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|BOOK 1:The Boarderland|
To lie the night on adamant, pierced by the needles of the frost; to awake shivering and famished, until the meaning of an inch of ice on the backwater comes to your mind, -- these are not calculated to put a man into an equable mood to listen to oratory. Nevertheless there was a kind of oratory to fit the case. To picture the misery of these men is well-nigh impossible. They stood sluggishly in groups, dazed by suffering, and their faces were drawn and their eyes ringed, their beards and hair matted. And many found it in their hearts to curse Clark and that government for which he fought.
When the red fire of the sun glowed through the bare branches that morning, it seemed as if the campaign had spent itself like an arrow which drops at the foot of the mark. Could life and interest and enthusiasm be infused again in such as these? I have ceased to marvel how it was done. A man no less haggard than the rest, but with a compelling force in his eyes, pointed with a blade to the hills across the river. They must get to them, he said, and their troubles would be ended. He said more, and they cheered him. These are the bare facts. He picked a man here, and another there, and these went silently to a grim duty behind the regiment.
"If any try to go back, shoot them down!" he cried.
Then with a gun-butt he shattered the ice and was the first to leap
into the water under it. They followed, some with a cheer that was most pitiful of all.
They followed him blindly, as men go to torture, but they followed him, and the splashing
and crushing of the ice were sounds to
freeze my body. I was put in a canoe. In my day I have beheld great suffering and hardship, and none of it compared to this. Torn with pity, I saw them reeling through the water, now grasping trees and bushes to try to keep their feet, the strongest breaking the way ahead and supporting the weak between them. More than once Clark himself tottered where he beat the ice at the apex of the line. Some swooned and would have drowned had they not been dragged across the canoe and chafed back to consciousness. By inches the water shallowed. Clark reached the high ground, and then Bill Cowan, with a man on each shoulder. Then others endured to the shallows to fall heavily in the crumbled ice and be dragged out before they died. But at length, by God's grace, the whole regiment was on the land. Fires would not revive some, but Clark himself seized a fainting man by the arms and walked him up and down in the sunlight until his blood ran again.
It was a glorious day, a day when the sap ran in the maples, and the sun soared upwards in a sky of the palest blue. All this we saw through the tracery of the leafless branches, -- a mirthless, shivering crowd, crept through a hell of weather into the Hair Buyer's very lair. Had he neither heard nor seen?
Down the steel-blue lane of water between the ice came a canoe. Our
stunted senses perceived it, unresponsive. A man cried out (it was Tom McChesney); now
some of them had leaped into the pirogue, now they were returning. In the towed canoe two
fat and stolid squaws and a pappoose were huddled, and beside them -- God be praised! --
food. A piece of buffalo on its way to town, and in the end compartment of the boat tallow
and bear's grease lay revealed by two blows of the tomahawk. The kettles -- long disused
-- were fetched, and broth made and fed in sips to the weakest, while the strongest looked
on and smiled in an agony of self-restraint. It was a fearful thing to see men whose legs
had refused service struggle to their feet when they had drunk the steaming, greasy
mixture. And the Colonel, standing by the river's edge,
turned his face away -- down-stream. And then, as often, I saw the other side of the man. Suddenly he looked at me, standing wistful at his side.
"They have cursed me," said he, by way of a question, "they have cursed me every day." And seeing me silent, he insisted, "Tell me, is it not so, Davy?"
"It is so," I said, wondering that he should pry, "but it was while they suffered. And -- and some refrained."
"And you?" he asked queerly.
"I -- I could not, sir. For I asked leave to come."
"If they have condemned me to a thousand hells," said he, dispassionately, "I should not blame them." Again he looked at me. "Do you understand what you have done?" he asked.
"No, sir," I said uneasily.
"And yet there are some human qualities in you, Davy. You have been worth more to me than another regiment."
"When you grow older, if you ever do, tell your children that once upon a time you put a hundred men to shame. It is no small thing."
Seeing him relapse into silence, I did not speak. For the space of half an hour he stared down the river, and I knew that he was looking vainly for the Willing.
At noon we crossed, piecemeal, a deep lake in the canoes, and marching awhile came to a timber-covered rise which our French prisoners named as the Warriors' Island. And from the shelter of its trees we saw the steely lines of a score of low ponds, and over the tops of as many ridges a huddle of brown houses on the higher ground.
