Copyright© 2010 by aubie56
Small Foot directed his men into a classic light cavalry maneuver. The Indians slowed down as soon as the Whites went to ground. Small Foot wanted to rest the horses so they would be at full strength for an all-out charge. Billy recognized the ploy and called to the two women to use their pistols. The Indians would be in range too soon to make the rifles worth worrying with, but the pistols in .44 caliber were well able to stop the horses. Billy ordered the women to shoot at the horses, not at the humans.
The Indians set aside their bows and brought out their lances. Small Foot was relatively new at fighting Whites, so he did not believe that they could do any better job than could Indians against a charging horse. When used properly, a charging horse was a potent weapon, and the Sioux were past masters at the art. Unfortunately, Small Foot had never encountered repeating guns that fired a bullet that could stop a horse practically in its tracks.
At Small Foot's signal, the band of Indians picked up speed and waved their lances in the classic effort to make the opposing infantry break ranks and become that much easier to ride down. This didn't work against Billy's family, but it made the Sioux feel good, so it was worth the effort.
Billy waited until the Sioux got within 40 yards. "FIRE!" A withering rain of bullets fell upon the Indians, and horses fell right and left. There was no way that the guns could stop that many horses, but the horses pulled up on their own when they came to the dense tree line. The horses were too well trained to come to a stop, but they did make a sharp turn to the right or left and run parallel to the trees.
The horses turned when the defenders were still out of range of the short lances that the Sioux were using. Most of the horses that turned were saved by the coincidence that all of the pistols were empty at the same time. The defenders swapped pistols, but most of the horses were running away by the time they were ready with the new guns.
In all, 12 of 22 horses were shot, and nine of the Sioux were either killed in the fall from their horses or so badly injured that they were no longer combatants. Small Foot was never going to make that kind of mistake again, but the lesson was too late to do nine of his men any good.
This was bad enough, but the two women took their shirts off and paraded up and down the tree line to make sure that the Indians saw that it was women who killed so many of their companions. Billy sat back and laughed at the antics of his wives. The frivolity stopped, though, when an arrow came arcing toward the women. This was too much! Now, Billy was really mad! Up until now, Billy was kind of going through the motions, but now, he got serious. The Indians were really in trouble, they just didn't know it, yet.
The Indians spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up the battlefield. Billy and the women did not shoot as the Indians picked up the bodies of their fallen comrades. Nevertheless, they were ready to shoot if the Indians had tried anything else. The first day of the battle ended with both sides fixing supper.
This was a moonless night coming up, so Billy wanted to make a statement against the Indians. He was hoping to shake up these Indians the same way he had done the previous group by striking them at night. Billy had the women maintain a close watch to prevent an Indian counterstrike. He didn't expect one, but he wanted to be prepared, just in case he was wrong.
Billy left his rifle in Maria's hands and planned to concentrate on using his war club and his bowie knife. He slipped out of camp as soon as it was dark enough. The Indians were camped about 100 yards away, and he could see only three guards.
Billy had been keeping a close watch on the Sioux camp and had made a point of watching where the guards were posted. The first set of guards had been sent out before dark, so Billy had no problem fixing them on his mental map. His binoculars had been very helpful in keeping an eye on the Sioux. The guard was changed after about four hours, so Billy assumed that would be the pattern for the rest of the night.
Billy left behind anything that he did not expect to need, but he was adequately loaded with weapons, just in case he got caught while skulking. His first target was the guard on the extreme left. This man was positioned near the horses, so he was going to be something of a challenge. There was always the possibility that one of the horses would give Billy away, but the chance was worth taking. He did not want to make the Indians lose their horses, because he hoped that they would use them to ride away and leave him and his wives alone. There was a very small chance of that, but there was always the chance.
However, he did want the Indians to worry about the safety of their horses. The easiest way to accomplish that was to make a token attack on them, and the best token attack was to kill the guard. Billy was a past master of stealth—no Indian could beat him at it, though some might come close to matching him. All of that training in Alabama, both in hunting and in Indian fighting, was the kind of thing that honed one's skills, and the skills never left him.
Billy chose to approach the guard by crawling between the guard and the horses. He waited for the guard to get bored with nothing going on and to feel the call of his bladder. The guard was young, as were most of the warriors in this war party, so he would have an active bladder. It was sometime toward the middle of the guard's duty cycle when he had to piss. The guard walked a few feet away from where he had been told to stand to take his relief. After all, he didn't want to spend the rest of his time standing in a mud puddle formed from his own piss.
As the boy shifted his loin cloth and pulled out his penis, Billy made his move. He unlimbered the war club and waited for the boy to start his stream. As soon as the piss started to flow, Billy rose up behind him and made a mighty swing with his war club aimed at the back of the boy's head. Impact produced a shattered skull and a spray of blood and brains. Any experienced warrior who saw the resulting mess would know immediately what had caused it. Billy wiped off his war club and went looking for his next victim. As he walked by, he cut the rope restraining the horses, but he did nothing else to drive them off.
Billy had spent so much time working on taking out that first man that he needed to get his ass moving to have time to make another hit. The obvious place to lay a trap would be at the communal latrine, but Indians never established such a facility. A man just dropped his piss or his crap wherever the mood struck him, so that was out.
Billy was not interested in taking a chance on entering the camp, itself, but his only other choices were the two remaining guards. He decided to go for the guard between the two camps. This man was spending almost every minute of his time trying to see what was going on in the Whites' camp, so he never saw Billy come up behind him. This was another stroke with the war club, and the results were the same as with the first guard.
Two dead Indians would have to do for this night. Billy felt that it was getting too late for him to spend any more of the night in what amounted to personal gratification. He moved quickly toward his own camp and called out as soon as he thought that he was close enough. Maria called him in, and Billy went to bed with Ann. Later on, Maria woke Ann and moved into bed with Billy while Ann took up guard duty.
Billy got up the next morning to a wonderful breakfast. All he lacked for a full Southern breakfast was eggs. He had grits and ham and biscuits and coffee. He really laughed when he looked through his binoculars and saw the Indians making do on pemmican and jerky.
Billy was not up in time to see the discovery of the two dead guards, but he could imagine the consternation in camp when the bodies had been discovered. It was quite possible that the Indians would try to reciprocate in kind this night, but Billy doubted that they would. It did not fit into the Indian quest for personal glory to attack at night when nobody could see and admire your courage and skill at war.
There were now 11 warriors available to Small Foot. As the war chief, he was not expected to fight, but he might have to if he was going to get a successful completion to this excursion. At least, there would be no more reckless charges like on the first day. Small Foot must be experienced enough to send his men in to fight as infantry, and to surround the Whites so that they could attack from all sides at the same time.
Yes, that was his plan. Billy and his wives watched the plan unfold. Initially, the brunt of the fight was going to fall on Ann and Billy since Maria did not have a repeating rifle. Their plan was for Maria to fire her one shot and then to become the loader for Billy and Ann. Once the enemy got close enough, they would switch to pistols, and all three would then be shooting their pistols.
The rifles would reach the 100 yards to the Indian camp, but Billy wanted to save that bit of information for when they might need it. As long as the Indians had the idea that the rifles were no better than arrows for accuracy at extreme range, the Whites had an ace in the hole that could trump anything that the Sioux might try to do.