Captain of the minute men, or, The Concord boys of 1775

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Captain of the minute men, or, The Concord boys of 1775

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Captain of the minute men, or, The Concord boys of 1775
Series Title:
Boys of liberty library
Hancock, H. Irving ( Harrie Irving ), 1868-1922
Place of Publication:
David McKay Company
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Battles -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Brothers and sisters -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Courage -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Minutemen (Militia) -- Fiction ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1890 ( lcsh )
Ship captains -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Soldiers -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- Fiction ( lcsh )

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Source Institution:
University Of South Florida
Holding Location:
University Of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
023284955 ( ALEPH )
03758212 ( OCLC )
C21-00014 ( USFLDC DOI )
c21.14 ( USFLDC Handle )

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Boys of Liberty Library A new series of splendid tales of the wonderful and stirring adventures of boys who fought in The Revolutionary War, The French and Indian Wars, and Naval Battles of 1812. The stories are written in an intensely interesting style, and no boy can read them without being aroused to the 1 highest pitch of patriotic enthusiasm. We give herewith a list of titles now ready. Read the first and you will want to read all the others. Uniform with this volume in size, style, and price. Each, postpaid, 50 cts Paul Revere The First Shot for Liberty Fooling the Enemy Into the Jaws of Death The Hero of Ticonderoga On to Quebec Fighting Hal Marion and His Men The Young Ambassador The Young Guardsman The Cruise of the Lively Bee The Tory Plot In Buff and Blue Washington's Young Spy Under Greene's Banner Captain of tbe Minute Men The Quaker Spy '.Fighting for Freedom By Order of the Colonel A Call to Duty In Glory's Van The King's Messenger Dashing Paul Jones From Midshipman to Commodore The Cruise of the Essex By John De Morgan. By John De Morgan. By John De Morgan. By John De Morgan. By John De Morgan. By John De Morgan. By John De Morgan. By John De Morgan. By John De Morgan. By John De Morgan. By John De Morgan. By T. C. Harbaugh. By T. C. Harbaugh. By T. C. Harbaugh. By T. C. Harbaugh. By Harrie Irving Hancock. By Lieut. Lounsberry. By Lieut. Lounsberry By Lieut. Lounsberry. By Lieut. Lounsberry. By Lieut. Lounsberry. By Capt. Frank Ralph. By Frank Sheridan. By Frank Sheridan. By Frank Sheridan.


"Captain Benton came to the door just in time to see a young man dismount." (See p>ge 57)




Copyright, 18c)o By Norman L Munro


CAPTAIN OF THE MINUTE MEN. CHAPTER I. FELLING THE TREE. "That is the tree, Ezra." "The mighty cedar over there?" "Yes, the same." "And the axes, Joel-are they sharp?" "Fresh from the grindstone, brother; whetted this morning before you had opened your sleepy eyes." It was still early. The sun was not many minutes above the horizon, and the Benton boys had but a few moments ago left the house, which stood on a small hill a few hundred yards distant. Born and reared in the country, the boys were still not insensible to the great beauty of the morning. The year of 1775 in the Massachusetts colony was char acterized by an early and beautiful spring, fittingly em blematic of the glorious deeds for which that year will ever be remembered. The morning on which this narrative opens was mild and warm. The sun shone brightly over fields and trees that were taking on a new lease of life, and a soft, warltl wind blew up from the south.


6 Felling the rree. Joel and Ezra Benton gained the spot on which tlie cedar stood. The elder boy laid down the axes which he had been carrying, and both doffed their coonskin caps to let the balmy spring breeze cool their heads. "Glorious weather," cried Ezra, who was keenly alive to all the beauties of nature. "Ay, the sun is bright," responded Joel, the elder. "It would seem to bid us forget the dark cloud of oppression and tyranny which hangs over this good old colony." The subject of British aggression was one which brought frowns to the faces of the colonists in those early days of '75. Despite the balmy softness of the early day, the boys' faces were now covered with gloom. For some moments they stood in a brown study, gazing blankly about them. The men, women and children of Concord that spring were aroused to the fullest sense of the injustice of King George toward the American colonies. At last Joel, with a movement of impatience, came out of his reverie. "Vengeful thoughts will nut fell a tree, Ezra," he said, reaching down to the ground for one of the axes. Ezra Benton appropriated the other. Joel, who was nineteen, and the eldest of the family, took the lead in all family matters under his parents. Ezra, aged seventeen, was his favorite brother. Indeed, they loved each other as much and as loyally as it is pos sible for brothers to do. "Stand there, Ezra," advised Joel, indicating a positiQn


Felling the Tree. 7 on one side of the tree, while he took his own stand directly opposite. Grasping the axes resolutely, the two youths lifted them aloft, and commenced to chop. "One I" cried Joel, swinging the ax over his head, and sinking it into the trunk of the cedar at a point about two feet from the ground. "Two I" shouted Ezra, bringing his ax down into the same spot with a scarcely less muscular effort. "Three!" "Four!" "Five I" "Six I" And so it went on, each striking in turn, with all tile might of a pair of brawny, muscular arms. The chips began to fly about them in a miniature shower. It was no light work, but the boys had been en gaged in it through every winter since they were old enough to handle axes, and they bent to their task with all the energy of sound bodies and long experience. They always counted the strokes as they delivered them, and it was a matter of the greatest pride in the Benton family that no two full-grown men in the whole town of Concord could bring down a tree with a less number of strokes than could the two eldest Benton boys. On and on they chopped and counted, never once paus ing for bre ath. Ezra had just delivered a mighty blow, accompanied by a cry of sixty-four," when Joel shouted: "Stand aside, brother; she falls!"


8 Felling the Tree. Ezra had only time to get out of the way. Joel gave a final blow with his ax, and the mighty forest monarch swayed and toppled. In another moment down to the ground it came, crashing through the limbs of smaller trees which stood in the way. "That was well done," panted Joel, surveying the prostrate tree with pardonable pride. For a few moments only they rested. Then they sprang lightly to the head of the tree. Again the axes swung aloft, and came crashing through the topmost branches of the tree, lopping them off close to the trunk. The sun was not three hours high in the heavens over head when the cedar trunk was as bare of limbs as it well could be. Again boys paused, and again they gazed at their work with pride. They did not feel above any of their homely tasks, but entered into them all with the same indomitable vigor, taking the same pride in all tasks when they were speedily and skillfully executed. As he looked at the fruits of his morning's labor, Joel fell again into a reverie over the state of colonial affairs. "Ezra!" he cried, "see how two boys of the colony have felled and stripped a king of the forest. Oh, if the whole colony united could only fell and strip of his power the king who lays unjust taxes upon us, and sends his sol diers to awe us into obedience!" "I would not ser .King George felled and stripped,"


Felling the Tree. ... 9 Ezra answered. "I would only see him awake to reason, and give us but our just dues as loyal subjects." "The time for that is past," cried Joel, with vehement energy. "A king does not send regiments of soldiers to keep a loyal people still loyal to him. King George sees that he cannot expect a people to be loyal when they are tyrannized beyond reason-therefore, he sends soldiers to watch over us, that our rebellion against him may come to naught." "And if it comes to the rebellion which our orators are hinting at," pursued Ezra, "will not the king, when he sees our spirit, relent and take us back on an equal footing with his subjects in the mother Joel brought his ax down fiercely on the trunk of the cedar, as he answered : "Let King George beware! Tyrants are not fit to wear their crowns. If once the united men of these colonies shall meet the king s troops in arms, then all ties with the mother country are forever cut off. Every brave man in the colonies will die sooner than submit to a king who tramples his subjects." "Well spoken my son !" Both boys started, and turned at the well-known voice of their father, who had approached them unseen, so in terested were they in their discussion. His words were gravely spoken, and the fire of earnest sincerity shone from his eyes as he advanced and laid a loving hand on the shoulder of either boy. "But, father," queried Ezra, "is there no way in which


IO Felling the Tree. this struggle can be avoided? Surely, the king will listen to reason." "No, my son; I fear we shall gain nothing except with our muskets. We have tried all other means, even that of humbly beseeching the throne. It was ever thus. Tyrants are amused at the groans of a suffering people, but no mercy results." "Then let the struggle come, and we will make a valiant fight," exclaimed Joel, with spirit. "We will, my son ; thousands and tens of thousands of men will meet in the field, and defy a tyrant who has de filed his people. And I thank God that I have three sons old enough to lead into the field. I would sooner that every one of you should die in the first conflict than that you should ever prove cowards." "Have no fear of us, father," answered Joel. "I have no fear that any of my sons will disgrace them selves," was the grave answer. Too full of emotion to speak further on the subject nearest their hearts, father and sons turned away, and re traced their steps toward the house. "What are we to do this morning, father?" Joel asked. "The weather is so mild and forward this spring that I have decided to begin plowing at once. We can plant early crops this year." Joel was thoughtful for a few moments, and then he suddenly exclaimed : "Father, I feel that the struggle is coming. It cannot far off. In a few weeks, at most, the colony will be in


The Training Camp. II arms. Why, then, sow crops which there will be no men to reap this year?" "Our case in God's hands," William Benton rever ently responded. "The struggle with King George, if it comes, will come at the right time. Meanwhile, it is our duty not to give all our thoughts to the future, but to look well after the needs of the day. Our beloved pastor, Wil liam Emerson, so says, and there is not a truer patriot than he in these thirteen suffering colonies." The rest of the day was spent in plowing. CHAPTER II. THE TRAINING CAMP. Supper at the Bentons' was one of the events of the day. They were prosperous farming people, for those old colonial times, and their table, when the day's toil was done, was, indeed, a place of good cheer. It was a good-sized family, too. Besides the two youths already introduced to the reader, there was Ezekiel, aged fifteen, and Jabez, aged twelve. There were two girls-Sarah, aged sixteen, and Ellen, aged thirteen. They, with William and Mary Benton, the parents, made up the family. Supper was eaten earlier than usual on the night in question, for the older male members of the family had important business on hand.


12 The Training Camp. As soon as the meal was disposed of, William Benton filled and lit a long pipe, took his seat in the open doorway, and smacked contemplatively. None of the boys smoked; such a thing was unheard of in those days. But they found plenty to do. Joel, Ezra and Ezekiel-he was called Zeke by every one but his mother-took down their rifles from a rack near the door, and fell to cleaning them with an industry that was surprising, after the hard toil of the day. Jabez-his name was usually shortened to Jabe-had no rifle of his own, but he cleaned his father's weapon, while the parent smoked and reflected. At the end of half an hour, the pipe was laid aside. Mr. Benton straightened himself, and said, quietly: "Come, boys, it is dark now. We will be going." In silence, the three eldest of the sons donned their caps, slung their rifles over their shoulders, and left the house. The lights of the town of Concord could be seen in the distance, but their path did not lie in that direction. Instead, they struck out across fields, occasionally passing through a narrow strip of forest. They tramped steadily on for a couple of miles, entering a considerable forest at last. At length they halted on the banks of a large lake, whose limpid waters were pure as crystal. It was the same body of water which is now known as Lake Wal den. "Halt!"


The Training Camp. 13 The command came in a low tone from a man whose figure could be faintly discerned a few yards ahead. The Bentons came to a prompt stop. "Who goes there?" "Friends," answered the grave voice of William Benton. "Then advance, one of you, and give the countersign. The rest remain behind, or I fire." William Benton, carrying his gun at "trail arms,'' advanced slowly. The sentinel held his gun ready to fire at the first sign of treachery. Mr. Benton advanced until he found himself directly in front of the other's weapon. "The countersign?" repeated the sentinel. "Remember the Tea Party I" whispered Mr. Benton, impressively. The sentinel's gun was withdrawn. "Let your party advance," he said to Mr. Benton. The three boys came forward, and were permitted to pass the sentinel. "He must be a recent recruit, one who does not know me," commented Mr. Benton, in a low tone, when they were well inside the line. There was only a single picket line out, and our friends walked for some distance before they came to the main body. In a few moments, however, the glow of lanterns sus pended from the limbs of trees shone out ahead of them, and it could be seen that considerably more than a hundred men were on the spot.


14 The Training Camp. Each and every one of them was armed with a rifle, and many of them carried pistols thrust into their belts. "Ah, here comes our captain," announced one of the men, as the Benton party approached. The men saluted William Benton gravely as he ap proached them. Thus is the reader introduced into the rendezvous, or training camp, of these brave and hardy Minute Men, who, in 1775, were organized through the colony, pre pared to resist the inroads of the aggressive British military. No more fitting name could have been chosen, for they were pledged to gather, at a minute's warning, at any hout of the day or night. The colonists, or provincials, had quantities of stores and ammunition hidden in various places in and about Concord, and it was the sworn work of the Minute Men of Concord to prevent these supplies from falling into the hands of the British troops. As soon as Capt. Benton was announced, a tall man of commanding appearance approached him. "I am glad you have come, captain," he said, "for I have four new recruits for your company, a family of sons, who must be trained for the work we have in hand." "They shall be well train e d Maj. Buttrick," r e sponded Capt. Benton with a soldierl y salute to his sup e rior. Leading the captain one side, Maj. Buttrick whispered in his ear: "These new recruits are good boys, and good shots, but they are ignorant, and rather stupid. They will have to


The Training Camp. 15 be trained patiently. As I have said, they are brothers, and their name is Tompkins." "Let Joel take them one side and train them,'' answered Capt. Benton. "He is a careful instructor, and a master of the tactics." "He is just the one to do it," replied the major. "Let Joel take the recruits in hand." A few minutes later, everything was in readiness for: the evening s drill. The commissioned officers in the battalion had laid aside their rifles and taken swords from a hiding place in the trunk of a hollow tree. Our hero, Joel Benton, was one of these, since he held the post of first lieutenant in the company commanded by his father. The battalion of three companies was drawn up in line on a level spot clear of trees, and Maj. Buttrick pro ceeded to put his command through the various evolutions in which they had been instructed. The four Tompkins boys started in an awkward way to take places in the long line, but Lieut. Joel Benton re strained them. "Watch the battlion drill for a few minutes," he said, "and then I will take you aside and drill you separately." As the battalion went through the manual of arms at command, and then marched off by column of fours, the Tompkins boys stood gazing at the spectacle with mouths very much agape. "Come,'' said Joel; "now, I will give you your first lesson.''


16 The Training Camp. Drawing his sword, he bade them to lay their rifles against a tree. Wonderingly, they complied, and Joel then formed them in a straight line, and attempted to teach them the "po sition of a soldier." By using an infinite amount of patience, he eventuaUy succeeded. Next he taught them to "dress" and "face." Mastering these details, in the course of an hour they were ripe for instruction in marching. "Now, then," said Joel, "when I give the order, 'Forward!' you must be ready to march. When I say 'March I' then you are to march. Do you understand?" "Guess so," assented the eldest of the youths. "And when you start to march, step off with your left foot, in this way," and Joel illustrated the movement. "Wot's left?" queried the imperturbable eldest youth. "Don't you know your right foot and your left?" Joel asked. "Nope." Many an instructor would have been disgusted and dis couraged at this answer, but Joel was made of just the patient stuff which the post of instructor requires. Nor was this ignorance at all rare among the colonial troops. Not a few of them, on entering the service, were unable to distinguish between their right and left foot. And the means which Joel took to teach them was by no means unusual in those days. Going to the center of the camp, he returned with wisps of hay and straw.


The Training Camp. 17 "You know the difference between hay and straw?" he asked. 'Course we do,'' assented the eldest brother, who con stituted himself spokesman of the squad. Joel bound a wisp of hay to the right foot of each, and a wisp of straw to the left. "Now," he went on, "we have hay-foot and straw-foot. When I say 'March,' put your straw-foot forward in this way." The raw recruits readily comprehended this course of instruction. Joel gave the order to march, and they started off all right, each putting the straw-foot forward. "Hay-foot, straw-foot, hay-foot, straw-foot," Joel called out. "Hay-foot, straw-foot, hay-foot, straw-foot." And so Joel kept on drilling them. Thanks to his patience, the raw recruits, who were really eager to learn, made fairly rapid progress in their first lesson. The battalion at length was through drilling, and the men broke ranks. Joel was still instructing his squad. "Attention, squad I "Right dress I "Eyes front I "Forward, march! "Hay-foot, straw-foot, hay-foot, straw-foot!" There would have been something sublimely ridiculous in those efforts to keep step to the call of "hay-foot, straw foot," had it not been for the pathetic earnestness of four


18 Two Tories. youths too ignorant to know their right feet from their left, and yet filled with patriotism and eager to conquer, all obstacles that they might serve their country in its hour of need. This feature of the spectacle must have struck the bet ter-trained Minute Men, who were watching the drilling of the recruits. As soon as they had halted after marching quite well, the stillness of the night was broken by the sound of gen erous applause. When it was all over, the Tompkins boys tramped home, full of new-born love for their patient instructor, and musing: "Hay-foot, straw-foot, hay-foot, straw-foot." CHAPTER III. TWO TORIES. The Concord Minute Men in Maj. Buttrick's batalion were patriots. Their high courage was backed by invin cible faith in the grandeur of their cause. They were ready to fight, and ready to die, for their liberties. Concord was full of such men as these. And yet that historic little community was not free from examples of the other extreme. British spies were in all parts of the colony. There many of them, and zealous ones, in Concord.


Two Tories. 19 To distinguish them from those of the colonists who were determined to resist aggression, these British sym pathizers were termed "Tories." And a hard life it was that the Tory led in a patriotic community-that is, when it happened to be known to his neighbors, which it more often was not. Jeremiah Torrington was a citizen of Concord who was generally believed to be lukewarm in the interests of the colony-a man who, as yet, did not fully believe with either faction. He lived in rather a grand house, for those days. He was a lawyer, who frequently journeyed to Boston to try cases in the courts there. A man in the prime of life, he had succeeded from his start in life, and had amassed a comfortable fortune. Mrs. Torrington had died many years ago, leaving him only one child, Eugene Torrington, who was now twenty four years of age. On the night when the devoted little battalion of patriots was drilling on the shore of Lake Walden, Lawyer Torrington and his son were seated in the living-room of their lonely house. Both puffed assiduously at the long-stemmed pipes so much in use in those days, and both affected indolent ease. The elder man had arrived from Boston by stage only a couple of hours earlier. Now that they were alone, with inquisitive servants out of earshot, Jeremiah Torrington proceeded to question his son. "How are affairs going on here, Eugene?"


20 Two Tories. "Much the same," replied the young man. "Stores and arms for the rebels arriving frequently?" "Almost every night. Oh, I tell you, father, these rebels are desperate, and they mean to take desperate measures." "So much the better, my son." Eugene certainly looked mildly surprised at this. "Better?" he demanded, incredulously. "Yes, my son." "How? Are we to side with these rebels?" "Heaven forbid I We are loyal to his blessed majesty, King George." "Then these rebels will burn this roof over our heads, and drive us from the town." "But we will not declare against them, Eugene. We will stand on neutral ground." "Neutral ground will never do, father. We must de clare for the rebels or against them. If the latter, we can expect no mercy." "Good heavens, my boy I Are you turning rebel?" "Have no fear of that, father," returned the young man, stroking his mustache indolently. "But I fail to see,'' he went on, "wherein the progress of this rebellion will benefit us." "Oh," responded his father, in a relieved tone, "I can make that perfectly clear to you. Let the struggle come; we will stay. By the time these provincial rebels decide to drive us from the town, we will have sent Gen. Gage so much information that the king will make good to us the value of our destroyed property."


Two Tories. 21 Eugene made a gesture of impatience. "Thus we shall have our own returned to us-no more. I do not see, father, how it will better things." "Because, my son, you are not far-seeing enough," re turned the senior Torrington, rubbing his hands com placently. "Know, then, my son, that I have worked hard all these years that you might stand higher in the world than I have done." "So you have often told me before.'' "And now I see my way clear at last.'' "How?" "I visited Gen. Gage this morning, Eugene. I told him of the twenty kegs of powder in the field back of Major. Buttrick's house. I told him, also, that it was you who discovered the fact.'' "And the general?" "The general? Oh, he smiled very kindly. 'A fine young man your son must be,' he said. 'None finer in the colony,' I answered, 'and none half so loyal.' 'I shall not forget the young man,' the general an swered." Lawyer Torrington paused, and looked triumphantly at his son. "He will send me a handful of the king's golden sovereigns, I dare say,'' responded Eugene. "Better than that, my son ; better than that." "Two handfuls, then, most likely." "Even better still, Eugene. I will resume: 'My son is worthy of any reward,' I told the general.


22 Two Tories. 'Then name the reward he would most like,' said Gen. Gage. "'Your excellency,' I said, 'let it be a commission in the royal army.' "The general pondered for a few moments, and then said: 'Let it be even so. Let your son continue to inform me of the movements of the rebels, and, when the trouble breaks out, he shall have the commission of captain in the king's army.'' Again Lawyer Torrington beamed upon his only son1. and rubbed his hands for very ecstasy. Eugene did not appear so much affected. "A brilliant stroke of business !" he commented, sar castically. "And why does it not suit you, my son?" "Because, father, it only means that I may set myself up as a target for these colonial rebels to shoot at-and precious deadly shots most of them are, too, I can as sure you." "But, surely, you are not a coward! What can be better than a commission in the king's army? Think of the social position it will give you-plenty of English girls with large dowries to choose from when you wish to wed.'' "I waive the English girl, father, but I shall not refuse the commission when it is offered me." "And why refuse the English girl?" demanded his father, with an expression of genuine concern. "Because I have already chosen a wife.''


Two Tories. "Eugene!" cried his father, springing to his feet. "Y..l ell, father?" 23 "Why have you chosen a wife without confiding me? And who is she?" "Sarah Benton." "What!" shouted the lawyer, his eyes flashing with rage. "vVhat the daughter of one of the worst of our rebels-daughter of a captain of those atrocious Minute Men I Eugene, you must be crazy!" "Nothing of the sort, father, I assure you. I have had my eye upon her for some time past. She is the only :woman in the world I want." "But she will decline any one who is not an out-and-out rebel," said Torrington, uneasily. "Never fear, father. I shall make her my wife, if I have to do it by force, and I shall not tum rebel, either." "More of this another time," responded his father. "I have just told you about the commission which awaits you. Now, for my share in this matter. The rebellion, if it breaks out, cannot last long. When it is over, there will be hundreds of prominent colonists who will find their property in danger of forfeiture to the crown. As a fa vored solicitor of the crown in this colony, I shall have many cases of that kind to plead. I shall be thousands of pounds richer by it, Eugene, and all this money will go to you. You shall be one of the richest men in the colony, Eugene." They filled their exhausted pipes, and smoked on in silence for a few moments. Then Eugene said:


24 Two Tories. "I gained some valuable information to-day, father." "Then let me have it at once." "It is this: In William Benton's red barn are stored many barrels of powder, three hundred stands of arms and two field pieces of cannon." "Are you sure of this, Eugene?" "Positive." "Then it is, indeed, glorious news for me to carry to his excellency, Gen. Gage. I shall return to Boston in the morning on the stage. This information must be lodged at once." "Then you had better retire now, father. It is a long journey." "We have smoked enough to-night, Eugene. Let us go to bed." They arose, and prepared to leave the room. As Lawyer Torrington passed one of the windows, he discovered it to be raised a couple of inches at the bottom. He closed the window, bolted it, and soon forgot the oc currence. Lighting two candles at the fire, father and son prepared to retire to their chambers. "Good-night, father." "Good-night, Eugene. Dream pleasant dreams of the riches and glory which this threatening rebellion of the colonists will bring to you. I go to Boston to-morrow." To-morrow I


CHAPTER IV. MIDNIGHT VISITORS. Capt. William Benton and his sons walked home in thoughtful silence from the training camp. The scenes through which they had just passed had grown familiar to them all, but the deep significance of it did not escape them. These drills by night in the old town of Concord her alded the approach of one of the greatest wars the world has ever known, and these patriotic actors in the scenes were not altogether ignorant of the fact. Capt. Benton was the first to break the silence. "Joel, my boy, you are deserving of great commenda tion," he said. "I, father? How so?" "You were very patient with those Tompkins boys, and I confess that they were not altogether pleasing recruits to begin with." "But, father, there are many thousands of them in these colonies ; they must bear arms, if it comes to the worst, and officers who are not patient enough to drill ignorant men are certainly not fit to command them." "You are quite right, Joel. Would that all our officers in the Minute Men shared your convictions. The eldest of the boys came to me when the drill was over. He said they were all pleased, and would be sure to attend every drill evening when it is held."


Midnight Visitors. By this time they had come to the Torrington mansion. "There are men in that house," said Capt. Benton, "who mean our cause no good." "You mean Squire Torrington and Eugene?" queried Joel. "Yes." "Sarah tells me," Joel went on, "that that fellow, Eugene, has looked at her very significantly every time when they have met of late. Only a few days ago, he had the presumption to offer her an escort home from the village." "The insolent puppy," muttered Capt. Benton, clinching his fists. "There is a light in the living-room," said Ezra, who had not spoken before. "Father," said Joel, energetically, "it behooves us to look well after treachery in these times. Since those men are believed to be spies against us, let us seek to discover what they are doing, and what they are talking about?" William Benton deliberated for a few moments, and then, without a word, he led the way to the mansion, fol lowed by his three eldest sons. They halted near the window through which "the light shone. Joel crept forward, and stealthily tried the window. It yielded to his touch, and he softly pushed it up an inch or two. He and his father put their ears to the crack thus made, and listened. They had come just in the nick of time to discover the treason which was intended to the cause of the colonies.


Midnight Visitors. 27 The first words they heard were those in which Eugene Torrington told his father of the arms and ammunition in William Benton's red barn. A few minutes later, Squire Torrington and his son retired. It was surprising that the former did not see the faces outside the window when he closed it. Joel and his father drew suddenly back, in the expecta tion of discovery. Soon after the living-room had been left in darkness, lights shone through the windows of two chambers in the second story. William Benton and his sons drew back under the shadows of some bushes, and conferred in whispers. The father's usually kindly face was now stern and grim, and the corners of his mouth twitched. As for the boys, they looked hardly less ugly. "The traitors !" hissed Capt. Benton. "They should be whipped and driven out of town I" muttered Joel, vengefully. And the practical Ezra inquired : "How did Eugene discover that the arms were in our barn? We thought we stored them so quietly that none knew." William Benton had regained his coolness. "The fact that Eugene discovered it, when we believed that none knew outside of those immediately concerned, shows how dangerous these two men are to our cause." "Shall we move the guns and powder to a safer place this very night?" queri e d Joel.


Midnight Visitors. "We should need more hands to do it," answered his father, "and it is now too late to get the men together and accomplish it before daylight." All were silent for a few moments. Then Joel exclaimed : "Squire Torrington must not go to Boston to-morrow I" William Benton pondered over these words. "Yes, we must prevent his going," he answered; "and yet, how?" "We must try intimidation," Joel answered, promptly. "And if that doesn't succeed?" queried his father. "Then we must resort to actual violence. There are men enough in Concord to keep that old traitor from going to Boston in the morning." "Very good, my son. And since this is your plan, let me have your idea how it is to be carried out?" Joel was ready with his plan. "We must get into the squire's room at once," he answered, "and we must tell the squire that an attempt to go to Boston in the morning will be likely to prove his last attempt at anything." This was a bold plan. William Benton was silent for a few moments. "It is the only thing we can do," he answered, at last. "Come!" He led the way, and his sons followed. "You, Ezra, and you, Ezekiel, stand guard here under the porch," Capt. Benton directed, when they had gained the grounds directly under the squire's window. The two younger boys took their stand.


Midnight Visitors. 29 Joel clasped one of the pillars supporting the porch, and slowly climbed until he had gained the top. Here he crouched until his father rejoined him. Noiselessly as cats, they crept along the porch until they could look in at the squire's window. Jeremiah Torrington was in his bed, his night-capped head propped up by two pillows. On a small table at the head of the bed was a candle, by the light of which he was reading. The squire's head was so full of the glorious plans he had formed that he had found himself unable to sleep. Even in those days, the practice of reading one's self to sleep was not uncommon, and the squire had adopted this means of forcing slumber. He knew of no drier reading than his law books, and he had one in his hands, turning the leaves and scanning the contents. The squire was just beginning to get his mind into a state of repose, when a hand came suddenly down upon the candle flame and extinguished it. A howl of dismay came to the old man's lips, but it went no farther. Around his throat a pair of sinewy hands were clasped, and he gasped and gurgled for breath. The pressure of -the hands was gradually lessened, but the squire was conscious that a man standing on the other side of the table was holding a pistol against his head. "What do you want of me?" demanded the lawyer, as soon as he could speak.


30 Midnight Visitors. "'Sh I Not a word above a whisper, as you value your life!" The whispered command was so peremptory that the squire trembled and shook. "What do you want of me?" he demanded again, this time in tones so faint as to be hardly audible. "Squire Torrington, you are a traitor to the cause of the colonies." To this charge the lawyer made no response. "To-morrow you purpose going to Boston," the same whispering voice went on. "Is it not so?" "I am going--certainly !" the squire assented. "Squire Torrington, you are going on a traitorous errand. If you persist in it, look out that you do not die the death of a traitor." "I can travel on the king's highway all I please I" as serted the squire, in a bold whisper. "To-morrow you cannot. If you attempt to, do not dare to pass a single tree on the way until you have made sure it does not hide a Minute Man and his gun. You are warned. Beware! if life is sweet to you. Good-night!" As William Benton ceas e d speaking, he glided to the window by which he had entered. Joel fqllowed him. Squire Torrington, though not a man of honor, was by no means a coward. There was a double-barreled pistol under his pillow. Seizing this, the squire sat erect in bed. He fired first one barrel and then the other at the dim figures by the window.


