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Huron View Of The British Right

The Huron are over Eden Brook and threatening the British right, though Neiswanger is well placed to meet that threat. Elsewhere, Captain Cutlass has quietly moved his warriors round the back of Widow Black’s cabin.

Neiswanger trades fire with the Huron across the stream, getting slightly the better of the exchange. Queen gives up trying to get his men to charge and instead gets them volleying again, doing severe damage to Clouzeau’s already fraying line.

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Close Range Shooting
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Mauled!

But Maudit’s skirmishers again take a toll on Queen’s boys and a devastating burst of canister from de Nigot’s gun forces the British line back. Eidelburger is reorganising in the swamp but is a long way from the fight.

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Encore Le Boom!
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Damnably Mauled

Cutlass and his scouts disappear into the cabin.

Neiswanger looks to be winning his duel with the Huron, half of whom are dropping back but accurate fire from Maudit’s men see half of the shattered remnant of Queen’s men turn and flee.

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Oh Dear . . .

It dawns on Maudit that the cabin might well be the hiding place of Madame Ferris, so he takes his men to go and see. Inside, Cutlass’ men are ransacking the place, little bothered by the furious tirade of fire that Maudit peppers the cabin with.

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Now Get Out Of That!

Another round from de Nigot’s new toy sees the routing British disappear from view, but Neiswanger has sent half the Huron running with their tails between their legs and the rest falling back badly shaken, so has evened the score in that respect.

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Huron Discomfited
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Huron Downright Unhappy

The morale of both sides is becoming quite low. Mohawk howls of frustration from the cabin reveal that Mrs Ferris is not hiding up the chimney, nor anywhere else. Between them, the two forces have searched almost every potential hiding place.

Captain Cutlass realises it is up to him to save his British fathers from failure. He leads his warriors in a desperate charge from the cabin. Outnumbered two to one, can they prevail?

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Do Or Die!

The sheer audacity of the attack, the whirling tomahawks and the wild whooping of the Mohawks do much to unsettle Maudit’s men, who barely have time to draw their own weapons before Cutlass is upon them. Two of the Mohawks fall and Cutlass receives a dreadful head wound. But five French are slain and another runs screaming homewards. Cutlass is victorious, although a rather shaken Maudit has still got half of his men in hand just beyond the Widow Black’s fence. Ensign Eidelburger’s men, who are now back in good order and out of the swamp cheer the Mohawks to the echo! A brave advance by the wounded Sergeant Longrod supported by shots from Neiswanger sees the remaining Huron flee the field. In despair, Clouzeau orders the retreat, his men refusing to continue the fight.

The butcher’s bill:

62nd Foot, 22 ranks and file dead and wounded, Lieut. Neiswanger wounded. 2 Mohawk scouts killed.

French: 15 rank and file wounded. 9 Huron killed or wounded, including Old Tobacco and Ouaouackecinatouek.

A savage day indeed but with victory going to the British thanks to the unflinching bravery of their native allies. Mrs Ferris was indeed hiding in the woods to the north of her farm and is now safely with the British commander, to whom she will doubtless reveal much.

On the Edge of Perdition

Can Lieutenant Launderville avenge his recent defeat and save the settlers of Perdition?

After a chastening defeat at the hands of French native allies, Lieut. Launderville, commanding Bland’s company of the Virginia Regiment has managed to get his surviving men to the settlement of Perdition, just in time to see the fort fall to a force of French Milice under the intrepid Capitaine Terieur. Launderville determines to stand and fight on the edge of Perdition. The captured Ensign Bumgardner has been replaced by his brother, a gentleman volunteer in the regiment now temporarily promoted ‘in room of’ his brother.

While his Indian allies skulk deep in the woods, the intrepid Terieur and his band strike out towards the Widow Marrow’s house. The Virginians begin to move forward to the edge of the fields.

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Opening Moves
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Lieut. Nutter’s Men Skirmishing
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Virginian Line

As Terieur’s men begin to close, first blood goes to the Virginians. A scattered volley of shots from the skirmishers sees a Canadian brought down.

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Nutter’s Men

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The Younger Bumgardner Moves Up

Some of the Virginian skirmishers move up to the fence, to be startled by shots from the woods overlooking the farmland.

