|Rite of Passage
Author: griffonnage PM
A Daniel Boone,Young Rebels crossover: Daniel Boone and Mingo are called upon to assist General Lafayette and The Yankee Doodle Society in an important mission in 1778.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure - Chapters: 7 - Words: 36,226 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 2 - Published: 02-26-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2819672
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Characters from the 1964 Daniel Boone TV series are used in this story. The rights to these belong to 20th Century Fox and Fess Parker. Characters from the TV series "The Young Rebels" are used in this story and do not belong to me. The TV characters are borrowed for the purpose of entertaining fans of the shows with no intention of copyrighting, publishing, or monetary gain. The story itself belongs to me and should not be copied, printed or posted elsewhere without my permission. This story is fiction. Any apparent relationship to real people (other than historical figures) is unintended and purely coincidental.
Summary: A Daniel Boone/Young Rebels crossover: Daniel Boone and Mingo are called upon to assist General Lafayette and The Yankee Doodle Society in an important mission in 1778.
Authors Note: This is fan fiction based on the 1964 TV Series "Daniel Boone" and the 1970 TV series "The Young Rebels" both of which were set in 18th C America during the American Revolutionary War. Although historical characters are used in this story, the story will not be found in any history book. This story should be read as fiction, or as a "What if these people had met in a certain time and place." There is no evidence that Daniel Boone and Lafayette ever met. Daniel Boone and Lafayette are based on the characterizations from the TV series not the real men.
Note to Daniel Boone Fans: The story is written as a Daniel Boone episode. The episode "Perilous Journey" which had Daniel meeting Lafayette in New Orleans was ignored. The episode "Beamarchais" is mentioned and was an inspiration for this tale. You may consider the other characters as so many 'guest stars' or you can find out more about some of the characters at my website. See my profile for the link.
Note toYoung Rebels Fans: The story has Lafayette, Jeremy, Isak, Henry and Sergeant Boggs from the Young Rebels TV show. See my profile for a link to the Daniel Boone TV series website to learn more about Daniel and Mingo.
"I say, you two don't look like you're from around these parts," boomed the publican, as he slammed two tankards of ale on the well-worn table. His voice rose and bounced off the smoky ceiling of the crowded, lively tavern taproom, and then it proceeded to bounce off the walls. The noisy din was brought to silence, and all eyes in the place came to rest on his portly frame and the two objects of his immediate interest: A tall buckskin clad man with a coonskin cap on his head, and his Indian companion dressed in buckskin and bright blue pants with two large feathers adorning his long black hair.
"No, sir. We're from Kentucky. Surveyors."
The publican straightened, his eyes grew wide. He stuck his thumb out at the Indian. "Him, too?"
"He's my guide. Say good feller, can you tell us the name of the road out there? We're plumb lost. It seems my guide here's a mite short on knowledge o' this area." The Indian half closed his dark eyes and frowned.
"Aye, that's the Baltimore Pike. It will take you to Philadelphia on one end and Baltimore on the other."
After the publican walked away, and the conversation in the tavern rose to its previous intensity, the Indian said, "I do not like being the bumpkin in your little one act plays, Daniel Boone. Do you really think these people are going to believe that story? Have you not noticed that you stand out here like a moose at a debutant ball?"
Daniel's hazel eyes sparkled with glee as his mouth slowly formed a lop-sided grin. "You're right, Mingo, I was being unfair. Next time you'll be the surveyor and I'll be the bumblin' guide." Daniel looked around the smoky tavern and noticed that many eyes were darting and ducking, getting a peep at the two strangers in their midst. "I see a few buckskin clad fellers here. I think it's you that stands out my fine feathered Cherokee friend. You're my callin' card for the ball."
"You are probably right, Daniel. By the manner in which these people are gawking at me, I warrant they have never seen an Indian. They have only read about them in history books."
Daniel chuckled in his ale. "Don't take it personally, Mingo."
Mingo shook his head. "I cannot believe I let you talk me into to this one."
"You can't say no to Ben Franklin anymore than I can."
"Yes, but another French peacock? Was not Beaumarchais enough for a lifetime?"
"Beaumarchais was a handful all right, but Lafayette is a military man, not a…" Daniel flourished his hand in the air, "theatre man."
The genteel wave from the tall manly frontiersman coerced a short chuckle from his reserved native friend. Mingo place his hands over his handsome dark face as if to restrain a tide of out-of-control laughter that lurked just below the surface.