A Surprise by the Wayside. 31 There was a cry of pain, and the next moment the door to the squire's chamber opened. Eugene Torrington rushed in, candle in one hand and rifle in the other. CHAPTER V. BY THE WAYSIDE. Eugene Torrington found his father sitting bolt upright in bed. The squire still held his smoking pistol, pointed toward the window but the visitors had disappeared. There was nothing to indicate any cause for alarm, and Eugene s first thought was that his revered parent was suffering from acute nightmare. "What in the name of Satan is the trouble?" demanded the young man, setting his candle down upon the table. "Rebels I" snarled the old man. "They haven't been in this room, have they?" queried Eugene, incredulously. "Yes; they've just gone through that window and jumped to the ground. Look out for them!" Eugene became convinced that his father was speaking of an actual occurrence. He blew out the candle, and then, rifle in hand, took up his position cautiously by the window. He peered out into the gloom, but could i:ee nothing. l'hen his father joined him.


32 A Surprise by the Wayside. "They've made good their escape," muttered the old man. "But I heard a yell," said Eugene. "Did that come from them or from you?" "From one of the rebels," was the answer. "I mu!t have hit him. I hope I did. It will be one the less for his blessed majesty to deal with." "Amen to that I" muttered the pious son of a pious sire. The midnight visitors, whoever they were, had doubtless by this time made good their escape. It would be worse than folly to attempt to give pursuit. The squire recounted all that had passed. "They forbade me to go to Boston in the morning, on pain of death,'' he concluded, "but I shall go, all the same." Eugene did not comment upon this resolve of his parent, but closed and bolted the window. "I will sleep with you here to-night, father. My rifle is loaded. Load your pistol, and, if the miscreants come again, may we know it in time to give them a good re ception I" Meanwhile, what had become of our friends, the Ben tons? It was Joel who had howled, but he was not struck. Far from it. One of the bullets whistled so close to his head that he yelled, in hopes the squire and his son would give pursuit. Despite the seriousness of the business Joel could not help being amused at the thought of the Torringtons giv ing chase in their nightclothes.


A Surprise by the Wayside. 33 Our hero followed his father through the window, and neither of them lingered on the porch. Men in their days were really athletic. Without a second's hesitation, father and son jumped from the porch, landing lightly on their toes on the ground beneath. Ezra and Ezekiel were waiting for them below, and now all four beat a hasty though silent retreat. A quarter of a mile up the road they paused to gain breath, and to ascertain whether or not they were being pursued. "Why did you yell, Joel ?" queried Capt. Benton ; "were you hit by one of the squire's bullets?" "No, father," answered Joel, who did not care to give his reason. "I was," responded his father, quietly; "but I didn't howl about it.' At this, the boys crowded solicitously about their father, but he waived them aside, saying: "It is nothing--only a mere scratch on the shoulder. Not bad enough to yell about." Joel, thus rebuked, felt mightily abashed, and his father said no more about the matter. Silently, they pursued their way home, where Mrs. Ben ton, with her youngest son and her two daughters, were waiting for them. William Benton's wound turned out to be, as he had said, but a mere scratch. A bullet had barely grazed the fleshy part of one shoulder. Mrs. Benton soon had it prop erly bandaged.


34 A Surprise by the Wayside. "Now, boys, you had better hasten to bed-all except Joel," announced Mr. Benton. "Joel, you and I have some business to attend to before we sleep." They left the house and wended their way into the vil lage. It was well on in the morning when they left Wright's Tavern, and from there they did not go home, either. They were bent upon business which did not admit of sleep. Squire Torrington and his son arose betimes in the morning, and breakfasted heartily. After the meal, they smoked a pipe together, as was their custom. "Do you really mean to go to Boston this morning, sir?" queried Eugene. "If the stage goes, I shall be one of the passengers," rejoined the squire, haughtily. "But, sir, think of the risk. These Minute Men, as we well know, sir, are numerous and well-organized enough to carry out any threats they make." The squire laid down his pipe, examined the loading and priming of a pair of pistols, and strapped them about his waist. Squire Torrington could be angry, even with his cher ished heir, when he felt that occasion demanded it. This was one of the occasions. "My son, it is your place to listen and obey, not to ad vise," he said, sternly. Eugene, silenced, but not abashed, held his peace. The squire filled his green bag with such papers and


A Surprise by the Wayside. 35 documents as he thought he would need in Boston, and then bade good-by to his son. Had he forgotten the warning of the night before? Most certainly he had not. Then, did he doubt the courage and ability of the Min ute Men to keep him from making the journey to Boston? Again, most certainly not. The truth was that Squire Torrington was a good speci men of the obdurate Englishman. He had determined to make the journey, and all the Minute Men between Concord and Boston could not have frightened him out of the attempt. So he said to himself. Leaving the house, he stepped off boldly down the road. It was another soft, spring morning, like that of the day before, and the air seemed like a balm. A quarter of an hour of smart walking brought the squire to Wright's Tavern, from which the stage made its start. The great, bungling vehicle was drawn up before the door of the inn, and James Dobbs, the driver, sat erect on his seat on the top, closely watching the four spirited ani mals that were to draw the stage. There were comparatively few who knew it, but Dobbs was an ardent patriot at heart. Cautious in his speech and actions, however, he had managed to maintain his position as a driver of the king's mail. In the discharge of his duties, he had gained much val uable information for the Minute Men.


36 A Surprise by the Wayside. "Mernin', squire," was his salutation, as the lawyer came puffing up. "Morning, James." "Going to Boston this morning, squire?" "Yes ; I shall be ready in a moment, James, as soon as I have seen mine host of the inn." Dobbs followed him, with a curious twinkle in his eye. What the squire really desired was to see mine host's liquor. When he had emptied a couple of glasses of it, he came out again, smacking his lips in a suggestive manner. Lawyer Torrington looked into the coach, and seemed surprised. "Am I the only passenger, James?" "Looks that way, squire." "Why, how does this happen?" "Don't know, squire, unless you're the only man in Con cord who wants to go to Boston to-day." Torrington looked sharply at the driver; but the latter was as bland and innocent as he could well be. "There'll probably be some one else get in lower down," Dobbs ventured. "I guess, on the whole, ye won't be lonesome, squire." The lawyer clambered in, Dobbs cracked his whip over the horses, and the stage rolled away. "Is there anything suspicious in my being the only pas senger to-day?" the squire wondered, and then dismissed the thought. "Pshaw! I'm getting as timorous as a young girl." The squire drew the curtains on the inside of the coach,


A Surprise by the Wayside. 37 to shut out the bright, morning sun, and then settled back on the cushions for a comfortable nap. But the patriots of Concord were not slumbering. Much to the contrary, they were very wide awake. Driver Dobbs chuckled to himself, and whistled softly. But the squire slumbered on. The coach entered the dark, shady road leading past Like Wal den. Driver Dobbs seemed about relapsing into a nap him self, when he suddenly became aware of the presence of others on the road. Two men sprang out of a clump of bushes, and seized the foremost horses by the bridle. Another man leveled his rifle at the driver's head, and commanded: "Halt!" Fully half a dozen men gathered around the body of the coach. The sudden lurch of the vehicle awoke the squire. By the time he had got his eyes open, he heard the unmistakable command to hold up. The Minute Men, then, had dared to carry out their threat! So it seemed. In a transport of rage, the squire drew his pistols, and it is impossible to tell what folly he might not have com mitted. But the glass windows of the coach were shivered into atoms, and six or eight rifles confronted the redoubtable lawyer.


The Tar Treatment. The squire now saw that all the men were masked. "No nonsense, squire, or you re a dead man!" shouted one of the captors, in a disguised voice. Come out, now, and be quick about it, too!" Very much discomfited, the squire descended. He would have fought, but what was the use? CHAPTER VI. THE TAR TREATMENT. It was a bitter experience for Squire Torrington. He was not a coward. On the contrary, he was a man of courage, who would not have hesitated to have engaged all his captors, single-handed, if there had been the remotest chance of his putting them to flight. But there was none, and so he submitted with the best grace possible, though he trembled with excitement. "I shall have to trouble you for your pistols, squire," said the leader of the masked men in a voice so gruff that one could hardly conjecture what his natural tone would be. "Young man, this might all pass for a jest," said Torrington, gravely, "but now you are going too far. You are committing highway robbery, and if you are caught, his majesty's court at Boston will sentence you all to be hanged." "His majesty's court won't continue to dispense justice


The Tar Treatment. 39 in this colony much longer," retorted the leader, in the same gruff tones as before. "That is a matter of opinion, young man. If you want mine, as a lawyer--" "Never mind your opinions, squire. We don't care any more for his majesty's lawyers than we do for his maj esty's courts. If you don't hand over your pistols, you're sure to be grievously hurt." The squire hesitated no longer. He gravely handed his pistols to the leader of the masked men, who as gravely received them. .The driver of the coach here spoke up. "Is there any need for me to stay here, friends?" he queried. "Come down off the box a minute I" responded the leader. With a show of great reluctance, Dobbs climbed slowly down from the top of the coach. "Search him !" commanded the leader to two of the men. Dobbs, who was, as the reader has already been in formed, an ardent patriot, now proved to be a consummate actor. He started back, with his mouth wide open and a look of consternation and dismay in his eyes. The two men indicated advanced. One of the men seized him, while the other went through his pockets rapidly. "Only a timekeeper and a five-pound note," reported the man who &ad made the search. "No papers d any kind?" queried the leader.


The Tar Treatment. "No papers whatever." "Then put the valuables back in the pockets you took them from. We are not thieves." The restitution was made, and the leader of the men addressed Dobbs. "Driver, you may think yourself fortunate that you are not the bearer of information against the Minute Men. You have been marked as a British spy, and had we found you so, you would have had but a few minutes more to live." All of which was, of course, very cheerful talk for the squire to hear. "Can I go now?" demanded Dobbs, who seemed in a hurry to quit the scene. "You may go." Dobbs clambered up on to the box of his coach with alacrity. He twirled the long lash of his whip around his head and brought it down upon his horses, causing them to bound off at a gallop. "Report my case and send help I" the squire bawled after him. "I'll do it, squire !" Dobbs yelled back. "Hold on, there!" yelled the leader; "we've made a: mistake. You're a spy! Halt!" Dobbs took off his hat, and waved it defiantly. "Fire!" shouted the leader. The men took aim, and a stragg ling volley followed. It is quite needless to say that none of the shots took effect,


The Tar Treatment. Dobbs was sitting erect on the box when the coach disappeared around a bend in the road. "Load!" ordered the leader. The men quickly recharged their pieces. "Now, bring the prisoner along." After a few minutes' tramp through the woods, the party halted. "Search the prisoner." Two men seized the squire, who struggled fiercely, but vainly, while a third went through his pockets. Nothing was found but valuables, which were returned to the same pockets from which they were taken. Next, his green bag was emptied upon the ground, and its contents scanned, but only a few legal documents were discovered. As none of these had any bearing upon the cause of the patriots, the documents were returned. "Pull off the prisoner's boots," ordered the chief. At this, Squire Torrington's face paled palpably, and the chief promptly noted the fact. Yet nothing was found in the boots. Had it not been for the squire's pallor, all might have gone well with him. As it was: "Pull off his stockings, then." The stockings came off, and in one of them was found a slip of thin paper. The chief seized this, and read the contents aloud : "In William Benton's red barn are two field pieces, three hundred stand of arms, and many barrels of powder.


42 The Tar Treatment. In the Rev. William Emerson's loft are fifty stand of arms." The leader paused, and an ominous stillness followed. The squire looked very uneasy, indeed. "So, Squire Torrington, you are a Tory?" "I am loyal to his blessed majesty, King George." "Then you are a traitor to the cause of these colonies ?" "No; I am loyal to the best interests of Massachusetts." "Ah!" "And the best interests of Massachusetts are identical with the best interests of King George's government," the squire added, boldly. "You were going to take this slip of paper to the British authorities in Boston?" "I was, certainly." "Then you are guilty, squire, of treason to the cause of Massachusetts." "Very well. In the words of your Patrick Henry, 'If this be treason, make the most of it.' "You are defiant, squire." "I am." "Even in the face of death!" The squire started. He had not believed matters would go so far as this. "Be careful what you do," he murmured, hoarsely. "We shall do what seems to us best to suppress treason, squire returned the leader sternly. "But you dare not kill me?" "We dare, but we do not deem it necessary to hang you this time."


The Tar Treatment. 43 The squire felt vastly relieved at this information. "Yet we must administer a punishment which you will not forget," continued the leader "What do you propose to do with me?" "That you shall soon learn. Forward!" Again the march was taken up, and the squire was dragged, rather than led, through the woods. In a few minutes they halted on a small clearing. The squire gazed about him, and a strange, sickly feeling oppressed him. A fire was burning in the center of the clearing, and over it hung an iron kettle, from which a pungent odor was emitted. Not far from the fire was a meal sack, the contents of which the squire could only too well surmise. The squire was trembling from head to foot, but it was the passion of anger more than the qualms of fear. "You are going too far," he again muttered, hoarsely. "We seek only self-preservation," answered the chief. "This day's work will lead to your destruction," warned Lawyer Torrington. "We accept the risk cheerfully," returned the leader. "What do you propose to do?" "You have doubtless heard," returned the leader, lightly, "that tar is a agent in medicine. By most phy sicians it is considered beneficial in the case of a severe cold. We will carry the demonstration farther ; we believe tar to be a good cure for treason. Strip the pris oner." The squire was seized, and handled not very gently.


44 The Tar Treatment. "Hold on!" he shouted, beside himself with rage; "hold on, I say! If you persist in this outrage, every mother s son of you will see the gallows-ay, and swing under it, too!" "That is an old story, squire," returned the leader. "We have heard it often in the last year, and it frightens no more." All of the squire's protests were without avail. In a few moments he was stripped completely. Then Torrington had recourse to pleading. "Let me go," he urged, "and I give you my word I will carry no more information to Boston." "The word of a traitor-a spy!" contemptuously. "Will you take your oath, squire? That is more to the pur pose." "No, no!" bawled Torrington. "It would be com pounding a felony to give my oath to traitors." "Give him the tar bath, then," ordered the leader, turning on his heel. Protests, curses and kicks were alike unavailing. Squire Torrington was thrown to the ground, and held there, while one of the men dipped a long-handled brush into the simmering kettle of tar. The squire howled with pain and rage when the liquid black coat was applied. In a few moments he was artis tically daubed with tar from head to foot. "Stand him on his feet," ordered the leader. When this was done, two men dove their hands into the meal sack and brought forth handfuls of feathers, which:


Off for Boston Town. 45 they proceeded to rub into the tar in a way that was cal culated to make them stick there. "Now, squire, remember," admonished the leader, "that another attempt to make a trip to Boston will result in your being hung by the wayside before you get many miles from Concord. Now, sir, lay down on your face, and close your eyes. Don't attempt to get up until we tell you, or you'll feel a hempen collar around your neck." The squire obeyed. He waited for nearly an hour for the order to arise. It did not come, and he finally ventured to look about '.him. None of his former captors were in sight. Slowly and painfully donning a part of his clothing, Squire Torrington skulked away, smarting in flesh and in spirit. CHAPTER VII. OFF FOR BOSTON TOWN. It was after dark when a servant came into the Torrington living-room with a folded slip of paper, which she handed to Eugene. "There's a man at the door, sir-keeps out in the dark, and seems afraid of being seen. He wants to see you, Mr. Eugene, and gave me this slip of paper to hand you." Eugene unfolded the paper, glanced at it, and then started in g-enuine dismay.


Off for Boston Town. The words were evidently traced with a bullet, but even this clumsy method of writing did not altogether disguise the well-known hand of his father. And the message was : "It is I, your father, in distress. Get me into the house unseen." Outwardly, as calm as possible, Eugene turned to the servant and said : "You need not return to the door. I have a mind to go myself and see this odd character who sends me this very odd note." As soon as the servant was well out of the way, Eu gene went to the door. It was dark, and he did not see any one at first. "Father," he whispered, and then gave a shrill little whistle. A figure moved from behind a lilac bush near the door, and then came forward. "Is that you, father?" whispered Eugene. "It is,'' came in hollow accents from the wretched man. "Come into the living-room, then, father. There is no one about now to see you." Eugene led the way. His father followed, after closing the outer door behind him. Once in the living-room, Eugene Torrington turned to survey his parent. The sight that met his eyes almost staggered him. "My God, father!" he gasped. The squire smiled mournfully, and the dried tar, cracking on his face, gave the smile a ghastly effect.


Off for Boston Town. 47 Lawyer Torrington was, indeed, a terrible sight to behold. The tar was so sticky, and the feathers hurt him so much, that he had been able to don only his shirt and trousers-and they wore knickerbockers in those days. Over the whole, the squire had thrown his voluminous greatcoat, but now, in the presence of his son, he threw off this garment, and stood revealed-a ghastly sight, indeed. Eugene sprang to his feet, his fists so tightly clinched that the nails tore the palms. "Who has done this ?" he shouted, hoarse with passion. "Give me a brandy-and-water," pleaded the squire, "and then I will tell you all." Hot water stood ready at hand. Eugene quickly mixed the desir e d beverage, which his parent drank eagerly. "Another," gasped the squire, and another compound was brewed and swallowed. "Now, tell me who has done this, sir?" cried Eugene. "Alas! I do not know; they were all masked." "Ha This, then, as I had supposed, is the work of the rebels? A precious lot of subjects King George has on this side of the water! Fit only for hanging! And, by God I sir, the men who have had a hand in this outrage upon your person shall hang, every one of them, if they can be discovered." "Listen, and I will tell you all about it," said Squire Torrington. Eugene, beside himself with anger, quieted himself enough to listen, nevertheless.


Off for Boston Town. In the course of a quarter of an hour the squire had re peated the story, as fully as he could. As the narrative went on, Eugene worked himself into more and more of a passion. At its conclusion, he jumped up, seized his hat, and buckled his pistols about his waist. "Where are you going?" demanded his father. "I am going, sir, to find his majesty's officers in this town. I shall report your case to them, sir, and demand the justice due to a loyal British subject." "Foolish boy!" moaned the squire. "Who do you im agine will do more than listen to your tale ? Who dares do anything?" "There are three of his majesty's constables in town," retorted Eugene. "If they do not aid me in finding and arresting the perpetrators, they are traitors of the basest type!" "There is not a constable in the place who is loyal to his majesty," returned the squire. "Tell them our story, and they will only laugh at us when your back is turned." Eugene sank into a chair, covered his face with his hands, and groaned. "Alas! sir, what you say is, I fear, only too true. The whole colony is rotten with conspiracy and rebellion. Yet, sir, I must see you revenged for these dastardly indignities which have been put upon you." "I should be glad to be revenged," assented the squire. And then, with increasing energy, he exclaimed: "I shall be revenged I will be revenged This insult is not to me alone, but even to his majesty, King George.


Off for Bost0n Town. 49 Eugene, we will move cautiously, but we will set about at once." "Had you returned earlier in the day, we could have set about it earlier." "True, quoth the squire; "but to have come home in the daylight would have been to run the gantlet of ob servation. I skulked in the woods until dark." Eug ene seemed suddenly to have hit upon a plan of procedure. "Let me assist you to your room, sir," he urged. "There I will help you to dress, and we will set out for Boston this very night, if you are strong enough to sit upon a horse." Eugene Torrington led his parent to his chamber over head. In half an hour the squire was completely dressed, though the pulling on of the clothes brought many a groan from him. As soon as they were ready for the journey, Eugene left his father in the living-room, and went out to the stables. He quickly saddled the two best hor ses there, laying a blanket across one of the saddles, that his father might have an easier seat. Whe n this was done he returned to the house. "All is read y father." "Then we will start at once, my son." "Had you not better take food and drink before starting ?"


50 Off for Boston Town. "I have found some in your absence, and am refreshed enough to start." "Then let us depart at once, sir." Silently, they stole out to the stables. The dead hush of midnight was upon the little town of Concord. Eugene led the horses forth, and the squire was hardly able to repress a groan of anguish when he was assisted by his son to mount. They rode forth, taking one of the less frequented roads. For half a mile they met no one. Then three men stood forth upon the road from a clump of bushes in which they had been concealed. "Halt!" "Ride for it, father!" muttered Eugene. They spurred their horses, and went forward at a wild gallop. Bang Bang Bang! Three rifles were discharged after them. The bullets whizzed about their heads, but they escaped without a scratch. Hardly had they brought their horses to a walk, when they were again challenged. "Halt, in the name of the colony !" Again they spurred their horses on. Bang! Bang! Again the bullets whistled after them, but they seemed to bear charmed lives. "The road is alive with rebel sentinels," groaned Eugene.


Off for Boston Town. 51 Four times ere they reached Lincoln they were chal lenged, and as often they were fired upon. After leaving Lincoln, they were challenged and fired upon but once and again with no effect. Eugene Torrington arose in his stirrups, and turned in the direction of Concord. "Go on with your devilish conspiracies," he muttered, shaking his fist. "Tar and feather the king's loyal sub jects at your pleasure to-day, for to-morrow I shall return :with the king s troops, and you shall hang!" "I feel as if this ride to Boston will kill me," moaned the squire. "Courage, father, courage; daylight will see us in Boston." "In the king's stronghold I" "Amen!" Despite his sufferings, there are few who will sympathize with Squire Torrington. With the blindness of an obstinate man, he had steadily refused to believe in the justice of rebellion against a tyrannical king. Ay, he h a d g one farther Partly throu g h loyalty to a miserable monarch, and more larg ely in the hope of gain, he had played the sp y upon the patriots at Concord. Though knowing the fate which is the just due of trai tors he had gone on collecting information to be lodged against his nei g hbors. His dastardly part had been discovered. What wonder that the Minute Men of Concord had been goaded on to tar and feather Squire Torrington.


CHAPTER VIII. WAITING FOR THE DRAGOONS. One strong point of our revolutionary forefathers which must never be lost sight of was their strong religious fervor. All truly religious people, of whatever creed or sect, are industrious and provident. It was so with the patriots of Concord. Though daily expecting open disruption with the mother country-and the trouble was pretty sure to start either in Boston or Concord-the farmers of the latter place did not cease their daily toil. Our forefathers, physically, were made of tough stuff, indeed. They worked hard about their farms all day, and fre quently spent the better part of the night in drilling, or in otherwise furthering the cause of the colonies. As the reader has doubtless already guessed, Joel Ben ton and his father were two of the masked men who fig ured in the little surprise party for Squire Torrington. On the morning of the day after that event, Capt. Ben ton and his sons were at work in the field, when a mounted man galloped up to the door of the farmhouse. Then, seeing the men-folks in the field, he merely paused to salute Mrs. Benton, as she came to the door, and then dismounted, leaving his horse to graze about while he joined Capt. Benton.


Waiting for the Dragoons. 53 The latter saw his visitor coming, and at some distance recognized him as a Sudbury man named Tompkins. "Father of those boys you are drilling," he explained to Joel. As Tompkins came nearer, he made a respectful salute, which was gravely returned by Capt. Benton. "Mernin', cap'n." "Good-morning, Neighbor Tompkins." Tompkins said no more for the time being, but stared about him, at the sky and the earth, as if trying to remem ber something. "You wanted to see me about something, neighbor?" Capt. Benton ventured, after a scrutinizing pause. "Yes, cap'n." Another pause. A further survey of the sl{y and the earth. "Well, come, come, neighbor ; time is precious in the planting season." "Think we'll have good crops this year?" queried Tomp kins, absently. "Don't know. Certainly won't if the planting isn't done in season." After another pause, Tompkins pulled himself together and made known his business. "Got any powder to spare?" he dem: ; mded. 'Sh !" Capt. Benton put his finger to his lips, and looked about, to make sure that there was no one else within hearing. "Well, have ye?" insisted Tompldns. "For private or public use?"


54 Waiting for the Dragoons. "Our company over in Sudbury wants it." As the reader has already been informed, the people of Wayland and Sudbury had united to form a troop of cavalry. "Have you got a writing from your captain?" asked Mr. Benton. Tompkins face brightened at this question. He had evidently just remembered something. He pulled off his cap, and drew from it a small square of very coarse brown paper. It was inscribed with writing done by a very coarse quill, and read as follows : "To YE MINIT MENNE OF CONCORD: Whereas, we are all out of powder and ball, we do earnestly urge that ye send to us whatte powder and lead ye can spare. For ye good of ye colony." This unigue document was properly signed by the cap tain and lieutenants of the Sudbury cavalry. Capt. Benton attentively scanned the paper, and then said: "I think this will be my warrant for parting with some of the powder that I know where to find. But, as to lead, there is not overmuch of that commodity in Concord. I can let you have two or three small bars of it, and you must tell your housewives of Sudbury to melt up all the pewter and leaden articles they have. Bullets will be scarce, and sorely needed." Tompkins nodded, and Benton asked :


Waiting for the Dragoons. 55 "Have you any way of getting the ammunition over to Sudbury?" Tompkins shook his head. "Very well, then ; I will hitch up one of my horses and drive over there now. You shall show me where to take it in Sudbury. Boys, you may all keep on with your work, except Joel. Joel, I shall want you to go with me." Joel and his father sauntered up to the barn. In a quarter of an hour they had one of the horses hitched into the cart, and in the cart itself was a barrel. A barrel of potatoes, apparently, for the powder was concealed under a layer of those vegetables. Joel and his father mounted to the seat on the cart, and Tompkins rode just ahead of them. The powder and lead reached Sudbury in safety, and the Bentons started for home. On their way back, they repassed the Tompkins farm, and, not far from the house, they heard a noise of voices from the other side of a clump of bushes. Stopping the horse, they stole quietly up to the clump and peered through. The sight which they saw filled them with both amuse ment and satisfaction. The elder of the Tompkins boys was armed with a mas sive stake, which he carried after the fashion of a sword. As for the other three brothers, they had seized the handiest farm articles, and were holding them as they would guns. "Hay-foo t, stray-foot, hay-foot, straw-foot," sang out the elder brother, and the other three marched off after


56 Waiting for the Dragoons. him in line, making almost painful efforts to repeat the lesson which they had learned two nights before. "Hay-foot, straw-foot, hay-foot, straw-foot. Halt!" The line of three halted, and the elder brother began to inspect them, trying clumsily to improve their "position of a soldier." Then off they marched again to the refrain: "Hay-foot, straw-foot, hay-foot, straw-foot." Joel felt like applauding such faithful recruits, but his father restrained him by a gesture. "Feel as much encouraged as you please,'' whispered Capt. Benton, "but do not let them believe they are doing anything out of the ordinary. Instruct them all you can at the meetings, and I predict they will be good recruits." They stole noiselessly back to their cart, and drove along. They reached home in good season, and worked hard all day on the farm. Just before dark, the Bentons sat down to a supper, which, after thanking the Lord for supplying them with it, they proceeded to eat. Hardly had they began, when the sound of hoofs was heard down the road. It was evident that a horseman was approaching the house at a rapid pace. "Can you make out who it is?" queried the captain of Mrs. Benton, who had taken her position at the window. "It looks like Rufus Allen," she answered, dubiously. "but at this distance I cannot be sure." "Rufus seldom brings good news to this village," said Capt. Benton, musingly.


