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The Fight For Freedom
The first things Jonas heard were the gunshots, and shortly after, the screams as British soldiers fell and tumbled to the ground, clutching open wounds, in some cases mortal. Jonas and his platoon had been scouting along the southern state lines of New York for the past few weeks ever since the British had arrived in force to the New World, ambushing smaller, manageable Redcoat platoons and repeatedly assaulting them until they were either eliminated or broke ranks and ran. This enemy squad they were attacking now was their sixth, and it seemed that this would be the final assault, for this rag-tag bunch, composed of merely fifteen redcoats, had been nearly a hundred strong the morning before.
As the majority of these remaining Redcoats dropped, a few of Jonas’s platoon drew their cutlasses, intending to finish the British soldiers quickly and conserve ammo. When his fellow revolutionaries closed in, Jonas turned away, not wanting to witness the gruesome carnage. Unfortunately he couldn’t block out the tortured screams as they were slaughtered.
“Okay, Men. Good work. We keep this up and those lobsters won’t have enough men to man their own bases,” Commander Elliot said. “Now gather up any useful supplies and let’s head back to camp.”
Commander Elliot was a tall, broad shouldered man with a thick black beard and close cropped salt and pepper hair. His face was decorated with a myriad of crisscrossing scars, and no one knew their origin. He had led Jonas’s platoon because he was the one who had started it, had trained its members, and was the only one with the guts to roam the countryside hunting down British patrols. His leadership skills were legendary among revolutionaries, and he had done more than enough in this war to prove his worth.
“I’ve had enough of this war. More than enough, in fact,” a man confided in Jonas as he searched a dead British soldier, only to find a small flask of gunpowder on his remains along with a handful of rifle pellets. “I want this to end soon. I’m worried about my family. I haven’t seen them for the past two months, not since I left them in North Carolina.”
This man was Kevin Watson, a short, thin, light weighted man with long blonde hair. He was the scout of their expeditionary force, and he had never failed them in any of their ventures before. Without him, in fact, they would have been only half as successful, if not dead or imprisoned in a British camp. He had once silently and single handedly eliminated a small British encampment of nearly thirty soldiers while they were asleep, with enough time left to prepare a small dinner for his platoon by the time they caught up to him.
“I hear the British are massing up in the New York Harbor, possibly waiting for the arrival of reinforcements. At least that’s what I overheard a messenger tell the Commander a few days ago,” he informed Jonas.
“Oh wonderful,” Jonas replied. “Just what we need. More Redcoats parading around our country as if they own the place. Our country will be re-infested with them before we know it. All we’ve done will have been for nothing.”
“Well, the Commander was speaking of joining up with another platoon to either assault them, or to ambush any other British soldiers attempting to rendezvous at the harbor.”
“We can only hope that they're not too fortified already. If so, then that will never work.”
Later on that night, after making camp a few miles East of their recent battle, Commander Elliot called the attention of the camp and began informing them of the situation.
“Soldiers of the Revolution!” he began. “We have done exceptionally well in this war so far, but what we have accomplished was merely a quick jab at a hornet's nest. The British plan to transport thousands of soldiers, the majority of them to the New York Harbor, to crush us. These reinforcements will double the amount of troops they have here already, and we must prevent this. We will join up with a regiment from the South and make our way East until we come in sight of the coast. Once we hit it, we move northward under the cover of the forest until we reach the British fortifications at the harbor. We'll wait until nightfall and infiltrate the camp, sabotaging as much of their supplies and equipment as we can, and killing any soldiers standing guard or sleeping in our path. The following morning, after leaving the camp, we'll then fall back and join the main assault force. If we don't succeed in this, our soldiers won't stand a chance. The British are too deeply entrenched for simple brute force, which we severely lack in already. This mission could decide between independence, or domination by Kings and Queens for the rest of our lives.”
“This sounds more like a suicide mission than heroism,” William, Jonas's friend, whispered to him.
