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For the Hessians, rape was evidently a normal part of making war. Anything portable, they took; anything burnable, they burned, and any woman they caught, of any age, they raped brutally and repeatedly. They also had other nasty habits including an almost inbred inability to take prisoners. And they seemed to love using the bayonet while most of the Americans I knew hated the damned thing. On many occasions they killed men who had laid down their arms, and there were a few instances of prisoners being spiked to trees by laughing Germans.
I had just come down out of the woods on a scouting mission when I saw two blue-coated soldiers chasing chickens in a farmyard and another wrestling with a woman near the cabin door. I decided to ignore the chicken thieves for the time since they seemed unarmed and fully occupied, each with a bird or two in his belt, and concentrate on the screaming woman who was holding her own against her attacker until he leaned back and hit her with his fist. She fell to her hands and knees, head drooping and dripping blood.
I drew out my big bayonet, clamped it on my musket, ran from the tree line and drove my long blade into the man’s ribs as he stood over the dazed woman working on his britches’ buttons. He obviously never heard me coming with all the squawking going on behind him. He screamed as I speared him back to the log wall, pulled out my bayonet and chopped at his neck with a slashing blow. He crumpled, almost decapitated, and I pulled the sobbing woman upright. She wiped blood from her mouth, pulled her dress together and then stood with her hands on her hips as I confronted the two unarmed Germans in her yard with my dripping bayonet.
They dropped the birds they were holding, took the ones from their belts and put them on the ground gently, gabbling all the time to me in their guttural tongue. With gestures and my few words of German I got them moving behind the barn, and when I was sure the woman could not see me, I bayoneted one in the belly and then shot the other in the back as he ran toward the woods. He flung out his arms and ran several more steps before he fell to his knees and by then I was on him and stuck my blade through his thick neck. The other soldier was trying to crawl away, blood pouring from his mouth and stomach. I kicked him a few times until he fell to his back and then I smashed in his face with the butt of my musket and left him moaning in the dirt with his belly ripped open and what was left of his nose in his mouth.
I walked back to the house getting my breathing regulated, handed the woman my musket and dragged the body from her yard and back behind the barn to lie beside the dying German whose broken teeth gleamed in his shattered face, one eye still working, following my movements, what was left of his mouth producing red bubbles. I cut his throat for him and wiped my blade on escort sincan his jacket.
“Is there a swampy area nearby?” I asked the woman, who poured me a drink of water when I came to sit on her back step and apologized for having nothing better. I resisted the urge I had for immediate sex.
“No,” she said, wiping her hands on her apron, “but I got a wagon. We can haul `em to the river.”
“Maybe we’d get spotted. Hard to explain three dead Hessians.”
“There’s some deep places and tangles in the woods.”
“It’ll have to do. Long as the birds don’t start circling like there was a dead cow in there or something. We can throw dirt on `em. You all right?” I looked at her for the first time, a plain and strong woman with good shoulders and a pleasant mien. Her dress had been torn open and a bruise showed on her chin, but she pushed back her hair and faced me, gray eyes calm and steady. She shook her head, shivered once and stood.
“Let’s get at it,” she said.
I rifled the bodies, found nothing worthwhile, took their boots and cartridge pouches out of habit, and together we dragged them into three different areas, deep in the thick and scrubby second growth. I stuffed one under some deadfall limbs and another we rolled into a big patch of berry brambles. Where it was possible, I shoveled dirt and kicked stones over the bodies.
“You alone here?” I asked the woman as we washed up at her well.
She nodded. “Man I lived with run off when the militia call come,” she said. “Didn’t hold with it, war making. Quaker he was.”
“Where’d he go?”
“Into the hills, comes down now and again to lie with me.”
“So you do all the work?”
“Tain’t a big place. Did have a cow. Germans took it first time they was here.”
“Poke you then, did they?” It was on my mind, obviously, and I guess it was on hers too.
She did not answer as we walked back to her house. She stirred up her fire and swung her kettle over the flames. “That’ll take some time,” she said. “I ain’t had a man for a while, but I sure didn’t want them foreigners a’swiving me again. I’m glad you come by.” She smiled, a good smile full of truth and warmth. She sat on the side of her bed and pulled off her boots and then examined her torn bodice, evidently noticing the damage for the first time. Then she stood and took off her skirt. “What `chu waitin” for?” she asked, “Don’t chu wanna?” and I was out of my boots and britches before she could pull up a quilt.
We got lost in each other fully and suddenly and by the time we paused, we could smell the stew scorching. She rolled out, pulled down her shift, poured some water in the kettle, stirred the stew a couple of times and almost ran back to the bed and my arms. We enjoyed each other again, urging our strong bodies to do our will until we were spent and moaning happily together.
We ate her ankara escort stew and cold corn bread, drank some water, talked for a while and got back in bed to make much-more-gentle love until we slept. In the morning we enjoyed ourselves with joyous shouts of pleasure.
