The Hidden Children HTML version

Chapter 21. Chinisee Castle
For twelve days our army, marching west by north, tore its terrible way straight through
the smoking vitals of the Iroquois Empire, leaving behind it nearly forty towns and
villages and more than two hundred cabins on fire; thousands and thousands of bushels of
grain burning, thousands of apple, peach, pear, and plum trees destroyed, thousands of
acres of pumpkins, beans, peas, corn, potatoes, beets, turnips, carrots, watermelons,
muskmelons, strawberry, black-berry, raspberry shrubs crushed and rotting in the
trampled gardens under the hot September sun.
In the Susquehanna and Chinisee Valleys, not a roof survived unburnt, not a fruit tree or
an ear of corn remained standing, not a domestic animal, not a fowl, was left. And, save
for the aged squaw we left at Chiquaha in a new hut of bark, with provisions sufficient
for her needs, not one living soul now inhabited the charred ruins of the Long House
behind us, except our fierce soldiery. And they, tramping doggedly forward, voluntarily
and cheerfully placing themselves on half rations, were now terribly resolved to make an
end for all time of the secret and fruitful Empire which had nourished so long the
merciless marauders, red and white, who had made of our frontiers but one vast
slaughter-house and bloody desolation.
Town after town fell in ashes as our torches flared; Kendaia, Kanadesaga, Gothsunquin,
Skoi-yase, Kanandaigua, Haniai, Kanasa; acre after acre was annihilated. So vast was one
field of corn that it took two thousand men more than six hours to destroy it. And the end
was not yet, nor our stern business with our enemies ended.
As always on the march, the division of light troops led; the advance was piloted by my
guides, reinforced by Boyd with four riflemen of Morgan's-- Tim Murphy, David
Elerson, and Garrett Putnam, privates, and Michael Parker, sergeant.
Close behind us, and pretty well ahead of the rifle battalion, under Major Parr, and the
pioneers, followed Mr. Lodge, the surveyor, and his party-- Thomas Grant with the
Jacob-staff, four chain-carriers, and Corporal Calhawn. Usually we remained in touch
with them while they ran their lines through the wilderness, but sometimes we were
stealing forward, far ahead and in touch with the retreating Tory army, patiently and
persistently contriving plans to get at Amochol. But the painted hordes of Senecas
enveloped the Sorcerer and his acolytes as with a living blanket; and, prowling outside
their picket fires at night, not one ridged-crest did we see during those twelve days of
swift pursuit.
Boyd, during the last few days, had become very silent and morose; and his men and my
Indians believed that he was brooding over his failure to take the Red Priest at
Catharines-town. But my own heavy heart told me a different story; and the burden of