Daniel ignored his friend's discomfort and continued. "Besides it must be important for both Franklin and Washington to have sent letters. Remember, Franklin specifically asked for you to come along."
Mingo removed his hands from his face and crossed his arms over his chest. His dark thick brows puckered into a frown. "Daniel, it bothers me…as it should you…not to know the purpose of the mission that has taken us so far from home. I have followed you like a faithful canine companion from tavern to sheep farm to crook-in-the-road, while listening to you babble out some arcane nonsensical riddles to what appear to be knaves and fools. Does that sound like a mission that your friend, Mingo, would willingly agree to undertake?"
"Mingo, there are some things you just have to take on faith. You know Doc Franklin couldn't risk havin' his letter intercepted and the mission foiled. We've traveled all this way and now you get cold feet? Why didn't you voice your concern back in Boonesborough?"
"It is not just my feet that are cold. I have had plenty of time to think on it, plus several nights on the ground, torrents of rain, pale faces staring at me--"
"All right. You have made your grumpy point, but I think you would be most disappointed if you turned 'round now and never met Lafayette."
Mingo's frown relaxed into a calm confident smile. Daniel watched his friend's deep brown intelligent eyes change from willful to amused. The handsome Indian leaned forward as if to impart a secret. "Of course, Daniel. I want to meet this young twenty-year-old general as much as you do. My curiosity is keeping close company with my discomfort." Mingo grinned and Daniel returned his grin in kind. The two Kentuckians finished their ales in silence watching the activity in the busy tavern at the crossroads outside Chester, Pennsylvania.
When the publican returned to bring seconds, Daniel asked, "Perhaps you can help me with somethin' else. I'm lookin' for a feller name Silas Meredith."
Mingo rolled his eyes and mumbled, "Here we go again."
The publican raised his thick bushy eyebrows streaked with wild gray hairs. He looked hastily around the tavern then quietly said, "Oh…I see. What's your business with him?"
"I bought a horse from him that turned up lame before I ever rode'm."
"You don't say? What did that horse look like?"
"Big blood bay with a blaze and three white stockings."
"Yeah, I've seen that horse. You were a fool to buy 'm. He's been returned more times than I can count." The publican chuckled loudly which set his oversized middle to bouncing. "You can find Silas Meredith about three miles east of here at Three Stone Lane."
"Thank ya again."
Mingo looked inquisitively at Daniel. Daniel opened his mouth to explain, but Mingo held up his hand to stop him. "I do not need an explanation, Daniel. This is only the twentieth time I have heard some foolish coded message on this trip. What I cannot determine is how you have managed to keep them all in your head and pull out the right one at the right place."
Daniel arched one brow and smiled proudly. "Friend, I thank ya for the compliment."
Once they had emptied their tankards, Daniel said in a low voice, "Me thinks it's time we hit the road, Mingo. We need to be at Three Stone Lane by sunset. We don't want to keep the gen'ral waitin'."
Mingo and Daniel rose. Daniel threw some silver coins on the table and the two men slowly made their way out of the tavern trying not to catch anyone's eye. With their heads down, the two tall Kentuckians did not see the two rough unshaven men cowering in a dark corner watching their departure.
If they had only seen the blood-shot eyes staring at them, burning with hatred and recognition ….
Mingo looked about him and said, "Daniel, I have the prickly feeling that I am trespassing on someone's land. This place is too tame. It feels like the quaint fields and villages of England where life is prescribed by lines of small stone walls that separate neighbor from neighbor."
Daniel smiled at his friend. "We're on a public road, Mingo. The King's Highway as a matter o' fact."
Mingo crinkled his brow, perplexed. "I know as well as you do that this is the King's Highway, Daniel. So, why did the publican at the tavern say it was the Baltimore Pike?"
"'Cause he's a Patriot."
"I see. A bit illogical is it not? Each person naming the road according to their politics?"
"I reckon the outcome of this war will determine the name of this road. I wanted to know the politics of the man, and his tavern. That's why I asked." Daniel felt a shiver rise up his back. He turned his head casually, as if admiring the distant blue mountains beyond the furrowed fields and trees touched with the first colorful buds of spring. His vision was focused near, though, at the closest tree trunks and fence posts.
"Expecting someone, Daniel?"
