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Underwood in battle

[img_assist|nid=3081|title=Prince of War|desc=|link=popup|align=left|width=96|height=100]






 I have received the parcel Sgt. Underwood posted the day he departed
Galveston, a package that should not have predated his return. I am
posting some selections of his adventures there, perhaps in secret
hopes their reportage will serve as magical declarations once
placated the ancient gods and Kings. I have employed a native
Texican, a man whose acquaintance I first made in North Carolina
during the late Rebellion in the Americas, by the name of Gideon
McCullough, an Inspector for the state, who very recently served
with Mister Underwood at Fort Peligroso. Lt. McCullough seems most
optimistic, claiming he has had indications, of which he did not
elaborate, that the 3rd Sergeant was not involved in a
crash but a controlled landing.
{ – ed G.S.V.}


     The Natives charged. When they came into rifle reach Colonel Pfester
announced As skirmishers, commence firing!” Captain Anderson’s men
were armed with muskets, and fired at a much slower rate than the
needle guns with the other wing, but with the Scorpion and the Ranger
on the right the deficit was payed … the Braves let loose a
barrage of missiles when they met range, broken though their charge
may have been by the effect of our fire, they displayed admirable
courage in the face of our withering defense … I set “fire at
100 feet” and “advance to contact” and then pulled down the
gripswitch that initiates the clack; the Scorpion stood and brought
up steam, firing both guns at about 90 degree angles from each other;
the Indians had attacked again, apparently just as I opened the
analytical engine control panel; the hood of the machine shielded me
from the rain of arrows…


     The wind in Texas, in March, starts to blow alternately dry then damp, a
long cool moist wind will suddenly turn warm or a dry furnace blasted
hour will be relieved by a sustained cool mist. So there I was, I
must confess, quite down and heavy of heart, thinking about what I
had just been through; I had never seen a dead man, much less one
killed, and now I had seen it all around me, and operated an engine
that had cost an undetermined number of brave warriors their lives. I
had read of these events and certainly had been agnostic about the
Glory of war or the gilding of the telling, but seeing men fall with
arrows through their eyes, skulls broken by war hammers, natives
chests torn open by rifle fire, heard the screaming of men in horses
from terror or pain, smelled spilled blood and scattered brains, I
imagine my faith in the concept is now lost entirely.


     We encountered no more war parties on the route back and were not
followed by Chief Ctecheweh despite being slowed down considerable by
our wounded; the troopers seem convinced we had winged him
personally, every one claiming they hit him themselves, and
speculated that to be the reason we were not being shadowed. Had I
not seen him myself with his braves as they broke off the fighting I
would be convinced he was a pock marked rag doll lying on the prairie
being picked clean by buzzards. We were making for Waterloo and
passed the 2nd Regiment heading the way we came and
hoorahed each other as we passed on either side of the donkey track
we were calling a road. They called out to us as cowards running from
the redmen, we yelled that their scalps would decorate lodge poles by
evening …



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