And this was the place we had all but sold our lives to behold! This was Vincennes at last! We were on the heights behind the town, -- we were at the back door, as it were. At the far side, on the Wabash River, was the front door, or Fort Sackville, where the banner of England snapped in the February breeze.
We stood there, looking, as the afternoon light flooded the plain.
Suddenly the silence was broken.
"Hooray for Clark!" cried a man at the edge of the copse.
"Hooray for Clark!" -- it was the whole regiment this time. From execration to exaltation was but a step, after all. And the Creoles fell to scoffing at their sufferings and even forgot their hunger in staring at the goal. The backwoodsmen took matters more stolidly, having acquired long since the art of waiting. They lounged about, cleaning their guns, watching the myriad flocks of wild ducks and geese casting blue-black shadows on the ponds.
"Arrah, McChesney," said Terence, as he watched the circling birds, "Clark's a great man, but 'tis more riverince I'd have for him if wan av thim was sizzling on the end of me ramrod."
"I'd sooner hev the Ha'r Buyer's sculp," said Tom.
Presently there was a drama performed for our delectation. A shot came down the wind, and we perceived that several innocent Creole gentlemen, unconscious of what the timber held, were shooting the ducks and geese. Whereupon Clark chose Antoine and three of our own Creoles to sally out and shoot likewise -- as decoys. We watched them working their way over the ridges, and finally saw them coming back with one of the Vincennes sportsmen. I cannot begin to depict the astonishment of this man when he reached the copse, and was led before our lean, square-shouldered commander. Yes, monsieur, he was a friend of les Américains. Did Governor Hamilton know that a visit was imminent? Pardieu (with many shrugs and outward gestures of the palms), Governor Hamilton had said if the Long Knives had wings or fins they might reach him now -- he was all unprepared.
"Gentlemen," said Colonel Clark to Captains Bowman and
McCarty and Williams, "we have come so far by audacity, and we must continue by
audacity. It is of no use to wait for the gunboat, and every moment we run the risk of
discovery. I shall write an open letter to the inhabitants of Vincennes, which the
prisoner shall take into town. I shall tell them that those who are true to the oath they
swore to Father Gibault shall not be molested
if they remain quietly in their houses. Let those who are on the side of the Hair Buyer General and his King go to the fort and fight there."
He bade me fetch the portfolio he carried, and with numbed fingers wrote the letter while his captains stared in admiration and amazement. What a stroke was this! There were six hundred men in the town and fort, -- soldiers, inhabitants, and Indians, -- while we had but 170, starved and weakened by their incredible march. But Clark was not to be daunted. Whipping out his field-glasses, he took a stand on a little mound under the trees and followed the fast-galloping messenger across the plain; saw him enter the town; saw the stir in the streets, knots of men riding out and gazing, hands on foreheads, towards the place where we were. But, as the minutes rolled into hours, there was no further alarm. No gun, no beat to quarters or bugle-call from Fort Sackville. What could it mean?
Clark's next move was an enigma, for he set the men to cutting and trimming tall sapling poles. To these were tied (how reverently!) the twenty stands of colors which loving Creole hands had stitched. The boisterous day was reddening to its close as the Colonel lined his little army in front of the wood, and we covered the space of four thousand. For the men were twenty feet apart and every tenth carried a standard. Suddenly we were aghast as the full meaning of the inspiration dawned upon us. The command was given, and we started on our march toward Vincennes. But not straight, -- zigzagging, always keeping the ridges between us and the town, and to the watching inhabitants it seemed as if thousands were coming to crush them. Night fell, the colors were furled and the saplings dropped, and we pressed into serried ranks and marched straight over hill and dale for the lights that were beginning to twinkle ahead of us.
We halted once more, a quarter of a mile away. Clark, himself had
picked fourteen men to go under Lieutenant Bayley through the town and take the fort from
the other side. Here was audacity with a vengeance. You may be sure that Tom and Cowan and
Ray were among these, and
I trotted after them with the drum banging against my thighs.
Was ever stronghold taken thus?
They went right into the town, the fourteen of them, into the main street that led directly to the fort. The simple citizens gave back, stupefied, at sight of the tall, striding forms. Muffled Indians stood like statues as we passed, but these raised not a hand against us. Where were Hamilton, Hamilton's soldiers and savages? It was as if we had come a-trading.
