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The Diaries of Winter Part 1

It was early morning in New York. I was standing on the edge of one of the area’s many harbors, looking out over the bay. A ship was just pulling into the port. I watched as the crew untied the rigging, lowered the sails, and steered the large ship into the docking area. The year was 1778, and it was November 14th. The war with Great Britain was in its peak. Sorry! Lett me give a quick recap of what’s been happening. My name is Jack Winters. I’m 18, and I’m a patriot from New Jersey. I was a freedom fighter under the command of General George Washington. We fought multiple battles side by side, until the night of August 27, 1777. We were encamped over some nearly impassable foothills about four miles from a troupe of British Redcoats. We thought we were perfectly safe, but alas, a man named William Howard’s tavern was ambushed by Redcoats. Howard was a fellow patriot and one of the few people who could navigate the foothills safely. After the Redcoat commander made threats to William and his family if he didn’t guide the British troops through the wild foothills, he agreed begrudgingly. We were ambushed. The battle was swift and devastating. Many of our comrades were captured. But I managed to escape along with General Washington, my brother-in-arms Tom Straights, and the remnants of the army. Once we were out of danger, Washington called us into his tent and told us he was organizing an intelligence ring to spy on the British soldiers, learn of upcoming attacks, spy on Royal Navy ship building projects, and such. Washington needed us to be messengers between the spies and himself, delivering messages, and even sometimes gathering the intelligence ourselves. Of course, we jumped right on the offer.
Fast forward a year, and the spy ring was fully set up and operational. Or so I was told. The last year was spent with Tom and I mostly waiting for word from Washington as to when we could begin our courier duty for the spies. About a month ago, a letter from Washington arrived at my family’s house where I was staying in New Jersey. The letter said that the spy ring had been organized. It was headed up by a man named Benjamin Tallmadge. The letter said that I would be met by Tallmadge alone on November 14th. Then, I would receive the information to be sent back to Washington. It instructed me to be waiting at the port that day, and that Tallmadge would find me. I would retrieve the intel, then catch a ferry to other side of the bay, then walk the twenty miles to where Washington had made camp. So, I updated Tom about the mission and told him to stay behind, but be ready. I then traveled to New York, and after about three days of searching, found the port which would be used for the drop. So, there I was… waiting. I had been there for almost an hour. So far, no one had shown up. Finally, as I was just about to give up, I noticed a short looking man in a dark coat milling about on the harbor. At first, he didn’t seem to notice me, but then he slowly began to make his way over to where I was. When he finally, and he stood casually by my side.
“Are you Jack Winters?” The man asked in a hoarse whisper. To my surprise, he was a young man not too much older than myself. He looked to be about twenty-five.
“That’s me, sir.”
The man looked around nervously, reaching inside his coat. He pulled out some parchment. “Here, take this.” He said, handing it to me
“Yes sir, anything else?”
“No. But you must hurry. The British troops are rallying for an attack on our fellow patriots soon. I can’t stay, just in case we’re being watched.”
“All right. I’ll pass this information on. Good meeting you.”
“You as well. I will contact you when you are needed again. Probably soon.”
With that, he turned on his heels and walked away. Trying to look casual, I turned my attention back to the British war vessel. It had just begun to unload its passengers. They were all redcoat soldiers. I lowered my head and started to walk back toward the town full of large houses, many people, and hiding places for scared spies trying to avoid being shot. I had just about made it past the boat when I heard someone call out, “Hey, you there!”
I slowed, turning my head to see who had spoken. To my horror, it was a redcoat, and he was talking to me. I gulped.
“Hello there, friend,” I said, facing the man. He was a tall, broad man. He was wearing the usual redcoat attire, expect unlike the other redcoats, he was wearing a very official looking medal. He must have been the ship’s captain. He was about my height and build, but he had two pistols at his waist, and a large white feather protruding from his large black hat. He scowled down at me.
“What are you doing on my dock, young man?” He growled. I looked back at him.
