Apparently the woman was not too pleased with the relentless spread of civilization. Braumann felt that somewhat unusual amongst womenfolk. It was plain to see this gal was very self-reliant and he had to respect that. That's when the white scout and his Apache entered the conversation. Belatedly the woman introduced herself...Addy Chappell. Good to put a name to a face, the sergeant thought. She was also pretty knowledgeable about Indians too, he had no doubt that bunch had been more interested in the cattle than fighting soldiers. Especially with the buffalo disappearing so rapidly throughout the west.
Macintosh wanted the sergeant to know that he and his Indian had scouted further and wished to report this to Major Brittles.
"The major went to the commandant's office to no doubt introduce himself to the CO here. You'd have to go over and knock. Now as for food, I was about to invite Miss Chappell to sit at the barracks mess. Food in a fort is a lot better than what we normally settle for out in the field. Should be some baked bread and stew at least, with real vegetables too. You and your man are welcome to join us," Braumann offered, "that is when you're done reporting to the major I reckon."
Braumann shook his head, "No need to call me 'sir'. Only officers get that and I'm just a lowly sergeant. Besides you aren't in the army."
"Name is Nikolaus Braumann, I will answer to Nick if you'd rather, " he added, taking hold of the one the team, "It'll be a stable, ma'am. They can have a nice stall. Cavalry treat their horses well you see, we depend on them with our lives at times."
"Yeah, that was a bit of a fuss. I wasn't worried. It would take a hellava lot of Injuns to attack a body of troops that big. And they'd be even less likely to ever attack a fort. Injuns are touchy about losing men, can't blame 'em, a big tribe might have a few hundred warriors at best. Think it's slowly beginning to dawn on them but these wars....well they can't win. There are way too many white folk coming west."
The woman mentioned the scout and Braumann turned to see that scout and his Apache companion approaching. He nodded in acknowledgment.
Sgt. Braumann had taken his mount to the assigned stables along with the rest of the newly arrived troopers at Fort Kilpatrick. He had been to his share of army outposts in his career and this was one was pretty typical. No stockade or defensive walls, it's not like the Indians would be stupid enough to attack a fortress. They would just suffer a lot of casualties the tribe could hardly afford and for what? No, Indian warfare was about hit and run attacks and profitable raiding of your enemies. There were so many softer targets than military forts. One of the garrison NCOs directed the men where to stable the horses and which barracks to report to. It was going to be crowded for awhile as suddenly the fort was having to take in 100 extra men and animals. But they wouldn't be staying long as the reason for their current assignment was to construct a new fort closer to Kalispell.
Once that was done, Braumann decided to check on the civilian wagon which had accompanied them the last part of their journey. The one driven by a woman. He figured she probably wasn't used to army ways and might appreciate the help.
"Ma'am, can I be of any assistance? I'd be happy to show you where to stable your team. Don't worry none, they'll be fine here," he spoke up once he got within easy talking distance.
Young Jean Lavalliere remembered his orders, stick with the commanding officer, remain behind him and be ready to to blow any bugle calls the man required of him. So he kicked at his horse's flanks and then galloped forward as part of the command party. The volleys had been loud and at least effective enough to chase away the Indians, his first experience seeing them in action. They sure didn't hang around long. Probably not just the fire but the fact that the cavalry unit was 100 strong decided the issue. The Indians had no great reason to launch themselves into a suicide attack. He couldn't blame them really.
The young man wasn't the best of riders, having had a short period of training in horsemanship back in St. Louis before being shipped out by railroad to a western army post. He still was unsure yet if this decision of his to come south into the United States to sign up as a soldier. But he was stuck now for the duration of his enlistment. He had heard a lot of troopers deserted every year but it was riskiest to desert while on campaign as you might run into hostiles. Then you were dead.
Sgt. Braumann watched the new commander prepare for what certainly sounded like an Indian attack even as some riders came rushing toward them at their fastest gallop. They looked like they thought they were being chased by Satan himself, though if one ever got captured by Indians they would show you their devilry at torture. There was a woman among the riders too. He had to give her credit where credit was due, she was a good rider. Meanwhile though the veteran NCO was a bit puzzled by the current orders. Only fifteen men out of this whole command were being told to line up in three lines and prepare for volley fire. Five shots at a time. Braumann was puzzled. Why not present a more formidable skirmish line of forty...fifty men. He'd been in enough firefights with Indians to know that - sad but true - the vast majority of shots the cavalry fired never hit a damn thing. Marksmanship was not a cavalry skill. So to compensate you had to mass as many weapons as possible and pour in the fire.