The street rose and fell in waves, like the prairie over which it ran. As we climbed a ridge, here was a little log church, the rude cross on the belfry showing dark against the sky. And there, in front of us, flanked by blockhouses with conical caps, was the frowning mass of Fort Sackville.
"Take cover," said Williams, hoarsely. It seemed incredible.
The men spread hither and thither, some at the corners of the church, some behind the fences of the little gardens. Tom chose a great forest tree that had been left standing, and I went with him. He powdered his pan, and I laid down my drum beside the tree, and then, with an impulse that was rare, Tom seized me by the collar and drew me to him.
"Davy," he whispered, and I pinched him. "Davy, I reckon Polly Ann'd be kinder surprised if she knew where we was. Eh?"
I nodded. It seemed strange, indeed, to be talking thus at such a place. Life has taught me since that it was not so strange, for however a man may strive and suffer for an object, he usually sits quiet at the consummation. Here we were in the door-yard of a peaceful cabin, the ground frozen in lumps under our feet, and it seemed to me that the wind had something to do with the lightness of the night.
"Davy," whispered Tom again, "how'd ye like to see the little feller to home?"
I pinched him again, and harder this time, for I was at
a loss for adequate words. The muscles of his legs were as hard as the strands of a rope, and his buckskin breeches frozen so that they cracked under my fingers.
Suddenly a flickering light arose ahead of us, and another, and we saw that they were candles beginning to twinkle through the palings of the fort. These were badly set, the width of a man's hand apart. Presently here comes a soldier with a torch, and as he walked we could see from crack to crack his bluff face all reddened by the light, and so near were we that we heard the words of his song: --
"O, there came a lass to Sudbury Fair,
With a hey, and a ho, nonny-nonny!
And she had a rose in her raven hair,
With a hey, and a ho, nonny-nonny!"
"By the etarnal!" said Tom, following the man along the palings with the muzzle of his Deckard, "by the etarnal! 'tis like shootin' beef."
A gust of laughter came from somewhere beyond. The burly soldier paused at the foot of the blockhouse.
"Hi, Jem, have ye seen the General's man? His Honor's in a 'igh temper, I warrant ye."
It was fortunate for Jem that he put his foot inside the blockhouse door.
It was Williams's voice, and fourteen rifles sputtered out a ragged volley.
There was an instant's silence, and then a score of voices raised in consternation, -- shouting, cursing, commanding. Heavy feet pounded on the platform of the blockhouse. While Tom was savagely jamming in powder and ball, the wicket gate of the fort opened, a man came out and ran to a house a biscuit's throw away, and ran back again before he was shot at, slamming the gate after him. Tom swore.
"We've got but the ten rounds," he said, dropping his rifle to his knee. "I reckon 'tis no use to waste it."
"The Willing may come to-night," I answered.
There was a bugle winding a strange call, and the roll of a drum, and the running continued.
"Don't fire till you're sure, boys," said Captain Williams.
Our eyes caught sight of a form in the blockhouse port, there was an instant when a candle flung its rays upon a cannon's flank, and Tom's rifle spat a rod of flame. A red blot hid the cannon's mouth, and behind it a man staggered and fell on the candle, while the shot crunched its way through the logs of the cottage in the yard where we stood. And now the battle was on in earnest, fire darting here and there from the black wall, bullets whistling and flying wide, and at intervals cannon belching, their shot grinding through trees and houses. But our men waited until the gunners lit their matches in the cannon-ports, -- it was no trick for a backwoodsman.
At length there came a popping right and left, and we knew that Bowman and McCarty's men had swung into position there.
An hour passed, and a shadow came along our line, darting from cover to cover. It was Lieutenant Bayley, and he sent me back to find the Colonel and to tell him that the men had but a few rounds left. I sped through the streets on the errand, spied a Creole company waiting in reserve, and near them, behind a warehouse, a knot of backwoodsmen, French, and Indians, lighted up by a smoking torch. And here was Colonel Clark talking to a big, blanketed chief. I was hovering around the skirts of the crowd and seeking for an opening, when a hand pulled me off my feet.
"What'll ye be afther now?" said a voice, which was Terence's.
"Let me go," I cried, "I have a message from Lieutenant Bayley."
"Sure," said Terence, "a man'd think ye had the Hair Buyer's sculp in yere pocket. The Colonel is treaty-makin' with Tobacey's Son, the grreatest Injun in these parrts."
"I don't care."
"Hist!" said Terence.
