The Liberty Boys' gunpowder plot, or, Failing by an inch

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The Liberty Boys' gunpowder plot, or, Failing by an inch

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The Liberty Boys' gunpowder plot, or, Failing by an inch
Series Title:
Liberty Boys of "76"
Moore, Harry
Place of Publication:
New York
Frank Tousey
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1 online resource (28 p.) 28 cm.: ;


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Dime novels. ( lcsh )
History -- United States -- Revolution, 1775-1783 ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )

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University of South Florida
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University of South Florida
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The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
Resource Identifier:
025745119 ( ALEPH )
72801842 ( OCLC )
L20-00292 ( USFLDC DOI )
l20.292 ( USFLDC Handle )

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' \Weekly containing Stories of the American Rev0Iutton; FBAJ

The Liberty Boys of .Issu e d Weekly-Subscrlptlon price, $3.50 per year; Canada, $4.00; Foreign, $4.50 . Ha'.rry E. WoJ1f, Pub., I n c., 168 We9t 114 Street, N e w York, N . Y . llntered u 8 econd-ClaH Matt e r Jaouan 3 1 , 191 3 , at tbe Po•t omce at New Y o rk. N. Y ., under the Act of March 3, 187 9 . NEW YORK, MARCH 24, 1922 Price 7 cents The. Liberty Boys' Gunpowder Plot OR, FAILING BY AN INCH By HARRY MOORE CHAPTER !.-Lively Times Along the River. "We mus t try and get down to King's Bridge, Bob, and do s ome mischief, just to show the red coats that we are not idle." "Right you are, Dick, for they have been doing a good deal themselves and we can't let them do it all." "Suppose \Ve set out now and see how they have advanced, if any." "All right, Dick, I'm with you." Dick Slater and Bob Estabrook were the cap tain and first lieutenant, respectively, of a band of brave young patriots called the Liberty Boys. They were encamped at that time in lower West chester, New York, a few miles from King's Rridge, keeping an eye on the redcoats. The British were then in possession of New York, Long Island, Staten Island, and parts of New Jersey. \ Lately they had crossed the Spyt den Duivel Creek at King's Bridge and with a large force of Knyphausen's Hessians, Emmerick's light cav alry, Simcoe's Queen's Rangers, Delancey's Loy alists, and several regiments of British regu lars, were preparing to devastate lower West chester, and, if succes sful there, proceed up the Hudson into the Highland district and do all the mischief they could. There was a considerable force of American regulars and militia watching the enemy, the Liberty Boys being as active in this work as any. There were a hundred of the boys, and, being able to move rapidly from place to place, could do most effectual work in harassing the regulars and many irregulars which composed the ene m y ' s force. It was summer, the weather was warm and pleasant, and a number of the boys had gone to the rive r to indulge in a refreshing d ip in the water, and to sit on the bank and watch thei r comrades swimming. Dic k and Bob were soon ready, Dick riding a magnificent coal black Arabian called Major, while Bob was mounted on a fine bay. The camp was left in charge of Mark Morrison, the sec ond lieutenant, a boy younger than Dick and Bob, but one who was thoroughly trustworthy and one of the bravest of the troop. "Some of the boys have gone t o the river to swim, have they, Mark?" asked Dick, as he and Bob we1e leaving the camp. "They are safe enough, are they?" "Why, yes, I should think so, Captain. They are all good s wimmers and there are no danger• ous eddies at tha t point." "I did not mean that s o much as the danger . of their being surprised by the enemy," smiling. "There are prowling bands of Tories and red c oats about, ready to pounce down upon any of the 'rebels,' as they call us, Mark. " "Yes, but I suppos e they will keep a l oo k out. There are Ben and Sam and Jack and H an"J' and others, all wide awake boys." "Yes, they are wide awake, but they w on't think of the enemy when they are in swimming, and unless they keep a guard--" "But, Dick," said B o b, "there are n o up as far as this, and the boys are safe enough." "\Ve don't know where the redcoats are, B o b. They a r e likely to be anywhere. However, out road leads that way, so it is all right, and we can look in upon them on our way down." Then they rode away, Bob saying with a l augh: "Well, you think of everything," Dick, and if you do happen to prevent a calamity happening to the boys, it will be wholly on account of you:r general watchfulness." "Eterna l vigilanc e i s the p r ice of liberty, b o ys,n said Di c k terse ly. " You would not have me less watchful? " "No, of cours e not. " B e n Spurloc k , Sam S anderson, Jack Warren, Harr y Judso n, \ Vil! Freem an, and a dozen more of the Liberty Boys were all di sporting them selves in the water , enjoying themselv es to the full and never dreaming of d anger , a s they were miles away from the camp o f the iedcoats and no one drea med of the enemy coming this far on a hot d a y, as the redco a t s and Hessians usually paid too muc h att ention t o their o w n comfort to go out on days like tha t . They were all swim ming, diving, floatin g , and having the best fun in life and nev e r t h inking of danger. All at once Dick and B ob dashed out from the woods upon the river b a n k, and shouted: . "Quick, boys, come o ut, redcoat!" In a moment the boys began scrambling for the sho r e, making a d a s h , first of all, not for their clothes, but fo r thei r stac ked muskets o n the bank. Leavi n g the camp and riding along the road near the river, Dick had suddenl y e s pi e d a party of redcoats coming on at a gallop. The water was in sight and the shouting of the b oys was plainly heard a s Dick and Bob rode o n. "We m ust warn the boys ai once . " said Dick.