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The Action Begins

Terieur comes up to add more musket fire against the skirmishers on the fence line, who fall back badly shaken leaving one of their number behind dead. A heavy pall of smoke lingers, shrouding the Canadians in the woods.

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Virginians Fall Back

Lieutenant Launderville arrives to the west of the Widow West’s two-storey cabin. He leads his tight packed column down to Paddle Creek; his intent is to turn the Canadian flank. His arrival sees young Bumgardner take his men over the fence.

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Launderville Arrives

The unspeakable Garennajenhaga, lurking in the woods on the appropriately named Shooter’s Hill, has his warriors begin to shoot at the advancing Virginian line but to little immediate effect.

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Huron Firing

Is history repeating itself? Young Bungardner, thirsting to avenge his brother has urged his men to press on fast. Launderville has once again been slowed more than he expected while crossing a creek and Nutter’s skirmishers are getting the worst of their musket duel.

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The Bigger Picture
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A Closer View

While Launderville exhorts his men to wade faster, Bumgardner turns his men out of line and closes them up, preparing to sweep the woods clear of the Canadians. His men are thrown into some disorder by Huron fire from Shooter’s Hill, but Bumgardner brings them back into line with a precision that would do credit to regular troops. Their volley creates some confusion amongst the Canadians holding Woody Hill (an imaginative lot, the folk of Perdition), but no real harm.

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Bumgardner Forms Column
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Back Into Line

The Canadian shooting drops more of Nutter’s skirmishers and wounding that officer whose men are becoming ineffective, a situation not helped by the incapacitation of Sergeant Fear. When Nutter is hit a second time, only the newly promoted Sergeant Knott is holding the skirmishers together.

Launderville is across the creek now and forging on towards the Huron on Shooter’s hill, whose fire is proving thus far a mere irritation to his men who he brings into line just as smartly as Bumgardner.

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Column
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Line

Seeing his men begin to falter under fire from the Canadians to the front and Huron to their rear on Shooter’s Hill, Bumgardner asks for three cheers for good King George, God bless him. His men respond lustily, and their next volley is shatteringly effective, killing five of the dozen or so Canadians with Terieur and Enseigne Laroux on Woody Hill. Laroux draws his men deeper into the woods, away from the galling fire.

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Bumgardner Attacks!
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Huzzah, Boys!

But Bumgardner’s men are unwilling to press on; the fire from Shooter’s Hill is still unsettling them and they fall into confusion. Neither Bumgardner nor the stalwart Sergeant O’Rear can restore order. Terieur takes advantage of their irresolution to send his own men forwards to administer the coup de grace to Nutter’s rapidly fading skirmish line. Only the faithful Sergeant Fear stands his ground over the badly wounded Nutter’s prostrate form, everyone else dead or fled except Sergeant Knott who is retiring with his two remaining men.

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Finish
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Facing Defeat

Once again, Launderville has been defeated by inferior numbers and Perdition will be plundered and burnt by the French and their native allies.

 

 

Virginian Sacrifice

Bland’s Company of the Virginia Regiment, newly arrived in the Devil’s Kitchen, have been ordered to escort Meneer Sterkgange, a representative of the Dutch West Indies Company, to Fort Perdition. At least Lieutenant Launderville presumed that his colonel’s utterance, ‘God be pleased but that damn’d Frog and his foul pipe be taken swiftly to Perdition!’ constituted orders to take the gentleman to the fort of that name (the reader will recollect that until the late 1700s it was Dutchmen who were known to the English as ‘frogs’) .

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Meneer Sterkgange Takes A Puff

Launderville intends to skirt the right bank of Sulphur Creek with the bulk of his force, half under his own command and half under Ensign Bumgardner, who is entrusted with the care of ‘Frog’ Sterkgange. Meanwhile Lieutenant Nutter and Sergeant Fear are skirmishing across the stream to flush out any potential ambush and Sergeant Forcam leads more skirmishers into the small wood atop Horny Hill to cover the open right flank.

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Onward Virginia!

Sergeant Fear’s bold foray towards the woods has upset the cunning plans of the unspeakable Khionontatehronons whose fiendish aim is to seize the strong tobacco of Sterkgange for his own, letting his warriors content themselves with scalps, clothing, weapons, etc. With a cry of fury, he opens the fight. A dozen of his braves fire from the woods upon the hapless Forcam and his men, who, finding Horney Hill clear of foes, have descended to Sulphur Creek. Private Branch will live no more to carry on his family’s tree and Forcam himself is hit in the left buttock, a fact made known to all in the vicinity in no uncertain terms by the man himself, with an ample selection from his extraordinary repertoire of oaths.

