Wagons ho!

Comanche_Osage_fightGeorgeCatlin

The segment follows the story from this link  https://disqus.com/home/discussion/channel-writingworld/the_trial_to_hell/

The wagon load of prisoners rolled out of the fort. As it did, the band started to play The Battle Hymn of Republic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jy6AOGRsR80 .

Clem winked at his sergeant and called out, “Hey lads, I’m sure the Rebs can beat these measly Yanks at their game.”
Taking the hint, the Feds broke into I’m a Good Ol’ Rebel  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAfHigPsC_s .

Carter watched as the men sang in the contest, and he noted that Mabey wasn’t joining in. He reeled his horse in and turned to the guide, “Why aren’t you joining in the signing Mr. Mabey?” he asked.
Mabey didn’t take his eyes of the hills as he replied, “Trooper, it ain’t that I don’t support your cause. My cause is more important to me than either the Union or the Confederacy. While you lot are singing, someone’s gotta keep their eyes open. We don’t need to announce our departure, we’re being watched, and the singing makes my job that much harder.”
Carter reeled his horse and spurred the animal to the lead. He didn’t stop until he came to where Capt. Dawson was riding, then he said, “Begging your pardon, sir, how well do you know Mr. Mabey?”
Dawson turned to face the young trooper and replied, “I’d stake my life on what he says. Nobody knows these hills better than him if anyone can get us to our destination it’s him.”

Mabey wasn’t the only one watching the hills, Jack Mason asked his officer, “Begging your pardon, Captain. I think you should ask our jailor if we can be unchained. The way I see it, it’ll be every man for himself before long, and he’ll need as many guns as he can get his hands on.”
Clem glanced at the range and replied, “Don’t worry, Sgt. Mason, I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.”
Sheepishly, Mason saluted his respect, then replied, “I’m glad you do, sir, cos I’m sure me an’ the boys think he’d as soon as see us die out here as see us with a gun in our hands.”

They were keeping low, but not low enough, and Mabey spotted the Indians preparing to break cover. He spurred his horse to the front of the wagon train and called to the Captain, “We’ve got company!”
Dawson turned his horse to look to where Mabey was pointing, “What do you make of it, Mr. Mabey? A raiding party or a Warband?”
“It won’t make a heap of difference once them Comanche come over the hill, sir. You need to unchain the men and hand out the guns!”
Dawson called the order, “Unchain the prisoners and give them guns!”
Dawkins looked at the officer and said, “Sir, with all respect, do you think it’s wise to arm the enemy!”
Jonas glanced at the Sgt, then said, “The other option is to have the men fight a Comanche Warband and die. I don’t like it anymore than you do, but I don’t want to end up with a spear in my chest and left for the buzzards.”

In the wagons, Clem and his men smiled as the guns were handed out. Mason asked, “Now we got some weapons, we outnumber them Capt, when do you plan our attack?”
Clem said, “Sgt. Before we take over this train, we’ve got a far more urgent problem. I’ve been watching the slopes, and the Indians are preparing for an attack, why else do you think they unchained us, and give us guns?”
Dawson replied, “With respect, sir, do you think they’ll attack a train? The band looks more like a search party than something capable of taking on troops.”

Mabey kept watching as the Comanche broke the hilltop and dispersed into skirmish order, keeping a low profile to be small targets to hit. In typical Indian style, the opening shots were fired, ahead of the train and the horses started to bolt.
Dawson yelled, “Where are my guns? For Lord’s sake turn the wagon and uncover the Gatling. Once they top the hill try to keep their heads down and get the prisoners to turn the guns on the men in the bushes. We’re gonna have to make a stand, there’s no cover for miles, and we can’t run with the train. Clem, can your men hit the men in the bushes?”

Clem laughed, then called back, “Yes sir, we’re good ole Rebels, and we can hit a ‘coon’ at 40 paces.”

No sooner had Clem replied then the main band of warriors broke the hill top, Mabey saw Carter cross himself, and shouted, “If we survive, then you can thank the Lord! For now, son, you’d be wise to keep your eyes on what’s coming down the slopes.”

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