2 THE LIBERTY BOYS' GUNPOWDER PLOT ,. ' and in a moment he left the road, dove into the wood s and shouted out a warning to the boys. On came the redcoats, and, seeing the young "rebels" on the bank, thought to make a swo op and capture the lot of them. "Ha, ha! We'll catch the rebels in the buff!" roared a lieutenant who was in charge of the detachment. "Forward, men, and we will either take the young rascals without a stitch or make them take to the river and stop there at our pleasure." Then he redcoats left the road and dashed through the woods to the river bank, as Dick and Bob had done. Instead of making the boys take to the river, however, they suddenly found nearly a score of naked, bronzed, healthy boys, looking like so many Indians, grabbing their muskets, taking to trees and bushes and opening fire upon them, as Dick cried: . "Now, boy s , fire! The redcoats have no business here. Fire!" . Rattle-rattle-bang! In a moment the redcoats found themselves, not driving a lot of naked boys back to the river or surrendering aR they were, but exposed to a telling fire from these same naked boys, ensconced among the bushes and behind trees or an old stone wall that ran through the pasture lot where the boys had been disporting themselves. Then Dick and Bob discharged their pistols, and Dick cried shrilly: "Pistols, boys! Give it to them, boys!" The boys had seized their pistol belts from the piles of clothes on the bank at the same time they had caught up their muskets, and now they delivered a rattling, sputtering volley upon the redcoats that caused more than one to howl with pain and fall out of the ranks. "Charge, Liberty Boys!" cried Dick, but it was not to Ben and Jack and Harry that the tommand was given. ' Mark Morrison, in -charge of the camp, heard the s ound of firing and exclaimed: "Jove! I believe the boys are attacked by red coat s after all. Lishe, Phil, Paul, Ned, Walter, quick, get on your horses and go to the rescue. Ben, Frank, Joe, Ezra, hurry up, a dozen or more 1>f you, g o on foot and make the way ready for the rest!" Mark Morrison was a boy of res ource s and quick to act, and while the boy s were running ahead on foot, the others were getting their horses ready so as to make a dash unon the en. -emv. It was t'l Ben Brand, Frank Belden, Joel Jf-,,.._ "'alker, Ezra Barbour and a dozen others, run-. ning up on fo<>t with their mu skets ready, that Dick gave his orders, having seen 1he m coming quicker than the redcoats themselves. Crack ! The startled redcoats sud denly found themselves exposed to the fire of more than a dozen or s o of naked boys hiding behind trees , and then they heard the clatter of lioof s, and Dick shouting vigorously: "Forward, Liberty Boys ! Down with the red coats! Throw them in the river! Get rid of the interlopers ! Away with them!" Then the boys who had been in and the boys under Ben Brand and Frank Belden suddenly dashed upon the redcoats, dragged half a dozen of them from their horses, and hurled them neck and crop into the river, uniforms, boots and all. There was a great spattering and splashing, and then more redcoats were given an unceremonious bath, and now Lishe Green, Phil Waters, Paul Ben son, Newt Knowlton, Wal-ter Jennings and a score more came rushing 'Up on horseback, and opened fire upon those who had not been thrown into the river. The enemy,r:::; who were merely a scouting party, thinking that-.: they were attacked by an army, hastily retreat-ed, finding• that in trying to catch the boys swimming they had fallen into a hornet's nest. The redcoats who had been given an involuntary bath swam downstream and landed some where, while others scattered along the road and thro\lgh the woods, making all haste to get away. The boys pursued them for some little distance, and then Dick halted them and said with a laugh: "Go back, boys, and tell Ben and Jack and the rest that they may finish their swim in peace. The redcoats won't return." The boy s rode baek, and Dick and Bob went on, keeping a lookout for the redcoats. CHAPTER IL-Still Livelier Times on the Road. Having sent the boys back to camp, and see ing or hearing nothing of the redcoats, Dick and Bob went on, meaning to go as near to the bridge over the creek as possible, so as to see if the enemy s howed signs of making any new moves. A s they were riding along at an easy gait, keep ing a sharp lookout for redcoats, they s uddenly came in sight of a crowd of rough-looking boys, the greater part of wh om were as big as them selves. "Hallo!" said Bob. He knew the boys, and knew them to be a crowd of the biggest bullies and cowards in that part of the state. "That means trouble, I guess," said Dick quiet ly, "but come on, and don't say anything unless they annoy us." The boys were all Tories and the Liberty Boys had had more than one row with them, always coming out ahead. As Dick went on with Bob at his side, he suddenly saw some one beyond the crowd of bullie s , two girls on horseback. "T}_lere are the girls, Bob," he said. "If we chase the Tories, the latter will make trouble for them." "But we've got t o go on, Dick, and there is sure to be a row. Maybe the girls will see us and go on." "Perhaps; but we must go on, of cours e." "The girls," as both boys called them, were their sisters, and also their sweethearts Alice Estabrook. and Edith. Slater, two very young ladies, firm fnends although of very dif ferent natures. On went the boys, and now the crowd of bullie s saw them and set up a shout. "Hallo, fellers; let's lick the rebels!" yelled the leader, a boy of the name of Peter Dinkel u sually called "Dinks" by his cronies. ' This was the sort of crowd with which Bill Burgess generally went, but Bill was not with them at this moment. "That's so, come on, clean up the road with 'em, an' then take their hosses !" cried an other.