Waiting for the Dragoons. 57 "Ah, I can see now," returned his wife; "it is Rufus Allen." It may here be mentioned that Allen was a young Bos ton gentleman, with no visible occupation, who had many times served the cause by carrying warning messages from Boston to the Concord patriots. "If Rufus is coming here, tlien his coming is no sign of good news for our cause," asserted Capt. Benton, argumentatively. The noise of hoofs was heard at the door. Capt. Benton opened it just in time to see a young man dismount, without waiting for his mare to come to a full stop. The young man threw the bridle over a hitching post, and walked smartly into the house. His rapid walk, indeed, even resembled a hurricane. He moved without ceremony, and seemed only anxious to get to any given point in good time. "Good-evening, good people," he said, briskly. "Good-evening," answered Capt. and Mrs. Benton, while the younger people, as was the custom in those days, said nothing, but looked silently on. "You bring us news from Boston, Rufus Allen? God grant it may be good news." "That is as you may decide, captain." "Let us have it without delay, whatever it is." "It is this, then: Squire Torrington and his son reached Boston on horseback early this morning. A pretty sight the squire was. Ha, ha! ho, ho! he!" Rufus Allen gave way to a thunderous roar of laughter,


Waiting for the Dragoons. as the recollection of the squire's betarred and befeathcred condition came back to him. "Yes; but go on, Rufus," urged the captain. "Well, the squire, as you may believe, was mighty en raged against the good people of Concord who gave him his new coat. He has lodged information against a dozen or so, and among them, captain, are your good self and your hearty sons here." 'Tis a matter of small moment,'' returned the captain, with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. "The squire can not prove his charges." "Ah! but, my good friend, his majesty's lecherous gov ernor requires but shadowy proof against a patriot in these sad days. The squire is a loyalist, and his word in this matter would hang every male member of your family." Capt. Benton looked more serious at these words. "Yet how will the king's governor get me here in Con cord ?" he argued. "Ah I that is the principal part of my news, good cap tain. Paul Revere, who gathered this information, does nothing by halves. By the talk at the governor's house, there is good reason to believe that a squadron of the royal horse will be in Concord this very evening to seize the men against whom the squire informs. I have ridden like the wind these twenty miles, but it may be that the royal dragoons are even now on the outskirts of Concord." Joel moved toward the gun rack, and took down his own piece. His brothers followed the example. "Right, my sons,'' pronounced their father. "We will


Hours of Suspense. 59 resist false government, though we are outnumbered twenty to one." "And I will remain with you," answered Rufus, ex amining his pistols. "I, myself, feel good for twenty dragoons." "Fly, fly, my husband,'' urged Mrs. Benton; "when they come here, I will tell them that I do not know where you are." "It would be cowardly," he answered, reprovingly. "If I leave my home, it shall be only as a prisoner.'' "Oh, it will be a glorious fight against glorious odds !" exclaimed Rufus Allen, gleefully. Joel and his brothers to put the shutters up to the window. Capt. Benton went outside, and, with his ear to the ground, listened for the sounds that should herald the ap proach of the dragoons. CHAPTER IX. HOURS OF SUSPENSE. An hour of dreadful suspense wore by. Capt. Benton did not once relinquish his post of v-ig ilance outside. Mrs. Benton, after her first feeling of terror, became again the brave wife of a patriot. She measured aut charges of powder, placing them on the table, where they could be easily reached by the defenders of the house,


6o Hours of Suspense. Sarah Benton found occupation in melting a bar of lead and molding it into bullets. "Rufus !" called the captain from outside. Rufus arose from the chair in which he had sat, admir ingly watching Sarah at her work, and joined the captain outside. "I hear no sign of the dragoons as yet," said the latter. "I think we have time to gather men for a proper defense of the house against numbers." "Say but the word, captain, and I will mount my gray mare and alarm all your neighbors "It is done more easily than that, Rufus." "Then show me the easier way." "Do you see that hill back of the house?" "I see it." "Ascend to the top of it. Gather enough brush to start a good fire, light the pile, and then come back here." "I'll lose not a minute," muttered Rufus. He started off at the greatest speed at which his legs could carry him. He was not long gaining the top of the hill. Once there, Rufus hurriedly removed his coat, and threw it down on the ground. Then he began with tireless energy to gather a pile of dead brush. To the very top of the hill he carried it, and soon had a considerable pile of fuel. Then with a few dead leaves and his tinder box he struck a flame.


Hours of Suspense. 6I It burned low for a few moments, and seemed on the point of flickering out. But at last a dry branch caught. Then the blaze spread, until the whole pile was enveloped in flame. Rufus Allen, as he stood hatless and coatless in the strong glare of light, his face stern and rigid and form erect, looked a veritable god of war. He did not stand posing, however. Once assured that the bonfire would burn, he seized his discarded articles of apparel, and donned them as he ran down the hill. He found Capt. Benton still at full length on the ground, with one ear pressed to the earth. "They do not come yet," he said. "Perhaps they will not come." "Once your neighbors are gathered to your assistance, let the dragoons come or not, as they please," muttered Rufus. Mrs. Benton came to the door, from time to time, and gazed anxiously about her. "Will they come, Rufus, think you?" she asked. "I know not, yet I hope so. I am aching to see red coats in full retreat." "And you, my husband, what do you think?" "It is very likely, Mary, that they will forego their intention. The king's governor in Boston must know how dangerous it would be to send a small body of troops into this threatening country." Mrs. Benton strolled back into the house.


Hours of Suspense. "Jabez and Ellen, you must go to bed now,'' she said, to the two youngest of her children. They wanted mightily to stay up, and would have pro tested, but unquestioning obedience to parents was the rule in those days. When the children were safely in bed, Mrs. Benton sat down by the fireside and passed some minutes in anx ious thought. She was anything but cowardly, this patriot's wife, and she gloried in the fact that she had a husband and three sons who could take part in the forthcoming struggle. Yet she could not help feeling uneasy when the time for resistance seemed so near. Suddenly her listening ear caught the sound of rapid steps outside. With a cry of alarm she sprang to her feet, and rushed to the door. Sarah followed her, and both peered out into the darkness. "Well, neighbor, what seems to be the trouble?" queried one of the new-comers in a friendly voice. Mrs. Benton gave vent to a sigh of relief. The new-comers were a few of Capt. Benton's company of Minute Men, who had come to his succor. "I have reason to believe that a squadron of the king's troops are coming here," answered Capt. Benton. "And for what, neighbor?" "Squire Torrington has escaped to Boston, and has in formed against us for tarring and feathering him."


Hours of Suspense. Something very like an oath escaped the neighbor when he heard this. "Then you did right to summon us," he said. "We will give the king's men a merry time if they come." There were more arrivals shortly. And then came more. And more. The last to come were the four Tompkins' boys, who lived farther away than any other members of the com pany. Scouts were now sent out; to watch for the approach of the dragoons, and to give warning in season. An hour was spent in improving the defenses of the house. Mrs. Benton, seeing so many true men around her, felt that the contest, if it came, would be much more equal. She crushed all feelings of fear, and did her utmost to make her large company of visitors comfortable. The scouts came in after an hour with the report that there were no signs of the enemy. Midnight came, and the ominous clatter of hoofs had not even then been heard. "I begin to feel like a false prophet," muttered Rufus "I shall soon wish for the troops, if only to make me appear less foolish." "You did but bring your message," said Capt. Benton. "Better twenty false alarms than once to be caught napping." Scouts were going and coming all the time, but each !had the same report to make-no signs of the enemy.


Hours of Suspense. A feeling of security came upon the Minute Men. They relaxed their vigilance for the most part, and many took sly naps. An hour after midnight Mrs. Benton and Sarah were ready with what was in those days, a sumptuous repast. Forty men sat down to eat, and did full justice to the hearty victuals. When the meal was over many of the men produced long-stemmed pipes, and made furious inroads on their host's supply of tobacco. The food and fumes of tobacco produced a reacti0n. The Minute Men became drowsy. Some slumbered in chairs in the house, but a far greater number lay on the ground outside, with a careless disregard for night chills. It was a disregard born of sturdy, hardy manhood. Morning dawned, and found all but a few sleeping soundly. Benton held a hurried consultation with Rufus Allen, and then they awakened the sleepers. "My neighbors," said the captain, "I am grateful to you for so promptly responding to my signal. The danger appears to be past and I dismiss you with a feeling of deep thankfulness for your ready response." "But you are not sure that the danger is past," pro tested one of the neighbors. "It appears to be." "But, even a few minutes after we are gone, the troops may appear, and you will be alone and defenseless."


Hours of Suspense. "Not defenseless, neighbors. I have brave boys here, one of whom you deemed fit to be your lieul:enant." "Yet four or five men cannot resist a squadron." "We can give a signal," responded the captain, gravely. "When you hear three guns fired, you will know that we need help." "And we 'll come, cap n." The Minute Men began to move off to their respective homes. "Once again, I thank you, neighbors," the captain called after them. "Give the signal and we'll come again!" they shouted back. "I don't believe we shall be annoyed by the dragoons,'' Joel said to his father, as they walked back to the house. "It is hard to say, my son." "If they come, you can see that the men of Concord are ready for them." "Come, mother," called Capt. Benton to his wife, "let us go in and thank the Lord for our deliverance. Then we'll have breakfast.'' The Bentons entered the house, and their coming was so unexpected that Sarah had barely time to snatch her hand from Rufus Allen's. They had been standing together, talking m low, ear ne s t tones. Sarah, with a peony-red face busied herself, while Rufus strolled toward the door, trying to look as careless as he could.


CHAPTER X. MR. GREY, OF BOSTON. "I don't believe the troops are coming,'' said Capt. Benton, as he sat down to breakfast. "I'm sorry they didn't,'' muttered Allen. "The sol diery would have been ignorant of the country, and, with all the men you had at command, you could have played merry pranks with them." "How so, Rufus ?" "Why, pick them off in the dark, until the survivors got so scared they turned tail and flew for Boston." "I am afraid, Rufus,'' the captain answered grimly, "that you have bloodthirsty notions of fun." Rufus saw that Sarah was regarding him closely, and so did not press the discussion. These were to be active days for the Bentons, as well as for most of their neighbors. They had hardly left the breakfast table when Joel de scried two horsemen approaching the house. "One is Maj. Buttrick, father; I do not know who the other is." "I know him,'' vouchafed Rufus. "He is Mr. Grey, the man who sends me on so many messages into the country. He is a great friend of Paul Revere. Mr. Grey has dedicated his fortune to the cause." In a few moments more the horses cantered slowly up to the door, and their riders dismounted and tied them.


Mr. Grey, of Boston. "Good-morning, major," said Capt. Benton, giving his superior a military salute. "At your service, Mr. Grey," said Rufus Allen. "You are wanted back in Boston, Rufus,'' said Mr. Grey. "Then I'll start at once, sir,'' returned the indomitable Rufus. "Have you rested here?'' "Not slept, sir." "I imagined not. Keeping one eye open for the royal squadron, did not permit of much sleep." "I can get along without sleep, Mr. Grey." "Nevertheless, Rufus, you had better sleep through the aay. Ride back to Boston in the cool of the evening." "I obey any orders you may give, sir,'' and Rufus lapsed into respectful silence. "Capt. Benton, if you and your son Joel will follow us apart, there are grave matters to be discussed,'' said Maj. Buttrick. William Benton and our hero gravely followed their visitors to a bare spot on a hill s ide near by. Here they could talk in low tones, with no possibility of an eavesdropper getting near enough to hear what was said. Mr. Grey took the lead in conversation. "Things are coming to a crisis in Boston,'' he said. "We believed yesterday that a squadron of royal horse would proceed to Concord with the purpose of arresting yourselves and all others suspected of a hand in the little affair with Squire Torrington.


68 Mr. Grey, of Boston. "The reason they did not start, we now believe, is that the royal governor has a much deeper plan in mind. It is well known to every Tory in Boston, from the royal governor down to the meanest of our Yankee traitors, that most of the Minute Men's stores are hidden here in Concord. "The royal troops, therefore, are likely to start at any hour for Concord, with the avowed purpose of destroying these stores. That will be the first note of a civil war with Great Britain which now seems inevitable. The Minute Men will, of course, resist the king's troops to the utmost. That will precipitate the war, and the issue will be forced at last." Mr. Grey paused. His words had sunk deep into the hearts of his lis teners. "Let the war come," cried Maj. Buttrick, striking the ground savagely with his riding whip. "It will come soon enough," Mr. Grey responded quietly. "The only thing we can do is to be prepared for it. And now, Mr. Benton, I come to the business which has brought me to you." William Benton was all attention. "When the inevitable war breaks out," Mr. Grey went on, "we shall be beaten at the outset, if we are not fully prepared. Massachusetts is full of brave men who are ready for the struggle. I want a discreet and reliable man to go through all the towns and settlements between here and the N e w Hampshire line, to arouse our men.


Mr. Grey, of Boston. Maj. Buttrick has told me, Capt. Benton, that you are the man for this work." "I shall be very glad to undertake it," Joel's father answered. "This, then, shall be your work," Grey went on: "Arouse the men everywhere. Get them to organize into companies, where they are not already organized. Let every boy over fifteen, and every man under sixty, join a company of recruits." "I think I can do it," returned Captain Benton, glowing with enthusiasm at the thought of so noble a task. "Another thing that is equally important,'' resumed Mr. Grey, "is to arrange a system of communication with these companies. The best way, I think, is to find, every ten miles along the road, some thoroughly reliable man who has a horse. In that way, when the time comes for massing our recruits, a messenger can ride ten miles out of Concord to the first post, and there a second messenger will go on with the news. In that way, in less than a day we can communicate with all the companies which you can raise." "I understand," nodded Capt. Benton. "Then I think that is all I need to say to you, sir. Your discretion and good judgment have been vouched for to me, and those are qualities which will stand you in better stead in your work than any further instructions I can give you." "I can start in less than an hour," said Capt. Benton, looking at the sun.


70 Mr. Grey, of Boston. "Good I You are prompt. You are the kind of man I believ e d y ou to be, from Maj. Buttric k' s des cription." "But there is one problem which troubl e s me." "What is it?" "I am captain of a company of Minute Men, and I think Maj. Buttrick will b ear me out whe n I say that it is one of the most efficient companies h e reabouts." "It is," the major responded, unh e sitatingly. "And," continued Capt. Benton, "I shall have to give the command over to some one else in my absence. Who shall it be?" "Who is your lieutenant?" asked Grey. "My son Joel, here, is my first lieutenant." "Why not let him take command, then ?" Grey pursued. Joel started and blushed. "I have already settled that matter in my own mind," Maj. Buttrick her e int e rpos e d. "If Capt. Bento n i s g oing away, then Li e ut. B e nton should succe e d hi s fath e r to the command of the company. I will so a pp o int hi m Joel, my boy consid e r yours e lf captain of th e compan y until your father's r e turn." "Perhaps an older man had better be appointed to the command," Joel answered, modestly. "I should not be jealous, for I am anxious only to do my duty to the col ony." "Bravely spoken my boy," commented Grey warmly. "That speech proves your fitness to be captain." "Joel is young said his father, anxi o usl y "and I know he means it when he sa y s that he would not be jeal ous if an older man were appointed capt a in."


Mr. Grey, of Boston. 71 Maj. Buttrick turned to Mr. Grey, but the latter said: "You are direct commander here, major. Settle the matter to suit yourself." "Then I appoint Lieut. Joel Benton to the command, in the absence of Capt. William Benton. And Joel shall have the rank of captain, too." "He will do his duty, that I know," said his father, earnestly. "Of course he will," retorted the major. "He is your son, and so we know he will do his duty. Joel, the bat talion drills again to-morrow night. You will take com mand then." "Thank you, sir," Joel answered, saluting gravely. "I will hold myself responsible for a well-drilled company." Mr. Grey and William Benton conferred a while longer on matters touching the latter's mission. Then they returned to the house. "Mary," said Mr. Benton to his wife, "I am going on a long journey in the interests of the colony." "You will start at once, then?" queried Mrs. Benton. "At the earliest possible moment." "Then your saddlebags shall be packed inside of a quarter of an hour." "Spoken like a true patriot," cried Mr. Grey. "With such men and such women as I have seen in Concord this morning, King George will tremble when the battle begins." Joel began to overhaul his father's rifles and pistols, while the latter went to the barn and saddled the old black horse.


Mr. Grey, of Boston. In ten minutes William Benton was in front of the door, seated in the saddle, and ready for his arduous undertaking. It was a simple but affectionate farewell. William Benton leaned down and kissed his wife and daughters, and pressed the hand of each of the boys. "Take good care of the children, Mary," said their father. "I will do my best, William. Do your best, too, and put your trust in God, who sees and directs all things." "Amen," he responded, reverently raising his cap. "And now, Joel,'' he continued, "remember that while I am gone you take my place on the farm, and also as captain of the Minute Men. Let yourself and your brothers be industrious on the farm, and do not neglect to attend every drill of the company." "I will do my best in all things, father." "And we, too," answered the other brothers. "And now time presses. Kiss me once again, Mr.ry. May God's richest blessings rest upon you all till we meet again. Good-by." "Good-by," they chorused. William Benton gave rein to his horse and galloped away, waving another farewell as he went. "A good and true man,'' said Grey. "You may well say that,'' responded the major, as they mounted and rode away. Joel remained looking after his father until he disap peared in the distance. Then he turned to his brothers, and said cheerily:


"The Regulars are Coming 1" 73 "Come, boys, we'll go to work, now, and make things hum on the old farm while father is away." "You are the father here now," said Mrs. Benton, looking with tender pride at her eldest son. "And captain of the Minute Men I" Joel added jubi lantly to himself. CHAPTER XI. "THE REGULARS ARE COMING!" Joel Benton went through the duties of the day with many strange sensations oppressing him. In the first place, the boys had never before been left without their father's guidance in all matters. There could be no doubt that his present mission would keep him away from home for several weeks. The plowing, which had been begun two days earlier, was finished on this day. "In a week or so more," said Joel, as they finished the evening tasks at the barn, "we will have the crops all in the ground, and then our summer will begin in earnest." "I wonder if there will be any men left on the farms to attend to the crops," said Ezra, thoughtfully. "I am be ginning to feel as you did the other day, Joel that it is almost folly to put the crops in the ground, when there is so little chance of harvesting them." "Not so, my son." It was Mrs. Benton who spoke.


74 "The Regulars are Coming l" She and Sarah had come out to the ham to do the evening milking, and they overheard the conversation of the boys. "Then you do not believe, mother, that we shall be taken away from our crops, this summer?" "It is in God's hands, my boy. If He wills it that there shall be strife in the land this suramer1 then the men must join our armies." "And the crops?" "There will be women left at home, my son, women in ured to hard work. If there are no men to gather in the crops, then rest assured that the women will do it. Our mothers have worked in the field, and many of us have done it, too. If the men of the colonies are not found wanting, the women will not be, either." "But surely, mother," protested Joel, "you would not do men's work in the field?" "Why not, my son? If the men leave their homes for higher work, why cannot the women step into the men's work at home?" Joel said no more, but his face wore a thoughtful expression after that. Th'is conver s ation is recorded to show the noble, patri otic ardor which fired the women as w e ll as the men in those good old times. When the war finall y broke out, and the men were away from home, the 'Vome n and girls, with the smaller boys, went cheerfull y into the 'fields, and 1 .lab o red with all the strength with which the Creator en-. .. dowed them. I


"The Regulars are Coming!" 75 Rufus Allen returned to Boston in the middle of the afternoon. Soon after darkness fell, the Bentons had a visitor. It was Lieut. Gregg, now second in command in Joel's company, in consequence of the latter's promotion. "Good-evening, captain," said Gregg. "Good-evening," Joel answered, blushing with pride at hearing himself addressed by his new title. Gregg was a young farmer, several years Joel's senior, but he did not seem at all jealous of our hero's promotion. "There are strange rumors afloat in the town," said Gregg, when he had seated himself and lighted the pipe which Mrs. Benton handed him. "Rumors of what," queried Joel. "Rumors that the king's troops are coming to Concord in great numbers." "True; we looked for them last night." "But this is a much more serious matter." "What?" "Last night," pursued Gregg, "we expected them to come after the men who had tarred and feathered Squire Torrington." "And if not that, what are they now coming for?" Gregg took his pipe from his mouth and looked impressively at his bearers. "We have in Concord," he said, "arms and stores enough for a small army. The royal governor, alarmed at these hostile preparations, has decided, it is rumored, to send troops here to destroy these stores at any cost." "And when are they coming?"


76 "The Regulars are Coming I" "That we do not know; but Maj. Buttrick received a messenger two hours since, who came direct from Bos ton, and who said the troops were expected to start any night after dark." "Then they may come to-night." "They may. Whenever they do, Paul Revere will leave Boston ahead of them and arouse the Minute Men all along the road. "Guns will be fired off, and bells will be tolled. The Minute Men will gather, and organize to resist the troops. We are to fight every inch of the ground with them, and keep them out of Concord at all hazards." Joel's body began to tingle at these exciting tidings. His blood boiled, and he longed for the appearance of the redcoats. "Did Maj. Buttrick send any word for me?" he asked. "He did. He bade me tell you the tidings. And fur ther, he said that at the first signal of the approach of the king's troops you were to collect your men here at your house, march them into town, and report to him for orders." "He shall be well obeyed," cried Joel. And, turning to his mother, he asked: "Are these not joyful tidings, mother?" "Let war come when God wills," she answered. "But be not too joyful, my son. War is a terrible thing, to be dreaded and not needlessly sought." "Exactly," affirmed Gregg, nodding his head. "And the troops may come to-night," Joel added,


"The Regulars are Coming I" 77 thoughtfully. "Very well, then, we must go to work. Come." He led Gregg and his brothers out of the house to the summit of the hill. Here, for half an hour, they busied themselves in piling up brushwood for a monster signal fire. "And now I must be going home," said Gregg. "If there is to be a battle to-morrow, these may be my last hours with my wife and babies." After Gregg had departed, Joel's mother said: "Now, my sons, I want you all to go to bed. Perhaps you will be called in the middle of the night." "But if we all sleep, mother," protested Joel, "then we may not hear the signals." "Rest assured, my son, I shall not close my eyes to night. If you are to look forward to long marches and fighting, you must needs have rest." Without more ado, like dutiful sons, they prepared to go to their rooms. Mrs. Benton kissed each of her boys on the forehead, saying: "Rest all you can to-night, and pray to God, my sons, to watch over and direct you, if there is battle to-mor row ." The boys went to their rooms. Joel and Ezra had a large room all to themselves, and a roomy, old-fashioned bed. They undressed slowly, talking all the while of the ex citing news from Boston. "I fear I shall see but little sleep to-night," said Ezra.


78 "The Regulars are Coming I" "Nor I, either," concluded Joel, "but we must obey mother, and get the most sleep we can." Nevertheless, after they had blown out the candle, and got into bed, they continued talking in undertones for a long time. At last Ezra began to answer less and less coherently, and presently his regular, heavy breathing betrayed the fact that he had dropped off to sleep. After that Joel remained for a long time awake ab sorbed in thoughts which would not let him sleep. Several times he was on the point of dressing and going downstairs to join his mother in her solitary vigil. The night was still, and the only sound that could be heard was the sighing of the wind. The window was open, and Joel listened intently for other sounds. It is strange how much imagination can do under such circumstances. Many a time Joel fancied he heard the tolling of bells. As often as this fancy seized him, he started up in bed, resting his head on his hand and listening for the sound of guns firing. Then he would realize that the sounds were imaginary, and let his head fall once more upon the pillow. But sleep seemed out of the question. His mind was so active that his head seemed throbbing. And yet sleep seldom deserts us in our need. It was so in Joel's case. Gradually his mind became less and less clear, though he did not realize that sleep was near.


"The Regulars are Coming I" 79 At last his eyes closed, and then he lost consciousness. But still his active mind would not rest. He dreamed that the war had come. He was an officer in the colonial troops. Mounted on a spirited horse, he was waving his sword wildly over his head, and urging his men on against the redcoats who could be seen in the distance. Then, in our hero s dream, the contending armies drew nearer. The firing began, and the heavy thunder of non was heard on all sides. The heavy tolling of a bell was heard next, and then Joel awoke. Guns were indeed firing, and bells were ringing. The stillness of the night was broken with discordant sounds on all sides. There was a glare of light in the room, and Joel turned toward it, blinking blindly. His mother had entered, candle in hand, and as Joel looked at the sad, holy calm on her face, he felt stirred by mighty impulses within. "The hour is here!" she said. "My son, the regulars are coming!" She lit the boys' candle, and then left the room. Joel jumped out of bed, and then turned to his sleeping brother. Boom! The solemn reverberations of a cannon sounded on the night air. Ding I dong ding I dong I


8o Mustering of the Minute Men. The bell in the steeple of the parish church was ringing as if demon hands held the rope. "Wake up, Ezra! wake up!" Joel shouted, shaking his slumbering brother. "Wake up, Ezra! wake up! The regulars are coming There will be glorious work to-night !" CHAPTER XII. MUSTERING OF THE MINUTE MEN. The vigorous shaking had the desired effect. Ezra woke up, rubbed his eyes, heard the din of the bells and guns, and then jumped to his feet. "Are the regulars coming, Joel?" "Yes. Hear the signals !" Ezra gave vent to one of those rousing 'American cheers for which the Yankees have since become so fa-mous. Then he began to put on his clothes. He did it as hurriedly as if there were but a few sec onds in which it could be done. "Dress more slowly, Ezra," admonished Joel. "Haste makes waste, and if you hurry your clothes on so, you will have to do it all over again." Ezra, who was nothing if not practical, heeded the ad vice. In a very few moments they were completely dressed. Ezekiel, fully dressed, was in the kitchen before them.


Mustering of the Minute Men. 81 Twelve-year-old Jabez was there, too, loudly bemoaning the fact that his age kept him from sharing in the glorious events to come. "Never mind, Jabe," said Joel reassuringly, "never mind, little brother. This is going to be a long war, and you'll be plenty old enough to fight before it is over." "But I want to go to-night," protested Jabez, who could hardly keep from blubbering, so keen was his disappoint ment. "If you want to help," said Joel quickly, "go up on the hill, and light the pile of brush we collected early in the morning. That is the signal for the company to gather here." Mrs. Benton had been busy while the boys were bus tling about, doing a hundred and one things which in their frenzied excitement seemed imperatively necessary. She now came forward, and slung a haversack filled with food over the shoulders of each of her three eldest sons. "Soldiers mustn't fast more than other people," she said. Then Mrs. Benton stood in the doorway, and looked out into the night. There was a bright mooh, which shone over the town, and made things almost as clear as by daylight. "Can you see anything, mother?" Joel asked. She shaded her eyes with her hand, and looked intently down the road. "Yes. There are one, two, three, four men coming up the road I"


82 Mustering of the Minute Men. "They must be men of my company/' cried Joel ex citedly. He buckled a sword and pistols about his waist, seized his gun, and ran out of doors. He ran straight into Jabez, who came hurrying up to the door puffing like a porpoise. "Look, Joel, look at the hill," cried the little fellow. "See how the fire starts up." Joel looked. The fire was indeed, one that might be seen for miles around. The four men whom Mrs. Benton had seen, came hur-riedly up to the house. They approached Joel, and saluted. Lieut. Gregg and three privates were the new-comers. "Looks as if we might have excitement enough tonight, Capt. Benton," said the lieutenant. "There is no mistake about the regulars coming, is there?" demanded Joel. "Guess not. One of the neighbors heard bells and guns from Lincoln way, and he rushed over to the church and set the bell a-going." At that moment the peal of a deeper bell joined in the chorus. Its sound was like the tolling of a knell. Its hearers shuddered, in spite of themselves. "That's the town hall bell," Joel announced. "Then the news must be reliable." Two more men in Joel's company came running up the road, and reported for duty.


Mustering of the Minute Men. 83 "Can ye let us have a little ammunition, cap'n ?" que ried one of the last-comers. "I haven't mor'n a charge or two, and some of the other men are short." "There's plenty stored on the premises,'' Joel answered. "We might as well use it as have it fall into the hands of the British !" He led his men to the red barn, and groped about in the dark until he found a small keg of powder and a bar of lead. "Come into the house,'' said Joel. "I shan't march to the common until more of the men report." The Benton girls were down in the kitchen by the time the men entered, and they were fully as much excited as their male relatives. "Get out the bullet-mold, Sarah,'' requested Joel. "We need many more bullets, and it shall be your task to make them." The girls bustled around to comply, without a word. Theirs were not the only women's hands that were busy on that eventful night. A brisk fire was already blazing in the fireplace. Little Nellie Benton held a large skillet, containing pieces of lead, over the fire. As soon as the lead was melted, Sarah took the skillet, and deftly poured some of the molten mass into the mold. The mold she then dipped into a pail of water. There was a hissing sound, and then the mold was opened. Sarah took out the bullet therein, and handec! it to Jabez.


84 Mustering of the Minute Men. The little fellow, provided with a sharp knif e trimmed the bullet, and threw it into a dish on the table near by. With this divi s ion of labor it did not take l ong to ac cumulate quite a large quantity of the little leaden g lobes that were so soon destined to seek hearts behind red coats. Meanwhile, Joel had opened the keg of powder, and filled the flasks of each of the m e n. By the time these preparations were completed it was after two o'clock in the morning. Members of the company had been coming in singly and by twos. "Assemble the men, and see how many have reported," Joel directed Lieut. Gregg. The company was assembled and counted. "Nineteen," was the lieutenant's report. "Where can the rest be?" queried Joel, in astonishment. "There should be forty men. Is it possible that any have overslept?" "It would seem improbable," Gregg answered. "How any man, woman or child can sleep when the bells and guns are making such a tremendous din is more than I can comprehend." "Nevertheless, it must be the case. It seems to me that the man who lives farthest from here has had plenty of time to reach here since the signals fir s t sounded. And the bonfire on the hill shows them that they are to assemble here At this moment four young men came running up to the house.


Mustering of the Minute Men. 85 As soon as they gained it they threw themselves down upon the ground and panted to recover their breath. Tliey were the four Tompkins boys. Each of them was armed with a rifle and pistols, and their mother must have been equally as thoughtful as Mrs. Benton, for each of the boys had a haversack of food thrown over his shoulder. "We got here as soon as we could," panted the eldest of the brothers. "Ran every step of the way. Didn't have time to march hay-foot, straw-foot." Joel could hardly repress a smile at this unique state ment, but he said encouragingly: "I can see that you have hurried, and I am glad you have, for we are short of men." Then Joel led Lieut. Gregg aside and conferred with him. "I cannot understand why so few of the men have re ported." "Neither can I, cap'n." "The men have seemed ready enough to fight all along. Can it be possible that they fl.inch at the critical moment?" Joel queried with a troubled face. "I don't like to believe that is the reason, cap'n," re-turned Lieut. Gregg. "Then what is the reason?" They pondered for some moments. Both hesitated to believe that half of the men in the company were too cowardly to report. Suddenly Gregg's face lit up. "I have it, cap'n."