"Let me go," I yelled, so loudly that the Colonel turned, and Terence dropped me like a live coal. I wormed my way to where Clark stood. Tobacco's Son was at that moment protesting that the Big Knives were his brothers, and declaring that before morning broke he would have one hundred warriors for the Great White Chief. Had he not made a treaty of peace with Captain Helm, who was even then a prisoner of the British general in the fort?
Colonel Clark replied that he knew well of the fidelity of Tobacco's Son to the Big Knives, that Tobacco's Son had remained stanch in the face of bribes and presents (this was true). Now all that Colonel Clark desired of Tobacco's Son besides his friendship was that he would keep his warriors from battle. The Big Knives would fight their own fight. To this sentiment Tobacco's Son grunted extreme approval. Colonel Clark turned to me.
"What is it, Davy?" he asked.
I told him.
"Tobacco's Son has dug up for us King George's ammunition," he said. "Go tell Lieutenant Bayley that I will send him enough to last him a month."
I sped away with the message. Presently I came back again, upon another message, and they were eating, -- those reserves, -- they were eating as I had never seen men eat but once, at Kaskaskia. The baker stood by with lifted palms, imploring the saints that he might have some compensation, until Clark sent him back to his shop to knead and bake again. The good Creoles approached the fires with the contents of their larders in their hands. Terence tossed me a loaf the size of a cannon ball, and another.
"Fetch that wan to wan av the b'ys," said he.
I seized as much as my arms could hold and scurried away to the
firing line once more, and, heedless of whistling bullets, darted from man to man until
the bread was exhausted. Not a one but gave me a "God bless you, Davy," ere he
seized it with a great hand and began to eat in wolfish bites, his Deckard always on the
watch the while.
There was no sleep in the village. All night long, while the rifles sputtered, the villagers in their capotes -- men, women, and children -- huddled around the fires. The young men of the militia begged Clark to allow them to fight, and to keep them well affected he sent some here and there amongst our lines. For our Colonel's strength was not counted by rifles or men alone: he fought with his brain. As Hamilton, the Hair Buyer, made his rounds, he believed the town to be in possession of a horde of Kentuckians Shouts, war-whoops, and bursts of laughter went up from behind the town. Surely a great force was there, a small part of which had been sent to play with him and his men. On the fighting line, when there was a lull, our backwoodsmen stood up behind their trees and cursed the enemy roundly, and often by these taunts persuaded the furious gunners to open their ports and fire their cannon. Woe be to him that showed an arm or a shoulder! Though a casement be lifted ever so warily, a dozen balls would fly into it. And at length, when some of the besieged had died in their anger, the ports were opened no more. It was then our sharpshooters crept up boldly to within thirty yards of them -- nay, it seemed as if they lay under the very walls of the fort. And through the night the figure of the Colonel himself was often seen amongst them, praising their markmanship, pleading with every man not to expose himself without cause. He spied me where I had wormed myself behind the foot-board of a picket fence beneath the cannon-port of a blockhouse. It was during one of the breathing spaces.
"What's this?" said he to Cowan, sharply, feeling me with his foot.
"I reckon it's Davy, sir," said my friend, somewhat sheepishly. "We can't do nothin' with him. He's been up and down the line twenty times this night."
"What doing?" says the Colonel.
"Bread and powder and bullets," answered Bill.
"But that's all over," says Clark.
"He's the very devil to pry," answered Bill. "The
first we know he'll be into the fort under the logs."
"Or between them," says Clark, with a glance at the open palings. "Come here, Davy."
I followed him, dodging between the houses, and when we had got off the line he took me by the two shoulders from behind.
"You little rascal," said he, shaking me, "how am I to look out for an army and you besides? Have you had anything to eat?"
"Yes, sir," I answered.
We came to the fires, and Captain Bowman hurried up to meet him.
"We're piling up earthworks and barricades," said the Captain, "for the fight to-morrow. My God I if the Willing would only come, we could put our cannon into them."
"Bowman," said he, kindly, "has Davy fed you yet?"
"No," says the Captain, surprised, "I've had no time to eat."
"He seems to have fed the whole army," said the Colonel. He paused. "Have they scented Lamothe or Maisonville?"
"Devil a scent!" cried the Captain, "and we've scoured wood and quagmire. They tell me that Lamothe has a very pretty force of redskins at his heels."