"The civilized look o' this place can be deceivin'. The British may be in Philadelphia, but there could be a Loyalist behind every tree."
Mingo nodded, and turned to admire the landscape himself. "More likely a cowering Quaker." Daniel laughed at his friend's reference to the prevalent peace-loving religious sect in the area. Daniel had known the world of the Quakers as a child growing up in Pennsylvania. Childhood memories began to flood his mind the moment he and Mingo stepped into Pennsylvania.
After walking several miles, they came to an intersecting lane marked by three large boulders. Daniel said, "I believe this is the place."
Mingo followed Daniel down the path. The sun setting in the west cast long shadows across the peaceful tree-lined lane in front of them. Before they had gone far, a young voice shouted, "Who goes there?"
Daniel said, "Dan'l Boone and his friend Mingo, from Kentucky."
The voice growled back, "Don't you mess with me! I'm no cully. State your real name and business."
Daniel was a bit taken aback with the tone of the command, but he answered calmly, "Now hold on there, son. I've givin' you my real name. Gen'ral Lafayette is expectin' us."
Suddenly two fresh faced young men in ragged blue uniforms, with muskets aimed, walked slowly from the brush into the lane in front of Daniel and Mingo. With determined, unblinking eyes focused down the long barrels of their muskets, they brought the firelocks to full cock. They warily looked over tall, tanned, Daniel in his coonskin cap with Ticklicker laying gently in his arms, and dark longhaired Mingo with his hand on his whip. One of the sentries said, "We haven't heard aught about it. So you're really Daniel Boone?"
The other sentry said, "Course he is, Jeb, can't you see?"
Jeb gave his partner a sharp look of disdain, then turned back to Daniel and Mingo. "You're supposed to be in Kentucky."
Daniel smiled at the scolding tone of the boy. "That's all right son. I understand your confusion at my not being where I'm supposed to be. Now, can we please see your commander?"
"Jeb, run and get Sergeant Boggs."
Jeb relaxed, lowered his gun reluctantly, then seeming to answer his own doubts, turned and took off at a fast long-legged trot down the lane.
The soldier that stayed behind kept his gun trained on Mingo. "The sergeant will take you to the general."
Daniel kept smiling but glanced at his friend. Mingo was clearly impatient with the young sentries. His hand gripped the leather whip fastened at his waist. "Mingo, you thinkin' about showin' this young feller what you can do with that whip?"
Mingo took the hint and relaxed, removing his hand from his whip. "I do not think that is necessary, Daniel. I am not a sideshow at the carnival. Young man, does it not seem more logical to you to have had Jeb take us to the general?"
The soldier looked dumbfounded from the moment Mingo began to speak. He was clearly not expecting the sound of a Brit from the mouth of an Indian. He managed to find his own voice. "I… need to have my sergeant take a look at… the two of you."
Mingo smiled amused. "You mean take a look at ME do you not?"
"It's all right," Daniel said, "we've come a long ways and my friend here is a little irritable. We can wait a few more minutes if that makes you more comfortable, young feller."
It wasn't long before two men came running back along the trail towards them. One was the young Jeb, the other an older man that looked to be about Daniel's age, maybe a little younger.
The older man spoke first. "I'm sorry to keep you waiting, Mr. Boone, Mingo. The general sent me on an errand and I didn't get a chance to tell these sentries to expect you. It's all my fault. I'm Sergeant Boggs, General Lafayette's aide. Please follow me and I will take you to the general. He's expecting you."
Daniel and Mingo walked off with the sergeant. Daniel turned to the young sentries, saluting them he said, "Good job, boys. Keep up the good work." They sheepishly returned the salute.
Mingo said, "Sergeant, are all your soldiers so young?"
Sergeant Boggs looked surprised and smiled. "Aye, Mingo. We are a young corp, including the general. Ahhh…you do know how young he is…don't you?"
Daniel said, "Doc Franklin told us all about Gen'ral Lafayette in his letter. We are honored to meet him and serve him."
"It's a shock for some folks. That's why I asked."
When they reached the headquarters tent, they saw a soft glow of light coming from within. The sun had just set, giving the early spring night a chill. The stars were just beginning to peek out from the royal blue twilight sky.
Sergeant Boggs stepped into the tent to announce their arrival, leaving Daniel and Mingo to wait outside.
The camp was eerily quiet. There was only the soft inviting crackle of a campfire nearby, and the distant drone of crickets and bullfrogs that had begun their nightly concert.