“Lord,” the woman said, as she made hoe cakes and boiled coffee, “you sure are the biggest man I’ve ever knowed, hairiest too. I ain’t done like that since I was a young `un and that’s been some time. Didn’ know I still could.”
“I’m willing to spend the rest of the war right here, but I got a job to do. Got to see what the British are doing down yonder.”
“Hope you’ll stop by when you’re in these parts,” she said with a smile. “I surely do.”
I assured her I would and gobbled the hoe cakes with jam. We both stopped eating when we heard horses in the yard and somebody yelling commands. We had three issue muskets and three pairs of boots in the house, plus my weapons, some cartridge boxes and other things, so we didn’t want anybody snooping just then. While I loaded my firelock as well as the Germans’ guns, she went outside to see what was going on. I could hear part of the conversation through the open door. They were looking for some men who failed to report. They had seen buzzards in the morning. It was five men, an officer who was dismounting when I peeked through the crack, and four mounted men, jaegers, dragoons, whatever they were called then.
The officer, using broken English and crude German curses, demanded to search the house and followed the woman inside, pushing her along roughly, looking at her swinging buttocks. When she closed the door, I hit him in the side of the head with the gun butt and he fell like a board, his head bouncing off the hearth.
“You know how to load?” I asked her, putting a ramrod and a handful of paper cartridges on the table. She nodded and licked her lips. “We got four guns, and there’s four of them,” I said, priming the first two pieces and leaning one by the door. “I’ll fire, step back, put the gun down and you start loading. Ready?” I bit a cartridge.
She nodded as the officer on the floor moaned.
I opened the door, stepped out on the small porch and shot the nearest horseman in the chest. He looked up at me in surprise before he fell off his horse’s rump with his hands over the dark hole in his middle. I stepped into the house, picked up a musket, and hit another Hessian at about ten yards who was trying to calm his rearing animal and draw his short rifle. He screamed and tumbled off, his foot still in a stirrup, his left arm almost blown away. I put that musket on the table and picked up the next gun, primed it with the cartridge I’d held in my teeth and fired at the man spurring toward me and yelling, his saber in his hand. The ball grazed the horse’s neck and hit the man in the throat as the horse turned away etimesgut escort bayan close enough to touch. The Hessian dropped his blade as he thundered past the steps, both hands at his neck, trying to stop the flow of blood.
I primed and raised the fourth musket and could not find a target. Then a shot boomed from inside the barn and a big puff of dark smoke gave away the enemy soldier’s position. The ball sailed high, striking well above the open door. I clamped on my bayonet and ran at the cloud of powder smoke. The blue coat was furiously reloading as I skidded around the entrance, knelt quickly and shot him down. He fell and rolled over with his ramrod in his hand, and I skewered him for good measure although I had hit him somewhere in the belly. Four hits in a row with smoothbore muskets made me feel awful good and very lucky.
I checked the two bodies in the yard on my way back to the house. Both were very dead. The third Hessian lay heaped near the fenceline, downhill from the house, his hands still at his neck. The horses were standing together, heads bobbing.
“Get him?” the woman asked as I reentered her home. She was ramming down a load, a serious look on her calm face.
I nodded and looked at the officer. He was groaning and trying to sit up so I turned him over and pulled him to his feet. The woman gave him a cup of water. “You gonna kill him?” she asked.
“Think I’ll take him back,” I said. “They might give me a reward, maybe a day or two off.” I smiled at her.
“Hope so,” she said. “That was first class shooting.”
We got the German moving, found some tools, and he and I dug a pit in some soft ground near the treeline, a big pit, about six feet on a side. In a couple of hours we were both sweating hard. We went to the well, drank deeply and I looked up at the sun, decided it was about noon, and we ate something and then went back to digging. We were down three or four feet when we hit rock and quit. I made him drag the bodies to the hole and roll them in, and then we covered them up and tamped down the soil. The woman fed us as best she could, and I took the German to the barn, made him take off his boots and tied him firmly to one of the posts with his hands behind him. He looked at me with fear and hatred so I kicked him in the belly and tied his head back to the post.
With the woman’ s help and her hard soap, I got out of my clothes and bathed at her pump; then I shaved. It had been a month since I’d washed all over, and it made me feel extra good. We sat on her step and shared a pipe while the breeze dried my skin, and then we got in her bed and rogered ourselves to sleep. In the morning, we did it again, fiercely.
The German was right where I left him. I gave him a cold hoe cake, put him on a horse and headed back toward our camp. Lieutenant Foster was happy to see me and the horses, took charge of the aching prisoner, and told me to go do my job. By nightfall I was back in the bed I had left that morning, doing my job. When the woman screeched with pleasure, I considered it well done and slept, looking forward to the morning.
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