Disclaimer: The Yankee Doodle Society, Captain Yankee Doodle, and all recognizable fictional characters from the TV series "The Young Rebels" do not belong to me. The characters are borrowed for the purpose of entertaining fans of the show with no intention of copyrighting, publishing, or monetary gain. However, the story itself belongs to me and should not be copied, printed or posted elsewhere, or used for any purpose other than reading. This story is fiction. Any apparent relationship to real people (other than historical figures) is unintended and purely coincidental.
Summary: The Yankee Doodle Society is called upon to assist General Lafayette in gathering information on the British army wintered in Philadelphia. A seemingly simple mission turns into a harrowing adventure for our heroes when Jeremy uncovers some unexpected news from an unexpected source.
Authors Note: This is fan fiction based on the 1970 TV series The Young Rebels which is set during the American Revolutionary War.
Jeremy Larkin dressed quickly and hurried to the stairs, pulling his vest on as he started to descend. A crunch in his vest pocket caused him to stop in mid flight. He pulled the letter out, then the memory returned of his having stuffed it there the evening before. It was an invitation to a party: A big gala festival in Philadelphia to say farewell to the retiring General Howe of the British Army and to welcome the new commander General Clinton. There was a note, in large scrawl, from his childhood friend, Harry Wyndam, pleading with Jeremy to come to the party, which was to be at the Wyndam home. He promised free food, free liquor and pretty girls galore. Jeremy thought, Harry always knew where the parties were and how to get invited. Jeremy knew that he would not enjoy a Tory party, but he also knew it was a perfect opportunity to spy on the British generals. He had no idea if Washington needed his help, but that had never stopped him before. Jeremy decided to think on it.
Rushing out of his father's house, Jeremy ran to the tavern nearby. As he entered the tavern he heard, "Well, here comes my errant son now. You would think rising before noon would kill him." Jeremy realized that his father was speaking of him to John Coates. Jeremy just smiled and kept walking until he reached the storage room of the tavern. Mayor Larkin owned the tavern along with several other businesses and some land outside of town. Jeremy had promised his father he would inventory the supplies at the Tavern this morning. Mayor Larkin was concerned that thievery was costing him profits at the tavern and inn. Regardless of what he thought of his son's waywardness, he only trusted Jeremy to do the inventory. As Jeremy began his task, he felt guilty for the all the times he had disappeared on his father over the past two years. He decided he would forego the party in Philadelphia to spend more time doing the work his father needed him to do. Before he had fully got into his task, a barmaid walked-in and said, "Mr. Larkin there is a man here to see you. He says he is a courier. He is waiting outside for you."
Jeremy followed the barmaid into the taproom, past his father, and out the doors of the tavern. He knew his father was watching him wondering if he was skipping out on the inventory.
When Jeremy got outside, he didn't see anyone. Then he heard his name from behind, "Jeremy, over here." Jeremy looked and saw Sergeant Daniel Boggs, Lafayette's aide, in the alley adjacent to the tavern. Jeremy walked over to him and the two moved down the alley out of sight of the people walking by.
"Sergeant what are you doing here? Is General Lafayette with you?"
"No Jeremy, the general is at Valley Forge. He sent me with a note." The sergeant pulled a sealed letter out of his coat and handed it to Jeremy.
Jeremy opened the letter and read,
"Hello my friend, I hope this note finds you in good health. I have a favor to ask. My father would like to know what is going on in Philadelphia. The particulars would be most advantageous to his business this spring. I would like to meet you at the stone church on Barren Hill on May 19 at noon where I will provide more detail as to my father's purpose. Please reply as to your intentions and if you can find time in your busy schedule to spend some time in Phil. Best Regards, G. Motier"
Jeremy recognized General Lafayette's handwriting. The "father" referred to was General Washington. He marveled at the coincidence that he was contemplating a trip to Philadelphia at the same time as Lafayette was asking him to go there. Jeremy realized that this meant he would be leaving his father once again with work incomplete. This was important though, or Lafayette would not have bothered to send for him. Jeremy knew the general had others he could call upon. He told the sergeant that the Yankee Doodle Society would meet the general on the day and at the time requested. The sergeant thanked Jeremy and rushed off through the alley to his horse tethered in the back of the tavern.
It had been a boring winter in Chester with both armies retired from the field. The British were in Philadelphia partying, well fed and warm, and the other, the Americans, were suffering every kind of privation at Valley Forge. Chester, at least, avoided the indignity of the British occupation. The British occupying Chester had packed it off to Philadelphia at the first snowfall. Jeremy knew that the other members of the Yankee Doodle Society would be excited to see some action again in support of their cause.
Later Jeremy, Isak and Henry, the three members of the Yankee Doodle Society, were sitting in Isak's blacksmith shop discussing the mission to Philadelphia.
Henry said, "From this note that Lafayette has sent, we really don't know what information he seeks."
"He didn't want to give it away in a letter that could be intercepted by British agents," Jeremy said. "The sergeant had to come through British controlled territory to get to us."
"The general will no doubt be pleased with your attendance at this party Jeremy," Isak said. "Howe and his officers will be drinking and possibly loosening their tongues."
"What about this friend of yours Jeremy?" Henry said. "What is his story?"
"I went to school with him in Philadelphia. He spent some summers here in Chester with me. We were inseparable and always into some kind of trouble. My brother Robert was often the victim of our practical jokes, but he tolerated us. Our favorite activity back then was pretending to be frontiersman out scouting for Indians. In our minds we were the protectors of Chester."
Isak and Henry smiled at Jeremy's remembrances of his youth.
Henry said, "But now he is a Tory and you are a Patriot on opposite sides of a war."
Jeremy sighed and replied, "I'm not sure of his politics. He doesn't know my true colors either. His father is a neutralist like my father. It is strange that they are hosting this party. Mr. Wyndam must have been forced into it." Jeremy smiled. "They have probably heard father complain of me on his visits to Philadelphia, so I can be myself on this mission. You two will need covers to explain your presence in the city."
Henry said, "The American Philosophical Society is hosting some lectures on the latest scientific uses for culinary and medicinal plants. I can attend one or two lectures, just to let others see me there, and then slip out when needed."
Isak said, "I will be shopping for supplies for my shop. I need to do that anyway."
"Good," Jeremy said. "There is an Inn near Harry's house called the Gray Fox Inn and Tavern. I suggest you two get a room there. We should enter the town separately. There will probably be British roadblocks at the entrances to town. Our reasons for being in Philadelphia are sound so I don't expect any problems."
They agreed to leave town at separate times in the morning. The men then separated for the night.