June 18. Terrible rains pound my small cabin as clouds and light race cross moon lit sky. Darkness oft broken by long flashes of light, and my quiet solitude disrupted by rumble of thunder louder than that of cannon fire. Were it not for the white wash of these cabin walls and small candle, one could hardly see to move pen cross paper. Once more vicious rumours hath reached mine tender ear; friends sequestered in Harrod’s town live in desperate fear of attack. Quickly we gather up only those things most necessary and flee toward the danger. Tis far late in the night when we arrive, Mistress Storey and I, to find all rumours quite true.
For with our very own eyes we have seen such nightmarish sights as can hardly be described; a giant of a red man barely clothed, shirt much stained and shorn nearly from his filthy red painted body, accompanied by many many more just as filth ridden, painted and jeweled as he. Indeed, another giant of a man with long flowing hair and much fearsome demeanor carrying a bow in bear skin the same length and stature as I! Never have mine eyes witnessed such beastly men bearing their teeth such as these! Fortune was much with us as we were able to pass through this hateful territory and slip unnoticed past these restless dogs and into the fort.
All danger and fear fled as mine eyes lit upon the face of our dear friend Mr. Mains, having traveled a great distance from the east to arrive just hours afore us. We were much delighted in each other’s company. A loft within a small cabin was found to stow our meager gear and we set about greeting our dear friends garrisoned within James Harrod’s fort. Mr. Godwin, known as Pit, and Mr. Webster were first to greet us, and quickly others too who had traveled far to lend hand, lead and rifle to the impending fight. Long into the night, nay early into the morn, we gathered to lay plans to overcome the pending siege.
Hardly able to remain wakeful, finally we returned to the small quarters granted us. Just as sleep had nearly taken us into her dream land, a sound the likes of which could not be immediately determined disturbed us greatly. Not but just sound, a feeling quite unusual? By light of moon through open window the source of this disturbance manifested; Bats! Indeed, many many of them, flying but scant inches over us in our repose. Nonetheless, sleep won out and carried us far from concerns over winged vermin.
June 19. Once more the pounding of rain and darkened black, grey and even green tinged skies greeted the morn, fierce winds blew through the fort and great sloughs of water ran from tentage and we were much gladdened to be stowed within our cabin. Friends not yet discovered the night last, made their way through the deluge to assemble with steaming mugs of coffee, tales of far off places, raids, and sad stories of losses so devastating as to make our tender heart break.
As the rains cleared and the hot sun sent steam rising, a few men, women and children ventured outside the fort gates. In fact, two lads feeling much restrained by walls, ventured further out toward the largest Osage tree mine eyes have ever taken in. Foolishly these two harassed each other into a game of shooting skills, but Lo! Just at the crack of the first shot, other shots were heard! My God, the boy was down, not just down, but shot full of lead, blood flying, bone breaking, helplessly jerking about with the agony!
Myself and Mistress Heasely were tending a fire and adding what bits of meat as we had to a meager stew when the multitude of shots rang through the valley. Gathering screaming children, we ran with all our might toward the safe haven of the fort. Blessed we were to make it inside just as the gates slammed shut behind our flying skirts! Quickly gathering my gun, lead and powder to the upper ramparts I ran, loading as my feet found purchase upon the rough ground.
Och! The sight before my eyes! T’was my own dear Mr. Mains flying toward the barred gate! The sheer terror which ran up my spine tightened my grip upon my gun and without conscious thought brought clear focus upon the black painted skull of the savage in my sights. “Dig, Dig!” was the scream from our lips as men began a hole for Mr. M to crawl under the fortifications. Lo! T’was the giant red man with long flowing hair running with a band of miscreants coming toward our most dear one! Tingling limbs worked without thought as we loaded time and again, our barrel so hot it blistered our skin. “Dig!” shouted Captain Curry until finally he was in!
Bold were they, these red dogs! One particularly stood out, perhaps his great height or the filthiness of his rags, but great was the burning anger in my soul to send this son of satan back, back to whence he came! Alas t’was not to be. His brethren, bold fighters were they! Long and hard did they fight, yet we of the fort were able to withstand their bloody assault. Ere long the shots rang out with less frequency, their yellow backs seen slipping into the trees, dragging off their wounded and dead, no doubt to recoup their losses as their own.
Finally, time passed without the hail of their snarls and shots and a great Huzzah was raised within the fort walls! Much celebrating commenced! Everyone gathered about the spring to dip neckcloth, bowl and cup to quench the heat from body and soul. Parson John gave blessings upon many and together we dined with much gladness in our hearts. Mr. Mains close by mine side, covered in more dirt than is usual, much the vermin upon that day! Having barely scratched and crawled through the hole dug small enough but a groundhog should pass. And yet, much thanks given, he had passed through unscathed. Once more late into the night our songs filled the air and wondrous time spent enjoying dear friends, Mistress Storey, the Heaselys, the Selters, our friend and oft times cook; Mr. K. Stambaugh, and so many others impossible to name. Huzzah, Huzzah, Huzzah! for our fortune this day!
June 20. Hot was the sun even upon rising, breezes unknown, nary cloud in the sky to grant even a moments respite and once more we fought! Evil dogs with snarling teeth and rankled hides came tearing through the trees and screams filled our ears. Smoke, thick from our musket and rifle fire, clung in the still air. All round us the fear, terror and fright, and yet we fight! Aye, indeed we fight, blistered skin from barrels blazed hot, split lips from lack of water mean nothing, t’is only powder, lead and shot that fills our minds. Rarely time to take proper aim, rather but a hail of lead we rained down upon those soulless beings with their black painted skin. Women run lead balls without ceasing, men load and hand up rifle and musket quick as can be done. Those of us of a true eye and aim never hesitating. Exhaustion, heat, and lead take our men and theirs. The hurled insults betwixt and between mean nothing against the blood stains of our souls, once more we fight. We fight until blooded and sickened by their losses they slip away once more into the woodlands and trackless forest, like shadows, evil shadows of the night, not but the smell of them left. Gone.
We seek out our loved ones, cry in the arms of those who have lost all, gather together with the Parson to pray and seek divine solace. Why, we wonder, why must life in this fair land be so hard, the losses so great? For land? For gardens and cabins and commerce? Nay, not those foolish things, but for our lives! Our very lives, and our children’s lives, for widows, orphans and those most beloved.
We carry on and we tarry not without rifle at hand, we press on in high hopes that our children will not carry burdens such as these, that they might have more than we. Indeed, that they know freedom from these murderous times. Yet, their eyes have seen, their tiny ears have heard, they’ll not forget what we’ve done. They will carry forth different burdens, different hurts and have other forces against them. Yet we pray we’ve done enough to prepare them, lest they be harmed. For as we fight; they too shall fight. They too shall hold the eye of their enemy in theirs. God grant them mercy to forgive themselves for what they shall do and what we have done. This small mercy we beg, in His name.