THE LIB:CRTY BOYS' GUNPOWDE.R PLOT Then with a yell the Tory boys, numbering over a dozen, came rushing on, armed with sticks and stones. . . "Come on, Bob!" said Dick; "gwe it to the Tory bullies!" Then the two daring young patriots went bear down upon the bullies, firing one or two shots in the air. In another moment shots were heard beyond the Tories, and there was a clatter of hoofs. Peter Dinkel, Bill Arrowsmith, and the rest of the bullies, finding themselves caught between two fires, suddenly dashed this way and that and did their best to escape. Some went 0 -e; the wall, some fell into the ditch, some climbed trees, and some hid in the bushes, so that in a few moments the road was clear. Then the boys and the girls met, and Alice said with a merry laugh: . " We saw you riding down upon the bullies and knew that we would get them unless we did i::omething and so we fired over their heads." "A very good plan, my girl," said nick. "Where were you going? Not to King's Bridge, surely, with so many redcoats about?" "Mother needs some medicine, brother,'' spoke up Edith "and we do not know of another chemist's short of that, and he is very good. The redcoats may not trouble us." "Give me the bottle, sister," said Dick. "Bob and I will go for the medicine. I can't think of having you run the risk of being insulted by 1edcoats and attacked by Tory bullies." Dick's mother was an invalid, her husband haYing been killed by a treacherous T_ory at beginning of the war, the shock leavmg her m a Yery weak, nervous state. It was necessary that she should have medicine, but there was no one i;;hort of King's Bridge who could put it up properly, and the gil'ls were now on their way to the chemist's to get it renewed. "But you are in uniform, Dick, ' said Alice, "and you are on Major, whom every redcoat in the !'tare knows well. You had better let us go." •No, I would rather not," answered Dick, as he took the bottle. "As for our being in uniform and having our own horses, we can easily get over that." So they went with the girls for King's Bridge, got what they wanted, escorted the girls as near their home as it was possible, and the'!l rode into camp. CHAPTER IIL-A Night AdYenture. :\'hen it grew quite dark, Dick said to Bob, who was sitting with the young captain at the fire in front of his tent: "Get a disguise, Bob, and come with me. I think maybe we can learn something now which we could not this afternoon." 'All right, Dick,'' said Bob, always ready for an advantage. "Where are you going?" Down to the bridge and across it, perhaps. There is less chance of our being recognized by night, although it is likely we may go into some tavern where there are likely to be redcoats about." "Yes, they make such places their headquarters,'' with a laugh, as he ran away to get a dis Dick changed his clothes and saddled his horse while waiting for Bob, who at length appeared, and then both set out, Dick telling 1\fark to take charge of the camp in his absence. The boys looked like a couple of farmers' sons and not at all like soldiers, and it was hardly likely that any one would know them, as Bill Burgess must be at home by that time, and the other Tory bo)'S were not as well acquainted with them as Bill was. They rode on for some little distance, seeing lights in some of the houses they passed, while others "''ere dark. They were nearing a house by the roadside when the door suddenly flew open and in the light that streamed out they saw a girl about ten years old, ragged and unkempt, come running out into the road. They reined in their horses quickly, as the child cried shrilly: "I don't care! I'll throw myself in the river; I'll get in front of a carriage or a lot of horses, I don't care what happens to me!" "Come in here, you brat!" A slatternly, shrill-voiced woman, standing in the doorway, uttered the angry command, and a man with a whip in his hand now appeared be hind her, saying gruffly: "Come in here, you little fool, and do as you are told, or it will be the worse for you!" "Shan't do it!" replied the child, catching sight of the two boys. "What is the trouble here?" asked Dick. "Why do you whip the child? I should think you would be ashamed of yourselves, both of you!" The woman shielded her eyes with her hand and looked out upon the road where she beheld the boys, saying with a snarl: "Don't you interfere, you clods! The child is ours and we shall do what we like wjth her." "That's so," muttered the man. "Come in here, you little vixen, or you'll catch it worse." The child would have run, but now Dick dismounted and said: "Go and stand by my horse, little girl. He won't hurt you. Now, my man, what are you going to do?" "I'm going to whip that lying vixen, that's what. Dear knows where she learns such tric]{s, for we never taught them. She's ungrateful and lazy;untruthful and a rebel, and if she is our own, I must say we are not proud of her." "I ain't their own, I don't know whose I am, but I ain't theirs," spoke up the child. "I've heard 'em talking about it often, when they thought I was asleep, about the money they got for me, and how if they knew who somebody wa they'd 'get more, 'stead of the lawyer getting the most .of it." "The child lie s !" snapped the man. "That was something else we talked about--the farm that we own. Come here, you vixen!" Bob went oYer, picked the child up and put her on the saddle in front o.f him. The man rushed at Dick and was knocked dov.m for his trouble. Then the woman rushed forward, but Dick took the broom away from her as easily as he had relieved the man of the whip, and said quietly: "Go into the house, my good woman, and quiet your nerves. Bob, go back to the camp with the child. These people don't know how to take care of her, and they shall not have her as long as they abuse her as they do."