"What's he doin?" one of the other troopers asked in a quiet voice, out of the commander's earshot.
"I don't know. Maybe he's keeping all the rest of us ready for a counterattack. Or maybe he's nervous about the Indians coming from other directions too? The army don't pay me to run battles, soldier, just fight in 'em," Braumann commented, for the moment nervous but not reaching for his own carbine, instead just leaning on the saddlehorn of his mount and watching.
On the other hand, Jean Lavalliere had never been in a battle or even a skirmish so he was wide eyed and jumpy. He was so nervous that he was glad he could just sit on his horse near the commander and not have to be one of those firers. He figured his aim would be so shaky right about now he couldn't hit the broadside of a barn as the Americans say. Merde! He wished he was back in Quebec.
"I won't be calling you "French Johnnie", so I will be calling you Private Lavalliere. As company bugler, you ride with me...I need you close so I can tell you what to play. This is my aide, Lieutenant Farley. He rides behind me, and you will ride along side him, understand?"
"Yessir, I do understand. I will do just that, sir," the youthful trooper nodded then once more saluted, figuring you probably couldn't salute the officers enough just to be on the safe side.
“Yes, will ride in with you and tell what I have seen. I cannot follow those who watch, as they know I am about. Perhaps later I can slip away unnoticed.”
Alright, that was settled then, Braumann nodded to the man then turned his horse back toward the direction of the column. The trio made their way down the ridge slope and soon were in easy sight of the main body of troops still winding it's way thru the valley. Braumann did not stop until they were only yards short of the commander who was still at the lead of the column.
"Sir, this here Indian says he is working for us as a scout. He speaks English real good and he's got something important to report," Braumann kept it simple and direct, if the officer had questions then he would be free to ask. Then he glanced toward Ke-Ni-Tay.
The Indian rode up to them within easy speaking distance. Both troopers made it a point to make no sudden moves for their weapons. Braumann was positive by now, this jasper was not a Sioux or Cheyenne. He looked like pictures and photos he had seen of southwestern Indians like Navajos and Apaches. Awful far from there, this one though.
"I am Ke-Ni-Tay, I ride with MacIntosh to scout for the Army." He said. "The column is being shadowed, four, maybe five, not far ahead of us, but they will not be seen. They are aware that you are here and now me as well." He looked to where he knew they sat watching. "They are too few to attack, if that is their purpose."
Braumann was impressed with the man's grasp of the white man's language, that would greatly help with communication alright. He nodded as he heard the information.
"Damn, alright then good to know. Army scout huh? Well, that's good too," the sergeant started then extended out his hand to give the Indian the tobacco pouch.
"This here's for you, Ke-Ni-Tay...hope I said that right. I'm Sgt. Braumann and this here's Private Loudon. I reckon we should head on back and report this to our commanding officer, you wanna come along with us then?"
Braumann had worked aside of a couple Crow scouts once and they had been damned good at what they did but they barely spoke any English and he didn't know their lingo so this was much more comfortable a situation. Leastwise so far.
Private Jean Lavalliere noticed the commanding officer signaling him to come closer. With a quick nod, the young man kicked the sides of his mount a bit to get the horse to advance just short of the major. He was wide eyed and a bit nervous. But at the same time pretty sure he hadn't done anything wrong to get into trouble for.
Unlike the grizzled Braumann, French Johnnie as the troopers called him, gave a quick salute.
Boot camp in St. Louis had pounded it into the new recruits that your officers were gods and you better damn well do whatever they say if you did not want to get into trouble. His training sergeant that time had punched him more than once when he didn't snap off a proper salute or straighten to attention. He wanted no trouble out here now in the middle of this god forsaken wilderness.
Sagas of the WIld West is a roleplaying game set in a fictionalized version of the town of Kalispell in Montana territory. Our stories begin in 1875 and are set against the backdrop of actual historical events.Sagas was inspired by the classic television and movie westerns. Our focus is on writing, storytelling and character development.
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