You are here

قراءة كتاب The Boy Scouts at the Battle of Saratoga The Story of General Burgoyne's Defeat

تنويه: تعرض هنا نبذة من اول ١٠ صفحات فقط من الكتاب الالكتروني، لقراءة الكتاب كاملا اضغط على الزر “اشتر الآن"

‏اللغة: English
The Boy Scouts at the Battle of Saratoga
The Story of General Burgoyne's Defeat

The Boy Scouts at the Battle of Saratoga The Story of General Burgoyne's Defeat

تقييمك:
0
No votes yet
المؤلف:
دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 7

Ira came to their aid, and in a few moments the man was bound and disarmed.

“What does this mean?” he demanded with an ugly glance at the young scout.

“That I want the papers you carry,” Ira replied quietly.

“Find them then,” he retorted with a grin.

His clothing was examined, his boots, hat, belt, the stocks of his pistols and gun; but the important papers could not be found.


CHAPTER III.
THE SPIKED CANNON.

“We’ll put him in the tent, and make further search in the morning,” Ira said at length.

The three scouts lifted their prisoner, and, carrying him into the tent, laid him gently on the fir boughs.

“I would loosen your bonds if it were safe to do so, Master Preston,” Ira said; “but as it is, you will have to make yourself as comfortable as possible under the circumstances.”

“I have been in a worse fix,” he replied shortly.

“You may both lie down and get what sleep you can,” the lad then said to his comrades.

“You are the one to sleep; we’ll take turns watching the prisoner,” Late said stoutly.

“No,” their leader answered decisively. “You will have a long journey to-morrow and need the rest, while I can sleep after returning to the encampment.”

They yielded reluctantly, and were soon slumbering soundly. Ten minutes passed, and the courier was so quiet the lone watchman thought he too must be asleep; but suddenly he tried to raise himself, saying:

“Look here!”

“What is it?” Ira asked kindly. “Can I do anything for you?”

“Yes,” the captive answered. “Tell me whether you are really Le Geyt, or some one who is personating him.”

“What difference does that make to you?”

“Much. If you are Le Geyt, you are a low, contemptible traitor, and when I get the chance I’ll crush your life out as I would that of a snake.”

“I don’t blame you for feeling that way,” Ira replied with a slight laugh. “I should in your place. But what if I am not Le Geyt?”

The courier struggled until he had raised himself slightly on one elbow, and looked straight at his captor for a moment. Then he continued:

“If you are some Yankee personating him at General Burgoyne’s headquarters, I say it is the boldest scheme I ever heard of, and I have only the profoundest respect for you. To be outwitted by such a man isn’t half as bad as having a sneaking traitor get the best of you.”

“That is where the shoe pinches, is it?” the young scout asked with another laugh. “Well, I’ll let you judge as to my real character by this night’s work.”

Silence reigned for some time, to be broken again by Master Preston, who said, as if he had been thinking over the events of the night:

“We are not far from the British camp?”

“What makes you think so?”

“You were not gone long enough from the encampment during the afternoon to have traveled very far and also caught that string of fish.”

“You are a good reasoner, Master Preston.”

“I believe we haven’t been very far from the camp at any time to-night,” the prisoner went on a moment or two later in tones of disgust. “I wonder I didn’t suspect you were leading me in a circle.”

“The circle was too large, and you were not familiar enough with the locality to see the change in our course,” Ira explained. “You can’t be blamed, I assure you. The way you have hidden the letters I know you carry, is proof you are nobody’s fool.”

The compliment evidently pleased the prisoner, for he laughed silently, and then remarked significantly:

“You haven’t found them yet, have you?”

Ira made no answer, and in a few minutes the prisoner was sleeping soundly notwithstanding his uncomfortable situation.

The little camp was astir early, for Dan Cushing arrived at dawn from Fort Edward. He looked the prisoner over, heard the story of his capture, and then turned to Late.

“When did you get back?” he asked.

“Yesterday about noon,” his friend replied.

“Any special news at Ticonderoga?” he next inquired.

“Nothin’, except General St. Clair has over three thousand men,” was the reply. “Colonel Seth Warner has come with his regiment from Bennington.”

“And General Schuyler is gettin’ reinforcements all the time,” Dan announced. “Give him a little more time, an’ he’ll have ten thousand men at his back, ’nough to drive the red-coats back into Lake Champlain.”

“He must have the needed time before Burgoyne reaches him,” Ira declared.

“That is what the general told me to tell you,” the lad continued. “He will leave the road open to Fort Edward until General St. Clair finds out whether he will have to retreat from Ticonderoga. If he does, he is to destroy bridges, and cut down trees across the way to hinder the red-coats as much as possible. I carried that order to him before comin’ back, else I’d been here sooner.”

“You’re here in time,” the leader replied, “though I shall have to send you back to the fort in a few hours. I want our prisoner in the custody of General Schuyler, rather than that of General St. Clair. I shall feel safer. And all three of you will make none too strong a guard. He must not be allowed to escape under any circumstances. Shoot him down should he attempt it. But we’ll have breakfast first, and then search him again for those missing messages.”

In a half-hour they and their prisoner had eaten. Then the latter was stripped to the skin, and every rag of his clothing examined. Then his boots and weapons were again inspected, lest some secret cavity had been overlooked. But the search was as fruitless as the previous one. It was evident that the captive enjoyed their discomfiture.

“It matters little,” Ira finally declared. “As long as he is a prisoner he cannot deliver the letters, and that will answer our purpose. It is possible, too, that the general may find a way to make him disclose their hiding place. At noon you are to begin your journey. Take the west trail to the river, and keep on to the fort. When you go, I’ll start for the British camp. Until then Dan and I will sleep.”

The noon-day sun, therefore, looked down upon a deserted island. The three boys with their prisoner had gone over to the western shore of the little pond, and from there struck through the forest towards the Hudson river; while Ira re-crossed to the brook, and, descending that to the larger stream, retraced his steps to the point where the latter met the Hubbardtown trail. From this point he began his journey back to the lake. He took such a roundabout route as a precautionary step. Should he meet any one who knew him, it would be supposed he was returning to the encampment directly from Master Graham’s house.

On his arrival he found General Burgoyne too busy with his arrangements for breaking camp on the morrow to give him more than a passing notice.

Greeting him pleasantly, the officer remarked:

“I trust that you made a safe journey, Master Le Geyt.”

“I did, and left Master Preston in good hands,” he replied, an answer which satisfied the unsuspecting commander.

By easy stages the army crept down toward Ticonderoga until only Sugar Loaf Mountain[3] stood between it and the

Pages