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Trumpeter Fred A Story of the Plains   By: (1844-1933)

Trumpeter Fred A Story of the Plains by Charles King

First Page:

TRUMPETER FRED

[Illustration: CAPT. CHARLES KING, U. S. A.]

TRUMPETER FRED

A STORY OF THE PLAINS

BY CAPTAIN CHARLES KING, U. S. A.

AUTHOR OF "FORT FRAYNE," "AN ARMY WIFE," ETC.

ILLUSTRATED

F. TENNYSON NEELY PUBLISHER NEW YORK CHICAGO

1896

Copyright, 1896, BY F. TENNYSON NEELY

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER PAGE

I. A DANGEROUS MISSION, 17

II. THE OATH OF ENLISTMENT, 26

III. A ROBBER IN CAMP, 40

IV. SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES, 47

V. TRAILING THE TRAITOR, 56

VI. CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE, 67

VII. TELEGRAPHIC DISPATCHES, 75

VIII. LOYAL FRIENDS, 87

IX. LURKING FOES, 101

X. IN SUSPENSE, 113

XI. HEMMED IN BY SAVAGE FOES, 124

XII. MYSTERIOUS HOOF PRINTS, 135

XIII. AWAY TO THE RESCUE! 148

XIV. INNOCENT OR GUILTY, 164

XV. COURT MARTIAL, 179

XVI. PRISON AND PROMOTION, 188

[Illustration: TRUMPETER FRED.]

TRUMPETER FRED.

CHAPTER I.

A DANGEROUS MISSION.

There were only thirty in all that night when the troop reached the Niobrara and unsaddled along the grassy banks. Rather slim numbers for the duty to be performed, and with the captain away, too. Not that the men had lack of confidence in Lieutenant Blunt, but it was practically his first summer at Indian campaigning, and, however well a young soldier may have studied strategy and grand tactics at West Point, it is something very different that is needed in fighting these wild warriors of our prairies and mountains. Blunt was brave and spirited, they all knew that; but in point of experience even Trumpeter Fred was his superior. All along the dusty trail, for an hour before they reached the ford, the tracks of the Indian ponies had been thickly scattered. A war party of at least fifty had evidently gone trotting down stream not six hours before the soldiers rode in to water their tired and thirsty steeds. No comrades were known to be nearer at hand than the garrison at Fort Laramie, fifty long miles away, or those guarding the post of Fort Robinson, right in the heart of the Indian country, and in the very midst of the treacherous tribes along White River. And yet, under its second lieutenant and with only twenty nine "rank and file," here was "B" Troop ordered to bivouac at the Niobrara crossing, and despite the fact that all the country was alive with war parties of the Sioux, to wait there for further orders.

"Only twenty nine men all told and a small boy," said Sergeant Dawson, who was forever trying to plague that little trumpeter. It was by no means fair to Fred Waller, either, for while he was somewhat undersized for his fifteen years, his carbine and his Colt's revolver were just as big and just as effective as those of any man in the troop, and he knew how to use them, no matter how hard the "Springfield" kicked. He rode one of the tallest horses, too, and sat him well and firmly, notwithstanding all his furious plunging and "buckings," the day that Dawson slipped the thorny sprig of a wild rosebush under the saddle blanket.

From the first sergeant down to the newest recruit, all the men had grown fond of little Fred in that year of rough scouting and campaigning around old Red Cloud's reservation all of them, that is to say, with the possible exception of Dawson, who annoyed him in many ways when the officers or first sergeant did not happen to be near, and who sometimes spoke sneeringly of him to such of the troopers as would listen, but these were very few in number.

Fred was the only son of brave old Sergeant Waller, who had served with the regiment all over the plains before the great war of the rebellion, and who had been its standard bearer in many a sharp fight and stirring charge in Virginia... Continue reading book >>




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