86 Mustering of the Minute Men. "Well?" queried Joel, eagerly. "The men were afraid they wouldn't reach here in time, so they've gone to the common to meet you there." "I believe that is the case," cried Joel. "At all events, we will march to the common and report to Maj. Buttrick. Going into the house, Joel said : "We are about to start, mother. Good-by." Mrs. Benton pressed her eldest son to her breast and kissed him. Then Ezra and Ezekiel received the maternal embrace. "Go, my sons. Put your trust in God, and light your country's battles with a strong heart." Lieut. Gregg had drawn the company up in line. Joel stepped in front of the line and ordered them to "count fours." Then sharp and clear his commands rang out: "Right forward! Fours right! March!" The little company marched off with a firm tread. Mrs. Benton watched them until they were out of sight. Then she went into the house, threw herself upon the floor, and buried her streaming eyes between her hands. "Oh, God," she prayed, "grant that my boys may be spared, if it please Thy divine will, but rather let them perish this night than that they should ever prove cowards! Yet if it please Thee to take them from me, give me courage to bear it and accept Thy will."


CHAPTER XIII. THE LEXINGTON MASSACRE. The moon was just on the border of the western hori zon when Joel marched his company of Minute Men on to the Concord common. At first sight of the little green, it appeared alive with Minute Men. And indeed it was. Nearly all of Maj. Buttrick's command was assembled, and new arrivals were constantly coming in. Joel marched his men into the center of the common, halt e d them, and hurrie dl y reported to Maj. Buttrick. That grizzled patriot was in the full glory of antici pated action. "I am glad to see you, Capt. Benton," he said. "There will be glorious work for us to-day, if the king's troops undertake to carry matters with a high hand." "Only half of my company reported," said Joel "You will probably find the other half among this crowd. When the signal s were given, many of the men b e c a me so ex cited that they rushed for the common, and forgo t all else ." Joel found that it was as the major had said Those o f his command who had not reported at his hous e we r e on the common. Not a single man in his company was absent.


88 The Lexington Massacre. Joel, as soon as he had got his full company together, formed them and drilled them. Capt. Brown did the same with his company, and so did Lieut. Hosmer with a third company. Meanwhile, as may be imagined, all was excitement. Officers and men behaved with as much coolness as pos sible, but most of them were so excited they hardly knew what they were about. The moon sank below the horizon, and then came the darkest hour of the night, which always precedes the dawn. The signal bells and guns had ceased in Concord. Now and then the alarm was heard faintly from one of the surrounding towns, but, in the main, everything was quiet, save for the excited talk of the Minute Men. The first man who had made his appearance on the common was the pastor of Concord, Rev. William Emerson, and he brought his musket along with him. Their beloved pastor now passed among the men, ex horting them to remember that above all they were Chris tians. "Whether you fight, or whether you refrain from fight ing," said he, "try to remember that you are Christians. No Christian will shirk his duty, wherever it lies, and no Christian can refuse mercy to a fallen foe." "But, -parson, are you going to fight?" queried Joel, eying Mr. Emerson's gun. "If the Lord is willing," answered the pastor. "I have just as much at stake as my neighbors. The men of this country owe no further obedience to King George. If


The Lexington Massacre. the king undertakes to force us into obedience, I shall be glad to lead my flock into the field, and I will fight with them side by side." Maj. Buttrick, Capt. Brown, Capt. Joel Benton, Lieut. Hosmer and the Rev. Mr. Emerson now drew apart for counsel. "If all the towns are not yet aroused, it is highly im portant that they should be,'' announced the major. "I do not see how the other towns can have failed to hear the alarm bells and guns," returned Capt. Brown, thoughtfully. "At all events," responded the major a trifle uneasily, "we do not hear from these other towns. I cannot un derstand why they do not report here to aid us." While he was speaking, the tramp of a body of men coming nearer was heard. Calling an orderly, Maj. Buttrick said: "See who the new-comers are." A cheer went up from the scattered Minute Men as the new-comers marched into their midst. The orderly returned, saying: "Capt. Samuel Farrar has arrived with the Lincoln: Minute Men." Almost as soon as the words were out of the orderly's mouth, Capt. Farrar came up in person to report. "I am here with a part of my command, Maj. But trick. The rest will follow as soon as they can." A man rode up to the council on horseback, and dis"' mounted. He was Col. James Barrett, a member of the Pro-


The Lexington Massacre. vincial Congress, and superintendent of the public stores of the colony. "I am glad you have come, Col. Barrett," said the major. "I turn the command over to you." Col. Barrett was a a man of great energy and executive ability. He took things in hand at once. "It is imperatively necessary to remove all of our sup plies that we can before the king's troops reach here and destroy them," he said. "Major, please detail two score of men to do the moving, while I attend to other arrange ments." The major departed. Col. Barrett then turned to our hero with : "Capt. Benton, it is absolutely necessary for us to know when to expect the British troops. I have a horse here that is still quite fresh. Mount him, ride toward Boston, until you learn just where the redcoats are. Then return to me here as quickly as you can. Go, and remember that the safety of Concord may depend upon the zeal and dispatch with which you fulfill your mis sion." Joel needed no urging. Wearing only his pistols by way of weapons, he ran to where the horse was standing, seized the bridle, vaulted into the saddle, and spurred the superb animal into a mad gallop. As he rode away, our hero heard cheers from a hun dred throats follow him, but he did not turn to wave his hat.


The Lexington Massacre. Settling himself firmly in the saddle, he repeatedly urged the horse on, and did not abate the speed in the least until two miles had been covered. Then he allowed the animal to walk only long enough to regain its wind, after which came another gallop. Every now and then our hero met men on the way, all of whom were traveling toward Concord as fast as they could go. Some of them essayed to stop and question him, but Joel rode swiftly forward, feeling that he had no time to talk with them. It was after half-past four in the morning when the sun began to rise over the eastern horizon. It was a beautiful, soft, balmy morning, and Joel felt as if he could ride forever without tiring. But he had not ridden half a mile farther when he came in sight of the common at Lexington. And the sight that met his eyes almost made his heart stand still. He was rn near the terrible scene about to be enacted that he could hear almost every word as well. The Minute Men of Lexington, to the number of fifty, were gathered on the common, under command of Capt. Parker. There were also many unarmed spectators. The drums had just beat to arms, and the Minute Men were hurriedly forming. Looking down the road, Joel saw the bright uniforms of the advancin g British troops.


/ 92 The Lexington Massacre. Col. Smith, Maj. Pitcairn and oth e r British officers rode at the head of the long line of ro ya l troops. As they came in sight around the road they saw the Minute Men drawn up in line in battle array on the com mon. Fifty farmers against eight hundred picked troops It was a sight that thrilled Joel Benton even while the utter disparity of numbers sickened his soul. One of the British officers riding at the head of the ad vancing column, pointed out the little band of Minute Men and shouted : "There they are! Now we have 'em-curse 'em, we have 'em!" Capt. Parker saw the hopelessness of trying to make a stand against the British host. "Disperse, and do not fire," he cried. The Lexington Minute Men, who up to this moment had stood firm and unflinching in the face of such terrible odds, now broke ranks, shouldered their rifles and started to walk away. But the fact that the Americans had had the audacity to appear under arms at all enraged the British officers. All might have been well, and history might have been spared one horrible outrage. But it was not to be. Maj. Pitcairn, drawing a pistol from his holster, rode furiously forward, shouting : "Ye rebels ye villains! Lay down your arms, curse you, and disperse !"


The Lexington Massacre. 93 Even then all might have been well, but the major fired his pistol at a group of retreating Minute Men. Col. Smith, commanding the British, was equally hot headed and profane. Though the Minute Men had not returned Pitcairn's shot, the colonel was as furiously angry as if they had done so. "Halt !" he shouted. The British line came to a stop. 'First compan y by platoons, to the right-about face!" ordered the captain of the company, taking his cue from Col. Smith. Capt. Parker, of the Minute Men, pale, but fearful only for his men's sake, threw down his rifle, and cried: "Don't fire! Don't fire, for God's sake I The men are dispersing as fast as they can." The British captain looked at his colonel for orders. "Fire, curse it don't take your orders from the rebels,'' screamed Col. Smith, who was beside himself with anger. The British captain turned to his company. ''Ready! "Take aim! "Fire!" A thunderous volley of reports rang out, smoke poured and flame belched from two long lines of muskets. "Load Ready! Take aim! Fire!" Another volley followed. Col. Smith sat on his horse an expression of almost fiendish severity resting on his face.


94 "Here Come the Redcoats I" The order to fire was given repeatedly, so long as any of the men of Lexington remained in sight. Then, with a cool, malignant glance at the eight dead and ten wounded Americans on the common, Col. Smith gave orders to resume the march to Concord. All of which Joel saw, up to the firing of the first volley by r edcoats. At that moment a group of mounted British officers dis cerned our hero, and rode forward to capture him. Joel emptied both his pistols at the advancing officers, :without effect, however, and then rode back toward Con cord as fast as his horse would carry him. He soon outdistanced his pursuers. With a sickening feeling at heart, he heard the repeated volleys of the British troops. Our hero had seen only the first of the disgraceful Lexington massacre. CHAPTER XIV. "HERE COME THE REDCOATS!" It was a long ride back to Concord, but to Joel Benton it seemed as if ages were passing. As soon as he came in sight of Concord, he spurred the horse on to redoubled exertions. Though he was ordinarily considerate of dumb animals, Joel did not now pay attention to the fact that the horse he rode was rapidly becoming exhausted. He felt that,


"Here Come the Redcoats !" 95 with Concord in immediate danger, the life of a horse did not count. As he rode up to the North Bridge a party of men sud denly stepped into his path, and leveled their muskets at him. "Halt!" Joel obeyed. "Who and what are you?" demanded a young man who appeared to be in charge of the squad. "I am Capt. Benton, of the Concord Minute Men." "Good Then we will not detain you. Do you come from below ?" "Yes." "What is the news? Are the British in sight?" "I left them at Lexington. They fired on the people as the Minute Men were dispersing." "Good God And were any of them killed?" cried the young man. "I was pursued, and so could not wait to see," Joel an swered, and rode on. The squad at the bridge belonged to the Acton militia, and were stationed at outposts to give warning in case the British approached by that way. As Joel dashed into the town he suddenly came upon the American forces, no longer on the common, but drawn up on the side of a hill at a short distance out from the town. Here the men had erected a liberty pole, and from this, for the first time, floated the Pine Tree Flag, adopted as the emblem of the colony by the Provincial Congress. l


96 "Here Come the Redcoats I" Maj. Buttrick and Col. Barrett were standing under the flag, while, at a distance, the different companies of Min ute Men were forming in regimental line. Col. Barrett started when he recognized his horse gal loping up the road, covered with foam, and its rider cov ered with dust. "Here comes your Capt. Benton," he said to the major. "By the way he has ridden the poor beast he must bear momentous news." In another moment Joel had galloped up to the spot where the two commanders stood. Dismounting, he turned the horse over to Col. Barrett's orderly, and approached his superior officers. "You look as if you had seen hard riding, Capt. Ben ton," said the colonel. "In truth, I have seen hard riding, Col. Barrett, and sad sights, this morning," Joel answered, sadly. "Then have you caught sight of the British troops?" "Yes, colonel." "Where are they?" "I left them at Lexington." "And headed for Concord?" "Yes, colonel." "And how long will it take them to reach here?" "Not above an hour more, if they march well." Col. Barrett mused over this reply. "One matter of importance," he said, quickly; "how many men has the British commanding officer?" "I was seen and pursued/' Joel answered, "and was


"Here Come the Redcoats I" 97 obliged to make my escape. But I saw several companies in line; there must be at least a regiment of the British." "Then we must look for a stem fight if we come to blows," answered Col. Barrett. "But, Capt. Benton, I think you spoke of seeing sad sights." "Altogether sad," Joel answered, and then gave his two hearers a brief but comprehensive account of the Lexington outrage as far as he had seen it. "Merciful Father!" cried Col. Barrett, "did the British fire upon our neighbors in cold blood ?" "I have related it as I saw it," Joel answered. "Capt. Parker had ordered his Minute Men to disperse, and im plored Smith to withhold the order to fire." "And he gave the order to fire, the coward!" cried Barrett. "Then may he see to-day that he has kindled a ter rible fire in Massachusetts." "But were any of the Lexington men killed?" asked Maj. Buttrick. "That I do not know," Joel replied. "Everything was hidden in the smoke when the first volley was fired. I was trying to peer through the smoke when I was discov ered and chased." "They could hardly fire several volleys and kill no one," observed Col. Barrett. Maj. Buttrick, with his mouth grimly compressed, walked up and down in silence for a few moments. Col. Barrett was silent and thoughtful also for a few moments. At last he turned to Joel, and said: "Although we have barely one hundred and fifty men

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... 98 "Here Come the Redcoats!" here, we are trying to organize the different companies into a regiment, with Lieut. Hosmer for adjutant. His company is without a commander, and, now that you have returned to command your men, I will put your lieutenant, Gregg, in command of Hosmer's company." This was done, and Joel found to his delight that his own company had been assigned the honor of having the right of line. When each company had been assigned to its individual place in the line, and all of the other details had been arranged, Col. Barrett took his position on horseback in front of the center of the line. In a few words, and with great emotion, he told the Minute Men of the firing on the people at Lexington, and added: "That is what we may expect here. But if it happens here we will die fighting. The experience of the Lexing ton people shows that Col. Smith cannot be depended upon for mercy. He shall find us ready to give shot for shot." A hoarse cry went up from the ranks, which manifested full approval of this sentiment. "But," added Col. Barrett, impressively, "let not a man in this regiment presume to fire a shot until his captain orders it, and let no captain give the order without in structions." The Minute Men appeared surprised at this order. They longed to be let loose upon the British troops the minute the latter appeared in sight. "Capt. Benton!" called the adjutant.

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"Here Come the Redcoats I" 99 Joel turned from his company and marched up to Col. Barrett. "Captain," ordered the latter, "take your men five hundred yards down the road and halt them in loose order. As soon as the British troops appear in sight I will give you further orders." "And as to firing upon them?" queried Joel. "Unless I send you orders to fire, retreat to here sooner than do it." Joel saluted and returned to his company. Facing his men, he commanded: "Fours right, right forward, march!" As he led his company, the largest and best drilled in the regiment, down the road, he was followed by from those who remained behind. When he had gone the distance commanded, Joel halted his company in loose order, and waited for the British troops to come in sight. His position was a commanding one. Most of the road was visible for the distance of a mile. The remainder of the regiment now broke ranks. A man running at full speed passed Joel on the road from Lexington. He halted long enough to inform our hero that several of the patriots had fallen in the massacre at Lexington. Another refugee, coming from the same direction, passed Joel a few minutes later. "Oh, no," thi s one said, in answer to Joel's query, "there was no one killed at Lexington. The British fired only powder."

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/ ( r: _, I ,'"-1 /1:00 "Here Come the Redcoats!" Many other men came running into Concord from Lex ington. Their reports were greatly at variance. Some gave exaggerated accounts of the killed and wounded. Others asserted that only powder was fired by the Brit ish, and that no one was hurt. "But,'' added one who brought tidings to this effect, "I shall be greatly surprised if there are not many killed before this day is over." At last, after what seemed to our hero an interval of the longest waiting, the suspense was dispelled.. Afar down the road was seen the glistening of bayonets, as the British soldiers advanced toward Concord. Joel called one of his men, and said: "Run as quickly as you can to Col. Barrett. Tell him that the British are in sight. Ask if I shall stay here and give them fight." The messenger departed at top speed. Joel waited, and looked anxiously down the road. The British column was coming nearer and nearer. The resplendent uniforms of the enemy were plainly visible. At last, the head of the column was only an eighth of a mile away. Should he retreat, or would he get orders to engage the enemy? "Oh, for orders !" he groaned to himself. "I do not want to retreat, but I must unless orders soon come."

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On Punkatasset Hill. IOI "Let us stand here and fight, if every one of us die,'' exclaimed the orderly sergeant, aloud. Our hero awaited in an agony of suspense for orders. Looking back he saw that the regiment of Minute Men was hastily forming. And the messenger he had sent to Col. Barrett was running back to Joel as fast as his long legs could carry him. Would the orders be to stay and fight? Our hero hoped so. CHAPTER XV. ON PUNKATASSET HILL. 'fhe British troops were almost within easy rifle range of the little band of Minute Men. And every minute brought them nearer. The Concord men could almost see the whites of their enemies' eyes. Our hero's suspense was shared by his men. The more impulsive members of the company wanted to commence firing on the redcoats at once. A retreat, on the other hand, seemed more advisable to the elder and more cautious men. And, as the Minute Men were not thoroughly under discipline, many of them began to audibly express their ideas. "Silence in the ranks,'' commanded Joel. But many of the men continued to murmur.

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102 On Punkatasset Hill. "Attention I" This order had the desired effect, for curiosity had tri umphed where discipline would not. "The man who refuses to be altogether guided by the command of his officers, Joel went on hurriedly, injures the cause of the colonies. This is a critical day with us We are inferior in numbers to the king s troops. If we are not superior to them in discipline, as well as in marks manship, then we are likely to suffer defeat, and the colony will again be under subjection." This direct statement had the effect of showing the matter in a new light to the Minute Men. They began to talk with each other in low tones, on the subject of their captain's speech. "Attention !" Once more they stopped talking, and looke"d at their leader. "Silence in the ranks !" By this simple means discipline was asserted. The men in the company had now unlimited confidence in the judgment of their young captain and not once during the rest of the day did they fail in discipline when it was required of them. The battle seemed about to commence. A company of the r e dcoats, with ba y onets fixed was coming up the road on the double-quick. The messenger from Col. Barrett was coming nearer and nearer. Which would reach our hero first? "Disperse, ye rebels !"

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On Punkatasset Hill. 103 The order came from the captain of the advancing company of redcoats. "Disperse, ye rebels, or we fire !" The messenger from Col. Barrett came up breathless. "My orders?" queried Joel, eagerly. "Retreat in double-time, and join the regiment." This was a great disappointment to those of the Minute Men who favored an immediate volley at the redcoats. Joel brandished his sword and shouted : ''Fours right about; double time, march!" In another moment the Minute Men were in full re treat. The foremost company of British soldiers pursued them. Meantime the regiment of Concord Minute Men had formed under Col. Barrett. As Joel joined the main body he brought his men quickly into position on the right of the line. The British troops still came onward, and their captain, riding ahead, rose in his stirrups and shouted: "Disperse ye rebels disperse !" Col. Barrett answered : "Halt, or I'll fire upon you." "But we are the king's troops." "And we are the Minute Men of Massachusetts." "Ye are rebels." "Halt y our men, or I give the order to fire," Col. Bar rett resp o nded. "Halt!" The British company halted.

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On Punkatasset Hill. "Ready I Take aim I" The order came from Col. Barrett, and the British cap tain comprehended. "Do not dare to fire," he shouted, hoarsely. "I am about to march my men back." Accordingly Col. Barrett desisted from his intention of firing. The company of redcoats faced about and marched a hundred yards down the road, where they waited for the main body of British troops. Col. Barrett now called for a conference of his officers, which was held some yards in advance of the Provincial regiment. "The question is," said the colonel, "whether it is ad visable for us to give them battle here." "If we do not,'' returned Maj. Buttrick, "how are we to keep them from getting at and destroying our stor:es ?" "Most of the stores,'' answered the colonel, "have already been removed to a place of safety." "It seems to me," spoke up Capt. Brooks, "that it is not best for us to begin the war. Let the enemy do that." "What do you think, Capt. Benton ?" Joel, who had hardly expected to be consulted in the matter, started at finding that his opinion was considered desirable. "I believe, with Capt. Brooks," he answered, after re flection, "that it is not best for us to begin the war. I believe that we had better keep simply on the defensive." After some further conference it was found that this prudent opinion predominated.

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On Punkatasset Hill. 105 "Then we had better fall back at once," said Col. Barrett, "for if we remain here many minutes longer we must then either fight or run. We will take up a new position on Punkatasset Hill." This order was carried out. The regiment marched over to North Bridge. Here Col. Barrett left them, as there were other urgent matters demanding his attention, and Maj. Buttrick took command. When the Minute Men had reached the top of Punka tasset, the order was given to break ranks. The men, tired from loss of sleep and constant march ing, were glad to throw themselves at full length upon the ground, and not a few of them slept soundly while waiting for the stirring events that were to come later in the day. Meanwhile, Maj. Buttrick and the other officers of the Minute Men stood apart on an elevated knoll, and re mained anxiously gazing toward the town. Ezra Benton, who had been appointed by Col. Barrett as lieutenant in Joel's regiment, was among the group. After a while, Joel's quick eye caught sight of a thin column of smoke coming up from the center of the town. "Look !" he cried ; "are the British firing our homes ?" All was excitement in a moment. As they looked, the volume of smoke increased. "This is more than I can stand," exclaimed Maj. But trick. "Gentlemen"-turning to the officers-"if you will follow me with your comrades, we will march into town and look into this matter."

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100 On Punkatasset Hill. After some consultation the different officers agreed to this, and made ready to march. But, while this was being done, the column of smoke began to grow smaller and smaller. "Perhaps, after all, we had better remain here, then," said Maj. Buttrick. And so the Concord Minute Men remained on Punka tasset Hill, while the British companies marched through Concord While they waited there, reinforcements arrived in con siderable numbers. Companies came from other towns, and marched to the rendezvous on Punkatasset, and men came also by twos and threes. The morning wore on, every few minutes witnessing the arrival of reinforcements. Maj. Buttrick chafed under the delay and idleness, until at last he could stand it no longer. "We must go forward," he announced. "We have dallied too long already." The regiment was again formed, and marched to a hill near Maj. Buttrick's house. From this point, the view was, indeed, stirring. The old North Bridge was in plain sight from the po sition of the Minute Men. A company of redcoats was on guard at the bridge, and other companies were on guard duty at different points. Several companies of the British could be seen marching through the town in search of the much-wanted Pro vincial stores.

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On Punkatasset Hill. 107 And Joel, as he looked far off, could see a company of the enemy slowly wending its way up the road which led by his house. "If they search our home," he excitedly exclaimed to the major, "they are sure to make a big haul of arms and ammunition." "I fear, in spite of all we can do, much of our supplies will fall in their hands," Maj. Buttrick replied. It was plainly unwise for the Minute Men to advance as yet. The British troops still far outnumbered them, and had the advantage of superior discipline as well. But reinforcements for the Americans were constantly arriving, and it was only a question of time when they could take the offensive, if it would seem advisable. To Joel the suspense began to be unbearable, prudent though he was. Going up to Maj. Buttrick, he saluted, and said: "If you will permit me, sir, I think I can accomplish something by going forward, and reconnoitering." "Do so, then," was the major's answer, "but be sure to rejoin and take command of your company at the first sign of trouble." Joel promised, and ran swiftly off. He approached as near to the bridge as he thought pru dent, and counted the number of the enemy on guard there. There were other companies or detachments stationed about in the vicinity, and these also he counted. Venturing too near the bridge, on his way to rejoin

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108 On Punkatasset Hill. Maj. Buttrick, he was suddenly confronted by a British sentinel, who had been reclining by the side of the road. "Ha, you rebel, I've got you !" shouted the fellow, ad vancing upon our hero. Joel stood calm and unmoved, neither removing the sword from his scabbard nor the pistols from his belt. "Surrender!" ordered the sentinel. "Why, assuredly." Reassured by Joel's manner, the sentinel advanced with out taking the precaution of "covering" our hero. "You are my prisoner," growled the redcoat, laying a heavy hand on Joel's shoulder. "Of course." But even as he said it, our hero drew one of the pistols from his belt, turned upon the sentinel, and dealt him a stunning blow on his head with the butt of the weapon. The sentinel sank to the ground, but Joel saw that a detachment from the bridge was hurrying up to effect his capture. Discretion was better than valor. Our hero turned and ran rapidly up the hill. Several of the soldiers leveled their muskets at the re treating American captain. "Hold!" cried the officer in command. "Don't fire; it would bring all the rebels in Concord down upon us." Joel regained the Americans on the hill, and delivered his report to Maj. Buttrick as to the positions and number gf the enemy. "You have done us a valuable service," was the maior's

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Jabez Defends the Red Barn. 109 comment, "but you can be very thankful the British didn't get a chance to shoot you for a spy." Joel was thankful. CHAPTER XVI. JABEZ DEFENDS THE RED BARN. It was an anxious day for Mrs. Benton, that famous nineteenth of April. After daylight she spent nearly all of her time in the doorway of her home, with her remaining children about her. Not possessing a glass, she was not able to follow the movements of the Provincials, whom she could dimly make out in the distance now and then. At six, she bethought herself of the remainder of her family sufficiently to bestir herself in the preparation of a breakfast for them. But it was a slender meal. None of her children could eat, and as for the good woman herself, she felt that she could not eat until she knew the result of the battle which every one in Concord knew was in the air. About seven o'clock an exclamation from Sarah drew her to the door. "See, mother-the British I" The gleaming lines of bayonets were terribly distinct, even at the distance.

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no Jabez Def ends the Red Barn. Mrs. Benton shuddered. "The hour has come," she murmured. And then: "My children, while we stand here, let us pray. Pray to the God of battles." "I will pray that my brothers may be spared," answered Sarah. "Pray, first, my daughter, that they may do their duty. And then pray that they may be spared to us, if it meet with God's pleasure." Silently mother and daughter prayed, as they stood in the doorway, looking toward the opposing forces of friends and enemies that were drawing nearer together every moment. It was fortunate for Mrs. Benton that, at that moment, she was unable to see clearly on account of the distance. The sight of her three eldest sons in the small company, awaiting the oncoming of the British, might have un nerved her. But the general retreat of all the Americans to Punkatasset, a few minutes later, was visible to her. "Our neighbors are falling back before the British,'' she said. "Heaven grant it is prudence, and not cowardice, which makes them take that step." "Rest assured that it is prudence alone," responded Sarah Benton. "Are not my brothers and our neighbors in that little band? And do we know any cowards among them?" When the Provincials marched down from Punkatasset

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Jabez Defends the Red Barn. III Hill, the watchers at the Benton farmhouse were greatly excited. "My children," said Mrs. Benton, "I believe the time has come when our neighbors mean to attack the British troops. God grant them courage." But, no. The Americans halted near Maj. Buttrick's house, and there were no immediate signs of a conflict. Wearied with watching, the Bentons sat down on the doorstep and waited. Suddenly Sarah started to her feet. "Mother, they are coming this way!" Mrs. Benton was on her feet in an instant. "Our enemies or our friends?" "Enemies." It was true. A company of British was wending its way up the road. It was the same company which Joel had seen from the hill. "They are coming this way murmured Mrs. Benton. "They must know of the stores in our red barn, and they will destroy them all. What can we poor women do to prevent it?" Jabez had kept in the background, brooding over the fact that he was not large enough to fight with the Minute Men. At these words from his mother he was seized with an heroic impulse worthy of any Concord patriot. Rushing to his mother's side, he demanded: "Mother, will you let me defend the red barn?" "You, my son? Impossible 1"

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IU Jabez Defends the Red Barn. "Believe me, mother, it is not impossible. If I cannot keep the redcoats out of the barn, they and I will perish together." "What do you mean, Jabez?" "Mother, if the king's troops dare to enter that barn, I :will fire the powder and blow them and myself into the air. Oh, believe me, I can defend the barn, and will." Mrs. Benton reflected in anguished silence. Then she spoke : "Jabez, my dear son, if your father were here, he would say that the stores in that barn must be defended at any cost. It shall be so. Rather let them be destroyed than fall into the hands of the enemy. Go and do as you pro pose, and God's blessing be with you, as mine is." The little fellow, composed of the stuff that has made heroes at all ages in life, needed no second bidding. He seized a torch, and stood by the blazing fire. "Mother," he shouted, "let me know when the redcoats reach the two big oaks down the road." Mrs. Benton and Sarah and Ellen all stood at the open coor and looked intently down the road at the advancing company. They were women and non-combatants, but they were standing guard over the interests of the colony as well as any man in Concord did that day. On and on came the redcoats. When they were abreast the two big oaks, Mrs. Benton called out: "Run, my son, run to the barn!" Jabez lit the torch at the fire, and then disappeared through the back door gaining the barn.