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The Unspeakable Khionontatehronons Attacks!
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Forcam Under Fire

Forcam, hopping switly and cursing all the while, leads his men smartly back into the wood atop Horney Hill.

The twin colums of Virginian line advance and Khionontatehronons decides to risk advancing some of his men from the woods to fire on Bumgardner’s men while Khionontatehronons himself leads more warriors against Sergeant Fear. The natives must have been swindled in their latest trade for powder as all their shots result in nothing but noise and smoke. Fear falls back to align himself with the advancing Nutter who has gained the woods atop the little ridge that overlooks Neck Woods.

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Ineffectual Firing
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More Ineffectual Firing
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Fear Falls Back
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Garennajenhaga Across The Creek

Garennajenhaga, Khionontatehronons’ right-hand man strikes out across Sulphur Creek to try to take the provincials in the flank. Nutter and Fear get their men fighting in Indian style, dropping back through the trees to reload after firing.

The main body of provincials press on. Launderville takes his column down to ford the creek, which they begin in splendid, splashing style, while Bumgardner presses on.

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Forwards Virginia!
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Sterkgange Still Puffing
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A Native Up The Creek

Khionontatehronons is becoming annoyed by Nutter’s skirmishers and when two of his warriors are killed by the hitherto ineffectual sniping from the ridge, he launches a charge with a whoop. Half the men he has ordered forward are too preoccupied with shooting at Bumgardner to react quickly enough and so Khionontatehronons is outnumbered by Nutter’s little band. The fight is short but furious. Both Nutter and the unspeakable Khionontatehronons are wounded and the unquenchable vigour of the natives sends Nutter and the two of his men who retain their scalps reeling for the shelter of the far bank of Sulphur Creek. They have given a good account of themselves though as three more braves lie stark amongst the trees.

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Close Combat
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The Victors

Sergeant Fear’s men take their first casualty and  begin to shrink from the fire of the warriors facing them. Fear shepherd’s them back across the creek, the mocking calls of the natives ringing in their ears.

Bumgardner has advanced quite rapidly, despite harassing fire and now shakes his men out into line. The young ensign has widely separated groups of warriors to his front, and another over the creek to his left flank but he is counting on Lieutenant Launderville to deal with the latter.

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Bumgardner’s Column
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Bumgardner’s Line
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What About Them Crossing The River?
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Bumgardner Under Fire

Some rapid if none too accurate firing from Khionontatehronons and the young warrior accompanying him is too much for the already shattered nerves of Lieutenant Nutter’s men. Despite the officer’s exhortations the pair take to their heels, Nutter chasing after them damning them for vile dogs (because as every British officer knows, vilifying an already frightened man is the best way to restore his self-esteem and get him back in the fight).

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Nutter’s Remnant Flees
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Trying To Send Fear Packing

Sergeant Fear isn’t doing much better but he’s falling back slowly with his men just about in hand and getting off some shots in the general direction of the enemy.

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Bumgardner Holds!

It is a sad fact that while Ensign Bumgardner brought his men into line beautifully, their now have no targets, the pesky foes having slipped off to the flanks. The injured Sergeant Forcam can do little more than curse his sore buttock, though his men have at least managed to account for one of Garennajenhaga’s warriors.

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Bumgardener’s Line Recoils

Where is Launderville? His men have encountered muddy ground on the far side of the creek and are slithering about in their sodden shoes. Progress is slow and Launderville has dithered too long dressing his ranks. Young Bumgardner is perilously exposed and the men’s morale begins to crack. They give ground nervously, eyeing the warriors to flanks and front.

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Drawing A Bead
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Bumgardner’s Line Recoils Again!

The fire is becoming deadly accurate and feeling themselves isolated and with ever-thinning ranks, the retreat seems inexorable.

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Come On Boys!

Lieutenant Launderville realises that if he can drive the Huron from the woods in front of him, and kill the unspeakable Khionontatehronons into the bargain, the day may yet be saved. He leads his men forward, but their charge is rendered farcical by the men’s continued slithering and Launderville’s attempts to keep them in ranks.