I 4 THE LIBERTY BOYS' GUNPOWDER PLOT Bob quickly turned and rode off, the man and woman now making a united rush at Dick. He stepped a si de, and they fell into each other's arms, each striking the other before they realized what they were doing. Dick now jumped into the saddle and rode on as he had been going, quickly leaving the house behind, and shortly losing sight of it. "There's one adventure for the night, at any rate," he laug hed, "whether there will be any more or not. There is s ome myster y here that I shall have to unfathom. The little girl has evidently heard some very unpleasant truths , and the evil-looking couple at the hou s e would like to keep them concealed." For a time he heard the m a n and the woman scolding and quarreling and shouting after him, but then all was quiet aga in, and he went on, getting nearer and nearer to the lines of the enemy. There was a tavern by the bridge which was still open and very noi s y, there being many redcoats within, as Dick could s ee, and, leaving Major on the opposite side of the road, in the shade of the trees where he would not be s een, he crossed over and entered the place. No one gave more than a passing glance to the supposed country boy, and D i ck sat down near a group of redcoats, and ordered a pe wter of old ale, which he would not drink, but had OJ'dered so as to have a plaus ible e xcus e for remaining in the place. He could empty it bit by bit on the floor or into the sand box at his feet, and at the same time li sten to what was going on. "The young ras cals saw us too soon," said the very lieutenant Dick had s een that afternoon, "but the next time we will send an e xcurs ion up the river and another along s hore, and the rebels cannot attend to both at the same time. " "Don't be too sure about that!" thought Dick, with his no s e in the pewter. "Do you know where the youni; rebe1s have their camp?" a s ked s ome one , and, looking up, Dick saw tha t it was Dinkel. "Oh, we can find it easily e nou g h , m y m an," retorted the lieutenan t . w ho , like a ll m ilitary m en, had a great contempt for c i v i li a n s . "You think you can, Capt'n," g r u n t e d the m 1 n , "but suppos e they s hould change i t and go h i d i n g in the wood s s omewh ere, a s the y ofte n do? Y o u will want s o me on e to help y o u fin d the yo ung rebels the n, and it's onl y a m-:tn what k n 0ws the region, like m e an' s ome othe r s, what c a n t e ll yon where to lo o k." ""' hat rebel s was yon look i ng-for, Li i oten't?" aske d Dic k. "There's apl enty o n 'em around." "O h . I f a nc y we can fhn' as long as the•J s tav al-inv e ground I s h,,u1d n ' t wonder if I could find ' em?" Dick knew that i f the redcoats d i d not s n s o ect him, he could lead a party of them to the camp and have them all made prisoners, but he had to exercise caution lest they suspect his intentions. "Do vou know where the Lihf!rty Boys have their r,; . mn. hovs ?" the officer asked. "I shouldn't wonder if I could find it, but if them young rebels knew I