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Jabez Defends the Red Barn. n3 The company of British regulars marched into the yard, halted and broke ranks. The captain came forward, and mother and daughters started at sight of him. "Eugene Torrington !" they all exclaimed at once. Young Torrington, for he it was, bowed and smiled. "Yes, ladies, I am a loyal subject of his majesty, and hold the commission of captain in the king's army!" "Then you are a traitor!" exclaimed Sarah, with withering scorn. "No; on the contrary, I am a loyal subject engaged in putting down treason." "There are no men here," returned Mrs. Benton, calmly. "Why do you come?" "To destroy rebel stores, and to claim my wife !"-the latter was said in a whisper. "Your wife !" they echoed in amazement. "Yes." Capt. Torrington doffed his cap and advanced toward the stupefied Sarah. "Do you think, Sarah, that I could have lived near you all these years and not learn to love you ?" "You love me!" she retorted, scornfully. "Do you think I would heed the words of a traitor like you?" "Whether you love me or not," Eugene retorted, easily, "I intend to take you to Boston and make you my wife." "Indeed!" "Yes; I assure you that is my intention." The women retreated into the house, and Eugene fol lowed them.

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n4 Jabez Defends the Red Barn. Sarah caught up a pistol from a dressing-case and leveled it full at his head. "Advance at your peril!" she said, quietly. Eugene uttered an oath, and drew his own pistol. "A brave wooer!" Sarah retorted, scornfully. "Do his majesty's officers usually woo with a pistol?" Another oath escaped Eugene's lips as he returned his weapon to its holster. "Time presses," he muttered, "and I have other business here. But rest assured that you shall return to Boston with me." So saying, he stepped to the door and summoned his orderly. "Sergeant, take twelve men and surround this house. On your life don't let any of the inmates escape." Then, going nearer to his subordinate, Eugene added: "Watch your chance to seize the eldest daughter, and make her a pri s oner. I suspect her of being a female spy in the service of the rebels." "I understand, cap'n," nodded the sergeant. Eugene then directed the balance of his company to fol low him to the barn. "Destroy all the stores that will burn," he said. "If you find powder, empty it into the well here, so that it cannot be recovered and used." He approached the red barn at the head of his com pany, and forced one of the doors open. "Enter and destroy," he commanded. "Hold on ; don't come in here !" cried a shrill voice. "This place ain't healthy for redcoats !"

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Jabez Defends the Red Barn. n5 Capt. Torrington and his men started back, more in surprise than fear. "What little rebel have we here?" demanded the captain. As his eyes became accustomed to the light, he saw Jabez standing with a smoldering torch over an unheaded barrel of powder. "Look out!" yelled Eugene. "If you're not careful, the sparks from that torch will set the powder off." "That's just what I'm figurin' on," retorted Jabez. "If you redcoats step inside this barn, I mean to touch the powder off." "And blow yourself into space I" "I'll be in bad company, too, for there'll be lots of red coats with me," Jabez returned, grimly. "Shoot the little rascal," commanded Eugene, to a sharp shooter who stood at his side. "You can shoot me if you like, but if you do, the torch'll fall in the powder when I drop, and where'll you fellows all be? Keepin' me company, up in the air!" Eugene Torrington knew the Benton stock well enough to know that even Jabez, the youngest, was quite capable of carrying out his threat. "Come, leave this barn, or the torch goes in the powder when I count ten," shouted the boy. This was sufficient to bring about a hasty retreat on the part of the regulars. Once outside, Eugene would have had his men fire the barn, and let Jabez perish with the powder if he so chose. But as soon as the redcoats got safely out of that dan-

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II6 The Fight Opens. gerous barn, shots were heard coming from the direction of the North Bridge. Then came a volley of musket reports, followed by another. "The signal for the massing of the troops," cried Eugene. "We must march on the double-quick to rejoin our comrades." Just as the company was about to march, the orderly sergeant and two men rushed out of the house with Sarah Benton, whom they had succeeded in making a prisoner. Mrs. Benton followed them to the door, rifle in hand. She took aim at one of the soldiers and fired. The soldier fell dead in his tracks. Mrs. Benton swooned as the company of British reg ulars marched off. Sarah was Capt. Torrington's prisoner. CHAPTER XVII. THE FIGHT OPENS. Capt. Torrington did not start a moment too soon to rejoin his comrades in arms. The Concord fight had begun in real earnest. The Minute Men, tiring of inactivity and uncertainty, had at last moved down upon the North Bridge to see what the British troops were about. There was a company of redcoats on guard there.

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The Fight Opens. II7 Joel's company, having the right of line, was the first to approach the bridge. Maj. Duttrick walked by his side. As the Minute Men approached the bridge some of the regulars began to tear up the planks of that structure, in order to prevent the Americans from crossing the stream. "Hold on!" shouted Maj. Buttrick. "Don't pull up any more planks. If you do, you'll all get hurt." The British soldiers, acting on the command of their officers, desisted from further destruction of the bridge. The Minute Men kept straight on, until only the bridge separated the two forces. At this moment a British private-whether through ex citement or acting on orders-raised his gun and fired at [Maj. Buttrick. The bullet whizzed by the latter's head, slightly wounding a man behind him. At this the British officer lost his head, and ordered a :volley fired at the Minute Men. The volley was fired, and at terribly short range, but it :was not very destructive. "They've fired the first shot," yelled Buttrick. "Now1 give it to them, boys !" "Fire!" shouted Joel. And his company fired. The fire of the Minute Men was more destructive than that of the British had been. Just how many of the enemy were killed and wounded will never be known, for a number of dead and wounded were carried off by their comrades.

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II8 The Fight Opens. The firing now became general. As for the British troops, the accurate aim of the Minute Men demoralized them; while the Americans, almost all of them for the first time in battle, forgot in their excite ment to keep together with the best of discipline. Within a very few minutes of the firing of the first shot by the British they were in full retreat, firing as they went, and closely pursued by the Americans. The firing brought a company of grenadiers and a com pany of marines to the succor of the retreating company. These reinforcements stopped the rush of Americans for a while, but the British still continued to retreat. Full particulars had arrived by this time of the brutal massacre at Lexington, and the Minute Men thirsted for revenge. They got it, too, almost every time a shot was fired at the enemy. Minute Men and Provincial militia now poured in from all directions, and the result was a hot one. All effort to keep the Americans in order was now aban doned. The men, for the most part, kept with their respective captains, but the companies were scattered all along the road. Joel, by good luck and good management, kept all of his men with him, and he was further reinforced by a score of stragglers from other commands. The main body of the British kept on down the road to Boston, harassed at every turn by the fast-gathering patriots.

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The Fight Opens. At different places along the road, the British column halted, firing volley after volley at such Americans as re mained in sight. But these were few. The Americans, trained only in Indian warfare, fought Indian fashion. They sought shelter behind stone walls, rocks, trees, buildings, in ditches, and, in fact, sought shelter wherever they could find it, pouring a deadly fire into the ranks of the badly-scared British regulars. The sound of the slogan had gone forth through the whole country. By the time the British column was in full retreat, it seemed as if American patriots sprang from the very soil at every step. Col. Smith and Maj. Pitcairn rode everywhere, seeking to rally and encourage the red-coated regulars whom they had, twenty-four hours before, considered invincible. But it was no use. The British soldiers managed to preserve a very fair semblance of order, but their thoughts were first and al ways of getting back to Boston in the quickest time pos sible. Joel, who had remained behind to cut off British strag glers, if possible, saw a company of British marines hurrying across a field to join the main body. "There is a company of the enemy, 11'l;Y men," said our hero. "Let us see what we can do with them. Remember the American lives taken at Lexington I" A hoarse shout went up from his men.

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120 The Fight Opens. They charged across the field, firing as they went, and shot down several of the poor wretches as they fled. "For Heaven's sake let up!" cried the captain of the marines. "Did you show any pity to our neighbors in Lexing ton?" demanded Joel, at the top of his voice. "My company didn't fire upon them, it was done by the two first co'mpanies at Col. Smith's command," returned the marine officer. "Then tell your colonel that we have marked him for a dead man," shouted Joel. At this moment, he caught sight of a company of Brit ish infantry coming up. Fearing that the two companies of the enemy, if con solidated, might prove too much for him, Joel ordered his men to let the marines pass on. Then, dropping behind a wall, Joel and his Minute Men: waited for the infantry in the distance to come up. As they came nearer, Joel was greatly astonished to see that the commander of the company was none other than Eugene Torrington. "Aha, my old-time neighbor," muttered Joel, "you little suspect that there are enemies lying in wait for you." The Minute Men kept patiently in concealment until the approaching company of British infantry was fully abreast of them. Then, rising to his feet, Joel shouted: "Halt!" Unsuspicious, until then, of the near presence of ene mies, the British infantry halted from sheer astonishment.

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"I Surrender My Command to You." 121 "I demand your surrender, in the name of the Provin cial Congress," Joel shouted. "I will never surrender to rebels," returned Eugene Torrington, haughtily. "Joel, Joel, my brother, save me!" Our hero looked in the direction whence the voice came, and almost staggered when he saw Sarah a prisoner in the hands of two stout infantrymen. "Up, my men, and at them," shouted Joel, leaping over the wall. He was followed by all of his men. "Death to British invaders! No quarter to any man who does not throw down his arms !" The opposing forces met, and a terrible fight began. Joel made his way straight to Eugene Torrington. The two young captains crossed swords with a ringing clash, their eyes burning with unspeakable hatred. "Surrender or die!" shouted Joel. "Never I" hissed Torrington. CHAPTER XVIII. "I SURRENDER MY COMMAND TO YOU." It was a spirited fight. But it did not last long. The British regulars were brave and well-trctined troops, but the exhaustion of a day's march and the sudden rout of their forces in Concord, had dispirited them.

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122 "I Surrender My Command to You." As they rushed over the hill wall, the Minute Men car ried on the attack with great gusto. The redcoats did their best to dispute the ground. As soon as Joel and Eugene crossed swords, a fierce, sharp duel began. Neither of the young men was an adept at sword practice. Had either been a skilled fencer, the encounter would have been altogether one-sided. But, as it was, they both lunged and parried awkwardly, though determinedly, and often, for seconds at a time, they merely crossed blades with all their strength in the hope of disarmin g the other. And, with these unskilled fencers, it was this mode of tactics which eventually decided the duel. Joel struck Capt. Torrington's sword with such telling iorce that it was sent s pinning from his hand. Eugene quickly drew a pistol for the purpose of shooting our hero. Joel instantly perceived this, and with the flat of his blade struck the pistol from his enemy's hand. "Now, surrender!" cried Joel. Eug ene, for an answer, set off down the road as fast as h e could run. This s t y le of tactics on the part of th eir c apta in was the signal for all of the survivors in the British co mpany. They broke and ran at once man y, in the ir h as te, throw in g a wa y their guns, that they might not be encumbered wi t h dead w e ight.

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"I Surrender My Command to You." 123 Joel stopped just long enough to see that Sarah had been rescued. Two of the men in his company were wounded too se verely to join in the chase down the road. "You cannot go with us," he said, "so I think you had better escort my sister home, and then go to your own homes." The two young men assented, and, after tenderly embracing his sister, Joel in trusted her to their care. "Now, down the road after the enemy!" Joel shouted, and he and his men started in hot pursuit. Several Americans had taken up positions along the road, in places of concealment, and, as Torrington's company hastened along to join the main body, not a few of them fell under the unerring aim of those Yankee marks men. Joel's Minute Men, knowing the country much better than the enemy, were able to cut across fields, and in this way came up with Torrington's command before that of ficer succeeded in catching up with his comrades. When he did, however, reach the column, his men were so exhausted that Col. Smith ordered the company into the center of the line. The British troops were unmistakably in full flight. It was only the discipline of long years of service in the regular army which saved them from being utterly routed and demoralized. By the time that Joel and his men succeeded in catching up with the main body of the British they found them selves in the midst of a swarm of Americans. I

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124 "I Surrender My Command to You." There were men and boys of all ages and sizes. Men who were too old to stand the fatigue of chasing the enemy along the road came out of their homes as the column went by, and tried to put in at least one or two effective shots. And Joel saw more than one woman fire a shot at the hated redcoats that day, while there were scores of other women who turned out to see and exult in the defeat of King George's minions. With such a swarm of patriots all along the road, and with the enemy so painfully demoralized, it was no longer necessary to preserve the discipline among the defender of Concord. So Joel halted his men and said : "We are no longer needed as a company. Those who are wounded or too exhausted to keep up the pursuit may return home. Those who decide to stay mify go in in dividually, and teach the king's troops a lesson they will not quickly forget." A half dozen of the men under him availed themselves of the permission to return home. The remainder distributed themselves along the road, taking every opportunity that presented to fire a telling shot into the ranks of the enemy. Joel, who had determined to see the matter through to the bitter end, kept along across the fields, taking pains to keep always with the head of the British column. Col. Smith was a sorely tried man on that disastrous day.

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"I Surrender My Command to You." 125 The haughty, cruel spirit which had led him to fire upon a handful of patriots at Lexington had now disappeared. He was not a coward, and while he had little fear or care for his personal safety, the disaster to his command unnerved him. Soon after the column had passed through Lincoln, he saw Americans to the number of several hundred lining the road on either side. He groaned in spirit, knowing the slaughter that would ensue when his own command came up. "Caution rather than valor," muttered the British colonel. He called Maj. Pitcairn, and that officer of marines rode up to his side. "Major, this slaughter is awful." "So it is, colonel; but in a day or two we will revenge ourselves handsomely." "How?" "By bringing out several regiments together." "And then?" "Why, then, colonel, we can pillage and sack this country to our hearts' content. And, for every British soldier killed to-day, we will have the lives of a hundred rebels." Col. Smith shook his head sadly. "I fear we have underrated the temper of the American people. What I have seen to-day makes me fear that we shall lose life for life, if it comes to war." "What?" cried Maj. Pitcairn. "Allow ourselves to be beaten by those ignorant, rebellious Americans? A pretty prospect, indeed l"

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126 "I Surrender My Command to You." "I do not say that we shall be beaten in the end," re sponded Col. Smith, "but to-day we have been routed by inferior numbers, in spite of our discipline." "But we will be revenged!" roared Pitcairn. "Major," the colonel went on, "I have made a desperate resolve." "Oh, I see," assented Pitcairn, "you mean to halt, throw up intrenchments, and fight these rebels until our rein forcements arrive from Boston." "A hopeless fight that would be," returned the colonel. "No, I have determined to surrender, and prevent the further slaughter of my men." "Then blast me if I like the idea," growled Pitcairn, who, as is well known, was a highly profane officer. "Nevertheless, it is the only thing to be done," returned the colonel, firmly. "And to whom will you surrender?" demanded Pitcairn, grimly. "Who, in this mob, do you fancy can guarantee you safety ?" "I must find some officer among them, and tender my surrender," answered Col. Smith, desperately. "And we will go back to Concord, and stay there until more of the king's troops go up there after us? Oh, we shall be the subject of merry jest at the mess-tables of our brother officers." "Even that is preferable to seeing every man in my command shot down before we have gone many miles farther." "Well, then," growled Pitcairn, "where do you see the officer to whom you will surrender?"

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"I Surrender My Command. to You." r 2 7 All this time the British column was approaching nearer to the body of Americans awaiting for them. The crash seemed imminent. Whatever was to be done must be done at once. Col. Smith groaned over the humiliating task, but there was no help for it. He looked about him for an American officer. There was only one in sight. A young man, apparently not over twenty years of age, stood, sword in hand, in the center of a group of Amer icans. It was none other than Joel Benton. "When the first company of redcoats comes abreast of us," he was saying to his comrades about him "open your fire and see if you can't bring down a few of their officers." The Minute Men, stragglers from many different com panies, responded with a cheer, and began to sight their pieces. Suddenly a thing happened that made Joel believe that he must surely be dreaming A British officer, resplendent in colonel's uniform, sud denly galloped ahead of the column, preceded by a junior officer, from the point of whose uplifted saber fluttered a white handkerchief. Several of the Minute Men drew a bead on the officers. Joel, divining their intention, called out at the top of his voice: "The enemy advances under a flag of truce. Let no man fire."

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128 "I Surrender My Command to You." It was not without a growl that a few of the more hotheaded Minute Men desisted from shooting. Col. Smith galloped up to where Joel stood, shouting: "I come under a flag of truce.'' "I know it. Come on; you are safe." "Give me your word not to fire.'' "You have my word." Col. Smith halted directly in front of Joel. "Are you an American officer?" he asked. "I am." "Your rank ?" "Captain of the Minute Men.'' "Is there no superior about here? 'A: colonel, or even a major?" "Not to my knowledge," Joel answered. "As far as I know, I am the only officer here.'' "Have you command of all these men?" "There is no absolute command," Joel answered. "OnlY. a small part of the men here belong to my company." "Can you control them ?" "I hope so. But the Americans have been sorely tried by your barbarous conduct to-day. You are Col. Smith, I presume?" "I am." "Then I marvel that you still live. Orders have been given our men to shoot you down.'' The colonel paled a little at this information, but he did not forget the business in hand. Slipping out of his saddle, and advancing to Joel1 he handed our hero his sword, and said :

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''Where is Joel ?" 129 "Captain, I surrender my entire command to you, and place my troops under your protection as prisoners of war. You will answer to King George later for the extent to which you give that protection.'' CHAPTER XIX. "WHERE IS JOEL?" Thus sudden announcement almost took Joel's breath away. He received the coloners sword in silence, and handled it in uncertainty for a moment. Then he said : "Col. Smith, I do not know whether I do right to accept your surrender. I will tell you plainly that the people in all the towns about here are terribly aroused. "Their blood is up, and holding only a captain's com mission, and commanding by right only forty men, I have no surety that I can guarantee your men the protection :which is due to prisoners of war. "I should be glad to accept your surrender ; but, if I do so, it must be on the condition that all I guarantee is to do my best to keep my neighbors from falling upon your men and exterminating them. "As for your implied threat that King George will hold me responsible for the way in which I act, I will tell you plainly that I care no more for King George than I do for any other drunken sot who does not happen to wear a

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130 "Where is Joel?" crown. From this day, the Americans are a people unto themselves. "Now, Col. Smith, I have told you the terms upon which I can accept your surrender. If they do not please you, as I hardly think they will, I will return your sword, and you are at liberty to go back to your command before we begin the attack over again." Col. Smith deliberated a few moments. "Your language, young man, is insolent and disloyal," he said at last. "Nevertheless, as a soldier I cannot but admit that your conduct is honorable. "Since you cannot guarantee positive safety to your pris oners in case of my surrender, I think I had best retract my proposition. Give me my sword, and give me time to regain my regiment. By the by, if you ever fall into my hands I shall remember you as an honorable young man." "Here is your sword,'' Joel answered, handing back the weapon. "Now go, for I do not know how long I can hold my men in check." Col. Smith received his sword in silence, fastened it to his belt, and galloped away with his junior officer. Joel waited until the colonel had gained the head of his troop. Then he gave the order : "Fire!" The patriots fired, with deadly effect. From the way in which Col. Smith crouched in his sad dle, it was evident that not a few bullets narrowly missed him.

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"Where is Joel?" 131 As the British column passed, the regulars fired by com panies, killing and wounding a few of the Americans. Then Col. Smith gave the order to run, and the British troops ran helter-skelter down the road. The Americans, of course, followed, but with such rapid running it was impossible to do any effective firing. And so the British troops ran on, foot-sore and breath less, with one thought in common-to run out of the range of the terrible American rifles. Hardly a man in the British regiment that day expected to ever see Boston again. At every turn of the road men fell under the deadly fire of concealed patriots. It was such a lesson as the soldiers under Col. Smith never afterward forgot. How long the miles between Lincoln and Lexington seemed, running at full speed though they were! Many a British soldier fell exhausted in the road, indifferent whether he died or lived. At length the town of Lexington was in sight. Relief was at hand. But the British did not know it. To them it marked only one more stage of that never to-be-forgotten retreat. But as they came in sight of the Lexington common a cheering sight met their eyes. Long lines of glistening bayonets, company after com pany of bright scarlet uniforms, they saw. Reinforcements from Boston had arrived.

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132 "Where is Joel ?" The Americans, at sight of this superior force of the enemy, fell back. Col. Smith shortened the step to a walk. The British reinforcements sent up an encouraging cheer. Col. Smith's men were too exhausted to answer1 even ever so faintly. The British relief column formed in a hollow square, and Col. Smith marched his reduced command into the center. Once safe, the refugees broke utterly down. Regardless of discipline or anything else, they sanli upon the ground, and lay there panting, their tongues pro truding from their mouths after the fashion of tired dogs, "Water water !" they all cried. Soldiers in the relief expedition who had full canteens of water passed among the exhausted wretches and re freshed them. Col. Smith, who had ridden all the way, and so was, therefore, not exhausted, rode up to Lord Hugh Percy, who commanded the reinforcements. "My lord, I thought you would never come to us." "I received orders to start, colonel, as soon as your urgent appeal reached Boston. We lost n o t a moment in coming. But what has befallen you, colonel?" queried Lord Percy, curiously. "We barely escaped utter annihilation,'' groaned the colonel. "What At the hands of a few farmers?" "My lord, the country seems overrun with them. We

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"Where is Joel?" 133 met hundreds of them at every turn. I would willingly have surrendered, could I have found any one who would guarantee us safety." "Was it, then, so bad as that?" demanded Lord Percy. "Indeed it was, my lord." "Then we shall be revenged ere the day is over." "How, my lord?" "We will give your exhausted men food, and rest for a few hours. Then we will march back to Concord, and give these rebels a lesson they will not readily forget." Col. Smith stared aghast at his superior. "Do not do it, my lord." "Eh?" "I beg of you, my lord, do not attempt sucli a course; the whole country hereabouts is aroused. Every house produces two or three men, and not one of them but knows how to handle the rifle with far more deadly effect than our men." "Pooh, pooh colonel You are badly scared." "My lord," returned the colonel, with dignity, "I have never been known as a coward. I should not have re treated thus far had there been any other course." Lord Percy deliberated a few moments. Meanwhile the Americans had overcome their first awe of the formidable reinforcements. Nearly a hundred of the patriots now came within range of the British and fired a volley. A score of the relief fell dead, and as many more wound ed. "By his majesty's crown, this cannot go on I" exclaimed

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134 "Where is Joel?" Lord Percy, angrily. "I must chase these rebels back into Concord." "I beg you not to do it, my lord. I have been in Con cord this morning, and I tell you that five re g iments of the line would be too few to enter that hotbed of r e bellion." Another volley, and many scattering shots from the Americans did much toward shaping Lord Percy's de cision. "Perhaps, after all, you are right, colonel," he answered. "We will march back to Boston, but I trust that his ex cellency will to-morrow send troops enough out here to put a final end to this rebellion." In half an hour more the British column started for Boston. The Americans, realizing that all danger to the stores at Concord was now over, began to fall off. The pursuit became less general, and by the time the British troops were two miles nearer Boston they were marching along in comparative safety. Slowly and without demonstration the Minute Men be gan to return along the various roads which led to their respective homes. By supper time all of the men in Concord who had not fallen in the fight had returned to their homes for much needed rest. Ezra and Ezekiel Benton, who had fortunately come through it all unhurt, reached home to find their mother and sisters and little Jabez anxiously awaiting their return. "Thank God, my sons, that you have been spared to

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To Be Shot at Sunrise. 135 me," exclaimed their mother, fervently. "But where is Joel?" "We lost sight of him mother, in pursuing the British," answered Ezra. "But has he not yet returned?" "No, my son." "Oh, he'll be along soon," Ezra answered, cheerfully. They waited an hour, and still Joel did not come. I am beginning to feel anxious," said Mrs. Benton. Another hour passed, but no signs of our hero. "What has become of my boy?" queried Mrs. Benton, a sickening fear creeping over her. "Can he have fallen in the fight?" They waited until long in tke night, but he did not come, and there were no tidings of him. What had befallen Joel ? CHAPTER XX. TO BE SHOT AT SUNRISE. When the American forces came upon the British relief at Lexington the y paused, as has already been told. A few v olleys we r e fired at the redcoats, but when the latter started for Boston the Americans, for the most part, turned homeward, and the fight was practically over. But Joe l, prompt e d b y impulse rather than good judgment follow e d the British column at what he considered a safe distance.

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To Be Shot at Sunrise. For several miles our hero kept the column in sight .. contriving to screen himself behind walls and hedges. But, when near Watertown, he came to grief. He heard quick steps and coarse exclamations behind him, and turning, saw half a dozen British soldiers making for him. Joel raised his rifle to his shoulder, but, ere he could fire, the foremost of the soldiers sprang upon him. A short scuffle ensued, but the odds were six to one, and our hero was soon a prisoner. "A rebel prisoner!" cried one of the men, who appeared to be sergeant. "He shall suffer for some of our losses to-day." Joel realized his utter helplessness, yet faced his captors calmly. "What is your name ?" demanded the sergeant. Joel made no answer. The question was repeated, more loudly. Still no answer. "The little rebel has no tongue," muttered one of the soldiers. "Oh, we'll find a way to make him talk when we get him to Boston," the sergeant responded. "Bring him along with you." Joel, disarmed and held by two men, was passive enough. He permitted himself to be led toward the road. After he had gone a few steps with them, however, he appeared to change his mind.

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To Be Shot at Sunrise. 137 With a violent e ffort he succeeded in wrenching himself from the men who held him. There were two more soldiers just behind him, but Joel broke through these, too, and started across the field with the speed of a deer. "Halt I Stop I" shouted the sergeant. But Joel kept on, unheeding. "Shoot him, then I Shoot the dog I Fire I" The order was obeyed. The soldiers raised their muskets, as they ran, and fired a volley at short range. Short as the range was, however, they missed him. Joel kept straight on, and would have outdistanced them, but, in an unwary moment, his foot s lipped into a hole. and he measured his length upon the ground. "The rebel s down I He's down!" With a wild shout the redcoats fell upon Joel, and made him again their prisoner. This time the sergeant bound Joel's wrists with a cord. and every one of the detail kept his eye on the prison--r "Now we'll have to hu:ry to catch up with the colum n ." said the sergeant. Joel took a cue from this remark. He decided to attempt a ruse. "You're too far in the rear now. You can't get back to the British column." "Oh, you've found your tongue at last, have you?" de manded th e sergeant. "I said that y o u can't get back to your column." "And why not my reb e l lad?"

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To Be Shot at Sunrise. "Because you'll meet too many Americans, who will serve you just as you've served me, with only one dif ference." "And that difference, my gay rebel lad?" "Oh, they'll hang you for trying to take an American prisoner." "They will, eh?" "Wait and see if they don't." "Then, my lad," returned the sergeant, "if your friends don't help you, it'll be you who gets hanged. Remember what this rebel said, men." This was turning the tables with a vengeance. Joel now wished heartily that he had kept still about the hanging part. However, to save himself, if possible, he must try one more ruse. Raising his voice to its loudest pitch, he shouted: "Americans, to the rescue l The British have captured me!" "Here, now, stop that," roared the sergeant, thoroughly alarmed as to the consequences, should any of the Americans hear the cry. "The only way you can get safely back to your regi ment is to leave me here," said Joel. "If any of my friends overhaul you, and see me a prisoner, it will be good-day with all of you." The sergeant and his men looked apprehensively around them as the y hurried their prisoner along, but they res olutely refused to release Joel. Our hero kept an anxious watch on all sides, but it was

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To Be Shot at Sunrise. 139 evident that the British had that part of the road to them selves. In a little time the sergeant's party rejoined the regi ment with their prisoner. Lord Hugh Percy, hearing of the capture through a staff officer, sent orders to have the prisoner brought be fore him. It so happened that the British column had just halted for a quarter of an hour's rest. Lord Hugh Percy had dismounted, and was sitting on a stone wall when Joel was brought up. He eyed our hero sternly. Joel returned the stare unflinchingly. "So," began his lordship, "you are a rebel?" "No, sir." "Say-'No, your lordship,'" admonished an officer standing near by. "You are not a rebel ?" queried Percy in astonishment. "No, sir." "Address Lord Percy as his lordship," stormed the of ficer who had spoken before. Joel did not even acknowledge that he heard this di rection, and Lord Percy nodded to the officer to let the prisoner have his own way. "If you are not a rebel," went on Lord Percy, "how do you happen to be a prisoner?" "Nothing easier, sir; six of your soldiers pounced upon me, and I couldn't help myself." "But they found you bearing arms. What had you to do so?"

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To Be Shot at Sunrise. "I am a captain in the Minute Men," returned Joel, proudly. "Ha! that is a rebel organization." "No, sir; an American organization." "Explain the difference, young man." "Very well, sir. We Americans claim this country to be ours, as by right it is. We are not, therefore, rebels when we simply claim our own." "But these colonies belong to King George !" exclaimed Percy, in astonishment. "By what right, sir?" queried Joel, coolly. "He is your king, you insolent little rebel." "King George did not settle these colonies," returned Joel. "Neither did he purchase them of us. And to show his love as a sovereign he imposes taxes so heavy that we cannot pay them, and then sends over an army to collect them. Because we do not meekly submit to all this we are callea rebels. Then, sir, you will find that every true man in these colonies is a rebel, and the victory the king's troops have won to-day is a fair specimen of the style of victories they will continue to win over us." "Why, this is rank treason!" cried Lord Percy, in amazement. "It is heresy. Let the prisoner be closely guarded, and he shall come to trial as soon as we reach Boston." Joel was accordingly put under a stronger guard than before, and no opportunity offered to escape. Toward evening the British troops reached Boston. Joel, foot-sore and weary, was given little time to rest.