Meanwhile, Garennajenhaga sees his opportunity to prove himself as mighty, perhaps mightier than the unspeakable Khionontatehronons. He leads his small band of brave hearts against the flank of Bumgardner’s line.

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Flank Attack!

It is a massacre. A third of Bumgardner’s men are cut down before they can react or are tomahawked while begging for mercy. Only the ensign himself and Menheer Sterkgange are taken captive. A handful of men have stuck with Sergeant O’Rear, who helps himself to a stiff nip of gin from his water bottle and ushers his little group back to what might be safety.

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Captured!

But can Launderville still salvage some honour from the wreck?

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Too Slow!

Alas, Launderville proves too slow. With provincial morale shattered, who can save the day?

But wait! From the woods atop Horney Hill comes a foul oath! Down hops sergeant Forcam, cursing vilely, trailing blood from  his injured buttock. Down with him come his small band of stout hearts to fall upon Garennajenhaga’s savages while they are at their gruesome scalpings.

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Also Too Slow!

Alas again. A man may hop of his left foot only so fast, and Forcam’s oaths alerted Garennajenhaga whose warriors fire and charge. It is a bitter end. Brave Forcam joins the list of captives and only one of his men manages to escape the scalping knives and run.

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Finish

A bad day for Virginia.

 

Two Sodom Nights, Part II: Matin Infernal

After two rather sordid nights spent in the damp forests and swamps of Sodom Vale, Capitaine de Givenchy is determined to escape the Devil’s Kitchen. Having been forced to retire on the morning of his first day, he has decided to seek battle on ground best suited to his regular troops by Sodom village. Though the way is certain to be blocked by the skirted devils of the 42nd Foot, de Givenchy and his men are spoiling for a fight.

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The Scene, Set

The Milice Canadienne forge well ahead on the right flank, to be supported by Cardin’s grenadiers whilst de Givenchy and the balance of his force advance through the woods past the Widow Fuchs’ cabin towards the open ground in front of the Widow Cocklinck’s house.

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Mohawk And Milice

Murray has sent his Mohawk allies to contest the advance of the Milice.

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Cutlass And His Braves

Meanwhile, de Givenchy urges his fusiliers onward through the trees.

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En Avant, Mes Braves!

The Widow Cocklinck’s Cabin is garrisoned by the veteran of Flanders, Lieutenant Mill, Sergeant M’Andrews and sixteen doughty highlanders.

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The Widow Cocklinck’s Cabin

There is a fold of ground by the Cabin in which Murray has had the balance of his force lie down. De Givenchy advances to the boundary fence and fires at the house, with surprising success. Nearly half a dozen of Mill’s small garrison are killed or wounded. As one, Murray’s men rise from the grass and fire a crashing volley which sends de Givenchy’s line into much disarray. The return fire from the French is almost completely ineffectual.

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The French Return Fire

De Givenchy orders his men to fall back into the forest to regroup. Meanwhile, Mohawk and Milice have been fighting it out, with the natives getting by far the best of the exchange. Four Milice from Laroux’s small band have been shot for no loss, and Cutlass has embarked on a skilful fighting withdrawal, seeking to lead the remaining French out into the open.

 

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Lechat Advances

De Givenchy falls back, pausing from time to time to fire on the advancing highlanders.

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Tirez!

Mill leads his men from the cabin and fires on Lechat and Laroux’s men. Cardin’s grenadiers advance behind the Milice, their moustaches bristling.

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Cutlass’ braves shoot down another couple of the Milice but lose two of their number to the return fire. Enraged, Cutlass launches a blood-curdling charge while Laroux and Lechat are reorganising, hurling their tomahawks and whooping on the way in. The fight is bloody and one-sided.

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The Mohawk Charge

Two more Mohawk are slain but the French are scalped to a man.

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Cutlass Victorious

The Mohawk are now too few to hope to hold up Cardin’s grenadiers.

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The French Grenadiers

But de Givenchy’s line is beginning to crumple in the face of relentless fire. Their losses are mounting.

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Murray presses on across the Widow Cocklinck’s fields with little loss.

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The Highlanders Advance Into French Fire

Cardin pushes on towards the Treacle Stream – a tributary of the Brimstone. Mill gets his men into line.