"Let McChesney go," said Clark sharply, "McChesney and Ray. I'll warrant they can find 'em."
Now I knew that Maisonville had gone out a-chasing Captain Willing's
brother, -- he who had run into our arms. Lamothe was a noted Indian partisan and a
dangerous man to be dogging our rear that night. Suddenly there came a thought that took
my breath and set my heart a-hammering. When the Colonel's back was turned I slipped away
beyond the range of the firelight, and I was soon on the prairie, stumbling over hummocks
and floundering into ponds, yet going as quietly as I could, turning now and again to look
back at the distant glow or to listen to the rifles popping around the fort. The night was
cloudy and pitchy dark. Twice the whirring of
startled waterfowl frightened me out of my senses, but ambition pricked me on in spite of fear. I may have gone a mile thus, perchance two or three, straining every sense, when a sound brought me to a stand. At first I could not distinguish it because of my heavy breathing, but presently I made sure that it was the low drone of human voices. Getting down on my hands and knees, I crept forward, and felt the ground rising. The voices had ceased. I gained the crest of a low ridge, and threw myself flat. A rattle of musketry set me shivering, and in an agony of fright I looked behind me to discover that I could not be more than four hundred yards from the fort. I had made a circle. I lay very still, my eyes watered with staring, and then -- the droning began again. I went forward an inch, then another and another down the slope, and at last I could have sworn that I saw dark blurs against the ground. I put out my hand, my weight went after, and I had crashed through a coating of ice up to my elbow in a pool. There came a second of sheer terror, a hoarse challenge in French, and then I took to my heels and flew towards the fort at the top of my speed.
I heard them coming after me, leap and bound, and crying out to one another. Ahead of me there might have been a floor or a precipice, as the ground looks level at night. I hurt my foot cruelly on a frozen clod of earth, slid down the washed bank of a run into the Wabash, picked myself up, scrambled to the top of the far side, and had gotten away again when my pursuer shattered the ice behind me. A hundred yards more, two figures loomed up in front, and I was pulled up choking.
"Hang to him, Fletcher!" said a voice.
"Great God!" cried Fletcher, "it's Davy. What are ye up to now?"
"Let me go!" I cried, as soon as I had got my wind. As luck
would have it, I had run into a pair of daredevil young Kentuckians who had more than once
tasted the severity of Clark's discipline, -- Fletcher Blount and Jim Willis. They fairly
shook out of me what had happened, and then dropped me with a war-whoop and started for
the prairie, I after them, crying out to them to beware of the run. A man must indeed be fleet of foot to have escaped these young ruffians, and so it proved. When I reached the hollow there were the two of them fighting with a man in the water, the ice jangling as they shifted their feet.
"What's yere name?" said Fletcher, cuffing and kicking his prisoner until he cried out for mercy.
"Maisonville," said the man, whereupon Fletcher gave a war-whoop and kicked him again.
"That's no way to use a prisoner," said I, hotly.
"Hold your mouth, Davy," said Fletcher, "you didn't ketch him."
"You wouldn't have had him but for me," I retorted.
Fletcher's answer was an oath. They put Maisonville between them, ran him through the town up to the firing line, and there, to my horror, they tied him to a post and used him for a shield, despite his heart-rending yells. In mortal fear that the poor man would be shot down, I was running away to find some one who might have influence over them when I met a lieutenant. He came up and ordered them angrily to unbind Maisonville and bring him before the Colonel. Fletcher laughed, whipped out his hunting knife, and cut the thongs; but he and Willis had scarce got twenty paces from the officer before they seized poor Maisonville by the hair and made shift to scalp him. This was merely backwoods play, had Maisonville but known it. Persuaded, however, that his last hour was come, he made a desperate effort to clear himself, whereupon Fletcher cut off a piece of his skin by mistake. Maisonville, making sure that he had been scalped, stood groaning and clapping his hand to his head, while the two young rascals drew back and stared at each other.
"What's to do now?" said Willis.
"Take our medicine, I reckon," answered Fletcher, grimly. And they seized the tottering man between them, and marched him straightway to the fire where Clark stood.
They had seen the Colonel angry before, but now they
were fairly withered under his wrath. And he could have given them no greater punishment, for he took them from the firing line, and sent them back to wait among the reserves until the morning.
"Nom de Dieu!" said Maisonville, wrathfully, as he watched them go, "they should hang."