Mingo whispered to Daniel, "Be prepared for a greeting le style français."
Daniel looked askance at his friend. He smiled, but tensed up at the thought he was about to be hugged, and kissed on both cheeks, by a Frenchman, a la Beaumarchais.
Sergeant Boggs pulled the tent flap out of the way and said, "Gentlemen, please enter."
Daniel and Mingo ducked under the tent opening and were greeted with the familiar smell of tent canvas, gunpowder and boot polish. As they straightened, they saw several young faces lit by candlelight standing around a camp table. Only one belonged to a man in the uniform of a Continental army general.
The handsome young general stepped forward sharply to greet them. "Monsieur Boone and Mingo. Welcome! I am General Lafayette. I hope your trip was not too disagreeable." The general held out his hand and shook first Daniel's hand, then Mingo's firmly without hesitation. Daniel turned his head and winked at Mingo. On hearing the youthful voice with a French accent, Daniel remembered his time spent in the French war when he was Lafayette's age. He had shot and bayoneted many a young Frenchman that looked like the young man before him.
"Nothin' we couldn't handle, Gen'ral." Daniel put the end of Ticklicker on the ground and leaned on his gun out of habit.
A dimpled smile spread over the young general's face, his dark eyes sparkled in the candlelight overhead. Daniel returned the smile with a lop-sided grin, realizing that it was his Kentucky dialect and appearance that had caused the sudden change in his young host's visage. Thoughts of Beaumarchais crossed Daniel's mind, but the general returned to his serious countenance and said, "That is good. I know neither General Washington nor Doctor Franklin could tell you the mission, so I will fill you in now. I would first like to introduce you to your fellow travelers on this journey. This is Captain Jeremy Larkin, Henry Abington and Isak Poole. They are serving the cause undercover as the Yankee Doodle Society. Perhaps you have heard of their exploits?"
Daniel cocked one eyebrow in surprise. "Why yes I have Gen'ral. I have to admit I pictured older men though. Proud to meet you young feller's." Seeing the surprise in each young face, he chuckled, "You boys weren't expectin' an old frontiersman and an Indian were you?"
The handsome blonde young man, Jeremy, his eyes wide with surprise and his jaw hanging limp, suddenly realized he was the leader and needed to speak. "Sir…I have heard of your exploits for as far back as I can remember. I am sure my friends will agree with me that we are most honored to serve the same cause with you." Henry and Isak nodded in unison, their faces still bright with astonishment at being in the presence of Daniel Boone.
Daniel turned to Mingo. "This is Mingo, a fellow explorer, patriot, and a very good friend o' mine."
Mingo said, "Gentlemen, I am pleased to meet you."
All the young men in the tent looked as astounded as the sentry had when Mingo spoke. The general asked with a smile, "Mingo, where did you get that fine English accent?"
Mingo smiled. "I am half English, half Cherokee, educated at Oxford." Mingo hesitated, glancing at Daniel. "I hope that my cross-breeding does not cause concern…"
Daniel said, "You might as well know up front, Gen'ral, that his father is Lord Dunsmore, the Virginia governor. Mingo was educated in England, but he's lived with his Cherokee people most of his adult life. Rest assured gentlemen, Mingo is squarely on my side, and my side is with the American's in this war."
"I am not concerned about Mingo's loyalty," Lafayette said. "Doctor Franklin has recommended him highly. That is enough for me." Mingo smiled at the quick acceptance. The general returned the smile. "Mingo, I may understand your life between two peoples better than you think I do."
That statement caught Daniel a little off guard and made him curious to know how this properly bred French aristocrat could understand Mingo's life between two peoples.
"Monsieur Boone," the general said, "are you and Mingo in need of refreshment or rest after your long journey?"
"No, sir, we're fine. We stopped at the Black Horse Inn." Daniel saw a quick knowing look pass between the general and his sergeant. Sergeant Boggs slipped out of the tent.
Lafayette motioned to a map on the table, "Well gentlemen, shall we proceed with the briefing? Our mission is to transport guns, ammunition, and explosives to the Oneida Indians of the north. We have few friends among the Indian tribes. Most are taking up with the British and attacking colonial villages in a most violent manner. The Oneidas have shown some interest in joining our side. It seems they prefer Frenchmen to Englishmen."
"I see," Daniel said. "So we're to transport you to a pow-wow with the Oneida?"