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Lieutenant Mill

Cutlass and his remaining braves are about to swim the Treacle, hoping to get out of range of the advancing grenadiers.

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Preparing to Fire

Mill hopes some long range volleys might irritate Cardin enough to turn and face him. Cardin shrugs off the flanking fire with disdain, forges across the Treacle Stream and his men’s volley kills the last of Cutlass’ companions. The brave Mohawk can do nothing but hurl insults, and the odd rock, as the grenadiers make good their escape.

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Hurling Insults

For De Givenchy though, things are looking bleak. Now faced by more than twice his number of remaining muskets and with his men’s morale teetering on the brink, he orders an honourable surrender, ‘Pour éviter l’effusion inutile de sang.’

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About To Surrender

Another defeat for the French. But at least Cardin’s grenadiers managed to escape the trap. De Givenchy must hope for suitable exchange. Perhaps the Huron might be persuaded to give up Lieutenant Quintin Kennedy, if that gentleman has not already been burned alive.

 

 

 

 

Two Sodom Nights, Part I: Damp Squibs

The Sodom Vale was, as the reader will doubtless recall, rather coarsely described by General Braddock as ‘the arse end of Saindoux’. In fact it is a pretty enough bottom to have attracted a number of bolder settlers to the region, that lies within the wider tract of land known as The Devil’s Kitchen. Following his reverse at the hands of the 42nd Foot, Capitaine de Givenchy of the Régiment de Languedoc attempts to force his way to safety through Sodom Rising, a piece of land noted for fast-flowing streams, rather salty marshes and, naturally, many trees. De Givenchy has been reinforced by men of the Milice du Trois Rivieres, having been abandoned by his fickle and possibly treacherous native allies. It is these natural born sons of New France who he trusts to guide him out of danger. Will de Givenchy force a passage, or will his fancy French tactics unravel again? Read on . . .

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Between A Stream and a Boggy Place

Monsieurs Daniel Leroux and Felix Lechat lead the small group of Milice Canadienne who are guiding de Givenchy. They have, however, badly misjudged just how slow the regular troops are across rough-country and de Givenchy’s column has become badly scrunched up on their approach to more open ground across the Brimstone Stream.

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Quelles Grand Moustaches Les Granadiers Ont

The men stumble through the dark forest, urged on by the increasingly worried Lechat and Laroux.

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Water, Water, All Around

As dawn draws nearer, the French look for good crossing spots.

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The Brimstone Stream and Sodom Rising Beyond

The Widow Bumgardener’s cabin is the sole building on Sodom Rising. As her sons have joined the Virginia Regiment, she has wisely decamped to the relative safety of Canaan, where she hopes to find an able-bodied protector.

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Lechat Fords The Stream

With the white-coated regulars still crashing through the woods, the Milice Canadienne scout ahead.

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Traverser Ici

Will the French luck hold?

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The 42nd Arrive

Captain Murray brings forward his men with amazing speed, the highlanders proving as nimble through the trees as across their native heather. Dawn breaks just as Murray reaches the borders of the woods looking out onto the Widow Bumgardener’s land.

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A Maginficent Seven?

Suddenly, Lechat feels rather exposed.

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How Many?

Fortunately for Lechat, Murray’s men are not immediately concerned with his small band.

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Allez!

Meanwhile de Givency urges his men forward through the woods.

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Milice Canadienne

Laroux has identified the best crossing point for de Givenchy’s men. The Widow Bumgardener’s cabin will shelter men from the enemy while they regroup after fording the stream.

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The Situation

Captain Cutlass, Murray’s chief Mohawk scout exchanges fire with Lechat’s milice.

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Captain Cutlass And His Braves

Lechat loses a man and decides to fall back.

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A Poor Exchange Rate

Laroux gets his boys across the Brimstone and finally de Givenchy has his men on the banks.

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Preparing To Cross

Lechat gets back behind the Widow Bumgardener’s fence, which provides at least the illusion of protection, without further loss. The whoops of the Mohawk ring in French ears.

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Tirez!

The first of the Regulars cross the Brimstone.

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En Avant!

Murray leads his men over the boundary Fence. His line now covers the route the French must take to safety.