showed it to you, they'd give me a licking." "But they don't nee d to know. Can't you sneak up on it without their knowing?" "Shouldn't wonder if I could, but they've got pickets out." "So much ;he better, for then we will know where they are and c a n rush in upon them." "Yes , I shouldn't wonder if you could." "And you have an idea where the place is?" "Yus; I've got quite s ome of an id e e about it." "Do you think you could find it to-night?" "I guess I might.'' "\V e h a d better loc ate them, Lieutenant, and then to-morrow we c a n go there and rout the whole of them." "Very well." There were a dozen o r more redcoats in the place, and they all no w se t out with Dick to find the camp of the Libe r t y Boys. Dick kept in the dark so that they s hould not recognize Major, and rode close to the lieutenant, who had seen the black that afternoon during the adventure at the swimming place. Dick led the way to ward the camp, and presently the sound of a night bird was heard and then the croaking of a frog. These sounds were signals to the Liberty Boys, but the redcoats did not know it and scarcely noticed them. Every fire had been smothered so that it should not fla s h up suddenly a s soon as Dick's signals were heard. Noi s eles sly and rapidly the Liberty Boys crerpt through the wood till they were on both s ide s of the little band, Dick's signals telling them where to go. The redcoats and Dick were almos t u p 'l n the camp, when the crowing of a cock was heard. Then suddenly lights flashed in several places, and the fire s were stirred up and the a stonished redcoats saw boys in blue and buff, white tents, hors e s , wagons , and all the fittings of a camp. Dick suddenly d ashed ahead, and then the lieutenant recognize d Major. "Surrender!" cried Bob, coming forward, and the little p arty of redcoats found, thems elves surrounde d , L iberty Boys being on all side s . " B y Georg e ! that's Slater himself!" cried the l ie u tenant. "You ras c a ll y young rebel, you have b(!tray ed u s , and you said you were no rebel!" " I am not a r e bel, I a m an American patriot," sa;d Di ck. "You r e d coa t s know we ll enough that we do not call rebels, but you will persist in c:i llinP," u s I h a ve not betrayed y ou . I have outwit t e d you, however. You fan c ie d y ou Cl)u] d fin d the place alo ne, d idn't. you?" with a l a:.igh. The r edcoa1 s were g reatly chagrined, for the y saw that their c apture had been very cleverly m imaged, 1Jnri t h a t t h e "young r ebels ," a s they c all ed tliem. were ll clev e rer lot than they were \\'i llin v to ackn owl e dge. " I a m s:iny that there were not more of them, B o h." l;iro-hc d Di ck. w hen the pris ,,n e r s were d i sarmed a r d put iunder guard. "However, every little h e lp s, and there d i d not any of thes e fellow s get away to tell the enemy where we are." Dick put on his uniform, and then the red coats wondered why they had not recognized him before, as f:ome of the party were among those of the afternoon and had seen Dick. When th•