"The stuff that brought them here through ice and flood is apt to boil over, Captain," remarked the Colonel, dryly.
"If you please, sir," said I, "they did not mean to cut him, but he wriggled."
Clark turned sharply.
"Eh?" said he, "did you have a hand in this, too?"
"Peste!" cried the Captain, "the little ferret -- you call him -- he find me on the prairie. I run to catch him with some men and fall into the crick -- " he pointed to his soaked leggings, "and your demons, they fall on top of me."
"I wish to heaven you had caught Lamothe instead, Davy," said the Colonel, and joined despite himself in the laugh that went up. Falling sober again, he began to question the prisoner. Where was Lamothe? Pardieu, Maisonville could not say. How many men did he have, etc., etc.? The circle about us deepened with eager listeners, who uttered exclamations when Maisonville, between his answers, put up his hand to his bleeding head. Suddenly the circle parted, and Captain Bowman came through.
"Ray has discovered Lamothe, sir," said he. "What shall we do?"
"Let him into the fort," said Clark, instantly.
"There was a murmur of astonished protest.
"Let him into the fort!" exclaimed Bowman.
"Certainly," said the Colonel; "if he finds he cannot get in, he will be off before the dawn to assemble the tribes."
"But the fort is provisioned for a month," Bowman
expostulated; "and they must find out to-morrow how weak we are."
"To-morrow will be too late," said Clark.
"And suppose he shouldn't go in?"
"He will go in," said the Colonel, quietly. "Withdraw your men, Captain, from the north side."
Captain Bowman departed. Whatever he may have thought of these orders, he was too faithful a friend of the Colonel's to delay their execution. Murmuring, swearing oaths of astonishment, man after man on the firing line dropped his rifle at the word, and sullenly retreated. The crack, crack of the Deckards on the south and east were stilled; not a barrel was thrust by the weary garrison through the logs, and the place became silent as the wilderness. It was the long hour before the dawn. And as we lay waiting on the hard ground, stiff and cold and hungry, talking in whispers, somewhere near six of the clock on that February morning the great square of Fort Sackville began to take shape. There was the long line of the stockade, the projecting blockhouses at each corner with peaked caps, and a higher capped square tower from the centre of the enclosure, the banner of England drooping there and clinging forlorn to its staff, as though with a presentiment. Then, as the light grew, the close-lipped casements were seen, scarred with our bullets. The little log houses of the town came out, the sapling palings and the bare trees, -- all grim and gaunt at that cruel season. Cattle lowed here and there, and horses whinnied to be fed.
It was a dirty, gray dawn, and we waited until it had done its best. From where we lay hid behind log house and palings we strained our eyes towards the prairie to see if Lamothe would take the bait, until our view was ended at the fuzzy top of a hillock. Bill Cowan, doubled up behind a woodpile and breathing heavily, nudged me.
"Davy, Davy, what d'ye see!"
Was it a head that broke the line of the crest? Even as I stared,
breathless, half a score of forms shot up and were running madly for the stockade. Twenty
more broke after them, Indians and Frenchmen, dodging, swaying, crowding, looking
fearfully to right and left. And
from within the fort came forth a hubbub, -- cries and scuffling, orders, oaths, and shouts. In plain view of our impatient Deckards soldiers manned the platform, and we saw that they were flinging down ladders. An officer in a faded scarlet coat stood out among the rest, shouting himself hoarse. Involuntarily Cowan lined his sights across the woodpile on this mark of color.
Lamothe's men, a seething mass, were fighting like wolves for the ladders, fearful yet that a volley might kill half of them where they stood. And so fast did they scramble upwards that the men before them stepped on their fingers. All at once and by acclamation the fierce war-whoops of our men rent the air, and some toppled in sheer terror and fell the twelve feet of the stockade at the sound of it. Then every man in the regiment, Creole and backwoodsman, lay back to laugh. The answer of the garrison was a defiant cheer, and those who had dropped, finding they were not shot at, picked themselves up again and gained the top, helping to pull the ladders after them. Bowman's men swung back into place, the rattle and drag were heard in the blockhouse as the cannon were run out through the ports, and the battle which had held through the night watches began again with redoubled vigor. But there was more caution on the side of the British, for they had learned dearly how the Kentuckians could measure crack and crevice.
There followed two hours and a futile waste of ammunition, the lead from the garrison flying harmless here and there, and not a patch of skin or cloth showing.