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Highland Line

Faced with running a gauntlet of fire, and with little prospect of being able to form a decent firing line himself without his men being severely mauled in the process, de Givenchy orders his men to retire. An almost bloodless battle with very little powder expended. But as Maurice de Saxe was fond of telling the young de Givenchy, ‘La discrétion est parfois la meilleure partie de la valeur.’

De Givenchy will find a better time and place.

Firing Brimstone

A series of unfortunate encounters with Captain Murray’s 42nd Highlanders has resulted in the overall commander of French Forces in Saindoux, Lt. Colonel Grenouille committing his own men of the Regiment Languedoc to the fighting. The splendidly dressed Capitaine  Hubert Taffin de Givenchy has orders to fire Brimstone, a small settlement that lies near the rather pungent marsh known locally as Skunk Bottom. Will the true professionals of La Belle France show that they are not merely the best dressed soldiers in Saindoux but the most formidable? Or will Murray prove them to be as ridiculous as their grenadiers’ moustaches? Read on . . .

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Sergent Bacon Leads the Way

De Givenchy sent his Huron ahead into the forest, hoping they would threaten the flank of any British advance. The Fusiliers had begun to straggle a bit in the thickly wooded approaches to Brimstone and it was Sergent Bacon’s advance guard who first arrived.

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The 42nd March On

Captain Cutlass, Murray’s Mohawk ally, has brought word of de Givenchy’s approach and Murray has hastened to Brimstone with the men he has immediately available, leaving his able subordinate, Davey Mill, to muster the rest and follow as quickly as he may. Doubtless the sound of the pipes and drum filled the hearts of the Widow Goodbody and her neighbours with hope.

Murray shakes his men into line. Cutlass and his rather rank-smelling comrades emerge from Skunk’s Bottom, where they had been lurking, and form to protect his right. De Givenchy arrives with the rest of his fusiliers and begins to organise them. The Huron move up towards Murray through the woods.

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The Highland View
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Trading Shots With Trade Muskets

The Mohawk and Huron trade shots. Cutlass’ men quickly lose heart and withdraw at some speed to the rear.

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The French Fusiliers Form Line

Meanwhile, de Givenchy forms a line looking towards the Widow Goodbody’s house. Murray moves up adjacent to the Widow Fokker’s cabin.

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The Fight Begins

The Huron shoot into Murray’s line from the woods, dropping one man. Murray fires his first volley into De Givenchy’s line but the powder proves of poor quality. Vast clouds of smoke and no real impact is the result.

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Murray Opens Fire
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The Huron Kill More Highlanders

Cardin’s grenadiers, who have been delayed by the need to wax their moustaches, arrive. Their volley produces as much smoke as Murray’s and is as ineffective.

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Les Grenadiers Arrivent!

De Givenchy focuses on his orders to search and burn the settler’s cabins, counting on the highlanders’ poor powder and the range to keep his line safe.

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Showing his fine contempt for both French and Huron, Murray holds his ground. De Givenchy sends Enseigne Lacroix with some fusiliers to ransack the Widow Goodbody’s house. Murray is struck and winded by a spent ball but the chaplian is quick to assist him back onto his feet.

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Outnumbered!

Mill and Cutlass, who has rallied his shaken men and returned to the fight, fire, inflicting casualties on the Huron.

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Mill Volleys
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Hurra!

Cardin’s grenadiers finally get into their stride and the pace of their volleys picks up.

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Cardin’s View

The Huron fall back to regroup and recover.

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Run Away!

While Murray advances into the smoke, Cutlass leads his braves forward once more and Mill gets ready to move up in support.

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Huron Continue to Snipe
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Mill’s View
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Rester En Ligne!

De Givenchy’s men are struggling to hold in the face of mounting casualties and shock.

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Merde!

In his enthusiasm to get his grenadiers firing to a peak of efficiency, Cardin strays too close to one of his men’s bayonets, to the detriment of both his natty breeches and posterior.

Murray advances his line out of the smoke. A couple of brisk close-range volleys break De Givenchy’s line.

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De Givenchy’s Line Crumbles

Murray consolidates his own thinning line and fires a final, crunching volley that sees the French fusiliers off.

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The Final Volley
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Time For A Sharp-Dressed Exit

Once again the Highlanders triumph. However Lacroix did ransack and set light to the Widow Goodbody’s house, and the Widow Fokker’s house mysteriously caught fire towards the end of the action, curiously just after Cutlass’ Mohawks passed by. The Huron lost half their warriors, having tarried too long in the face of volleys from Mill’s detachment.

