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The Conquerors (The Winning of America Series Book 3) by Eckert Allan W

The Conquerors (The Winning of America Series Book 3) by Eckert Allan W

Author:Eckert, Allan W. [Eckert, Allan W.]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: The Jesse Stuart Foundation
Published: 2018-10-31T16:00:00+00:00


CHAPTER VII

[ June 13, 1763 — Monday ]

LIEUTENANT FRANCIS GORDON, commander of Fort Venango on the line of communication between Fort Pitt and Fort Presque Isle, considered himself to be a very levelheaded officer; a man who was prudent and disinclined to jump to conclusions. This being his frame of mind, he was not terribly tolerant of impulsiveness in other officers, considering it a grave weakness of which no officer of the Crown should be guilty.

He considered Ensign Christie, who commanded at Fort Presque Isle, to be just such an impulsive person. When John Christie's message had arrived here at Venango a week ago, telling about the attack on Abraham Cuyler's convoy and subsequent details up to the point where the survivors reached Presque Isle, Gordon just couldn't buy the story in its entirety as apparently Christie had. It was just too farfetched. He had no doubt that Lieutenant Cuyler's party may have been attacked, but it was his studied conclusion that Cuyler had panicked, abandoned the majority of his men and fled. He also doubted that Cuyler had come anywhere near Fort Sandusky. If Sandusky was burned, as he claimed, then logic dictated that Detroit, too, had been taken and this was simply inconceivable. Therefore, when the message from Christie had come, Gordon had dutifully relayed it on toward Fort Pitt, but with a message of his own expressing his doubt about the situation and suggesting that matters were not as grave as some young officers believed.

He was bolstered in his assumptions early this morning as a party of Shawnees and Senecas, showing the usual signs of friendship, approached Venango. There were over fifty of them and they were being led by Chief Kyashuta, the Seneca with whom Gordon had counciled many times. The lieutenant was pleased to see him. If anyone knew the truth about what the western Great Lakes Indians were up to, it would be Kyashuta .

Smiling genially, he met the party at the gate and escorted Kyashuta and fourteen other chiefs and subchiefs of both the Seneca and Shawnee tribe toward the council chambers. The fifteen rank and file of the fort stood about casually and watched with interest as the remaining thirty-five or more Indians entered a short distance behind their chiefs. The scene was not a new one to them; they had witnessed similar ones many times before and Chief Kyashuta himself had become a reasonably familiar figure here. It was, however, a break in the monotony of life at this outpost and so they looked on curiously while their commander led Kyashuta and the other chiefs toward the council house while the rest of the Indians spread out, little groups of them converging smilingly upon each of the soldiers.

As they neared the door of the council house, Lieutenant Gordon moved politely to one side in order that the chiefs might enter first. He was just in the process of beckoning to one of his soldiers to bring tobacco for the visitors when several things happened simultaneously.



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