General Fiction posted January 21, 2021 Chapters:  ...81 82 -83- 84... 


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J B and the others are in harms way

A chapter in the book A Grain Of Wheat

The fight

by Ben Colder


The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.



Background
Dedicated to all Army scouts of the day.
During the trip, I learned the small wagon never carried the Gatling but 14 infantry troops who were all sharpshooters. The Gatling was in the wagon marked as medical while the other carried our ordnance.

The Commander suspected Gall would recognize the small wagon as the one with the big gun, but he was in for a massive surprise.

Near an area where we were to meet another column of troops, the Pawnee and I met with three other scouts in route to join another patrol.
They had the same impression as we did. Gall was receiving hundreds of reinforcements made up mostly of the southern Cheyenne, my mother's people.

It was for certain; we were in for a big fight, but my orders were to find the other patrol and have them to join the main column.

The other scouts went about their duties of scouting the hills with the intentions of finding Gall's exact location.

We met a small militia group made up of settlers who wished to secure safety for their farms and families and in total they numbered eighteen. They too were also looking for the other column with intention of joining them.

I took lead with the Pawnee riding about a hundred yards in front of me. Within minutes we approached a gully leading to a tributary connected to a creek I knew about.

As we approached, the sound of gunfire could be heard sending the Pawnee riding fast to us.
He yelled, "Arapaho, they fight soldiers from other fort!"

Our group quickly sprang into action as we began riding hard toward the enemy firing torrents of bullets into their ranks and faces.

The patrol was pinned down and out numbered. The Captain in charge waved us into their defense causing each of us to quickly take positions and get ready for another charge.

The Pawnee had been right. They were Arapaho with much aid from the Cheyenne. Together they looked to have had two hundred or more.

The Captain and the group had been hit hard. There were less than a dozen of his men able to fight and at least twenty or more either dead or wounded. With the eighteen-man militia and the the others our defense number thirty-two counting the Pawnee and myself.

Without saying a word the Pawnee mounted his horse and rode to find the main column and bring help.

Darkness was about an hour away. The Captain had used wisdom by saving their mounts and holding them in the gully while creating a makeshift corral using dirt walls as blockers.

However, he was less fortunate, his mount was killed just as the ruckus started.

Though we had lost several people, the Arapaho had done the same. Where we had our wounded and dead within reach, they had to retrieve theirs on an open battlefield.

I never had a clue who any of the war chiefs were. Our only hope was the Pawnee's ability to find the column and bring help by morning.

All of us knew we would be hit hard come daylight and with no more men than we had, it would be a gift from the Great Spirit if any of us would survive the day.

We spent the night fireless and listened to war drums. Some of us stood guard while seeing the enemies' campfires which created a glow no doubt could be seen for miles.

From some of the young soldiers who were still prepared to fight, I could hear them speaking low to each other. Some would tell of their desires and what they planned to do if Providence were on their side.

For the first time in years, I thought about Lottie and little Norm and hoped they were happy. I tried hard pushing away the remembrance of Little Shirt and his smiling face as Amitola would hand him to me.

The Captain and I had little to say to each other, but I could tell he was deeply concerned about what we would face come morning.

It was in the early hours when the drums stopped. I had no idea what was going on. I knew if they had continued, we would be facing an early morning charge.

The Captain asked, "What do you make of it?"

I responded, "Captain, I'm not sure. It could be a good sign or perhaps they have received an important visitor and making changes for their morning attack. Your guess is good as mine, but either way, stay ready."

During the night, the Captain had informed me that he was to have met up with a Major Moore and his column somewhere near the creek when the Arapaho made their attack.

This information to me was vital and had I known earlier, I would have sent the Pawnee to find them instead of the main column.

Our hope now lay upon the Pawnee's ability to bring help. The dead animals were already smelling and earlier, two of our wounded had died. We had buried 12 men with three wounded in question.

With only a handful of fighters left to face overwhelming odds we stood gallantly ready.

A quietness hovered like a cloud and not one sound from anything or anyone.

A small break of dawn tried appearing through the tops of nearby trees as a tip of the sun in the eastern shy offered a glimpse of the morning light.

I was surprised to recognize the dead enemy were still lying where they fell.

Nature was calling; flocks of turkey vultures, some circling overhead while others perched in trees waiting for the moment.

Several times the soldiers would shoo them away.

Almost a hour into the morning, the enemy had not attacked. The Captain and I both thought it to be strange. It was mystery why the enemy's dead still lay where they fell.

The ordeal was something I had never witnessed and the only thing we could do for the moment was wait.





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