The French View:

The Huron war parties led by Quatoghees and Pemedeniek did well initially but proved unreliable. They used the position in the woods to heap fire on the hated Mohawk scouts and then later the advancing British; however this proved their undoing as several rounds of accurate return fire from the Scots reinforcements took its toll sending the lurking war parties into retreat. The Huron were the biggest losers of the battle, thoroughly bloodied with little to show for their losses.

Under the hand of Lieutenant Cardin the wily old hands in the Grenadiers had a better time of it on the field and almost ran out of powder firing volleys into the British troops. Although at times accurate and dangerous it had little overall effect on the outcome of the battle. In his effort to exhort his Grenadiers, the Lieutenant was badly injured as confused by the huge banks of powder smoke he was caught by a friendly ball and was lucky not to be killed outright.

Led by Capitaine de Givenchy and ably supported by Enseigne Lacroix and Sergent Bacon the men of the 2nd battalion advanced well initially, with good supporting fire from the Grenadiers and Huron in the woods hindering the advance of the British on their flank as the heavy clouds of smoke obscured much of the battle field. Lacroix and his men were delighted to advance into the relative safety of the settlers cabin to search it as per orders,.

Meanwhile with the Huron in retreat and supported by the regrouped Mohawk, the British continued to give accurate fire and the reduced numbers of the French soon fell prey to the combined musketry and were forced to retreat quickly from the field in some disarray.

Overall the French regulars gave as good as they got and showed they are very much a match for the Highlanders and will be dangerous opponents. The real winners of the day had to be the Mohawk. With no casualties taken, the enemy Huron badly hurt, and a score of French and British troops dead, it was suspicious that no sooner had the Mohawk been amply resupplied by the Commissariat that they happened to be nearest a settlers cabin when it mysteriously ‘caught fire’ and burnt to the ground . . . a happy hunting ground indeed for the Keepers of the Eastern Door.

Bringing Fanny to Climax

Will Captain Murray successfully bring Fanny and her sister Phemie to Climax?

After a long time and a lot of effort, the dogged Captain Murray of the 42nd (Highland) Foot has nearly succeeded in bringing Fanny Flower, and her sister, Phemie, to Climax, a hard to reach settlement on the southern borders of the Saindoux Valley. Little Beaver Creek must be forded, after the forest on its approaches has been negotiated, and Climax will be reached! But while the 42nd have been spending the past days fighting with the Huron in the woods, Lieutenant Clouzeau of the Compagnie Franches de la Marine de Vindail has stolen a march and come to Climax first. The unexpected intrusion of the dastardly Frenchman’s has already given the Widow Gotobed an untimely awakening; will the over-eager French shoot too soon, or will Murray’s Highlanders be taken unawares? Read on . . .

An old campaigner, Murray has a nose for a Frenchman, and who could mistake the garlic reek coming from the Widow Gotobed’s farm? Suspicious, he moves up with the greater part of his men on the east bank of Little Beaver Creek, approaching the fork of the river. Lieutenant Mill, the redoubtable veteran of Flanders has a smaller detachment on the other bank, with Fanny and Phemie in tow, much to his annoyance and Phemie’s evident delight. Fanny casts longing looks across the creek at Murray, who cuts a fine figure marching proudly at the head of his men.

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Mill’s Detachment

News of the capture of the dashing Lieutenant  Quintin Kennedy (recounted here) has reached that officer’s blood-brothers amongst the Mohawk (look, this isn’t far-fetched romantic nonsense, Kennedy really had lived amongst the Mohawk), and a small party of those warriors under a savage known to the British as Captain Cutlass protects Murray’s right flank.

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Captain Cutlass

Save for the steady tramp of highland feet over the leafy forest floor, all is deathly hush. Murray sees the river and the boundary of the Widow Gotobed’s farm beyond. Seeing no Frenchmen, he pushes on fast, ordering both pips and drum to play a rousing tune composed by Captain Reid himself (seriously, Reid was an internationally renowned flautist and composer, look him up if you don’t believe me).

