“Lieutenant Hanks? Sorry to disturb.”

Flédong was indeed sorry, for he knew  Hanks, like the rest of his garrison, was down with griping guts. The culprit was a cask of Royal Navy salt beef purchased from a salvage brig that had fished it up from the wreck of HMS Speedy. The men had been living on biscuit and fish since the Indians all vanished many months before, so they fell upon the meat with a fanatic zeal that soon betrayed them with cramp and fever.

But this was an emergency. A British captain with a company of soldiers and twoscore Indians had arrived under a flag of truce to discuss terms shortly after a cannonball was fired into into the fort’s wall.

Hanks looked ghastly as he stepped onto the ramparts. “But we are not at war, sir,” he said to the captain.

“Your information is outdated,” replied the officer. “And I cannot answer for what these Indians will do now that they are within your walls.”


What Pegman Saw: Mackinac Island

The Siege of Fort of Mackinac was one of the first engagements of the War of 1812. The British commander in Upper Canada, Major General Isaac Brock, learned of the outbreak of the war and sent a canoe to the commander of the British Army post at St. Joseph Island, Captain Charles Roberts, with orders to immediately capture Mackinac to secure the trade route of the upper peninsula.

Having learned that the Americans at Mackinac were unaware of the outbreak of war, Robert’s force dragged a 6-pounder cannon through the woods to a ridge above the fort and fired a single round before sending a message under a flag of truce to demand the surrender of the fort.

Fearing a massacre by the Natives, Mackinac commander Lieutenant Hanks capitulated without a fight.


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  1. prior..

    enjoyed the history (again) and the picture you chose was perfect for the fiction. And I could imagine them all excited about the meat and then regretting it when the cramps and fever came…

  2. 4963andypop

    Enjoyed this piece. Nice turns of phrase, like “griping guts,” and :”…so they fell upon the meat with a fanatic zeal that soon betrayed them…”

    Your account gives the lieutenant a pretty good reason, for giving in so easily. And I imagine that it ran through a few of the American soldier’s head,s that they would have been better off, had the Indians been on their side…But probably, by that time, that bridge had already been burned.

Don't just stand there.