Excerpt: 'Valley Forge' by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen


With Grey's order of no musket flints, the attackers could not form into volley lines but instead absolutely had to press forward. It had been stated it was to insure that no weapon was accidentally discharged and thus spoil the surprise, but Allen could see that now it was unleashing a murderous frenzy. They had to close with their enemies in order to drive them and in so doing it turned it into a murderous melee of men on one side driven into a killing frenzy and on the other side men caught by surprise and so terrified that some did not even offer resistance and in their attempts to surrender were clubbed down and bayoneted like sheep being slaughtered.

The attack was sweeping past him and into the woods. Scores of men were on the ground, most dead, some twisting and writhing, others curled up, yet others somehow trying to crawl away.

Two light infantry men came up to a man on the ground who held his hands up, begging for mercy. Laughing they raised their muskets high and pinned him to the ground. Allen stood as if frozen, unable to respond. Still laughing, as if drunk with some mad hysteria they approached their next victim who looked to be not much more than a boy.

Allen sprang forward.

"No! Prisoner!"

The light infantrymen, joined now by several of their comrades paused and then one turned on him.

"You sound provincial! You're one of them!"

He raised his musket as if to run Allen through.

"Stand in place or you're a dead man!"

It was Andre coming up to Allen's side. Though his pistol was empty he cocked it, aiming it at the light infantryman.

"This officer is one of us. Now by God, lower that musket or I'll blow your damn head off."

The infantryman did as ordered.

"Name and regiment."

He snapped out the question with such authority that the man replied so drilled was he to respond without hesitation.

"Fredericks, sir, 2nd Light Infantry."

"I will see you come morning, Fredericks, now move along."

The man actually came to attention and saluted.

"Begging your pardon sir. It's dark, he sounded like a rebel. Thought he had snatched an officer's jacket I did sir."

He looked at Allen.

"Begging your pardon sir."

"Damn you, start taking prisoners," Allen replied, trying to control the trembling in his voice.

The man saluted and then ran off, followed by his comrades and he could see that as they disappeared into the dark, they looked back. . .and the order would not be obeyed.

"Stay close to me and keep your mouth shut," Andre snapped, "otherwise our own men will run you through."

"We must stop it," Allen cried. "They're surrendering."

Andre sighed.

"It can't be stopped now. It can't be. In the dark, like this, all men are savages."

He spat the words out as if filled with an infinite weariness.

The battle, if it could be called that, had swept into the woods. From within several of the burning wigwams Allen could hear screams, the death cries of men who preferred the agony of dying by fire rather than face the terror of the bayonets. One of the wigwams exploded with a flash, bowling over several men of the Black Watch who had been standing outside, boxes of ammunition within having lit off.

Some semblance of battle briefly flared on the left as if fresh enemy troops were coming in or had rallied.

He caught a glimpse of General Grey, now mounted riding, in that direction and woodenly followed Andre. Even before they arrived at the flank resistance had collapsed.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...