Friday the 9th/ continued...
I was quite pleased with myself after the presentation of the compass from the company. I was allowed to go do a bit more shopping at Trader's row, and on my way there, I took out my new prize and held it aloft in my left hand and compared it to my pocket watch in my right. With the needle pointing to North, I was able to discern an approximate time!
Later, after finding Lt. Maddox among the shops, he and I returned to camp. Capt. France ordered us on a scouting mission to count the Indians again, to see if their numbers had grown any since our last report. Before leaving camp, Maddox emptied his newly constructed sea-chest. We shouldered our weapons and carried the blue chest between us. The Lieutenant explained to me that the chest would grant us passage into the very heart of the Indian's camp.
We took a narrow path around the back of the station and into the woods. We tread silently with the box suspended between us. Soon we came upon three fellows of undeterminable allegiance who eyed us quietly as we passed with our burden. We then encountered two men on horseback who turned Northward into the woods to avoid us.
I looked to the right and could see the Indian Camp below us through the bush. from our vantage point above the camp, we could easily make out the white canvas of their dwellings. They were all busy about the camp and we were able to pass undetected. We circled around the back of the camp and finally spotted the King's Colors hanging from a crisp white wedge tent.
Maddox made it clear to me that he would do the talking and that I was to do the counting. Two older British officers in red garb stepped out to greet us. Maddox had been right, his blue sea-chest with the King's Colors painted on it and the "GR" on its lid gave the impression of loyalty to King George, and they never suspected a thing. While the Lieutenant talked to the Indian Agents, who introduced themselves as the Brothers Stewart, I stood in silence, counting their number. My tally is as follows:
2 Indian Agents
5 Indian Braves (1 asleep in his dwelling)
3 Undetermined (the three fellows from the path)
This is the number that Maddox and I both confirmed betwixt us afterward. The English officers complimented Maddox the fine job he had done on the chest. They asked if we had come to join their camp, and the Lt. told them that we were going to show the chest around on Trader's Row first. Once their conversation was complete, we carried the chest off through Trader's Row and then in a long arc back toward camp.
Capt. France was away when we returned, but we gave our report to Ridley, who wrote it up. Once finished, we had but to wait until the captain's return before we could run it to Capt. Titus.Once Capt. France had returned and given the report his signature, I ran it to Capt. Titus. It was delivered a full 3 hours after our mission due to Capt. France's late return to camp. Titus scolded me.
When night finally arrived, we could hear the merry-making at the station all the way from our camp. They sang ribald songs until very late.
Finally, I went down to the station and listened around the fire in the middle of the compound. They were drinking and singing loudly, they were quite a sight. A fellow I had met earlier in the day, whose name I do not recall, whom I shall call 'the horseman' passed me a large dark bottle. I drank with pleasure.
Eventually I returned to camp and fell into my blankets. It was warm and I did not need my red wool blanket to cover me. My bare feet hung out the end and in the open air.