White Mane Publishing (2002) $11.00 (Postpaid) $12.16 in Canada. For autographed copy send check or money order made out to William P. Robertson to P.O. Box 293, Duke Center, PA 16729.


HAYFOOT, STRAWFOOT: THE BUCKTAIL RECRUITS is the first book in a seven novel series by William P. Robertson and David Rimer. It details the adventures of a preacher's son and a trapper's lad who join the famous Civil War sharpshooters--the Bucktails. Trials they face include a den of timber rattlers, a wild raft ride down a whitewater river, and a fight-to-the-death with a murderous lumberjack all BEFORE they are plunged into battle at Dranesville, Virginia!

Excerpt from Chapter 20: "Training Hayseeds"

The men equally hated the instruction they received in close formation drilling. Whole afternoons were spent saluting sergeants, standing at attention, marching to the left, marching to the right, advancing as a group, or retreating as a group. These maneuvers seldom went smoothly because many of the woodsmen didn't know one foot from the other. Finally, after the ranks ended up in a horrendous snarl, a frustrated drill instructor barked, "You Bucktails are the most pitiful group of recruits I ever seen! You got about as much discipline as bucks in the rut! Looks like the only way you're gonna march in cadence is if we makes a game of it."

"A game?" grumbled Hosea Curtis. "I thought we came here to kill Rebs, not play 'Ring Around the Rosie.'"

The officer told Curtis to shut his "pie hole" and ordered the soldiers to tie hay on their left boots and straw on their right boots. "Okay!" he bellowed. "Now I want you to repeat after me:

March! March! March!

Old soldiers march!

Hayfoot, strawfoot,

Belly full of bean soup--

March, old soldiers, march!"

"This is like being back in nursery school," giggled Jimmy.

"If we do this in a battle, we won't even have to fire a shot," chuckled Boone. "The Rebels'll laugh themselves to death."

"Silence!" barked the drill instructor. "All you idiots gotta do is repeat the words and move your feet to 'em. Just pretend you're at a barn dance. That is if there are barns where you boys come from."

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In the second Bucktail novel Bucky Culp and Jimmy Jewett's company of Pennsylvania Bucktails under Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Kane trek to the Shenandoah Valley in pursuit of the legendary Reb general, Stonewall Jackson. Using Kane's new technique of being "foot cavalry," Bucky and Jimmy are thoroughly tested by grueling forced marches, the loss of a beloved comrade, the imprisonment of their lieutenant colonel, and bitter defeats that decimated the ranks of the proud Bucktails.

Excerpt from Chapter 12: "Battle of Harrisonburg"

Bucky moved even more cautiously as he slipped along toward a glen that opened up directly in front of him. It was a good thing he was vigilant because it was there that a full regiment of Rebel infantry came charging from cover and opened up on the Bucktail skirmish line. The bullets were so thick in the air around Bucky that only the tree he had stopped behind saved him from sure death.

After the thunder of the initial Rebel volley had died away, Bucky and his comrades began firing from behind trees Indian-style. They shot with such murderous precision that within minutes they collapsed the center of the Confederate line.

"That'll fix 'em!" shouted Segeant Curtis when he saw the Rebels fall back. "Is that all the esteemed 58th Virginia's got? They don't de-serve that fancy flag they're flyin'."

Not knowing that most of the Rebel regiment was hidden by the crest of the hill, Lieutenant Colonel Kane rose to signal for an attack. Before he could give the command, Private Martin Kelly of Company G shouted, "Shall I draw their fire?" With that, he stepped from behind a tree and was blown backward by a volley of balls shot by the concealed Confederates.

Kane gasped when he saw the extent of the Rebel forces and said to Captain Taylor, "We would have committed certain suicide if not for that brave fellow. Now, I can see how outnumbered we are. Let's give 'em hell until Fremont sends reinforcements."

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Joe Keener was a carefree private more suited to brawling in taverns than fighting the Rebels. He doesn't learn the true meaning of responsibility and esprit de corps until he befriends the boy soldier, Jack Swift, during the grueling Peninsula Campaign. After Joe and his young pal barely escape capture near Mechanicsville, Virginia, they fight four desperate battles in six days as the Union Army evacuates to the James River. PERILS ON THE PENINSULA celebrates the courage and humanity of these Bucktail skirmishers as they struggle to survive the brutality of the American Civil War. According to the authors, this is the most action-packed book of the Bucktail series.

