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Battle of Caesar's Creek
posted Wed May 23 2001
May 1, Morning Scout

As the day began word reached the encampment that the French may attempt a landing. Sergeant Kirkman called out the morning assignment. Today I would be in Sergeant Kirkman's patrol with Private Jones, Private Wilson, and Buzz. Captain Wilson had received orders to reconnoiter the lakeshore with a small party and report on the status of potential landing coves. Our patrol set out with Sergeant Kirkman at point, Private Jones on right flank, Buzz as rear guard, myself as left flank, and Captain Wilson and Private Wilson as central reserve. In this positions we left camp and proceeded to enter the forest.

We entered the forest along a trail leading along a North- South ridge. The lake and suspect coves lay North by Northeast of our present position. I took up my position on the left flank below the ridge top and crouched behind a tree. To my front a large ravine snaked North. A second ridge line paralleled our trail. The under story was not very thick yet so I could see most of the opposing ridge. The ground was littered with dried leaves from last fall making silent movement an impossibility. I scanned the opposing ridge and listening but saw and heard nothing besides birds and our own party. Captain Wilson motioned for us to proceed. So as not to have us all caught moving at once I scanned the forest while sergeant moved ahead and dropped behind a tree. Once he stopped I proceeded to the next likely piece of cover up along the ridge. I proceeded in this fashion along the ridge side, stopping in cover frequently to put all my sensing to finding an enemy.

Ahead a split in the trail was noted. I moved up to the left split and hid behind a dead stump while Sergeant and Private Wilson examined the right split in the trail. Private Wilson signaled, and all crouched lower behind their cover. A savage was spotted ahead opposite from the sergeant. We tensed as the sergeant extracted himself and returned to the Captain to report. It seemed that we had not been spotted. Captain signaled for me to make a reconnaissance of the left trail and look for a way around the savage. I dropped lower on the left side of the ridge and proceeded parallel to the trail. Private Wilson moved to my previous hiding place and covered my advance. Ducking from cover to cover I proceeded along the ridge until I could see water through the trees ahead. At this point I crawled to the top of the ridge and cautiously peered behind a tree. I must have been sufficiently North of the savage because I could not see or hear anything beyond normal forest sounds. To my front lay a deep ravine with a near vertical ridge rising from the other side of a small stream. To my Left, through the trees I could see the lake. To my right lay thick growth which should shield our movement from the savage look out. I crawled back down the ridge and made my way back to private Wilson. Informing him of the situation he returned to the Captain to report.

Captain signaled for me to take the lead down the left trail. Still below the ridge top I made my way back to my previous vantage point. All seemed as before except I could hear sounds of boats from the direction of the lake. The sergeant came up to my position and after evaluating the cover provided motioned me down the slope. For cover I was in luck, a large Beech tree had fallen down the slope and provided cover to the creak bed. I slid along the underside the tree to the bottom of the ravine. There I waited and listened. I could see two boats on the lake just off the outlet to the stream. In them were some half-naked savages speaking a tongue I know not. I kept to my hiding place hoping the rest of the patrol kept to their positions as they were well concealed. After about five minutes the savages motioned off to the east and one boat rowed around the headland to the east while the other boat rowed out to the center of the lake and disappeared to the West. After giving the surrounds a final check I whistled in the manner of a bird to attract the attention of my patrol and signaled the all clear. Being assured of fire support I rushed for the opposite side of the stream. Behind a large tree I climbed and waited. No shots rang out, nor did I detect any motion. Slowly I crawled up the opposite slope keeping to the densest growth I could find. About 3/4 of the way up the slope I chanced upon a trail leading Northeast. This must have been the path the savage was guarding. I stealthily crossed over and made for a dense patch of undergrowth at the crest of the ridge. I crawled forward and peered down into the next Ravine. Below was a substantial trail leading North-South. No activity was detected so I proceeded back through the undergrowth till I could signal the Captain on the opposite ridge that all was clear.

