My job in this ambush was to decide when it was to start. Foster placed me just around a curve in the road, gave me a good-sized tree for cover, two muskets, and orders to stop the patrol when it was close enough.
I loaded buck and ball and we waited. I guess there was six or seven of us that day. We heard them coming before we saw them, a column of men on foot led by a slim officer on horseback, maybe twenty of them and another rider at the tail. As they rounded the bend and came into view, the officer cantered back along his line so that by the time they were a dozen paces off, a sergeant was in the lead, a big bluff fellow in a tall hat and white belts, a fine target.
I drew down on him, waited until I was sure I could not miss, fired and picked up the other musket with my bayonet on it and stepped out into the road as my compatriots opened fire. I blasted the nearest redcoat and charged into the powder smoke. From out of the melee came two horsemen, bending low over their horses' neck. They almost ran me down, but I hooked one rider from his steed with my long bayonet and then whirled and fired at the other as the first flopped at my feet.
I hit the horse in his hindquarters, and he stumbled and threw his rider before limping off to the side of the road. I looked down at the young officer I had speared, saw he would soon be a dead man from his gaping belly wound and ran after the one escaping into the trees. Once in the underbrush, I set aside my musket and sheathed my bayonet. Then I scrambled after what I assumed was an escaping Brit, perhaps the column's only survivor since it was not our company's custom to take many prisoners unless ordered to do so.
Ahead of me I heard a shrill cry of pain, pushed aside some limbs and found myself facing a beautiful young woman with a small pistol in her hand and a look of agony on her lovely face. She was standing on one foot and leaning back against a tree. And, most unusual, she was wearing britches and boots like a cavalryman.
I took her little gun from her and tossed it over my shoulder, smiled at her as best I could and asked how badly she was hurt.
"Twisted my bleeding ankle," she said, sucking in air. She had tied her hair back like mine, but her queue was a good bit longer and the color of cream; a white gold is what it was.
"Sit," I said.
"Leave me alone," she said. "I'm not afraid of you."
"You should be," I said. "Running around dressed like that can get you killed in these parts." Her rounded hips and long legs were tightly sheathed and my brain quickly stripped her.
She sat and stuck out her injured leg. With some difficulty, I pulled off her supple boot. Her ankle was already puffy and an ugly color, tending toward a greenish purple. I felt her joint and her bones, stroking well up her leg. She grunted and said, "Is that necessary."
"No," I said, "but it feels good."
"Lor, is that all you think about. That bunch I was with, they looked at me like wolves, every one of them."
I nodded. "Very understandable."
"Who are you?" she asked. "You don't even look like a soldier."
I introduced myself as a Marylander, said we were a might short of proper uniforms just then, and assured her I was in General Washington's army, what was left of it. "Let's get you back to the road," I suggested, offering her my hand after she managed to wiggle into her boot, gritting her teeth. Her cavalry britches were bunched in at the waist by a thick belt.
"It's very quiet," she said, letting herself be pulled up to stand on one foot.
"Not much of a fight."
"Hardly fair, popping out like that." She got an arm on my shoulder and I put mine about her waist, a very tidy waist indeed. I could not feel stays, which surprised me, as I pulled her to me.
"It is not a game," I said. "Where were you going?"
"To visit my," she hesitated.
"Lover?" I suggested and she smiled. "But you are surely an American, a colonist."
She nodded, hobbling along. "Connecticut's my home. Newport."
"What are you doing sashaying around with redcoats?" Her lithe body felt very pleasant rubbing against mine, and she winced now and then as we made our way out of the trees over the rough ground, more or less three legged. I found my musket and slung it over my shoulder.
"That's none of your business, what I'm doing or whom I see," she said as we reached the narrow road and I lifted her over the ditch. "Where is everyone?"
"Might have chased the survivors cross-country," I said. "Or finished the job. Hope my horse's still here."
The first body we came to was the officer's, the young man I had speared. I noticed two of his fingers and purse were missing and his sword and boots were gone as well.