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To Be Shot at Sunrise. Hardly an hour had elapsed, when he was taken before a council of officers in the barracks. Lord Percy and the oth e r officers were present. "Of what is the prisoner accused?" asked the officera general-who appeared to preside over the council. "Of treason!" answered Lord Percy, "and also of being concerned in the attack on the king's troops to-day." Col. Smith and Capt. Eugene Torrington were among the witnesses. The evidence against Joel was overwhelming. The charges against him were proven to the satisfac tion of the council. Col. Smith related the episode of his proposed surrender, but this was more than offset by the other testimony. "Prisoner," said the general presiding, in a stern tone, "you are found guilty of all the charges against you. You can save yourself only by taking an oath of loyalty to his majesty, King George, and by enlisting as a private in his army." "I refuse," Joel answered, coldly. "Then you are sentenced to be shot to-morrow at sun rise. And may God have mercy on your soul!" Joel was dragged away, led across the barracks yard, and thrust into a cell. He could hear a sentinel pacing up and down outside the cell door. To be shot at sunrise! Our hero sat down, and endeavored to prepare himself for this untoward end.

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CHAPTER XXI. FRIENDS ON THE OUTSIDE. The hours of the night wore slowly by. It may be imagined that Joel Benton's reflections were not exactly pleasant. No matter how brave a man may be on the field of battle, it does not follow that he will view certain and ignominious death with anything approaching exultation. As Joel sat in the gloom of his cell, the steady, mo notonous tread of the sentinel outside was the only sound that relieved the utter solitude of his situation. That sentinel was his only connecting link with the great outside world. And yet that sentinel's comrades, at sun rise would send him out of the world with well-directed bullets. Joel thought of his home, of his parents and brothers and sisters. He f e lt particularly thankful that he had been able to save Sarah from Eugene Torrington's clutche s He wondered how the folks at home would take the news of his ignominious end The square, grated windows in his c ell looked over the town of Boston, and Joel finally stepped up to the window and lo o ked out. Li g hts shone here and there from houses but the moon light show e d the streets to be practically deserted, as far as the civilian residents w e re conc e rned.

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Friends on the Outside. 143 Now and then he saw a squad or a company of red coated soldiers marching through the street, and he won dered whether troops were being massed for a more de termined assault upon the little community of Concord. A solitary sentinel paced the ground below the window. The cell was situated upon the very verge of the bar racks wall, and this sentinel was undoubtedly an extra precaution taken to prevent his escape. As Joel watched this sentinel, he saw something that occasioned him great surprise. Two men dressed in the scarlet uniform of the Britisli army, each carrying a bundle, approached the sentinel. Joel heard the latter, in a low tone, challenge the new comers. They halted, and one of them approached the sentinel, as if to give the countersign. Suddenly both rushed at the sentinel and hurled their bundles at him. Then, before the sentinel could recover, they grappled him, and one held a pistol against his head. The sentinel dared make no outcry, and in a trice he was bound and gagged, and thrust back within the shadow of the wall. Joel watched these proceedings with a wildly beating heart, for he could not help but believe that the newcomers meant to effect his rescue. But they were so close to the wall now that he could not see them. He heard a low whistle. It was a signal from the venturesome pair outside.

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144 Friends on the Outside. Not daring to return the whistle, for fear it might be heard by the sentinel in the corridor, Joel thrust his hand out of the window and waved it frantically. Evidently this signal was understood, for one of the men now stepped out far enough to be seen by Joel. He held in his hand a stone, which, a second later, he hurled with such precision that it came through the win dow between the bars. Joel dexterously caught it, and found a slender cord attached to it. Instinctively he began to pull the cord in, and found on the end of it a fine steel saw. With a smothered cry of delight, Joel detached the saw from the cord and began to saw the bars as noiselessly as he could. In a short time the bar yielded to his efforts. Then he sawed the second one away, and lastly the third. Still the sentinel outside in the corridor kept up his steady, monotonous tread. Evidently the thickness of the wooden door between them had muffled the sound of the sawing. Joel now looked out of the window, and waved his hand to the men below. The expert thrower now poised to throw another stone. Joel caught it as he had the one before, and once again found a slender cord in his possession. He pulled the cord in, and found in his hands the end of a heavy rope. There was a neatly made loop in the end of the rope, and this Joel slipped over one of the stubs of the iron bars.

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Friends on the Outside. Then he crept softly to the door of the cell. He listened. 145 The sentinel was still keeping up his slow tread. Evidently he had no suspicion of what was going on within the cell. Joel crept eagerly to the window, and looked out again. The men below waved their hands impatiently, as a sign for him to lose no time. Joel crept softly through the aperture, and grasping the cord lowered his body. The rope was knotted. Joel let himself down as quickly as he dared, and in a few moments stood on the ground beside his daring rescuers. "Are you Capt. Benton of the Minute Men?'' asked one of the pair. "Yes." "I am Paul Revere," whispered one. "And I am Ebenezer Dorr,'' came in muffied tones from the other. Joel gazed upon these two patriots, of whom he had heard much, with an interest greatly increased by the service they had just rendered him. Paul Revere, who wore the stripes of a British sergeant, began to unroll a bundle. He held up a British uniform. "Quick!" he whispered. "Don this over your own clothes. We haven't a moment to lose, for the guard will be changed in half an hour." Joel hastily donned the hated uniform.

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Friends on the Outside. "Shoulder that man's gun!" whispered Revere, pointing to the sentinel. Joel seized the weapon. "Now we will march away as if nothing had hap pened," said Revere. They got clear of the barracks without attracting sus picion, though they passed in plain sight of the sentinels. Revere led the way to the water-front, and paused be fore a small building, the door of which he unlocked. "In here," he whispered. The trio entered, and Revere bolted the door after him. "Now I think we are safe," he said. "We will have a little something to eat." "I don't feel hungry," protested Joel. "Nonsense!" retorted Dorr. "A man can't do much on an empty stomach. You are still in our hands, and must be content to do as we tell you." "I will obey you." "Properly spoken. Sit down and fall to." Joel seated himself at a table, his rescuers sitting on either side of him. They were ardent patriots, Revere and Dorr, and they proved themselves fellows of merry jest as well. They told Joel so many amusing anecdotes of the British troops and officers that our hero soon found himself laughing, despite the gravity of his situation. When they had finished eating, Revere brought a bottle of wine from the closet.

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Friends on the Outside. 147 "No British tax was paid on this," he declared; "there fore it is fit to drink purely American toasts in." My readers must remember that in colonial days all people drank, though there was much less drunkenness than at the present time. In those days of goodly mod eration total abstinence was held to be unnecessary by most people. Joel filled his glass with the others, and they held them up. "Here's to our colonies, free of kings," said Revere. "And confusion to our oppressors," added Dorr. "Here's to a free and independent nation on this continent," cried Joel, enthusiastically. "Bravely spoken, my boy." They drained their glasses. Suddenly Revere arose, and tiptoed to the door. Presently he came back, a look of reassurance on his face. "I thought I heard steps," he explained, "but, after all, I was mistaken." "Isn't it time we got our young friend safely out of Boston?" queried Dorr. "No time like the present," answered Revere. "And an hour later may be too late." "Do we go by water?" asked Dorr. "I think it safer," Revere answered. "Follow me into the next room please." They went into the next room, and stepped thence into a large closet. In the bottom of the closet was a trapdoor, which

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Between Two Fires. Revere held open long enough to enable them to pass him. They descended a short flight of steps which brought them to a platform over the water. Joel Benton and Ebenezer Dorr seized the oars, while Paul Revere took the tiller. "Push out I" whispered the latter. CHAPTER XXII. BETWEEN TWO FIRES. "Hold on a minute," returned Dorr. "Well, what's the matter?" "Are we all to go out on the water in British uniforms?" "We had better consider that point,'' said Revere, musingly. "Suppose Benton and myself take off our uniforms," suggested Dorr. "You keep on your uniform of ser geant, and then, if we are hailed, we can easily make it appear that we are boatmen carrying one of his majesty's sergeants on military business." "Not a bad idea,'' returned Revere, after deliberatibn. Dorr and Joel therefore divested themselves of their British uniforms, and Revere carried them above and left them in the closet. Then he returned and resumed his seat in the stem of the boat. "Now, push off," he said.

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Between Two Fires. 149 The boat shot out from under the little house into the stream. Hardly were they out on the water, when they heard the distant boom of a gun and the ringing of a bell. "Hark, what is that?" "It is the signal from the barracks that a prisoner has escaped," answered Revere. "Then we must be careful," i;nuttered Dorr. "See here, my good friends," Joel saidin low, earnest tones, "if my escape is known at last, then there will be searchers in all directions. Now I don't want you to risk your necks in serving me. Put me back on the shore--let me go it alone, and see if I cannot get away !Without running your necks into nooses." "Shut up!" responded Dorr. While Paul Revere said simply: "We are all patriots." "I know it," said Joel, in answer to the latter. "Then we must work together. What one risks, all must risk." "But you, gentlemen, are of more importance to the caus e than I can ever be remonstrated Joel. "We're not so sure of that," returned Revere. "And besides, we haven't fallen into the error, yet, of reckoning comparative importance. Now pull steadily and reg ularly or our antics will be noticed from some one of his majesty's frigates yonder." Joel and Dorr pulled with a will, and Revere, who held the tiller, shaped the boat's course toward the Chelsea shore.

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150 Between Two Fires. In the clear moonlight the whole harbor was visible. Our friends did not attempt to avoid being seen, for it would have been useless. They passed alongside of a frigate, Joel and Dorr row ing sturdily. Paul Revere kept his eyes on the deck of the big ship, but no officer there challenged them. All breathed a sigh of relief as they passed this first danger. Then they came alongside of a second frigate. The officer of the deck on this vessel was more wide awake. He heard the signals from the barracks, and under stood them. He also saw our friends in the boat. As he walked quickly over to the rail, Revere, who was watching him, took the initiative. "Frigate ahoy!" he shouted. "Boat ahoy! In the king's name, who are you?" "A sergeant in his blessed majesty's army," responded Revere. "And who are your companions?" "Boatmen." "And what are you doing on the water at this time of the night?" "Doing the same thing that you are," returned Revere. "Looking after the king's interests." "In what way?" "Now, see here, my friend," interposed Revere, "you are doing all the talking, and time is precious. It is I

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Between Two Fires. 151 should ask the questions, for, perhaps, you can tell me what I want to know." "What do you want to know?" demanded the frigate's officer, suspiciously. "You have heard the gun and bells from the barracks?" queried Revere. "I have." "They signify the escape of a prisoner." "I know." "Well, then," persisted Revere, "have you seen any in dication of the prisoner on the harbor?" "Why should I ?" "Because he is supposed to have taken to the water," answered Revere. "And how do you know that?" "Because I was sent in pursuit of the prisoner," Revere 'declared, boldly, "and I have every reason to believe that the prisoner had attempted to escape by way of the harbor." "Yours is the only boat I have seen in the harbor," re sponded the officer, who was plainly suspicious. "Then the prisoner has not gone this way, and I must get over the harbor quickly. Give way, my good men." Joel and D orr tugged at th e ir oars very willingly. "Boat ahoy!" shouted the frigate's officer. "Frigate ahoy!" returned Revere, without slacking the speed of the rowers. "Come back and come aboard to give an account of yourself."

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Between Two Fires. "I've no time to spare," yelled Revere. "I'm on the king's business.'' "Come aboard, I say." But our friends kept straight on. The frigate's officer, seeing his command disregarded, fired his pistol aimlessly after the boat. The bullet whistled by our friends, but did no harm. "That will rouse the fleet," muttered Revere. It did. Men could be heard springing to their stations on the frigate. "Row, my lads; row as you never did before," urged Revere in low tones. There was yet one frigate to pass. Our friends could not help going close to it. The officer of the deck stood amidships, with a file of marines back of him. "Boat ahoy !" "Frigate ahoy I" "Come on board, and give an account of yourselves." "I am a king's sergeant, on the king's business, and I have no time to dally," shouted Revere, rising a little in the boat that his uniform might be seen in the moon light. "Sergeant or no sergeant," was the answer from the frigate, "you must come on board, or be fired upon." "I tell you I have no time to go aboard yelled Re vere, "and if you fire and hit any of us, your necks will stretch for it." "Take aim !"

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Between Two Fires. 153 "Fire I" The marines, obeying the orders of their officer, fired. So true was their aim that, had not all of our friends crouched in the bottom of the boat, they must have been: hit. As it was, their little craft was struck in several places. "Now, pull for your lives," muttered Revere under his teeth. They could hear the officer of the last frigate giving orders to lower and man a boat. Inside of two minutes a boat containing over a dozen sailors, and propelled by eight oars, was skimming the surface of the harbor. "Pull, pull !" urged Revere. And here was where Joel Benton's practice with the ax stood him in good stead. His rigid, iron-like muscles were taxed to their utmost to keep pace with Ebenezer Dorr's masterful strokes. Their little boat fairly flew through the water. The British sailors were rowing, too, for all they were worth, and there were eight of them at the oars. The pursuers gained a length or two, and then lost. And so it went on. It frequently looked as if our friends were soon to be overtaken, but still they managed to maintain their lead. The officer in the man-of-war's boat decided upon shrewd tactics. He had seen our friends crouch under the fire of the marines.

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154 Between Two Fires. If he could keep them under fire now, they would be unable to row. So he directed the two men in the bow of the boat to keep up a hot fire on the fugitives. "Never mind them muttered Revere to his compan ions, when they felt the bullets whizzing by their heads. "They're not mariners, they re only sailors, and you rarely find a sailor who is anything of a shot." Hardly had he spoken, when a bullet whizzed so close to his head that Revere uttered an exclamation of rage. "I must stop this," he muttered. Turning in the boat, and raising the rifle to his shoul aer, Revere fired. One of the sailors in the bow of the pursuing boat fell l>ack with a cry of pain. "That's the fellow who came so near hitting me," Re vere said, complacently. "I winged him-took him in the right arm." Our friends were now so near the Chelsea shore that they were sure of being able to land before their pursuers. A few more pulls, and their boat grated on the shore. They sprang out, and ran up the bank. Confusion! A squad of red-coated soldiers stood before them. "Halt You are my prisoners," shouted the officer in command. Here was a predicament, indeed I

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CHAPTER XXIII. AT THE FARMHOUSE. it was a situation in which only the promptest action would succeed. And the only possible kind of action was to run away. Paul Revere set the example, and his companions fol lowed. There was a narrow strip of shore parallel with the harbor, and directly between the two bodies of British. Along this strip our friends ran. "Halt!" But they paid no heed. "Fire!" A shower of bullets overtook our friends, and passed them. Not one took effect. "Now run for it," muttered Dorr, setting the example with his own long legs. Joel was fully up to the mark at any work in which muscle and agility were required, and he easily kept up with the long strides of his companions. Another volley was fired by the troops, but our friends were now almost out of range, and they had no fears of disaster from that source. "Are we safe," panted Dorr. "Not yet," responded Revere, looking back. "The fools have stopped firing and are giving chase to us. If

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At the Farmhouse. they had run after us in the first place, our chances would be poorer." It very soon became evident that the British soldiers were not equal to pursuing the athletic Americans. Our three friends ran on until they reached the river. Here, after a little search, they found a skiff tied to the bank. They jumped into it and pushed off. "Moonlight is usually beautiful," muttered Revere; "but to-night it hinders us not a little. We are visible at a considerable distance." They rowed steadily, but not too hurriedly, for fear of attracting unwelcome attention. In a few minutes they reached the Charlestown shore. They had not, as far as they had been able to see, been observed by any of the enemy on the Charlestown side. Certainly there were no red-coated men waiting for them when they landed. "Now we must proceed with great caution," observed Revere, as they walked along. "vVhen we get into the streets, we are likely to run up against soldiers at any point." The first street they turned into appeared deserted, not even a night watchman being in sight. Paul Revere paused before one of the houses. "Here," said he, "lives a true friend of our cause." He tried the door. It yielded to his touch. "Come in,'' he said.

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At the Farmhouse. 157 He led them into the hallway, closed the door, and telling them to remain where they were he ascended the stairs. In an incredibly short space of time, Revere softly de scended the stairs. He had discarded the sergeant's uniform, and now wore only his usual plain gray clothes. "I was able to make my toliet without disturbing any of the good folks of the house,'' he said; "but when they wake in a couple of hours, they will know that a patriot has called." He now led them into the street again, and they pursued their way. Our friends walked quietly along, not skulking, but at the same time keeping a careful lookout for enemies. They walked through Charlestown, however, without molestation, and an hour later were well out into the country. Now they breathed more easily, for there was but little danger of being apprehended at that distance from Boston. Daylight at last began to appear. First came the gray streaks in the east; then came the pink tints. At last the sun rose in all its gorge ou s splendor. The birds were caroling in the trees; the hum of early insects was heard, and the bleating of she ep. It was another beautiful, balmy spring morning, and our friends were affected by it. "This is glorious!" cried Dorr.

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At the Farmhouse. "Glorious, indeed!" responded Revere, taking his hat off and looking over the beautiful pastoral scene. These rough-and-ready spirits were still men who could enjoy the beauties of nature! Joel, uncovered, breathed a prayer of thankfulness at his delivery from death. For a few moments they stood in mute admiration of the scene about them, and then they resumed their tramp. They were now on the outskirts of Watertown, not more than two miles from the place where our hero had be en captured. "I believe we can find friends hereabouts,'' said Revere. "If we can, we will ask for food and beds." "I can eat," said Joel, "but I have no right to rest until I have reached home and relieved dear ones of the worry my disappearance must have caused them." "Nevertheless, you must rest!" said Revere, decisively. "Concord is fifteen weary miles above this spot." "I can walk it without rest," said Joel, resolutely. "You must not start before noon. Rest until then." "I cannot delay, my good friend." "But consider, Capt. Benton !" urged Revere. "You '.Command a company of Minute Men. The British troops may march to Concord again any day. If you do not rest amply when you are fatigued, you may not be fit to undergo exertion when it is most required of you. Re member that your duty to your country is above even your duty to your family." "Let us defer all this talk," interrupted Dorr, "until we have found a place where we are sure of food and rest."

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At the Farmhouse. 159 "Not a bad idea," admitted Revere. They kept on until they came to a farmhouse. There could be not a doubt of the principles of the oc cupants, for, from a rudely constructed flagpole before the house, fluttered the new pine-tree flag of the colony. "Here there are food and rest for the hungry and weary," said Revere. "Wherever we find that flag flying we are safe in going in." They accordingly approached the door, and knocked. The savage barking of a dog could be heard within' but in a few more moments, heavy steps were heard coming to the door, and a gruff voice cried out: "Down, Tiger, and be still." The door was unbarred and opened. A heavily built farmer, with a rough but kindly face, stood before them, while a monster mastiff, crouching at his feet, sniffed suspiciously at the strangers, and growled. "Good-morning, friends," said the farmer. "And what may ye want?" "Are ye a patriot?" demanded Revere. "Ye may see by my flag flying yonder," said the farmer, proudly, pointing to the pine-tree emblem. "We are also patriots," said Revere. "We are on our way from Boston, foot-sore and weary, and we crave food and rest." "Now I remember your voice," returned the farmer heartily. "Night before last did ye not rouse me out in the middle of the night and tell me to wake, for the reg ulars were coming ?" "I did, I think. I am Paul Revere."

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16o At the Farmhouse. "Then come in, Master Revere, with your friends ; and indeed ye are welcome." "These are my friends-Ebenezer Dorr and Capt. Benton. The latter belongs to the Concord Minute Men." The farmer swung the door wide open, and stepped back to admit them. As they went in, the dog rose from his haunches and growled ominously. Be still, Tiger I" cried the farmer ; "these are Minute Men." The dog advanced to sniff the new-comers and then was apparently satisfied, for he wagged his tail. "Ye see," said the farmer jovially, "even the dog in our family is a patriot. He would pick no quarrel with a Minute Man." Our friends were taken into the kitchen and introduced to the farmer's family, who were about to sit down to the table. Three of the children were told by their mother to wait, and their places were filled by the three new comers. As soon as they were well into the meal, our friends re lated their adventures to an appreciative audience. "I was in the fight," said the farmer, as soon as the y had their tale, "and I believe that I worried the Briti s h e rs not a little. I was behind a wall, and my good wife loaded my guns for me as fast as I could fire them." Whe n the meal was over, the farmer conducted his guests to beds, sa ying: "Sleep soundly, for I shall watch all the time ye sleep."

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Joel's Return. I6I Joel, utterly exhausted, fell asleep the moment he closed his eyes. How long he slept he knew not, but he was awakened by voices directly under his window. He heard some one demanding of the farmer if Joel Benton was within, and heard also the farmer's emphatic denial. "I have been tracked by the British troops I" flashed through Joel's head. CHAPTER XXIV. JOEL'S RETURN. Our hero lost no time in getting onto his feet. He had not disrobed on lying down, and had no dressing to do now. Stepping cautiously into the hallway, Joel was con fronted by Revere and Dorr. "Follow me," whispered the former. He led them into a back chamber, out of a window, onto the ridge of the "L," and thence they jumped to the ground. Still leading the way, Revere made straight for a grove back of the house. All this time, since reaching the ground, our friends had been able to keep the house between them and the troops. Now,. from the shelter of the grove, they could see red-

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Joel's Return. coated figures moving about the grounds, and even at the windows, showing that a thorough search was being made. "There must be a squadron in the neighborhood," ob served Revere. "That little squad of cavalry wouldn't have dared to venture alone so far from Boston." "But why do they take all this trouble to capture me?" asked Joel. "Surely I am not so dangerous to the king's side as all that." "Have you no enemies who are powerful with the Brit ish authorities in Boston?" suggested Dorr. "Such men as the two Torringtons, for instance?" "Yes, I know them to be enemies," Joel admitted; "but I did not believe they were deadly enemies." "They are," Revere announced. "It would much de light them to see your father and yourself sent to another world." "Why?" asked Joel, perplexedly. Revere shrugged his shoulders. "I know not the why," he answered. "I can swear only to the fact." This gave Joel food for reflection. While this conversation was going on they had not dallied, but, having found a path through the woods, were keeping on in the direction of Lexington. "I make no doubt we are already safe from pursuit,'' said Revere. "The king's troops do not make so free to travel on his highway as they did a few weeks ago. l do not believe they will dare to go above Watertown." "Then why should I trouble you to go farther with

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Joel's Return. me?" urged Joel. "Surely your services have already placed me und e r a lifelong obligation to you both. I would not trouble y o u to weary yourselves further in my behalf, as I can now safely return home alone." "Do you know the way thoroughly?" inquired Dorr. "I could go straight to Concord from here on the darkest night, Joel answered, confidently. The trio halted to consider. "We would gladly to go with you all the way to Con cord," said Revere "But if we have helped you through safely out of your predicament, then we had best return to Boston town, for there is much work there for us to do." "Yet we shall meet again, I hope," Joel ventured. "If we live, undoubtedly-and on the field of battle," said Revere. "Amen to that," added Dorr. "You have no arms," said Revere. "Here, take this pistol of mine. I have still my rifle left." "I am traveling through a friendly country now," Joel answered. "I shall have no need of weapons." "Of that it is not best to be too sure. Take the pistol." "I will take it," Joel answered, "and cherish it for its owner's sake until he and I meet again." The trio shook hands earnestly, and then Revere and Dorr plodded back toward Boston, while Joel stood gaz ing after them until they were out of sight. "And now for home and dear ones," he murmured. Feeling safe from British pursuit, Joel took to the high way.

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Joel's Return. He had plodded on so for upward of three miles, when, on passing a farmhouse, the aged farmer hailed him. Joel turned, and went toward him. "Did I not see you in the fight?" queried the latter. "I was in it," Joel answered. "And they told me you were a captain in the Minute Men," the old man went on. ou are young to hold such a trust, and must be a brave boy, or you would not." "I have not been home since the fight," said Joel ; "and therefore I must not dally now." "Not been home!" echoed the farmer. "Then you shall not be hindered, but helped. Wait and see." Joel sat down on the ground and waited, while the old farmer hurried away. Presently a young man came out of the barn leading two horses, both saddled and bridled. The farmer came after him. "Mount and ride, my young patriot," said the latter. "My son shall ride with you and bring back your horse." Joel, thanking his new-found friend, mounted, and was soon on his way to Concord. He found the farmer's son pleasant company. He, too, had helped to accelerate the British retreat, and related his share in that event. Joel, in his turn, narrated all that had befallen him, omitting only the names of his rescuers as a precaution. An hour of not very hard riding brought the boys into the town of Concord. The first man whom Joel met was Maj. Buttrick, who

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Joel's Return. 165 was pas sing in front of the green on which the Minute Men had assembled while waiting for the British on that memorable ni g ht. "Is that y ou, Joel Benton?" cried the major. "We had given you up for dead." And my mother?" demanded Joel, anxiously. "Does she believe me dead ?" "She does, answered the major, "though she is trying bravely to bear her loss." "Then I cannot tarry a minute to tell you my story now," said Joel, putting his horse into a gallop. He and the farmer's son rode through the town like a whirlwind. Several people saw our hero as he passed, and quickly the news spread about that Joel Benton was alive and well. It was a sad household that was gathered under the Benton roof. Joel's failure to return had persuaded all that he was dead-shot in an encounter with the regulars. Mrs. Benton, though sadly afflicted by this belief, kept up as cheerfully as she could before her children. But with Ezra and Ezekiel sorrow was heavily tinged with unavailing regret. They blamed themselves for not having kept at their brother's side. If they had been with him, they thought, they might have saved his life. At all events, they would now have known whether he :were dead or alive.

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166 Joel's Return. The Bentons had just finished a rather late dinner, leaving most of the viands untouched, and the bo y s were gloomily preparing for their afternoon tasks, when the rapid beat of hoofs was heard. "Who can be coming to see us," wondered Ezra. And then the thought occurred to him: "Perhaps it is some one who bears news of Brother Joel." He stepped to the door, and gazed at the approaching horseman. Then Ezra acted as if he had suddenly become demented. Tossing up his cap with a glad hurrah, he shouted: "Mother brothers sisters l quick !" Knowing that this jubilation could have but one cause, each and every one of them rushed to the door, and fol lowed Ezra out into the yard. Joel galloped almost to the doorstep, dismounted and grasped Ezra's hand. Then he embraced his mother, and the other members of the family came in for their salutes in turn. "Thank God, my son, you have been spared to me!" his mother murmured. Then, like the pious mother that she was, she led her little flock inside, and all on bended knees, she poured forth their thanks to the Creator for preserving her eld est born. Then the table, which had not been cleared away, was again resorted to.

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Joel's Return. The renewed good spirits of all acted like an appetizing tonic. The dinner which followed was a hardly-to-be-forgotten feast. "Now, Joel, my son, tell us what has befallen you," said Mrs. Benton. So our hero began to tell his story, from the time of his capture to that of his unexpected release. Mrs. Benton and the girls shuddered at the mention of the military court and its verdict of death. Ezra's eyes flashed, and his fists clinched, as he cried: "The monsters I But never mind-our day is coming, and we will judge them as they would judge us." "Justice and mercy, my son, not revenge," said his mother, reprovingly. Then Joel told how he had been rescued from his place of confinement in the barracks. Ezra's eyes flashed again at this recounting. "What brave fellows Revere and Dorr must be !" he exclaimed. "I should like to know them." Before Joel had finished his narrative neighbors began to pour in, and our hero had to begin all over again. Many times during that afternoon and evening our hero was obliged to repeat the story of his adventures. Maj. Buttrick was especially interested, as it afforded him a good idea of what Massachusetts patriots might ex pect, so long as they permitted the British regulars to remain in Boston. The next morning, when the Benton boys arose, Joel led his brothers into the field, saying:

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168 Sounding the Slogan. "While we are waiting for the war to begin we will labor on to produce the food that must then keep life in our bodies." CHAPTER XXV. SOUNDING THE SLOGAN. For several days afterward, the good old town of Con cord was in a state of constant turmoil. Everybody engaged in the usual daily tasks; that is, every one tried to, but farm work never dragged as it did that spring in Concord. Disquieting rumors came almost daily from Boston, and not a few of these rumors were of an official nature, coming in the way of warnings from the patriots in Boston. It was even predicted that the British generals would make another attack on Concord. But this rumor, more than any other, was laughed down whenever it was mentioned to Concord people. "The redcoats haven't f01"gotten their last visit up this way. They won't care to come again." Probably the king's soldiers hadn't forgotten their last visit to Concord. At all events it is certain that they never attempted a second trip to that plucky little com munity. Joel and his brother probably worked witq more unre mitting industry than any others in Concord, for in a few

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Sounding the Slogan. days after our hero's return, they had all the early crops in the ground. One day, when the family was at dinner, Mr. Benton unexpectedly rode into the yard. The unexpected return of the husband and father oc casioned much rejoicing. It was a rule in the Benton house when anybody came just in time to join in the meal, to eat first and talk after ward. Mr. Benton finished his dinner, and took his seat in the big chair by the door. After he had filled and lighted his pipe, the family gathered about him to learn the result of his mission. "You look tired and worn out, William,'' observed his wife. "Perhaps I have good reason to be," was his answer. "I have ridden a good forty miles to-day, and some days have done even harder riding." "And how did you succeed in raising men for our army?" Joel eagerly inquired. "Give me first, my son, a good account of the fight here at Concord,'' answered his father. "I was near enough to hear the signal that night, but I knew that my rifle would count but one in the fight, while my going onward might result in raising hundreds of recruits. So I rode on in the morning, and left Concord behind me." Joel gave a detailed account of the Concord battle, to which his father listened attentively. "So the British soldiers ran like sheep from Concord?" queried Mr. Benton, his features relaxing in a grim smile.