As the rest of the patrol started across the last ravine I crawled back to the crest of the ridge to guard that direction. After everyone had crossed to the new ridge safely Sergeant Kirkman and proceeded over the ridge and advanced examine the path which led South. Private Jones came up as I covered the Sergeants advance and moved out to the right. I held my position as they moved off to the right parallel to the South path. After they were out of site and hearing I began to think of my observations of the two boats and became convinced that if a landing had occurred it would be off to my left. I crept back form my position to relay my concerns to the Captain. As I crept back I moved from cover to cover, always checking back from where I came. I could not see anyone including my own patrol. I moved back again and stopped to listen and heard a quiet turkey call not 30 feet behind me. I had sneaked to within 30 feet of the Captain and not seen him. I moved to converse with him while maintaining my guard. I relayed my opinion that our objective could not be complete if we did not reconnoiter the cover to the Northeast. Captain Wilson ordered my to link up Private Jones or Private Wilson if possible and investigate the cove to the Northeast while he rallied the patrol at the ridge and provided a secure fall back position if I ran into opposition.

I moved back to the ridge and listened and observed for a good couple of minutes but could detect nothing of the enemy or Private Jones or Private Wilson. At this point I decided to proceed Northeast and investigate the cove. I crawled over the ridgeline and made my way down to the path I had observed before. Prior to reaching the path I stopped to listen but again neither heard nor saw anything, so I quickly crossed the path and moved into the underbrush down the ridge slope. Keeping as quiet as I could I paralleled the trail to the North. The Ridge dipped then rose again to a point to the North. Off to the left I could just begin to see water through the leaves. The cove in question lay off to the right. I crawled through a patch of May Apples to a point behind a beech tree and slowly looked down on the cove. The French had landed. Down at the bottom of the ravine before it spilled into the cove I saw blue uniforms. From my vantage I could make out at least 12 French marines taking position behind some dead fall in the ravine. If we had approached the cove from the Ravine floor we would have surely been ambushed. Looking off to the cove I could make out the white uniforms of the French regulars. From my vantage point I could make out at least 8 French regulars. Realizing the value of this intelligence I crawled back from my hiding place and crossed the ridgeline returning by a different path the approximate location of the patrol. As I tried to keep as much ridge between the landing cove and I as possible I approached the termination of the path I had passed while leading the patrol across the major ravine. Hiding to the right of the path was the back of a savage, his attention directed down the path. I silently withdrew and gave him a wide berth as I made my way back to the depth undergrowth were I had left the captain. After assuring myself that I was not followed I searched the undergrowth for the Captain. He soon came up to my position and I reported my findings. Signals went out and the patrol materialized in the woods around us as we moved off down the path which Sergeant Kirkman and Private Jones had investigated. Before I took position on the right flank below the ridgeline I passed on my intelligence to Private Jones in case the Captain and I fell on our return.

We moved out to the Southeast in the direction of our encampment. Ahead of me Private Wilson dropped and signaled to the opposite ridge. I could just make out the war paint on a savage moving along the opposite ridge. The Captain realized that our information was worth much more than one scalp, so he signaled us to give the savage a wide berth. We carefully moved back into fuller cover and continued our journey. As we approached the edge of the forest Captain Wilson directed us to stay within the forest and make our way around the village to the encampment. We had experienced few problems with the Canadian inhabitants but with the French in easy marching distance it did not pay to take chances. We leapfrogged around the forest edge, always keeping a careful eye to the woods to watch out for the French or their Indian allies.

After we skirted the main part of the village the main body continued along a ridge and the sergeant directed my to cross to a parallel ridge and secure the opposing ridge. Here, I lost my feet and feared I gave out position away. I slid on my backside down the slope, stopping only when a dead tree caught me in a non-too pleasant place. Fortunately, my slide did not make much noise and no one appeared to have given it any notice. I investigated the next ridge and found that we had reached the main road to on the opposite side of the village. Our camp lay just to the other side of the road about 300 yards, in a clearing in the woods. I signaled back to the sergeant that it was clear for a crossing and took up a guard in a briar patch to wait for the rest of the patrol. The rest of the patrol found a narrow wood bridge to cross the ravine, a much better path then I chose, and spread out to cover the road. At this point I signaled that someone was coming down the road. We all lay low and waited as two young maids passed down the road. The passed within 10 feet of my position in the briar but took no notice. From their manner I doubt they were yet aware that the French had landed. After they passed into the village the Sergeant, Private Jones, and myself crossed the road and scoured the forest around our camp before assuring ourselves that all was secure in camp and an ambush had not been lain for us. At the all clear the Captain reported to the Major the situation and called me to mark on a map where the enemy had landed. At our information the Major started to bark orders and the camp came alive with activity. We would see fire today.
From the Journals of Aaron Lauster
Hazen's Company, Major Scott's Battalion
His Majesties Independent Company of Rangers

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