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Redcoat & Warpaint

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Redcoat & Warpaint
Leonaur Original
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Author(s): Francis Parkman
Date Published: 2012/09
Page Count: 384
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-915-3
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-914-6

The burning frontier in 18th century America

Following the defeat of France at the culmination of the Seven Years War, the colonists, their militia and British regiments serving in America had yet to contend with hostile Indian tribes for whom neither old enmities nor traditional allegiances could be nullified by the signing of a peace treaty in Europe. This was another brutal period of sieges, burning stockades, massacres and fierce skirmishes and battles. Detroit underwent a protracted siege, the battles of Bloody and Bushy Run entered legend and notable characters of the French and Indian War, such as Robert Rogers of the Rangers, once more were in action. Those familiar with Leonaur’s, Musket and Tomahawk—a military history of the French and Indian War based on Parkman’s renowned work Montcalm and Wolfe—will recognise that the Leonaur editors have similarly treated Parkman’s sequel history, The Conspiracy of Pontiac, in terms of making the book more accessible to the modern military enthusiast. This book now ‘cuts to the chase’ of the military events of this notable period of American colonial history. Useful and interesting first hand accounts which had been relegated to footnotes in the original edition have been integrated into the main body of the text to create a more focused book without sacrificing any of Parkman’s essential research and undisputed skill as an historian.
Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.

He lay encamped three days to rest men and animals, and then,
leaving his invalids to garrison the fort, put out again into the sea of
savage verdure that stretched beyond. The troops and convoy defiled
along the road made by General Forbes in 1758, if the name of road
can be given to a rugged track, hewn out by axmen through forests
and swamps and up the steep acclivities of rugged mountains; shut
in between impervious walls of trunks, boughs, and matted thickets,
and overarched by a canopy of restless leaves. With difficulty and toil,
the wagons dragged slowly on, by hill and hollow, through brook
and quagmire, over roots, rocks, and stumps. Nature had formed the
country for a war of ambuscades and surprises, and no pains were spared to guard against them. A band of backwoodsmen led the way,
followed closely by the pioneers; the wagons and the cattle were in
the centre, guarded by the regulars; and a rear guard of backwoodsmen
closed the line of march. Frontier riflemen scoured the woods far
in front and on either flank, and made surprise impossible. Thus they
toiled heavily on till the main ridge of the Alleghanies, a mighty wall
of green, rose up before them; and they began their zigzag progress
up the woody heights amid the sweltering heats of July. The tongues
of the panting oxen hung lolling from their jaws; while the pinetrees,
scorching in the hot sun, diffused their resinous odours through
the sultry air. At length from the windy summit the Highland soldiers
could gaze around upon a boundless panorama of forest-covered
mountains, wilder than their own native hills. Descending from the
Alleghanies, they entered upon a country less rugged and formidable
in itself, but beset with constantly increasing dangers. On the second
of August, they reached Fort Ligonier, about fifty miles from Bedford,
and a hundred and fifty from Carlisle. The Indians who were about
the place vanished at their approach; but the garrison could furnish
no intelligence of the motions and designs of the enemy, having been
completely blockaded for weeks. In this uncertainty, Bouquet resolved
to leave behind the oxen and wagons, which formed the most cumbrous
part of the convoy, in order to advance with greater celerity, and
oppose a better resistance in case of attack. Thus relieved, the army
resumed its march on the fourth, taking with them three hundred
and fifty pack-horses and a few cattle, and at nightfall encamped at
no great distance from Ligonier. Within less than a day’s march in
advance lay the dangerous defiles of Turtle Creek, a stream flowing at
the bottom of a deep hollow, flanked by steep declivities, along the
foot of which the road at that time ran for some distance. Fearing that
the enemy would lay an ambuscade at this place, Bouquet resolved to
march on the following day as far as a small stream called Bushy Run;
to rest here until night, and then, by a forced march, to cross Turtle
Creek under cover of the darkness.<br>
On the morning of the fifth, the tents were struck at an early hour,
and the troops began their march through a country broken with hills
and deep hollows, covered with the tall, dense forest, which spread
for countless leagues around. By one o’clock, they had advanced seventeen
miles; and the guides assured them that they were within half
a mile of Bushy Run, their proposed resting-place. The tired soldiers
were pressing forward with renewed alacrity, when suddenly the report
of rifles from the front sent a thrill along the ranks; and, as they listened, the firing thickened into a fierce, sharp rattle; while shouts
and whoops, deadened by the intervening forest, showed that the advance
guard was hotly engaged. The two foremost companies were
at once ordered forward to support it; but, far from abating, the fire
grew so rapid and furious as to argue the presence of an enemy at
once numerous and resolute. At this, the convoy was halted, the troops
formed into line, and a general charge ordered. Bearing down through
the forest with fixed bayonets, they drove the yelping assailants before
them, and swept the ground clear. But at the very moment of success,
a fresh burst of whoops and firing was heard from either flank; while a
confused noise from the rear showed that the convoy was attacked. It
was necessary instantly to fall back for its support. Driving off the assailants, the troops formed in a circle around the crowded and terrified
horses. Though they were new to the work, and though the numbers
and movements of the enemy, whose yelling resounded on every side,
were concealed by the thick forest, yet no man lost his composure;
and all displayed a steadiness which nothing but implicit confidence
in their commander could have inspired. And now ensued a combat
of a nature most harassing and discouraging. Again and again, now
on this side and now on that, a crowd of Indians rushed up, pouring
in a heavy fire, and striving, with furious outcries, to break into the
circle. A well-directed volley met them, followed by a steady charge
of the bayonet. They never waited an instant to receive the attack, but,
leaping backwards from tree to tree, soon vanished from sight, only
to renew their attack with unabated ferocity in another quarter. Such
was their activity, that very few of them were hurt; while the British,
less expert in bush-fighting, suffered severely. Thus the fight went on,
without intermission, for seven hours, until the forest grew dark with
approaching night. Upon this, the Indians gradually slackened their
fire, and the exhausted soldiers found time to rest.
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