Excerpt from Chapter 16: "Second Bull Run"

The riflemen again spread into a skirmish line and moved purposefully up the pike. Everywhere were signs of the previous day's battle they had heard while on the march back from Bethlehem Church. Dead cavalry mounts littered the road along with shattered caissons. As Keener stepped over a horse that had been blown in half by a cannon shell, he muttered, "Maybe our walkin' in circles weren't that bad after all. I reckon we got outta here yesterday jess in time."

"Yeah," replied Sergeant Blett, "we were lucky the Rebs weren't in a fighting mood when we stumbled across them."

The Bucktails continued up the road until a little village could be seen in the distance. Here, McNeil ordered his men into battle formation, and the six companies moved in force toward a house just visible through the brush to the left of the pike.

"The Rebs can't be far now," grunted Jude, peering warily into the undergrowth.

"They're so close I kin smell 'em," whispered Zack.

The riflemen took only a few more steps when the thunderous report of a hidden Reb battery shook the woods to the right. At the same instant, concealed gray sharpshooters let loose a volley from the thicket south of the road. As Keener dove for cover behind a splintered fence, he watched an exploding cannon shell catch Enos Conklin in its fury and blow his uniform into bloody rags. Conklin tumbled lifeless to the ground with surprise still caught on his face. A second volley of Reb bullets tore through the ranks before Joe remembered the Sharps clutched tightly in his huge paws.

Joe heard the Swift brothers' rifles spit a defiant reply before he, too, took aim at the Reb musket flashes winking from the thicket. Now, he saw that the enemy occupied the distant house, as well. Feeding linen cartridges into his Sharps, Keener soon was shooting three times faster than the musket toting Rebs. A gleam of determination grew stronger in his eyes each time he saw a gray shadow throw up its arms after he had squeezed off an accurate shot.

"Fix bayonets!" Keener heard Captain Irvin bark when the Reb musket fire began to slow. "Charge!"

In an instant Keener leaped to his feet and rushed with Company K headlong up the pike toward the Reb-occupied house. He was oblivious to the whining bullets whizzing past until he saw Zack grab his leg and sprawl headlong on his face. Swift lay writhing in pain, but Joe dared not stop to assist him. Instead, he bent forward at the waist and streaked straight for the Reb infested building. Using his huge shoulder for a battering ram, he smashed in the door, allowing his comrades to swarm in around him. His ears rang with rifle blasts inside the close quarters of the room. He bayoneted the first gray form he encountered and then smashed an officer to the ground with his rifle butt. The battle was over in an instant when the surviving Reb sharpshooters bolted out the back door and streaked for the brush.

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Corporal Bucky Culp wasn't exaggerating when he called the deserter Whalen "the worst sort of varmint." Whalen's cowardice caused Bucky's best friend to be wounded at Antietam, and now the rascal brought shame on the whole regiment by attacking the farm girl, Sarah Pfaff. Little did Bucky know when he rescued Sarah that soon she would fill a major void in his life. He was just glad to have survived the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.

Excerpt from Chapter Nine: "A Very Cold Place"

Jimmy floated in a very cold place where darkeness reigned. He was alone there with a terrifying numbness that paralyzed every movement and strangled every recollection. To struggle against the cold was useless. There was no way out of the frozen maze where time stood suspended.

Sometimes the darkness was invaded by random flashes of light that triggered images of horror. A colonel toppled bloody to his death. A chorus of cries wailed in anguish. A chaplain swirled in a musket-smoke cloud. A chorus of cries sobbed for release. A chaplin vanished before his prayer was completed. A chorus of cries denounced their creator.

Jimmy drifted...drifted...drifted to a field of light. There, air rushed into his lungs. He sputtered and choked and opened his eyes. Stretched out above him was a cloudless sky that shook with thunder. Brain impules moved his hand, but his legs would not respond. He inspected his blue jacket caked with gore, and glimmers of a dim battle played in his head. When he breathed again, the stench of death violated his nostrils, and he registered a dull ache in his chest. He raised his voice to cry for help, but the sound that emitted from his thirst-wasted throat was like the croak of an old crow.

Panic seized Jimmy, but no matter how he struggled, he could not rise. The pain in his chest grew sharper, too, and fever burned on his forehead. Gradually, he became aware that others like him littered the field. Voices moaned for their mothers. Voices cried out for their God. Everywhere the anguished voices pleaded for mercy or death.

Mingled with the human cries came eager calls of scavenger birds. The terrible caws circled, circled--ever closer. Then Jimmy spotted a raven that hopped upon a slain neighbor's chest and used its beak to pluck out a putrefied eye. Jimmy gagged, but nothing remained in his stomach to vomit. Instead, he squawked and gibbered and waved his numb, heavy hands until coal black wings erupted in flight.