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Sounding the Slogan. "Yes, father, until they were met by more of their kind at Lexington. Then the Americans began to hold back." 'Twas prudently done on both sid e s," commented his father. "I could wish that I had been here were it not that I have accomplished much more than I could have done by remaining at home." Mr. Benton was particularly interested in Joel's ac count of his capture by the British, the sentence of death, and his ultimate escape, thanks to the timely succor of Revere and Dorr. "You did well, my son, as far as the fight was con cerned," observed his father; "but you were wrong to follow the column alone. That well ni g h cost you your life, and the colonies a good officer. But rest assured I shall not forget to thank Revere and Dorr when I meet them." Jabez, meanwhile, had been dispatched on his father's horse to summon Col. Barrett and Maj. Buttrick. The boy now returned with the news that the former was in Boston but that the latter would be ri ght along. Maj. Buttrick reached the house soon after Jabez did. "Well, Neighbor Benton, I am glad to see you home again, and I can read in your face that you were success ful in your mission." "I have seen a goodly number of men rush to arms for the c ol o n y, responded William Benton, "and I can give you a detailed report of my work." All of the family now withdrew except J oel and Ezra, who, b y ri ght of their officers' comm iss i o n s in the Minute M e n, remain e d pres e nt.

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Sounding the Slogan. William Benton drew a package of papers from the breast p o ck e t of his coat, and laid them before Maj. Buttrick. "You will see by these," he said, "the number of men whom I succe ede d in enrolling in the various towns and settlements. H e r e for instance, in the first town, I suc ceeded in enlisting forty men; in the next, forty-four; then only thirty. In this town, as you will see, I was able to organize a c o mpany of seventy-two men. "But I tarried in each place only long enough to enlist the company, and then I rode hurriedly ahead. This sheet of paper, on which I have placed the number of each com pany, shows a total of over sixteen hundred men, whom I succeeded in raising." "Well done!" cried the major, scanning the sheet with genuine delight. "And how about summoning these men when we want them?" "I have done as Mr. Grey suggested. At intervals of ten miles along the way, I have appointed a messenger who will ride to the next post with the summons. And the men are everywhere enthusiastic. Whenever the call comes these hundreds of men will march as quickly as they can to Boston, or to any other point where they are wanted." "And now I have something to tell you," Maj. Buttrick went on. "Men have gone in other directions, as you went north. Eve r y where there has been a ready re sponse. When we decide upon attacking the king's troops in Boston, we shall have thousands of true men to do it with."

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Sounding the Slogan. "This is glorious news, indeed," answered Mr. Benton. "And now I want to tell you,'' Maj. Buttrick continued, "that your son Joel has nobly distinguished himself as a captain. His company was given the right of line on the day of our fight here, and nobly did he and his whole com mand conduct themselves. He is the son of his sire." Mr. Benton gazed on his eldest born with pride, while the major resumed: "It has been decided to let your son keep the command which he has so well earned. He will, therefore, con tinue to be Capt. Benton. As for yourself, as soon as our forces meet in Boston, you will be given a better position in the army.'' Ezra, too, came in for his share of the major's praise. As soon as Buttrick had departed, Joel led his father over the farm. The latter expressed himself as delighted at the ap pearance of things, and was especially pleased to find all the planting done. "Joel, my son,'' said Mr. Benton; "I am especially proud of you because of the fact that when I am away you take pains to do everything as I would have done had I been at home." "That is not hard to do," Joel answered. "Some people find it very hard to do their duty," the father responded. "When one finds it easy to always do his duty, he is a man among men." The days that followed like those that preceded, were filled with hard work on the Benton farm. Unlike most of their neighbors, they did not lose their

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Sounding the Slogan. 173 heads in those exciting times, but kept steadily at work, waiting for the inevitable call to arms. It would soon come. How soon d e pended upon the rapidity with which the organization of the men of the colony went on. One day Maj. Buttrick came riding to the Benton farm as fast as his faithful old horse could carry him. It was plain that the stout major was greatly excited. He rode directly into the field where William Benton and his sons were at work with their hoes. "Drop your hoes, neighbors," the major shouted, wav ing one hand frantically over his head. The Bentons literally obeyed, and came crowding about the major to hear what he had to say. "It's come!" he shouted. "What has come?" Mr. Benton queried, deliberately. "The call to arms, man I The colonists are to march upon Boston, and drive King George's men out!" This was great news indeed. "When do we start?" asked Mr. Benton. "To-night, shortly after dark. The Concord men will muster on the green at sunset, and, as soon after as pos sible, we will take up the line of march to Boston. I have been appointed a colonel, and you, William Benton, are to be my major. Capt. Joel's company will have the right of line in the regiment, which will be made up of the men in Concord and surrounding towns." All thoughts of farm work were abandoned now. As Col. Buttrick rode away, he turned, and shouted af ter him:

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174 Sounding the Slogan. "There! After that, go to work on your farm, if you will." But there was no further thought of work with the Ben tons. Picking up their hoes they hurriedly retreated to the house, and the exciting news was discussed by all. The call to arms had come at last. All through Concord the news spread. Companies of men from surrounding towns, fearing to be late, took up the march early, and arrived in Concord long before sunset. William Benton and his three eldest sons had an affecting leave-taking with the dear ones who were to re main behind. Then, turning resolutely away, they started for the green. Several companies had already arrived. The news had spread like wildfire. Men and boys of fighting age had flocked in from all around, each and all eager to march to Boston, and try conclusions once more with the royal troops. And men too old to go were on hand to give their blessings. The pastor of the town, Rev. William Emerson, was on hand, too. Though he was to go with the regiment, he was not und e r arms this time. He was the first chaplain in the colonial army. So prompt had the men been to rall y that b y sunset every company in the regiment had r e ported for duty.

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The Soldier's Reward. 175 Though the excitement was intense there was no delay. An hour after sunset all was in readiness. Col. Buttrick's regiment took up the line of march> and left Concord for Boston And Joel Benton's company had the right of line. CHAPTER XXVI. THE SOLDIER'S REWARD, Patriotism is contagious. The fight at Concord, and the events of the days next succeeding, had aroused the whole colony of Massa chusetts. The patriotic leaders at Boston had sent a call through the colony for armed men, and an American army was al ready stationed at Cambridge. Nominally this army was twenty thousand strong, but in reality it fell a few thousand below that number. The regiment from Concord and vicinity arrived at about the same time that the patriots began to pour in from all sides. As Joel, at the head of his company, drew near to the headquarters at Cambridge, he looked curiously about him for the camp scene which his imagination had con jured up to his mind. But the staid old town of Cambridge looked like almost anything rather than an army rendezvous.

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The Soldier's Reward. The truth of it was that very few of the patriots had seen actual service. And another sad fact was that they were almost destitute of tents and artillery. The few pieces of cannon which belonged to the Ameri can forces were small, inaccurate, and altogether inof fensive. Gen. Ward, the American commander at this time, had but one plan in view, and that was to pen the British up in Boston, a plan very easy to carry out with a sufficient army to do it with. The day after their arrival, our hero and his men were busily at work, helping to throw up a series of intrench ments which might be necessary to keep the British sol diers where they belonged. In a few days this work was completed, and the army rested once more on its arms. A few nights afterward, on the night of the sixteenth of June, i775, Joel was summoned to attend a council of officers at the commander's headquarters. It was just after sundown when the council assembled. Gen. Ward made his headquarters, at that time, in a tent of considerable pretensions, as far as dimensions went. Under this canvas the old Massachusetts patriot re ceived the officers whom he had summoned. Nor did he keep them waiting long. A gentleman in clerical garb, who was none other than the president of Harvard College, sent up a petition to the Creator for success in their undertakings, and then Gen. Ward came to the point at once. "Gentlemen,' he began, facing the officers ranged about

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The Soldier's Reward. 177 the table, "I presume you all understand the policy which I am undertaking to carry out for the present. It is, to keep the enemy penned up in Boston. "We are in numbers sufficient for a very considerable army, but our equipments are so poor, and our ammu nition so low, that we cannot take the aggressive. We must restrict ourselves to the one task of keeping the British in Boston. "But I received one piece of news this afternoon which fills me with uneasiness. The British general intends to fortify Bunker Hill, in Charlestown. This done, he will possess a signal advantage over us, which must be ap parent to all. "Gentlemen, we must fortify and hold Bunker Hill our selves. I am well aware that it is a precipitate step to take, but desperate exigencies require desperate measures. I have determined to have a force of American patriots in trenched on the top of Bunker Hill before daylight. "Col. Prescott, I have decided to put you in command of this expedition, for I know that you, if any one, can save it from being a forlorn hope. "The other gentlemen here--all captains-will report to you, with their companies, on the green before the col lege, in one hour. Gentlemen, you may now go and pre pare for your desperate undertaking. "The companies selected for the expedition have been chosen both with regard to the men who compose them and to the captains who command them." The captains thus dismissed, hurried to their respective

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The Soldier's Reward. commands, while the gallant Prescott tarried to receive further instructions from his general. Joel Benton's heart beat rapidly. His company had been one of those chosen, "both with regard to the men who composed it and the captain who commanded it." The honor of such an appointment was one that he did not lose sight of. In going toward the camp of his company, he encoun tered his father, Maj. Benton. "So, Joel," said the latter, "you are one of the trusted officers selected for the great undertaking of to-night." "Yes, father, and the only thing which disappoints me is that you are not also of the number." "We cannot all be chosen," answered his father; "and the sacredness of our common cause is one which will not permit of jealousies. Go, my son; do your duty, and may God bless you." One silent hand pressure, and they parted, Joel to as semble his company, his heart full of exultation. Long before the time appointed, all the companies chosen were assembled on the green in front of the college. Col. Prescott hastily completed a regimental organiza tion, and Joel Benton's company, to our hero's great satis faction, was once more given the "right of line." The men, drawn up in lines, reverently uncovered their heads while the president of Harvard once more invoked God's favor on the undertaking in hand.

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The Soldier's Reward. 179 Then the order to march was given, and the men moved forward at a rapid pace. Over Charl e stown N eek they marched, and straight on to their destination. Since the council, it had been determined to fortify Breed's Hill, instead of Bunker Hill, as the former was considered a more important site. The full moon shed its luminous rays over the devoted little band of patriots as they tramped silently up to the summit of Breed's Hill. The night seemed extraordinarily still-so still, in fact, that the occasional cries of sentinels in the British camp could be distinctly heard. Col. Prescott, with rare executive ability, quickly or ganized his regiment into working gangs, and to each company was assigned a particular part of the work. Shovels were plenty, and the soldiers fell to work throwing up a wall of earth which inclosed the whole summit of the hill. Col. Prescott kept walking from point to point, delib erately inspecting the intrenchments, and showing points at which they could be strengthened. The men in Joel's company all farmers, worked like beavers. To our hero was given the most important part in all the work. His command was stationed on the side facing the harbor, and on this the intrenchments must be doubly strong, for a heavy fire could be counted upon from the British fleet.

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180 The Soldier's Reward. Joel stood on the top of the earthen wall giving his at tention first to one part of it and then to another, taking the greatest pains to see that the wall was hard, compact and thick at all points. Below him, when he turned toward the harbor, he could see the British men-of-war at anchor. In the clear moonlight he could almost distinguish the forms of men on the decks of the vessels. At midnight he heard this cry from the officers of the deck on the different frigates : "Midnight, and all's well-1-11" "Little those chaps down the water know about it, sir," said one of Joel's men, pausing to look up at his captain and smile. "Their eyes must be poor that they do not see us,'' Joel answered. "Oh, perhaps, they take us for the king's soldiers." "There'll be enough of King George's troops up this way to-morrow, I make no doubt,'' said the man, with an other significant smile. At about two o'clock in the morning, when the work of intrenching was completed, Ezra Benton approached his brother, and said: "Col. Prescott desires all company commanders to let their men rest until daylight, when trouble may be ex pected." Joel accordingly dismissed his company. The same was done by all the captains, and a few min utes later most of the men were sleeping soundly on the bare ground.

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The Soldier's Reward. 181 The officers of the regiment, for whom there was no sleep that night, gathered about Col. Prescott, at a point on the breastworks which overlooked both the harbor and the town of Boston. "Gentlemen," said the gallant colonel, "I will not con ceal from you the fact that I look for bloody work in the morning. In the first place, we are desperately few here to contend with the heavy odds which can be sent against us. "Another lamentable feature of the case is that our: men have only a few rounds of ammunition apiece. You all know what British doggedness is. One repulse of the enemy will not dismay them, nor will two, nor three. We must expect them to advance upon us as often as they can rally. We must stand behind these earthworks, prepared to die. Gentlemen, will you do this, and can you answer for your companies?" In the deep pause that followed only one voice was heard. "I can answer for myself and men," Joel answered, promptly. "Capt. Benton,'' said the colonel, laying his hand affec tionately on the boy's shoulder, "you have answered first, and you shall have the soldier's reward of being first in the danger. When I dispose of the forces in the morn ing, to you shall be intrusted the weakest point to defend." The other captains now all protested that they and their companies could be depended upon to die on the field to a man, if necessary. Col. Prescott accepted all their assurances with the same

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182 The Crossing of the Redcoats. earnestness with which they were given, but reaffirmed his decision that to Capt. Joel Benton belonged the honors in the coming battle. "Look," said the gallant commander, pointing to the east. "The day has dawned. The British g e neral will soon discover our position. Remember, gentl e men, re member that it is a glorious thing to die for one's country." CTIAPTER XXVII. THE CROSSING OF THE REDCOATS. The summer morning dawned clear and bright on that memorable seventeenth of June. The little group of officers on the southern wall of the intrenchment were almost the only sentinels on duty, for the tired privates were sleeping soundly almost without exception. "As yet we do not seem to have caused any uneasiness down below," said Prescott to his officers. Hardly had he spoken when a white puff of smoke was seen to issue from the port battery of one of the frigates. Then a series of signal flags were run up to the mast head of the frigate. Col. Prescott scanned the little strips of bunting through a glass. Then he turned to the officers b e side him. "It is a signal," he said, simply.

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The Crossing of the Redcoats. 183 "Of what?" Joel queried. "That frigate is the flagship; the admiral demands to see our colors." "Then may we run them up now?" Joel demanded, eag erly. The other officers, too, clamored for the colors, and Col. Prescott assented. He was as anxious to see them floating overhead as any one else. "Shall I call a detail from one of my companies?" asked one of the officers. "No," answered the coloned, promptly; "let us hoist the colors ourselves. It is fitting work for officers." A short flagpole had been planted in the soil, a few feet back from the line of breastworks. A line had been rigged to the top of the pole, and at its base lay a bundle which contained the flag. The flag of Bunker Hill was worthy a brief description. The basis of all was a blue field. In the left upper-hand corner was a white square, and traversing this was an up right red cross. In the upper left-hand corner, formed by the arms of the cross, was still another design-an embroidered green pine tree. Such was the flag of Bunker Hill. It was pretty and orig inal, and it was a fact to be regretted that it fell into the hands of the English and was destroyed. Col. Prescott himself fastened the corners of the flag to the line, and stood by while several of the other officers seized the rope. "Haul away!" cried the commandant, and up to the top ran the pine-tree flag of Bunker Hill.

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i84 The Crossing of the Redcoats. Then, with all the power of their throats and lungs, they saluted their flag with good old-fashioned American cheers: "Hurrah! hurrah I hurrah!" The echoes awoke the slumbering camp. Springing to their feet, the patriots saw that day had come. The sun was just appearing on the eastern horizon. They saw also their flag flying proudly in the morning air. Once more a cheer went up, and this time eight hun dred throats echoed it: "Hurrah l hurrah! hurrah!" That mighty cheer startled the staid old town of Boston out of its early morning slumber. The flagship in the stream below fired another shot from one of her port guns. This time it was a solid shot, and it came whizzing over the redoubt, missing the flagpole by many feet, and bury ing itself harmlessly on the farther side of the hill. Joel approached the colonel and saluted "The men in my company have an old twelve-pounder, sir. Shall we answer that shot?" "No, was the prompt answer. "We must waste no ammunition, for we are likely to need it all later in the day." Joel saluted again, and returned to his men, who were breakfasting off the scanty contents of their have!"sacks. At intervals for the next half hour the British flag s hip fired a shot from a port gun at the pine-tree flag, but not once did it seem in danger.

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The Crossing of the Redcoats. 185 The whole camp had followed the example of Joel's company, and breakfast was the regular order of the hour. As soon as the meal was well under way, the officers drew apart, and ate by themselves. But there was more conversation than breakfast. Col. Prescott and his captains were too excited to eat with a good relish. While they were yet eating and conversing, a man dressed in the uniform of a Continental general appeared upon the northern rampart. The guard posted there made no effort to halt him, and the new-comer jumped nimbly down and came toward the group of officers. As soon as Col. Prescott espied him he dropped his plate and advanced eagerly toward him. "Gen. Warren," he cried, "you are indeed welcome I" And then, turning to the group of officers, who had re spectfully risen to their feet, he added: "General, these are my captains and lieutenants." "A sturdy and worthy-looking set of gentlemen," com mented Warren, in a hearty voice. "Our cause must in deed be in good hands if it rests with them." Then advancing, the general laid his hand kindly on Joel's shoulder. "This young man-is he already a lieutenant?" he in quired. "General, he is Capt. Benton I He commanded the fore most company in the fight at Concord, and I have assigned to him the central position in the fight which we expect to-day."

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186 The Crossing of the Redcoats. "A fine-looking young fellow, truly," said the general, heartily, and Joel blushed with pleasure. "General," continued Prescott, "I am glad that you have come. I turn over to you the command of this camp." "Have you, then, so soon tired of it?" asked Warren, laughingly. "No, general; but you are my superior, and to you be longs the command." "I decline it," said Warren, gravely. "You were sent here to command, and to you that honor belongs. I will stay here, take a gun, and fight as a volunteer, with your permission; but if that is withheld, I must withdraw. I will not take the command from you." Prescott saw that his superior was determined, and so made no further protest. "Since I am to act as a volunteer," said the general, gayly, "I elect to serve in this young man's company-that is, if he will accept me as a recruit." This young man was Joel Benton. Our hero blushed vividly at this request from the gen eral. "Since you will not take command of the redoubt," Joel answered, "I would like it if you would take command of my company." "Ho, ho, I must serve as a private. Will you have me as such?" "To be sure I will, but it is too great an honor, general." "Then say no more about it, Capt. Benton. I am one of your soldiers, and when the fight comes, you will find me in the foremost rank."

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The Crossing of the Redcoats. 187 A little later an orderly approached Col. Prescott. "The British, sir, can be seen on the Boston side of the water." "Soldiers, orderly?" "Yes, colonel." "Then we may expect soon to hear from them." Prescott sprang to his feet, and walked rapidly to the southern ramparts, followed by his officers. There, sure enough, on the Boston side, could be seen columns of British soldiers, marching down to the water side. Here they halted, and seemed to be waiting for some thing. Col. Prescott turned to his captains, and said : "Gentlemen, a battle is near at hand. Form your com panies at the posts assigned to you." Five minutes later the redoubt was properly guarded on all sides. Col. Prescott took up his position with the company commanded by Joel Benton. What the enemy were waiting for was soon apparent. A score of heavy boats put off from the fleet, rowed to the Boston shore, and embarked several companies of soldiers. These were landed on the Charlestown shore, and the boats went back for more. "Oh," sighed Joel, impatiently, "for a rush at them now, before they are reinforced." "It would be useless," Prescott answered. "Reinforce-

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188 A Sanguinary Repulse. ments could reach them quickly, and they are under cover of the guns of the flee t." The sailors in the boats rowed with a will and had soon accomplished the task of ferrying the Briti s h regiments over. All the surrounding country was, by this time, alive to what was going on. Both in Boston and Charlestown, housetops and church steeples were thronged with people eager to see the ap proaching battle. The thunder of artillery from the fleet shook the air, and solid shot went flying over the redoubt. Meanwhile, three thousand of the cream of the British infantry, under Gen. Howe, formed on the Charlestown shore. Eight hundred poorly armed and scantily equipped patriots waited calmly for the approach of overwhelming odds. A tragic but sublime spectacle was witnessed on that bright summer morning. CHAPTER XXVIII. A SANGUINARY REPULSE. Gen. Howe must have thought that he had an easy vic tory before him, for he seemed to have plenty of leisure upon his hands. For some time the British fleet kept up its bombard-

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A Sanguinary Repulse. ment, pouring what might have been a terrible fire over the redoubt which hid the patriots from their sight. Might have been, I say, but the British fleet did very little service that day, other than ferry the troops over. As far as the artillery fire of the British men-of-war was concerned, it was a waste of good ammunition, for little or no harm was done to the breastworks. None of the patriots were killed by cannon balls, and the flagstaff, which seemed the objective point of the fire, was not once touched by any of the scores of red-hot missiles. When Gen. Howe came to the conclusion that he had spent enough time in reviewing and parading his three thousand soldiers on the Charlestown shore, he signaled the fleet to cease firing. Then the British regiments wheeled into line of battle and marched forward to the hill. The American patriots had their rifles loaded, and were calmly waiting for the order to fire. The fact has already been mentioned that Joel's company was provided with a twelve-'pound field piece. "Load her up," ordered our hero, and a squad of six men prepared to rapidly carry out his orders. "We haven't any bullets to spare, sir," said the ser geant. "No, don't bullets; we can't spare any," Joel an swered. "If you have any scraps of iron, load with them, and put in a few handfuls of pebbles and small stones.'' And so the field piece was load e d with grapeshot of this unique description, and one of the men stood ready

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190 A Sanguinary Repulse. with the fuse, while the sergeant stood by to sight the piece when it should come time to fire. Meanwhile, the British column, in battle array, was ad vancing slowly up the hill under the scorching rays of the summer sun. Several of the men began to be impatient for the order to fire. They sighted their muskets, and seemed on the point of shooting. Col. Prescott, who knew how imperative it was that no ammunition should be wasted, viewed these indications with uneasiness. "Men," he shouted at the top of his voice, "we have no ammunition to waste to-day. Every shot must tell in the enemy's ranks. When we can see the whites of their eyes, I will give the order to fire. Do not fire until you hear the order." Fearful that he had not been heard by all, the gallant Prescott ran about from point to point, repeating the order. Then he rejoined Joel's company, which was stationed in the center of what was to be the point of attack. Prescott was outwardly calm, inwardly raging with apprehension as to what should be the fate of his devoted command against the terrible odds. Onward came the enemy, and from the surging of the crowd on many housetops, it could be seen how high the excitement of the spectators ran. Perhaps the reader will suppose that many of the pa triots behind the redoubt wished themselves well out of it.

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A Sanguinary Repulse. 19r Not a bit of it! It is safe to say that not a man among them showed the white feath e r. The only thing that chafed them was the order not to fire until the word was given. So, as the red-coated column came up the side of the hill, hardly a sign of life could be seen. There was certainly no indication of the bloody slaughter soon to follow. Gen. Howe marveled at the quietness of the Americans, and ascribed it to their timidity in the presence of his truly sup e ri o r numb e rs. Fatal mis ta ke It was only by the exercise of the most rigid discipline that the American officers were able to restrain their eager. men. When Gen. Howe felt that he was near enough to the redoubt to be unquestionably master of the field he gave the order to advance on the double-quick. The red coated British soldiers responded with alacrity. In spite of the scorching summer sun, which had already caused several to fall out of the ranks, they quickened their pace, and rushed on to the expected victory. It turned out to be nothing of the sort. Prescott waited calmly until he could see the whites of the eyes of the foremost British soldiers. Then the gallant colonel waved his sword about his head and shouted : "Fire!" And the captains toolC up tlie cry:

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A Sanguinary Repulse. "Fire!" The command had peen so long and so eagerly waited for, that it met with a prompt response. Almost as one, spoke the rifles of the American patriots. A line of flame flashed along the entire length of the redoubt, and then all was hidden in a cloud of smoke. In the center of the line of breastworks on that side, there was a louder report and a brighter flash. It was Joel Benton's field piece, which was discharged just as the word was given. And the British? They were demoralized. Whole lines of men had fallen under the deadly ac curacy of the American aim. The grapeshot from the field piece had plowed a hole straight through the center of a battalion. Gen. Howe, witnessing the whole catastrophe from the rear, dispatched his aids on a gallop to the front. Officers rode and ran about, wherever there was a serious gap in the ranks. "Rally, and close up the ranks I Advance I" they shouted. But their orders availed little. Even soldiers have no love for hopeless slaughter. In spite of the frantic exhortations of their com manders, they turned and started down the hill. "About face Form and charge on the rebels !" shouted the officers. "Charge! and the day is ours !" But the British soldiers had had fully as much as they wanted, for the present.

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,r A Sanguinary Repulse. 193 The officers, too, finding that they were conspicuous targets for the deadly American rifles, and that many of their comrades had been picked off by sharpshooters be hind the redoubt, turned and followed their men down the hill. It was not a rout. Nor were the British panic-stricken. They retreated down the hill with the air of men who were prepared to fight stubbornly, but who could not be expected to advance in the face of inevitable death. Gen. Howe, knowing that thousands of spectators were looking on at the scene, had to swallow his chagrin as best he could. All effort to rally the redcoats was now abandoned. It was enough to lead them in decent order to a safe dis tance from the hitherto despised enemy. Down near the water side the British column could be seen, forming afresh. But they seemed in no hurry to try the ascent of the hill again. Gen. Howe and his staff could be seen at the rear of the column engaged in deep and earnest discussion. Col. Prescott gazed at the group on horseback through his fieldglasses. "Gen. Howe seems worried," said the colonel, laying down his glasses. "And no wonder," laughed Joel. "He has had the con ceit pretty thoroughly taken out of him." "Our m e n couldn't have fired with better effect," Pres-

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194 A Sanguinary Repulse. cott declared. "And that was what I hoped for in waiting so long before giving the word." "Do you think the British will try it again to-day?" Joel asked. "I should think they would hesitate to, after that re ception," Prescott answered. "If Howe does not know that we are terribly short of ammunition, the wisest thing for him to do is to remain where he is, and let the fleet bombard us for a few hours." "Look at the crowds on the housetops," said Gen. War ren; and then added, with a laugh : "Poor Howe He knows he is being watched, and I mistake him if he does not feel terribly cut up about it. However, this should teach him to let us alone in the future." Suddenly the watchers from the top of the hill discov ered that several houses below them were afire. As the B.ames leaped up the smoke began to blow over the top of the redoubt, shutting out the ground below from their field of observation. "The miscreants !" cried Prescott, angrily. "They have wantonly fired property, that they may advance again un der cover of the smoke." He was right. The houses had been fired for that exact purpose, at the direction of Gen. Howe. It

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"> "' .. CHAPTER XXIX. ROUTED AT LAST. War is cruel, and seldom a respecter of private rights. That the British soldiers might safely advance up the hill, many persons in Charlestown on that day saw their homes go up in smoke and lie in ashes. Gen. Howe, having taken this precaution, was quick to act upon it. All along the British lines the cry rang out: "Forward!" The command came so loud and clear that the patriots on the hill heard it, and knew that the enemy was once more upon them. The Americans once more braced themselves for the conflict. Prescott hurriedly gave out the order that the fire of his men, as before, be reserved until the word was given. "But I am afraid our aim will be spoiled this time," the colonel said, in a low tone to Joel. "If the British get near enough to use their bayonets, our resistance will be of little avail." "I have loaded up the cannon again," said Joel. "That is well. It tore a terrible gap in their center last time." Anxiously they waited, officers and men alike, peering over the redoubt.

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Routed at Last. But dense clouds of smoke rolled up into their faces, blinding their eyes and choking their throats. Somewhere in the midst of the smoke, but invisible to the Americans, the solid British column was leisurely advancing, secure from the colonial aim, and preparing for a decisive bayonet charge. "Oh, for a few hundred more of those thousands of men at Cambridge," groaned Prescott to himself. But it was too late to bemoan the smallness of his force. Gen. Ward had sent too few, but it was now too late to remedy that blunder. Those already in the field must do their best. Silently the British column came on, approaching nearer every moment, yet still invisible. At last the acute ear of Prescott caught the measured tread of the British column. Yet, strain his eyes as he would, the gallant American commander could see naught of the foe. The men, as much on the alert as their commander, were uneasy, as well they might be. Many of them raised their rifles as if to fire into the smoke on chance aim. "Don't fire a shot until you hear the word," shouted Prescott, divining their purpose. The men obeyed, though a few of them did so sullenly enough. Suddenly the command rang out all along the British line: "On the double-quick, forward Charge !" Every American behind the redoubt heard this order,

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Routed at Last. I97 and the effect would have been demoralizing on less courageous men. The rapid tread of the British could be plainly heard as they swept on up the hill like a tempest. In a few moments more the rush would come. A few hundred untrained farmers would face the bayonets of the best-trained troops in Europe. Would their resistance this time be so successful? Of a sudden the breeze blew the smoke away. The British could be plainly seen not fifteen rods be low, rushing on headlong. At the critical moment Howe's stratagem had failed him, and the columns of scarlet were now exposed to that very fire from which he had hoped to screen them. The Provincials had taken aim, and were anxiously awaiting the order to fire again. But Prescott waited. The British column still came on, with bayonets fixed, and charging with grand courage into the face of the deadly fire which they knew would rend them in a mer ment. Some of the English officers thought the patriots had weakened at last, and ordered a desperate rush over the redoubt. When he had the enemy almost under his nose, Prescott saw the opportunity he had waited for, and was quick to take advantage of it. "Fire!" he shouted. The twelve-pounder led, with a charge of odds and ends that laid low many a red-coated soldier.