“Well, it's the only chance we've got,” Jonas replied. We're spread thin enough as it is. If the British bring in any more soldiers we'll be overrun. We have to try something.”
“Hopefully the majority of us come out of this with our limbs intact!” William exclaimed.
“Haha, that's what we’re all hoping for friend. It’s all we really can hope for.”
The next morning, the platoon packed up their supplies and began their short journey eastward, surpassing British patrols and avoiding all possible conflicts along the way. At one point, though, a small British scouting group stumbled upon them and a brief series of gunshots erupted from the revolutionaries’ rifles as the Redcoats turned and tried to report back to their platoon. Most of them fell, but two escaped and ran deeper into the forest. Kevin, the scout, sprinted off after them, un-holstering his musket as he ran. When they reached a clearing in the forest, Kevin nimbly scampered up a tree and picked one off with his gun, and threw his hunting knife at the other. The blade flashed through the air to impact the remaining soldier between the shoulder blades with a thud. Neither of them moved after that. He went back to his platoon and they continued their march towards the coastline. They couldn’t afford any delays.
The march to the coast took four hours, but it was only halfway finished. When the coastline came in sight, they sat wearily, fully intending to get some rest while they waited for the Southern regiment to arrive.
Nearly an hour later, they did. Kevin arrived back to the camp from scouting the perimeter escorting another man of similar, lean build, but with shaggy, wild black hair and a neatly trimmed beard. The man surveyed the camp and its occupants for a moment, then, finding the person he was looking for, walked up to the Commander.
“Commander Elliot?” the man asked.
“Yes. You must be the scout for the Southern regiment,” he assumed.
“John Watkins is the name,” he stated as he offered his hand to the Commander. The Commander took his hand in greeting and shook, making John wince ever so slightly from his strong grip. “My regiment should be here in five to ten minutes. Once they arrive, we can be on our way.”
A short time later, a handful of men ghosted into the camp from the surrounding forest, all of them wearing make shift camouflage and covered in dirt. The tallest of them stepped forward. He had dark hair and a tan complexion that suggested he was from some kind of Latin descent.
“Elliot! Long time no see, my old friend,” he said.
“Ah, Robert. Indeed, it has been a while. It’s good to see you again, or at least to know you’re alive.”
“So how are you faring? It seems you’ve done rather well for yourself, seeing as you have your own platoon and all.”
“I’ve been… alright. This war is really wearing down on my spirits though. Far too much bloodshed, all in the name of freedom,” Elliot answered rather bitterly
“Yes, yes I agree. Well let’s get to business, shall we?”
With that, the combined platoons set off to the North, always silent, always keeping the coastline in sight. When dusk fell, the soldiers had arrived a few miles South of the British encampment, being careful to eliminate any sentries, and stopped for a rest before starting their mission.
The British camp spanned nearly a full mile in diameter, surrounded by make shift walls and filled with barracks and bunkers. Deep into the center was their supply cache, and on all points of high ground cannons were set. Luckily, they hadn't had time to clear the surrounding forest, so this greatly benefited the rebels.
When the time came, the Southerners went around the camp distributing bows, arrows, daggers and throwing knives to the soldiers of Jonas's platoon.
“This calls for old style weaponry. Quiet, but still rather efficient,” Robert said.
Once this was finished, the soldiers moved out. Nearly two hundred fifty strong, they crept through the forest until they reached the wall. A hand full of soldiers scaled the five foot wall, and in the process quickly and efficiently eliminated the few sentries standing guard with slashes to the necks with daggers or shots with arrows. The soldiers already over the wall stood guard while the rest came over as well. About a quarter mile to the South, a similar scene occurred when the Southerners scaled the wall.
“All right Men,” Elliot said. “We have to make our way to their supply cache in the middle of the camp. Once there, we set fire to their gunpowder supply and send two other small teams to other secondary supply caches near the area to do the same. Kill as many British as possible along the way, but keep silent. Destroying those supplies is our main goal. The Southerners will move around the camp sabotaging fortifications and cannons. Now let's move.”