Lafayette smiled confidently at Daniel. "I will be accompanying you along with my men. It will not be your job to guard me, Monsieur Boone." Sergeant Boggs re-appeared in the tent as quietly as he had left. The young general's dark brows dipped. With a slightly worried and less confident tone he asked, "Were you given instructions that led you to think that guarding me was your mission, Monsieur Boone?"
Daniel cleared his throat. "Oh, no, of course not. I 'spect it'll be a team effort…sir." Daniel scratched the side of his nose. He adjusted his coonskin cap, looked at Mingo and then back at the general. "It's just that Doc Franklin had us guide Monsieur Beaumarchais cross country once and--"
"Mon Dieu! Not that mad man?" Lafayette exclaimed with an astonished look that hinted of relief. "I am very sorry indeed you had to experience that!"
Mingo and Daniel looked at each other in surprise. Daniel said, "So…you know Beaumarchais?"
Lafayette scowled and shook his head. "Beaumarchais is a godsend to this cause, but to have to deal with the man...Phhaw! I would rather be chained to a desk at headquarters bored to death."
The other men smiled at the general's sudden animated state. It was obvious to Daniel that being still, or idle, for any length of time was probably torture to the young Frenchman.
"I see how the two of you might hesitate to go on a mission with another Frenchman. I can assure you I am no Beaumarchais!" The general fiercely shook his head. "Why I am nothing like that man, you can ask Sergeant Boggs, he has met him." The general swung up his arm towards the sergeant giving him leave to speak.
Sergeant Boggs smiled and said, "Gentlemen, you will not be disappointed in General Lafayette. He roughs it with the rest of us and is quite capable of taking care of himself."
Daniel looked at the older man in his hunting shirt, his tanned face and the hunting knife sheathed at his belt. "Sergeant Boggs, you look like a man that would know. What part of the country do you hail from?"
"West Pennsylvania, sir."
Daniel nodded. He noticed that the sergeant was near his own age. His sandy hair not yet peppered with gray. "A fellow frontiersman and Pennsylvanian. Did you serve in the French war as well?"
The sergeant hesitated for a moment and glanced at General Lafayette. "Yes, sir, I served with General Washington as a scout. I was just a youngster then."
Daniel suddenly realized that if he imagined the sergeant a good bit younger… "Did you serve with the Braddock expedition?"
Sergeant Boggs answered, "Yes, sir. I was there."
Daniel grinned ear to ear and pushed his coonskin cap back on his head. "Why I remember you. You had quite a reputation as I remember it."
The sergeant's sandy eyebrows arched. He glanced at his young general who looked on with interest. The sergeant said, "I remember you too, sir."
Daniel didn't miss the look that passed between the sergeant and his general, or the meaning. Obviously, General Lafayette didn't know what he knew about Sergeant Boggs. He decided he better leave the subject. "Well it was a mighty fine reputation. Washington thought highly of you as I remember it. I think that puts my concerns at rest. How 'bout you, Mingo?"
"I am not concerned about General Lafayette, but what about these three young men?"
Daniel looked over Jeremy, Henry and Isak. "You boys look like 'townies' to me, used to sleepin' in a warm bed after a mission."
The directness of the tall frontiersman made Jeremy's handsome face redden under his mop of blonde hair. "You are very right to question our experience, Mr. Boone. We do know how to 'rough' it, even if we are not always at our happiest doing it." Jeremy looked pointedly at Henry who smiled guiltily. "Meeting with Indians…on their turf…that is another matter. I will be honest with you, that aspect of this mission concerns me. It will be a new adventure for the three of us."
Lafayette reached out and gripped Jeremy's shoulder, briefly. "We will not be strangers to these particular natives. I met with the Oneida when I was in Albany. You three have met some of them in this camp have you not?"
Henry swallowed and said, "I would not characterize it as having 'met' them, sir. Those particular natives were not open to the idle conversation of making an acquaintance. Actually, sir, they were rather intimidating, not very sociable--"
"Sociable?" Jeremy said, astonished. "Henry, the general wasn't asking you to dance with them." The other men chuckled at Jeremy's quick wit.
"They are warriors, Henry," Lafayette said with a slight scolding tone. "They are supposed to be intimidating."
Jeremy and Isak ducked and chuckled, but held their amusement in check when they each got a glare and a scowl from Henry.