“I was just admiring your vessel, Captain. She’s quite a beauty.”
He grunted and cast a look over his shoulder at his ship. He looked back at me. “Who was your friend?”
“Oh, yes. That was my uncle. He lives in these parts hereabout.”
“Pretty short conversation.”
“Yes, true. He was never much for conversation.” I laughed a little nervously.
“is that why h gave you that parchment?” he asked suspiciously.
My heart almost keeled over. He had seen the letter! I opened my mouth, then close it again. “Yes sir,” I said pathetically. “You see, I…”
Just then, in one movement, the Captain’s hand flew to his holster and he pulled out one of his pistols. I lunged at him, grabbing his arm, and tackled him to the ground. The Captain’s pistol went off, sending a bullet flying uselessly into the air. I rolled off him, then jumped to my feet and started to run. I herd the Captain’s voice shouting at the other soldiers on his ship. Just as I was almost out of the harbor and into the town, I heard a loud bang and something whizzed by my ear.
“Great, you’ve done it now Jack,” I thought to myself. With bullets whizzing past me, I finally made it off the docks and into the town. When I had been on the docks, the main street had been bustling and had quite a few people on it. Now though, everyone had stopped what they were doing and watched the redcoats, who were chasing me, and me. I was running with my arms flailing, wild eyed, and with a small army of soldiers running me down. I jumped over a horse pulled cart, weaved through people, and managed to dive behind some civilian’s potted plants in the house lined town. It wasn’t long before the posse of troops ran by my hiding place. I patiently waited and watched from behind the roses until the redcoats had passed, and I jumped back up and started running again. I just prayed that Tallmadge had made it out.
After about an hour of walking and thinking, I realized that I couldn’t take any ferry. The redcoats would be watching any passenger carrying boats. So, I made my way out of town into the surrounding countryside. By this time, I had been walking quite a while, it was growing a little darker, and the sky was turning the red of evening. I was walking down a forest-lined dirt road that didn’t look like it was used much. Some weeds were growing down the middle, and the horse prints and wagon wheel ruts were faded. An owl hooted somewhere off in the woods, somewhere to my left. But then, I heard it, now loud, but very soft and far off. The sound of a carriage ad horses. I quickly jumped off the path and behind some trees. As I watched, sure enough, around the corner rolled a carriage. At first, I was getting ready to disappear into the woods, but then something pulled at me. Why I did this, I will never know, but I stepped out of the woods and into the path of the oncoming cart. The driver, surprised, stopped the horse, and with that sudden halt in their journey, the coaches’ door opened and a man stepped out.
“What’s the meaning of…” he started to say, but his words were cut short when he saw me. “Who might you be my friend?” he asked.
“I…I…uh…” I stammered. What was I going to say? “Hello sir, a messenger for a top-secret spy organization bent to topple Britain’s control over the free states! Want to help?” “I’m Jack Winters,” I finally managed to say.
“well, hello jack Winters. I’m Samuel Maxwell. What are you doing in these parts?”
“Oh, just traveling through sir,” I said.
“Really now? Were you robbed? Your clothes are a mess?””
I looked down. It was obvious something had happened. During my run from the British, my coat and pants had been ripped up by branches. “Oh my apologies sir. I was just…” I was cut off by the mans’ laughing.
“I see now! I should’ve known when I first saw you. You’re a rebel, aren’t you? Been fighting or stealing from the British?” I got ready to take off again, but I didn’t see anger or hostility in the man’s eyes, only kindness and humor. “No need to run lad, I’m no friend of the king either. I was just on my way in fact to the Rebel’s encampment not five miles from here. I’m an officer for the revolution. Need a ride?”
I almost passed out. “Sir, you have no idea how good that would be.”
He laughed again, “Climb in.”
I knew the camp he was talking about. It wasn’t the exact one that I was supposed to relay the info to, but in this situation, I was ready to take any offer I could get. So, I climbed n. As the multicolored sky of the evening gave way to stars and the rising of the moon, we rode on into the night.
To Be Continued…

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One comment on “The Diaries of Winter Part 1

  1. Wow! This is fascinating, Will! Keep it coming!

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