The soldiers methodically moved toward the center of camp, small groups splitting off here and there to enter bunkers, from which came the occasional muffled scream as British lives were quietly extinguished.
After nearly a half hour, the main supply cache came in sight. It was stacked up in a fortified warehouse guarded by nearly twenty British soldiers. Luckily tonight an attack wasn't expected whatsoever, so most were asleep. The rebels took up positions, took out their bows, took aim, and on the signal of Elliot, let fly. Most of the British soldiers fell, but a second barrage of arrows quickly eliminated the ones that survived.
The rebels then entered the warehouse and went to work, setting up fuses and inserting them into the gunpowder barrels, them taking the other ends of the fuses outside, ready to ignite. They waited for the secondary teams to do the same with the other supply caches, regrouped, and then Commander Elliot gave the signal to light the fuses. After applying a small flame to the main one, the team turned and ran in the opposite direction, intending to escape before the warehouse exploded and alerted the entire camp. They were a little over halfway out when the night sky lit up with flames and sparks as the supply cache exploded. Shortly after, alarms were set off throughout the entire camp and a British soldier burst out of a warehouse, cutlass in hand, directly in front of Jonas. He then performed a straightforward lunge toward Jonas, which he quickly parried with his own cutlass and countered with a downward slash. The British soldier got his blade up in time to lock with Jonas's attack, then proceeded to kick out with his right leg into Jonas's mid-section, knocking him down and flinging his sword out of his reach. The Redcoat stood over him, reversed his grip on the cutlass, gripped it in both hands, and just as he tried to stab downward, Jonas saw a quick flash of silver. He closed his eyes, not wanting to see deaths approach. When nothing happened, he slowly opened one eye to see the soldier still standing over him, but falling to one side with a throwing knife protruding from his chest. A split second later, William appeared in his vision, offering him a helping hand.
“Come on! Get up Jonas! We have to get out of here. The British are swarming around here like a bunch of angry fire ants!”
Jonas took his hand, and William hoisted him up. They ran for their lives, past the bodies of soldiers lying limp and lifeless on the ground, friend and foe alike, past small battles here and there between the British and the rebels as they were trying to make their escape. They helped those in their platoon that was still alive, skewering Redcoats and whipping throwing knives at them as the pair sprinted for the wall.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, they reached the wall. A few of their fellows had picked up British rifles and were firing at the oncoming soldiers, covering for their friends trying to get over the wall. The rebels fell back, one by one, until finally only a hand full were left. At this point Jonas and William had reached the wall and the rest of the rebels turned and practically leapt over the wall, and were helped over by those on the other side just as the British closed in.
By this time, dawn was just breaking over the horizon. Jonas’s platoon scattered away into the forest just as many shouts and gunshots sounded to the West of the British encampment. The rebels’ main assault force had arrived. Before long, with the British still chasing them and the rebels turning and firing at them sporadically, shots rang out from behind the Redcoats and many of them fell to the ground, dead or dying. Jonas’s platoon realized that this was their chance so they turned around swiftly, the front row kneeling, and let of a volley of shots into the confused and scrambling ranks of Redcoats. They were all decimated within a short time, and in their place came Robert’s platoon from out of the forest.
“Excellent timing,” Commander Elliot said. “Now we should return to the enemy camp and offer our allies all the assistance we can.”
“That said, they turned around and began the short trip back. When they crested over a ridge over looking the camp, they saw a hopeful sight. The camp was being overrun by rebels, and the British had retreated to the coast of the harbor. Nearly a quarter of them had sailed away on ships, half of them were simply dead, and the other quarter of them was holed up on the coast and were quickly being exterminated. With their cannons ceasing to function, a lack of supplies, and absolutely no organization due to Jonas’s platoon’s interference, they couldn’t put up enough resistance to push the rebels out of their camp.
“We did it!” Jonas exclaimed to William. “We won! This battle is ours!”
“Just one more step for independence,” William replied. With that, the platoon celebrated and reveled in their victory.