Daniel knew that Lafayette had not been in the colonies even a year. "When did you meet with the Oneida, Gen'ral?"
The general turned abruptly towards Daniel. "Last month, while on assignment in Albany, New York. An allegiance was formed at that time, but now we are seeking warriors in great number." The muscles at the edges of the general's mouth twitched and gave way to a broad dimpled smile which accentuated his youth. His dark eyes filled with the gleeful twinkle Daniel had seen earlier. The general said in a mocking worried tone, "Monsieur Boone, do not worry, I am much older and wiser today than I was then."
The implication of the general's statement made Daniel blush. He said, "I'm sorry, Gen'ral. I didn't mean to offend. You have clearly been very busy since you arrived in America."
Lafayette smiled at Daniel's apology, but quickly turned serious again. "There is a plan for the trip. Arrangements have been made along the way to clear the known obstacles. Monsieur Boone, you, and Mingo, are joining us primarily for your negotiation skills with the Indians, but your excellent guiding and tracking skills will be appreciated as well. Henry is our explosives expert. He is going along to train the Indians in the use of some of their new weapons. Jeremy and Isak are coming along to…assist him."
Daniel focused on Henry and saw the spitting image of Ben Franklin, only younger. Henry looked studious and intelligent, but didn't look like a man that would, or could, make a strenuous journey up north. Daniel worried about the idea of giving an Indian tribe explosives. He glanced at Mingo and saw his friend's worried frown, which told him Mingo was thinking the same thing.
"Sir, if I may…" Daniel hesitated for a moment for fear of offending the general.
"Of course, Monsieur Boone, please go ahead."
"Gen'ral, aren't you concerned that those weapons may be turned on innocent people someday? Allegiances formed one day sometimes fall away the next for the slightest of reasons."
"There is a risk, but we are not giving them enough to inflict much damage. It is more the show, and not the actual power of the weapon that we hope will impress them. Henry can put on quite a show." The general smiled at Henry, who feebly smiled back.
Lafayette waited, looking Daniel steadily in the eyes, to see if he had further concerns. Daniel nodded his understanding. Daniel had a million questions about this trip in his mind but he decided to hold his tongue. He didn't want to offend this young man at their first meeting by seeming to question everything he said.
"There is one favor I must ask of you Monsieur Boone," the general said. "I wish to commission you an officer. I know that the Virginia militia is going to raise your rank soon. I need you to be my second in command on this trip. Will you consent to take the oath of allegiance and become Colonel Daniel Boone?"
That caught Daniel by surprise. "A commission…sir? A colonel? But I have to return to Kentucky…"
Lafayette shook his head. "I do not expect you to agree to a time period of service. It can last only for the period of this trip if you wish."
Daniel looked at Mingo, who only smiled and shrugged.
"Well, all right, sir. If that is what you need of me."
Lafayette smiled confidently, clearly pleased with Daniel's decision. He motioned for
Sergeant Boggs to administer the ceremony, which was conducted quickly and solemnly. At the conclusion, the general shook Daniel's hand and said, "Congratulations, Colonel Boone, and thank you. I am afraid the pay is not worth mentioning." Lafayette grinned and everyone chuckled knowing that the statement was all too true.
The general continued the briefing. "Captain Larkin will be responsible for leadership of the group of twenty men that will be accompanying us by horseback." Jeremy, frowned, and then quickly smiled weakly at his general. Daniel and Mingo didn't miss the small exchange and knew that Jeremy was hearing about his role on the mission for the first time.
Apparently, Lafayette didn't miss the hesitation in Jeremy, or the quick look between Daniel and Mingo. He clasped his hands behind his back and paced to the dark side of the tent and back. It made Daniel nervous that he had finely insulted the general. Lafayette looked down and shook his head then looked up sharply at Daniel and Mingo, then at the trio that made up the Yankee Doodle Society as if questioning to himself the group he had gathered. "I can not guarantee anyone's safety. This is a very dangerous mission. Each of you must feel comfortable taking the risk, and there is great risk in being in this camp…or with me. I will not force anyone that truly has misgivings. I would like all of you to sleep on this tonight, talk amongst yourselves, and let me know in the morning your decisions. We leave at mid-morning tomorrow. Sergeant Boggs will show you to your accommodations"
The general gestured towards the tent opening, and with that quick dismissal, the men left the general's tent guided by the sergeant to nearby tents for the night.