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198 Routed at Last. American rifles all along the redoubt rang out, and whole platoons of the enemy were shattered. The British officers were prepared with new tactics this time. "Close up! close up, and charge over the redoubt before the rebels have time to reload!" they shouted. 1 he platoons of infantry did make an attempt to close up, and charge t&e redoubt. But Prescott was too shrewd a commander not to have foreseen and provided for an exigency like this. A second volley from behind the redoubt greeted the reformed column, and did terrible havoc. Col. Prescott had held a reserve fire, and, to his shrewd ness in this respect, the British owed their second repulse in the place of an expected victory. It was an utter rout this time. The British, despite their courageous advance up the hill, now seemed frantic with fear. They turned, without waiting orders to retreat, and fled precipitately down the hill. There was no attempt at order in the retreat. It was altogether a rout. Company commanders seemed no more anxious to tarry on the field than did the men. Joel Benton had the field piece loaded again in time to send a raking fire into the midst of the flying soldiers But in an incredibly short space of time there wasn't an unhurt British soldier within range. Only th e water s edge stopped their mad flight. Here they were obliged to halt, and here their com-

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Routed at Last. 199 manders endeavored to reorganize them for another charge. But the task seemed well-nigh impossible. The men, with the good discipline of British soldiers, reformed their ranks, and then formed in regimental lines. Yet, though they obeyed their orders, there was a 'dogged sullenness in their demeanor which told their gen eral as plainly as words could have done that they could not be depended upon for another determined advance up the hill. Gen. Howe had, however, foreseen this, and provided for it. Substantial reinforcements, which he had sent for an hour before, now began to arrive. When the last had been ferried over in the men-of-war boats, Gen. Howe advanced to the front of his strength ened forces, and made an urgent appeal to his soldiers. This was such an extraordinary and unlooked-for thing for the haughty Howe to do that it was not without its effect. Then, to show the patriots that continued fighting was the order of the day, the fleet in the harbor began a bom bardment of the redoubt. But the gunners did not succeed in doing much damage. When noon came, Howe's soldiers, who had been waiting in line so long that they were again impatient for ac tion, were ordered to advance up the hill once more. This third charge Prescott had both expected and dreaded.

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200 Routed at Last. "Few of the men have more than one roUJ.11d of ammuni tion," he said to Gen. Warren. "Then," answered that intrepid patriot, "I certainly hope they will remain here long enough to fire that volley." "And after that?" queried Prescott, anxiously. "You are in command here, colonel," answered the gen eral. "But I ask your advice." "My advice, then, is to resist to the last-as long as any of your men will stand about you and defend this flag over our heads." "Our men have no bayonets." "Then let them try the butts of their muskets on the heads of our enemies." "It shall be done, general, if it comes to that." The American soldiers, knowing the extreme shakiness of their position, now that their ammunition was nearly gone, looked anxiously at the British column advancing for the third time. Reasoning that the British would know nothing of the state of the Americans' ammunition, Prescott determined to attempt the same tactics which had repulsed the two former charges. The reinforced British regiments advanced doggedly upon the breastworks, expecting at every moment that deadly, demoralizing fire which they had learned to fear. But, when they got within a few yards of the redoubt they were greeted with only a dispirited fire. Astonished but quick to see their advantage, the English officers ordered a charge.

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Routed at Last. 201 On swept the British line I "Stand firm and give it to 'em, boys!" shouted Prescott. The Americans answered with a cheer, leaped to the top of the redoubt, and brought the butts of the muskets down upon the heads of the foremost British soldiers with a force that crushed many skulls. But Howe had things all his own way now. In a few moments the Americans were fairly beaten and forced to run. Joel Benton's company brought up the rear, and cov ered the retreat as best it could. Our hero, seeing Gen. Warren. dangerously near to the British, shouted to him to tum and make good his escape. "Look out, sir, you will be captured I" But too late. One of the foremost English officers seized a musket from one of his soldiers, and taking deliberate aim, fired at Warren. That aim was only too accurate. The indomitable patriot threw his arms up to his head, reeled and fell. Joel, who saw the tragedy too late to prevent it, raised his pistol, and shot slayer through the head, and the English officer, in turn, bit the dust. Regardless of the warnings of his brother officers, our hero ran back, and raised the general s head into his lap. It was an expressionless face that met his gaze. "Quick, Capt. Benton. Run, for you yourself are in danger l" shouted some one.

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CHAPTER XXX. EUGENE TORRINGTON HEARD FROM. Gen. Warren was dead before our hero reached him. Joel could not have a doubt of this when he lifted his head and gazed down into the sightless blue eyes: Blood was flowing freely through a wound in the side of Warren's head, and the bullet was doubtless lodged in the brain. Probably death had been instantaneous. With a sigh and a silent tear, Joel laid the head ten derly upon the earth, and looked about him. It was time he did so. The Americans, though stubbornly contesting the ground, were being forced back. Most of the little band had already taken refuge in flight, but a few companies were still making a desperate fight, Joel's company being among the latter number, and temporaril y under the command of his Brother Ezra. A hundred scarlet-coated men were between our hero and his struggling friends. The redcoats, in fact, were on all sides of him, and it was strange that none of them had attempted Joel's capture. Now, however, a British ensign espied the young man in Colonial uniform, and rushed furiously at him. "Surrender!" he yelled. Joel, finding himself alone amid hundreds of the en-

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Eugene Torrington Heard From. 203 emy, saw that a struggle would be hopeless, and had the good sense to realize that there would be no ignominy attached to his running away if he could. So, ignoring the ensign, he made a bolt to rejoin his friends, hotly pursued by his would-be captor. "Stop him!" shouted the latter. But both sides were in a good deal of confusion. No one paid any heed to the ensign's order1 and Joel ran between the lines. In a very few moments he had regained the head of his company, which was valiantly and desperately engaged in covering the American retreat. Joel saw, at a glance, that by no possibility could the field be saved to the Colonial troops. Further resistance, therefore, meant only added slaugh-ter among his men. "Retreat!" he shouted. "There is no use in fighting." That ended the struggle. The Colonial troops, hearing this order from one of their officers, no longer kept up the unequal struggle. They broke and ran, every man for himself. With a lusty cheer the British gave chase. But the Americans were the better athletes. Now that it had come to a matter of absolute retreat, they ran down the north side of the hill at a rate of speed which soon left the British far in the r ear. Gen. Howe had evidently been so hopeless of victory that he had taken no precautions to shut off the line of the American retreat. Had he stationed a regiment of regulars at the bottom

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204 Eugene Torrington Heard From. of the hill on the north side, he would have captured the entire American command, instead of only the score or so of stragglers who fell into his hands. The British were undisputed masters of the field. The pine-tree flag was torn from the flagpole on Bunker Hill, and the royal ensign floated in its place. By the time that Joel and his company reached Charles town N eek, the survivors of Col. Prescott's command were organized and marched back to Cambridge in good order. Gen. Ward received the officers of the expedition, heard their account, expressed the utmost satisfaction with the outcome of the affair, and explained why he had not sent a larger force. "If I could have had five hundred more men and fifty rounds of ammunition, the hill would still be ours," said Prescott. Great sorrow was felt throughout the patriot camp over the untimely death of Gen. Warren. Though the battle of Bunker Hill was nominally a de feat for the Americans, it was really a victory for them, for it had convinced them they could successfully resist the trained British troops. And Gen. Howe had learned a lesson which he never forgot. A little later in the summer the revered Gen. Washington came to Cambridge and took command of the American army, standing under the famous elm which has ever since borne his name.

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Eugene Torrington Heard From. 205 Troops began to pour in from all over New England, and even from points outside. News was received from Vermont of Col. Ethan Allen's successful audacity in seizing Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point. Many companies of the Green Mountain heroes found their way to Cambridge during the summer, and tnose who had fought on Lake Champlain were able to ex change startling adventures with those who had fought so valiantly on Bunker Hill. Though there were no decisive conflicts, there were many minor engagements and skirmishes between the opposing armies. Many were wounded, and many more were sick. Hospitals were started in the American army, and women were in demand as nurses. Sarah Benton, Joel's sister, was among the first to vol unteer in this noble work. She was stationed in a hospital which was considered in a rather exposed position, being just beyond the Amer ican lines. But a hospital is supposed to be free from molestation by either side. Nevertheless, one evening late in summer it was re ported that a small force of British were prowling about in the vicinity of the hospital, and three companies, of which Joel's was one, were hurriedly detailed to drive the enemy away. They came up with the enemy at a short distance from the hospital in question, and, after a short, sharp engage-

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206 Eugene Torrington Heard From. ment, drove the British back, pursuing them for a con siderable distance. In returning, they passed the hospital. Joel halted his company, and went into the hospital to learn if the inmates had been molested by the enemy. "I have bad news for you, captain," said Dr. Gibson, the surgeon in charge. "What is it?" "Your sister--" "Merciful Heaven, doctor, she has come to no harm?'' "Alas, yes, I fear so." "Tell me about it quick I" "While the enemy were prowling about here a British captain and a dozen soldiers entered forcibly. They made your sister a prisoner, molesting no one else." Joel groaned. "I can imagine who has done this," he cried angrily. "The abductor left a note for you," pursued the sur-geon. "Here it is." Joel hurriedly tore the missive open. It read: "Srn: The last time we met y ou triumphed. This is my time to laugh. Your sister will be the guest of our col o nel's wife until she makes up her mind to become Mrs. T. He laughs best who laughs last, as you will readily percdve. E. T." "Eugene Torrington!" crie
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Eugene Torrington Heard From. 207 But this was out of the question. The retreating battalion of British by this time had had ample opportunity to escape beyond the danger of pursuit and capture. "Perhaps the note will be valuable later on," muttered 'i Joel, putting the insulting missive in his pocket. "This captain," suggested the surgeon, "has acted in defiance of all the courtesies of war. Perhaps a formal demand from Gen. Washington upon the British com mander will result in the return of Miss Benton. I cer tainly hope so." "I must see what can be done,'' returned Joel, rushing out of the hospital. R e turning to the camp, he found his father and told him all that had happ e n e d. Togethe r th ey r e pair e d to Gen. Was hington's headquarte rs, and b egge d an immediate audience. It was grant e d them. G e n. Washington h eard Joe l's account of the affair, and said : "I think it likely that something can be done, gentle men. If you will leave that note of Capt. Torrington's with me, I will send it, with a formal demand for Miss Benton's release, to Gen. Howe." "And when may we expect to learn the result?" asked Joel's father, anxiously. "See me to-morrow at noon. Keep up good heart, gentlemen." Washington waved his hand to dismiss them, and father and son departed feeling much lighter-hearted.

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208 A Recognition. At noon the following day they repaired with beating hearts to the quarters of the commander-in-chief. Gen. Washington motioned them to seats. "I have bad news for you, gentlemen,'' he said. Their hearts sank within them, while Washington con tinued: "I have made formal demand upon Gen. Howe, and have just received his answer. He utterly declines to treat with us, alleging that, as i::ebels, we are not entitled to courtesy.'' Father and son left Washington's presence, sick at heart and despairing. CHAPTER XXXI. A RECOGNITION. The British general, though once more urged to do so, would not consent to interfere in the "escapade"-as he evidently considered it-of Capt. Eugene Torrington; and Sarah Benton remained to all purposes a prisoner in the household of one of the British colonels. It afforded no little satisfaction to the Bentons, how ever, to learn, through a patriot spy, that Sarah was treated by her jailers-for such they were-with all requi site courtesy. While she could not get through the British lines, and could never leave the house without being watched, she could not, nevertheless, be forced into a marriage which

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A Recognition. she held out against, and was, meanwhile, kindly treated by the colonel s wife. On a certain day, a few weeks later, it happened that Joel was officer of the day in his regiment. He had just completed the task of mounting the new guard, when his eyes fell upon a figure that looked familiar. The man wore the uniform of an officer of the Vermont troops, and appeared to be gazing about him at the camp of a Mas s achus e tts regiment with pardonable curiosity. Though he could not tell who the man was, or where he had met him, Joel could not rid himself of the impres sion that he had seen him before. Finding that the impression was really annoying him, thoug h he could not understand why, Joel approached the stranger. "I beg your pardon, sir," said our hero, saluting, "but I cannot rid myself of the impression that I have met you before." "I think it very likely you have," was the reply. Though the voice had a gruff sound, the tone was not discourteous. .. "You belong to a Vermont regiment, I take it?" said Joel, again glancing at the other's uniform. "Yes And then, as if he felt that the circumstances obliged him to make hims elf known, the stranger added : "I belong to the Second Vermont. My name is Tillotson-Capt. Tillotson." "I'll swear it isn 't/' rejoined Joel, with sudden warmth.

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2IO A Recognition. He had seen Capt. Tillotson, more than once at head quarters, and this man before him looked not in the least like the dashing Vermont captain. "I am sorry to dispute you," returned the stranger, in the same gruff tones ; "but I must assert that I am Capt. Tillotson even in the face of your disapproval." "I have seen Capt. Tillotson too many times to be de ceived," said Joel. The stranger seemed a little staggered at this declara tion, but he quickly recovered hims e lf. "I understand," he said, as gruffly as before. "There are two Capt. Tillotsons. I am the least distinguished of the pair." But Joel was beginning to get distrustful. "If I find you are right," he said sternly, "I shall have to apologize to you; but at present I have a disagreea bie duty to perform." "And what is that?" queried the other striving m1suc cessfully to repress his pallor. "I shall have to send you under guard to the Second ermont headquarters and have you vouched for." "Sir, that would be an insult." "Nevertheless, it is my duty, and must be done." "And why?" "Because I begin to suspect that you are a spy." "A spy? You lie!" cried the other, excitedly. He spoke altogether too excitedly, in fact, for he for got hi! gruff tones, and spoke in the high key that was natural to him. Joel knew this man now in an instant.

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A Recognition. 21I "Eugene Torrington!" he cried, falling back in aston ishment. And the scoundrel, for it was really he, seeing that he was discovered, realized the folly of further lying. Joel advanced and placed his hand on Torrington's shoulder, facing about at the same time. "What are you going to do?" whispered the wretch, tremulously. "Place you under arrest as a British spy," returned Joell as coolly as he could. His heart seemed overflowing with hatred for this scoundrel. "Don't do it, for God's sake, don't do it!" pleaded Tor-rington in a low tone. Joel glanced at the fellow contemptuously. "Why should I not do it!" he asked disdainfully. "Because if anything should happen to me, your sister--" "Ah! you dare mention my sister to me? Well, what about my sister?" "What I have to say about her is of the utmost im portance," said Torrington, in a low, impressive tone. "For her sake and your own give me a word with you in your tent. When I have said my say, place me under arrest if you will." Joel deliberated a moment, and then answered : "Very well I will give you an interview, but I warn you that you will get no mercy. Follow me." Torrington heaved a sigh of relief at this five minutes' reprieve, and followed our hero.

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212 A Recognition. To see a strange officer walking with the officer of the day occasioned no surprise. Joel paused at the door of his tent and motioned his prisoner to precede him. When both had seated themselves, Joel said : "You are wonderfully gotten up. Your face is so dis guised that I did not know you, but I thought your figure was familiar." "I haven't a bad sort of a figure,'' said Torrington, surveying himself, complacently. Joel gazed at him with amused disgust. Then he said: "You have something to say to me, I take it? Proceed, for I have only a minute to give you." "Well, then," began Torrington, his voice tremulous in spite of his assumed self-confidence, "I want you to let me go this time." "Naturally you do," said Joel. "But that would be a grave breach of duty on my part; so, if you have nothing more to say, we will end this interview." "One moment," interrupted Torrington. "Stop and think how terrible a thing it is to be hung for a spy." "A soldier should meet his fate smilingly, not in a grov eling way," retorted Joel. "Can you not forgive me for what I have done to you and yours?" pleaded Torrington. "Perhaps I can forgive you, Torrington," Joel an swered. "But this is not a matter of private forgiveness. It is nothing more nor less than my duty to place you under arrest." "But your sister?" persisted Torrington.

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A Recognition 2r3 "Well, what of her?" "If I am not in Boston by sunset she is to be assassi nated by a man whom I have hired to do the job. I have sworn that she shall marry no other man, and foresaw that I might be captured to-day." "You impudent braggart !" cried Joel, and, turning on his heel, he stepped to the door of his tent. "Orderly!" "Captain !" "Summon a corporal and four men. I have a prisoner here." Torrington, seeing that his invention availed him noth ing, and that he was about to be arrested, suddenly sprang at our hero. Joel was prepared for him, and received him at the point of his pistol. "Step back, Torrington, or you will anticipate your fate by a few hours." "Captain !" "Orderly I" "The corporal's guard is here." "Let them enter,'' our hero directed. The guard marched in, and Eugene Torrington was promptly ironed. A few minutes later Col. Buttrick had been informed of the capture, and half an hour afterward the prisoner was taken before Gen. Washington. "So, besides stealing young women from our hospitals, you have been getting into practice as a spy,'' said Wash-

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214 A Recognition. ington, coldly, after he had been informed who the pris oner was. All of Torrington's composure had deserted him by this time. He had pride enough, however, not to break down in an utterly craven manner. After he had been led away, Washington turned to Col. Buttrick and our hero, and said: "Perhaps, after all, we shall not be obliged to hang this Capt. Torrington. I have just learned that Rufus Al len, one of our spies, was caught in Boston early this morning. If it is possible to so arrange it, I shall make an exchange. You made your capture in the nick of time, Capt. Benton. One man like Rufus Allen is worth a dozen fellows such as Torrington." "I know Allen well," said Joel. "He has been at our house many times, and I shall be glad if I have been the means of saving him." Gen. Washington arranged matters well. In return for Capt. Torrington he demanded not only Rufus Allen, but demanded also that Sarah Benton be re turned to the American hospital corps. On the next day the exchange was effected, and Eugene Torrington, finding himself once more at liberty, vowed that he would never again attempt to play the spy-a resolution which he never violated. Rufus Allen and Sarah Benton were returned to the American camp--and to each other.

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CHAPTER XXXII. THE EVACUATION OF BOSTON. The siege of Boston was a curious campaign. For nearly a year it continued without definite results. The British army was so securely protected in Boston that the ill-trained and poorly-armed patriots hesitated to advance upon them. Added to this, the royal army was strengthened by the pre sence of a powerful and formidable fleet, which would have made Boston an untenable stronghold for an army but slightl y provided with that great engine of modem warfare-artillery. And the British general, probably a trifle scared by past experiences with the Americans, cared little about molesting them so long as they let him alone. Gen. Washington was well content with the state of aff a irs. S o long as he could k e ep the British army in a state of inactivity he felt that the future could take care of its e lf. With only occasional little skirmishes and sorties, the American army had plenty of time for recruiting and drilling. All through the summer, and all through the following winte r, the sie g e was maintained with little difference in the relative positions of besiegers and besieged.

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216 The Evacuation of Boston. But as the spring of 1776 advanced, and the spirit of war began to make itself manifest on other portions of the American coast, it was determined to bring affairs in Boston to a crisis. About nine months after the engagement on Bunker Hill-in other words, in March, 1776-a decisive move was determined upon by the American commander. Dorchester Heights overlooked the town of Boston, and commanded the strongest points in the British defenses. Through the winter Joel had made as thorough a study, as possible of the science of gunnery, and his company, now numbering over one hundred and fifty men, had been detached from the regiment, and organized into a battery. One afternoon in the middle of March, Joel was sent for by the general commanding his brigade, and asked : "Capt. Benton, what is the present condition of your battery?" "The guns are all in good condition,'' Joel answered; "there is plenty of ammunition, and not more than half a dozen of the men are on the sick list." "Then you are in good condition for immediate serv ice?" queried the general. "I am," Joel answered, wondering what the nature of the service could be in those quiet times. "Gen. Washington has decided upon active meas ures," continued the general. "To-night I am to fortify Dorchester Heights, which will be defended by your bat tery and two others, as well as by two regiments 0 in fantry."

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' The Evacuation of Boston. 217 This was good news for Joel, who had been longing for. activity. That night the heights of Dorchester were fortified, and, when morning dawned, Gen. Howe experienced a nervous chill at seeing that the patriots had done what he might have done himself months ago, if he had not been too indolent. As it was, Howe decided upon his usual course-to rout the enemy out of his advantage. But, as the morning wore on, the British general found another enemy to contend with-the elements. A severe storm came on, so severe, in fact, that it dis couraged the idea of assaulting Dorchester Heights. The storm lasted two days, and, during that time, the weather-hardened Americans were industriously engaged in strengthening their defenses, in posting the artillery to the best advantage, and in making their position as im pregnable as it was possible to do. On the day after the storm cleared, on the seventeentli of March, it was apparent, very early in the morning, that something unusual was going on in the streets of Boston. A group of American officers, from the general down, gathered on a point of the fortifications of Dorchester Heights, which commanded a good view of the town. Passing the few telescopes which they possessed from hand to hand, they watched the movements of the enemy "Regiment after regiment is marching to the water front," commented one of the officers. "What can it mean?''

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218 The Evacuation of Boston. "Perhaps it means that they have got tired of being cooped up in Boston, and have decided upon a change of climate," suggested Joel. "I believe you are right, Capt. Benton," coincided the general. "Yes," he added, continuing to gaze through his glass, "yes, they are actually embarking in the boats." The news proved to be true. Regiment after regiment was embarked in the roomy frigates, and it was plain that the British meant to leave Boston to its fate. "I wonder \.f Gen. Washington knows of this ?" cried 1oel. The last of the British regiments embarked and sail was hoisted on the various vessels of the British fleet. An hour later the flagship led the way out of Boston Harbor. And now it became apparent that the American com mander-in-chief knew well what was going on. Hardly had the British fleet got well under sail, when the watchers on Dorchester Heights saw Washington's army marching triumphantly into the old town of Boston. What a joyous entry it was! With flags flying and fifes and drums giving out the good old tune of "Yankee Doodle," the little army of patriots moved in and took possession of Boston. But what an altered town it was The inhabitants had been robbed and plundered, many had been driven out of their homes to give King George's

PAGE 221

The Evacuation of Boston. 219 men shelter, houses had been burned, and churches pil laged and desecrated. But, with characteristic vigor1 the citizens of Boston took hold, and the coming fall saw the city rebuilt in many places, and almost rejuvenated. There is but little more which I can add. Eugene Torrington served for three years more in the royal army without distinguishing himself, and then he met the fate of a soldier on the field of battle. Squire Torrington, broken down by the loss of his only son, sailed for England, where he spent his few remaining years of life, eking out a scanty living on a meager law practice. His property in Concord was forfeited for his treachery to the colonies, and contrary to all his hopes and expecta tions, King George never rewarded him by making his losses good. Rufus Allen and Sarah Benton were married soon after the evacuation of Boston, and lived to a happy, respected old age. Mrs. Benton and her youngest son remained at home on the farm in Concord, until Jabez was old enough to go to the front, which happened before the close of the famous American struggle. How the soldiers of the American cause suffered, and finally triumphed, is a matter of history. None of the Bentons died on the field. All were mercifully spared, and returned home at the close of the war, full of honors.

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220 The Evacuation of Boston. Joel was the only member of the family who did not return to live upon the farm. He preferred the army, and, having reached the rank of major, he retained that position in Uncle Sam's army after the declaration of peace. But he had not seen the close of his active military career. When the War of 1812 broke out, he was appointed to the command of a regiment, and served gallantly through to the battle of New Orleans. Our hero was married soon after the close of the Rev olutionary War, and to-day there are a host of his lineal descendants. And one thing they prize most highly is a battered and tarnished disk of silver, inscribed as follows : Presented to CAPT. JOEL BENTON, FoR DISTINGUISHED BRAVERY oN THE FIEw IN THE FIGHT AT CONCORD AND THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL, BY ACT OF CONGRESS, 1777 This is the story of a distinguished revolutionary officer. who, when a mere boy in years, began his honorable career as CAPTAloN OF THE MINUTE MEN. America is at peace to-day. There is no chance for

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r The Evacuation of Boston. 221 present military glory, and little prospect of a chance in the future, but every one of my young readers has an op portunity to become--if not a hero, at least a respected and valued American citizen, by entering into all his duties with the same irrepressible zeal as shown by Joel Benton. THE END.

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/ /t!? / ( THE CREAM OF JUVENILE FICTION THE BOYS' OWN A Selection of the Best Books for Boys by the Most Popular Authors titles in this splendid juvenile series have been selected W with care, and as a result all the stories can be relied upon for their excellence. They are bright and sparkling; not over-burdened with lengthy descriptions, but brimful of adven ture from the first page to the last-in fact they are just the kind of yarns that appeal strongly to the healthy boy who is fond of thrilling exploits and deeds of heroism. Among the authors whose names are included in the Boys' Own Library are Horatio Alger, Jr., Edward S. Ellis, James Otis, Capt. Ralph Bonehill, Burt L. Standish, Gilbert Patten and Frank H. Con"l'erse. SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE BOYS' OWN LIBRARY .JI. .JI. All the books in this series are copyrighted, printed on good paper, large type, illustrated, printed wrappers, handsome cloth coven stamped in inks and gold-fifteen special cover designs. tSO per Volume, 75 cents For sale by all booksellers, or sent, postpaid, on receipt of price by the publisher, DAVID McKAY, 4>10 SO. WASHINGTON SQUARE, PHILADELPHIA, PA. ( i )

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HORATIO ALGER, Jr. One of the best known and most popular writers. Good, clean, nea.lthy stories for the American Boy. Adventures of a Telegraph Boy Dean Dunham Erie T:rain .Boy, The Five Hundred Dollar Check From Ca.nal .Boy to President From Farm Boy to Senator Backwoods Boy, The Mark Sta.nton Ned Newton New Yo:rk Boy Tom Brace Tom Tracy Walter Griffith Young Acroba'li c. B. ASHLEY. One of the best stories ever written on hunting, trapping and ado venture in the West, after the Custer Massacre. Gilbert, the Boy Trapper ANNIE ASHMORE. A splendid story, r e cording the adventure s of a boy with smuggleI"L Smuggler's Cave, The CAPT. RALPH BONEHILL. Capt. Bonehill is in the v ery front rank as an author of boys' stori e s T h ese are two of his best works. Neka, the Boy Conjurer Tour of the Zero Club WALTER F. BRUNS. An excellent story of adventure in the celebrated Sunk Lands of Missouri and Kansas. In the Sunk Lands FRANK H. CONVERSE. This writer has established a splendid reputation as a boys' author, and although his books usually command $1.25 per volume, we offer the foll o wing at a more popular price. Gold of Flat Top Mountain Happy-Go-Lucky Jack Heir to a Million In Search of An Unknown Race In Southern Seas Mystery of a Diamond That Treasure Voyage to the Gold Coas' DAVID McKAY, Publisher, Philadelphia. (ii}

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HARR.V COLLINGWOOD. One of England's most successful writers of stories for boys. Bia beit story is Pirate Island GEORGE H. COOMER. Two books we highly recommend. One is a splendid story of oc venture at sea, when American ships were in every port in the world, and the other tells of adventures while the first railway in the Andet Mountaim was being built. Boys in the Forecastle Old Man of the Mountain WILLIAM DALTON. Three stories by one of the very greatest writers for boys. The stories deal with boys' adventures in India, China and Abyl!Binia. These books are strongly reco=ended for boys' reading, as they con tain a large amount of historical information. Tiger Prince White Elephant War Tiger EDWARD S. ELLIS. These books are considered the best works this well-known writer ever produced. No better reading for bright young Americans. Arthur Helmuth Check No. 2134 From Tent to White Houae Perils of the Jungle On the Trail of Geronimo White Mustang GEORGE MANVILLE FENN. For the past fifty years Mr. Fenn has been writing books for boys and popular fiction. His books are justly popular throughout the English-speaking world. We publish the following select list of his boys' books, which we consider the best he ever wrote. Commodore Junk Dingo Boys Weathercock Golden Magnet Grand Chaco ENSIGN CLARKE FITCH, U.S. N. A graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, and tho roughly familiar with all naval mattllrs. Mr. Fitch has devoted him eelf to literature, and has written a series of books for boys that every DAVID McKAY, Publisher, Philadelphia. (iii)


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