The Hidden Children
Chapter 15. Block-House No. 2
On the 14th the army lay supine. There was no news from Otsego. One man fell dead in
camp of heart disease. The cattle-guard was fired on. On the 15th a corporal and four
privates, while herding our cattle, were fired on, the Senecas killing and scalping one and
wounding another. On the 16th came a runner from Clinton with news that the Otsego
army was on the march and not very far distant from the Ouleout; and a detachment of
eight hundred men, under Brigadier General Poor, was sent forward to meet our Right
Wing and escort it back to this camp.
By one of the escort, a drummer lad, I sent a letter directed to Lois, hoping it might be
relayed to Otsego and from thence by batteau to Albany. The Oneida runner had brought
no letters, much to the disgust of the army, and no despatches except the brief line to our
General commanding. The Brigadiers were furious. So also was I that no letters came for
On the 17th our soldier-herdsmen were again fired on, and, as before, one poor fellow
was killed and partly scalped, and one wounded. The Yellow Moth, Tahoontowhee, and
the Grey-Feather went out at night on retaliation bent, but returned with neither trophies
nor news, save what we all knew, that the Seneca scouts were now swarming like hornets
all around us ready to sting to death anyone who strayed out of bounds.
On the 18th the entire camp lay dull, patiently expectant of Clinton. He did not come. It
rained all night.
On Thursday, the 19th, it still rained steadily, but with no violence-- a fine, sweet,
refreshing summer shower, made golden and beautiful at intervals by the momentary
prophecy of the sun; yet he did not wholly reveal himself, though he smiled through the
mist at us in friendly fashion.
I had been out fishing for trouts very early, the rain making it favourable for such
pleasant sport, and my Indians and I had finished a breakfast of corn porridge and the
sweet-fleshed fishes that I took from the brook where it falls into the Susquehanna.
It was still very early-- near to five o'clock, I think -- for the morning gun had not yet
bellowed, and the camp lay very still in the gentle and fragrant rain.
A few moments before five I saw a company of Jersey troops march silently down to the
river, hang their cartouche-boxes on their bayonets, and ford the stream, one holding to
another, and belly deep in the swollen flood.
Thinks I to myself, they are going to protect our cattle-guards; and I turned and walked
down to the ford to watch the crossing.