But as the highlanders come clear of the trees, the villain Clouzeau springs his trap! He has hidden his men along the line of the Widow Gotobed’s fence. With typically knavish Gallic cunning, they have lain down and covered themselves with freshly cut grass. Clouzeau leaps up, uttering the immortal words ‘Levez-vous et ayez-les, mes enfants! C’est maintenant votre temps!’

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Clouzeau Springs His Ambuscade

His men rise as one, present and volley at close range – the highlanders a mere stone’s throw across the river. However the cut grass must have made many of the men sneeze as the volley, although startling in its unexpectedness, is less effective than Clouzeau might have hoped. Only three highlanders fall. Clouzeau must trust in his men’s musket-handling and hope Enseigne Maudit and his Huron allies play their parts.

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A Highland Perspective

Davey Mill, trying to ignore the squeals of admiration and dismay coming from Phemie and Fanny respectively, brings his men steadily forward to a position where the can see Clouzeau’s firing line through the trees. Meanwhile the Huron are stealing through the woods towards Captain Cutlass’ Mohawks. The Huron have twice the numbers of their blood-enemies and are behind Murray’s flank. Will Cutlass be able to cut it?

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Les Huron Arrivent

Clouzeau’s line reload and present while, unperturbed, Sergeant M’Andrews dresses the ranks, waiting for Murray to give the order to present and fire, which that officer does after coolly assessing the Frenchmen’s speed of reloading, pausing deliberately to tell Piper M’Intyre to play a tune to make the French hop.

The skirl of the pipes and Murray’s droll humour stiffens the resolve of the highlanders and they bring up their muskets bravely. The volley rings out, the pipes sounding above even that fierce roar! Six Frenchmen fall and Clozeau curses savagely.

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The 42nd’s Reproof to the French

Lieutenant Maudit’s small group of Troupes de la Marine emerge from the swamp where they have been hiding and fire on Captain Cutlass’ Mohawks, killing one warrior.

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Maudit Emerges

The Huron begin to close in, firing without accuracy but unnerving their Iroquois foe.

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Ragged Volleys

Maudit’s men kill another Mohawk and Cutlass gives ground, not liking the odds one bit.

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Maudit Advances

On the other flank, Mill starts his men volleying into Clouzeau’s line, killing two more men. Clouzeau’s reply sees two more of Murray’s men stricken but the highlanders aren’t showing much sign of being cowed by the fire. The Scots have twice as many muskets firing as Clouzeau’s line can now muster and Clouzeau can be heard exhorting, ‘Trois coups d’une minute, pour l’amour de la baise!’.

Murray’s crisp, ‘Reload. Present.’ may focus French minds.

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What Is the French for ‘Three Rounds a Bloody Minute’?

All now hinges on whether Maudit and the Huron can move fast enough to take Murray in the rear because another volley from Murray’s boys has Clouzeau’s line on the verge of faltering. The French Lieutenant’s foul-mouthed exhortations spur his men to remember they are no longer the sweepings of Parisian gutters but proud sons of New France and they manage another, almost despairing volley.

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Huron Behind the Line
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Maudit Approaches the Flank

Just as Clouzeau’s line finally begins to give ground in the face of the determined volleys of the highlanders, Maudit begins to fire into the line’s flank and rear. The Scots hold firm, for the moment.

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Crisis Point

Yet another volley from Murray, who steadfastly ignores the threat to his flank and rear, forces Clouzeau to give more ground; the French Lieutenant’s men are nearly down to half their original strength and on the verge of breaking. Clouzeau takes a ball in the shoulder but somehow manages to conceal the wound from his men.

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Clouzeau’s Retreat

Now though, the tide may be turning. Murray has distained the threat from Maudit and the Huron, but the steady firing into their rear from some of the Huron is demoralising the Scots, who give ground in confusion as Clouzeau somehow holds his men together as they retreat inch by dogged inch across the Widow Gotobed’s fields.

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Murray’s Men Recoil
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Mill’s Perspective

The Widow Gotobed, distracted by the fight she has been watching from her front porch, has burnt her buns, and worse, set her chimney on fire!

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Fire!

Davey Mill saves the day with a well-timed crashing volley that sends half of Clouzeau’s line running and demoralises the rest. Maudit and the Huron fade into the forest and the Highlanders tend their many wounded.

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Flee!

‘A damnably close rubber, but Mill came up trumps.’ – James Murray, Capt. 42nd Foot.