"Johnson was his name," she said, hobbling past. "Philip I think." She snorted. "He patted my leg much as you did." His face was not pretty and bugs were already busy.
Some more bodies lay in the road or the ditch, many of them stripped of gear and boots. I could hear her breathing beside me, aware of her young buttocks under my hand. There was a lot of blood on the road. She turned her head into my shoulder.
I found my mare where I had left her and helped the young woman mount astride, admiring the size and shape of her thighs, the round firmness of her butt. I adjusted the stirrups, and she wriggled to find a comfortable seat. I doubt that there was one. She had a fine ass so it might have been easier for her than it was for me.
"Where are we going?" she asked as took the reins.
"Back to camp," I said. "I'm hungry."
"Wait, no, please," she said quickly. "What will happen to me?"
I could guess, but I hesitated. "I don't know. Some officers will ask you questions and then let you go."
"Or they'll rape me," she said. "Won't they?"
"We don't make war on women. I haven't harmed you."
"You chased me like a mad man, made me stumble." I made a throat noise. "All right, it was my fault, and you have been kind."
"Where were you going to meet your Redcoat?"
She fished a small piece of paper from her tight-fitting jacket and handed it to me. It was a decent map showing a crossroads five miles farther on. "Could we go there? Then you could leave me, go back to your camp."
"Long walk," I said.
"I don't weigh much, seven stone or so, and your horse is certainly wide enough."
"She won't like it," I said, changing the stirrups again and then swinging up behind her and putting my hand on her soft belly. I clucked and the mare walked, reluctantly I'm sure. The girl felt very good between my thighs, and I liked holding the reins just beneath her small breasts, accidentally bumping up against them now and again. She was slim and barely five feet tall.
"My foot is really starting to hurt," she said.
"Ought to be elevated," I told her. I pulled us off the road at a small stream, helped her down, had to cut her boot to get it off and then she stuck her foot in the fast flowing water after telling me how much her boots had cost.
"Whew, cold," she said, bending over her bent leg.
I found a hunk of bread and a few slices of sausage and shared with her while she soaked her ankle. When she pulled it out, I got her to prop it up on a fallen tree, and we watched the water go by.
"Hard to believe those men died," she said, snapping her fingers, "just like that."
"Didn't know women could do that," I said.
She smiled. "I can whistle too." And she did so, shrilly and then did a few bars of Yankee Doodle. "And I can chew tobacco and spit."
"Such talents to waste on a Lobsterback," I said.
"Oh, he has some talents too."
"You mean in bed," I ventured.
"Hah," she said, lifting her chin, "that's pretty vulgar."
"Yes, damn you, he is very good in bed, a fine and considerate lover, and he is going to marry me."
"When?" I asked, cocking an eyebrow.
She made a face. "None of your business."
I helped her get back on the horse and walked the next mile before riding another mile or so and then walking again. I stuck her cut boot in my saddlebag.
"There's the crossroads," she said as we topped a rise. "I can see several horses. He may already be there."
We walked the mare into the stable yard, and I helped her down. She hopped to the back door of the tavern, her ruined boot in her hand while I stabled my horse and saw to it that she was fed. In the tavern, I found the smiling girl at a table with four young men, none of them in uniform. If they were indeed British officers, they were asking to be hanged as spies.
"This is David," the girl said after introducing me to the table where I received cold looks. "He's a captain."
We were in disputed territory, controlled by neither side, so I supposed they were safe in mufti, but I did not understand it nor did I like it.
"Could I speak to you," I said to the handsome young man the girl was hugging, the one with his arm about her shoulders.
He made a sour face and rose to follow me outside.
"Her ankle is pretty bad," I said, "might be something broken in there."
"She won't spend much time on her feet," he said with a satisfied grin. "Did you roger her on the way here?"
I shook my head, astonished and angered.
"Pity," he said, "she's a good lay, really tight, eager as a fox."
"She thinks you intend to wed her."
He laughed. "I know. Got her here didn't it. I better get back in there before they start horsing her. They're a horny bunch."
"Wait," I said, "do you mean... ?"