THE LIBERTY BOYS' GUNPOWDE.R PLOT 5 Liberty Boys heard how the redcoats had been outwitted, they laughed heartily over it, and the men could : 10t but hear their comments, none of which served to put them into a very good temper. "Where is the little girl, B ob?" a sked Dick, whe n the redcoats h ad be e n di s po sed of. "Asleep in one of the tents , and very happy and contented. Sh e says she will not go back to the Van Donks." "That is their name , is it?" "Yes , and they are the rankes t kind of Tories." CHAPTER IV.-A Strange Di sappearance. There was no alarm from either Tories or redcoats during the night, and i n the morning Dick sent a party of the Liberty Boy s with the pris oners to the camp of Gen eral Scott, a few miles distant. He als o sent Mark and half a dozen of the boys , including J a ck Warren and Ben Spur lock, to take the child to hi s mother's hou s e, to be cared for till they could find out more about her. She was was hed and had her hair combe d and the ient s in h e r dress sewe d up, and looked much better than when Bob h a d brought her to the camp, seeming delighted that s he was g o i n g to be among friends who would treat h e r kindly. "Yo u are all ri ght, Captain," she said to Dic!c, as she was g etting ready to leave. "I can trust you, and the boys are all good fellow s . I have seen the Liberty Boys go by our hou s e lots of times . The woman always called you rebels, and said she hoped s ome thing dreadful would happen to you, bu t it never did. Her and Van Donk are dreadful folk s, and I'm glad I ain' t goin' ba::k. I'd jump into the river first!" "You won't h ave to g o back, Eunice," kindly, "and we will try and find if you have any relations who will take care of you. If we cannot then I will :find s ome on e el s e who will. My mother and s i ster will do it, I know. " "I know they're all right, Captain," said the child heartily, "becaus e they bel ong to you." Mark and the boy s went away, the child being provided with a hors e, wh : ch she rode very well, the camp going o n a s usua l after their departure, the prisoners having gone before. "We must find out when the expedition against us is going out, Bob," sai

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