This exertion so drained Jimmy that he lapsed back into unconsciousness where shrieks of battle racked his dreams and cannon barrels belched body parts instead of shot and shell. Rebs charged from a dark wood squealing like pigs, and each soldier's head sprouted the tusks of a boar. Their squealing intensified, terrible and real, when they overran the Yankee ranks.

A sniffing snout explored Jimmy's leg, and he jerked and convulsed until his eyes popped open. All around him huge Berkshire boars were feasting on the flesh of dead men, and six hundred pounds of hunger had chosen him for its next meal. Jimmy snarled when the black beast sidled forward to taste his skin. Fear did the work of an accomplished surgeon, for the boy's right leg resumed its function, lashing out to kick the brute back. The boar circled to consider its options, its floppy ears signaling a semaphore of menace. Its hooves looked sharp and deadly, and it opened its mouth to reveal man-sized cheek teeth.

The boar lowered its head and rushed forward to trample the cringing youth when four soldiers strode boldly toward it and began clubbing the beast with their rifles. The boar dodged through the maze made by the men's legs, slashing with its tusks and squealing with anger. It gored a lanky private in the thigh and spun around to attack a surprised corporal. The boar would have nailed him, too, if a burly sergeant hadn't planted his rifle butt between the brute's eyes with all the force he could muster.

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Still reeling from the terrible Battle of Antietam, the Bucktails hardly dream they would face even greater trials at Fredericksburg. Besides the Rebel menace, the famed rifle regiment is forced to overcome grueling mud marches, the lack of warm clothing, and a steady diet of embalmed beef and sheet-iron crackers during this brutal winter campaign. Add dissension within their ranks, the harsh leadership of Old Snappin' Turtle, General George G. Meade, and the jealousy of the other Pennsylvania Reserves, and the Bucktails' survival is a true testament to their battling spirit.

Excerpt from Chapter 19: "The Bucktails' Revenge"

Hosea, Bucky, Boone, and Jimmy crept stealthily through the fuzzy predawn light toward the First Pennsylvania Reserves' row of barracks. Four inches of overnight snow deadened their footsteps as they snuck along. A sleepy sentry slumped near the door of the reserves' headquarters, and Hosea rushed to silence him before he could cry out. Curtis dragged the guard's unconscious body around a corner.

Boone shinnied up the bare flagpole with a powder horn slung over his shoulder. Noiseless as a mountain cat, he swung to the peak of the roof and crept across to the smoking chimney running up the back of the building. Chuckling softly, he poured the contents of his horn down the flue and hastily plugged his ears.

A rattling explosion echoed from inside the headquarters, followed by cries of anxious confusion. A moment later the door burst open and out scrambled a mob of choking Pennsylvania Reserves. Some hopped on one leg, struggling to pull on their trousers. Other brandished hastily grabbed weapons or ran for the brush in blind terror. The din became fearful as the rudely awakened soldiers shrieked, cursed, and bellowed.

In the ensuing chaos, Jimmy Jewett slipped inside the smoky barracks and groped blindly along the walls until he found the First's banner hanging in the corner behind the door. Aong with it were his squad's stolen buck tails, and he scooped them up and stashed them in his haversack. With the flag draped over his shoulder, he scurried outside and ran for all he was worth for the brush huts of his regiment.

As Jimmy scrambled for safety, the other members of his squad were busy enjoying the mischief they had caused. "Look at them fellas dance," laughed Boone, sliding down the flagpole to rejoin his grinning friends.

"I ain't seen such a swarm since I knocked a gol-dang wasps' nest from the rafters of my pa's barn," chortled Hosea.

"The way their eyes is bugged," howled Bucky, "you'd think Jeb Stuart hisself was at their doorstep."

At the sound of the Bucktails' laughter, the First Reserves stopped their hopping, milling, and manic shouting. They stood looking at one another dumbfounded and then turned in unison to glare at Bucky, Boone, and Hosea. The sun was just peeking over the horizon, and its revealing light added to the reserves' anger and embarrassment.

"You!" growled an angry captain, shaking his fist at the still chortling Bucktails. "I should have known."

From the sullen growls of the mob, Bucky and his friends knew it was time to skedaddle. Before they could get their legs in motion, they found themselves boxed in by an impenetrable blue line that rushed to back them against the headquarters' wall.

"These fellas deserve a firing squad for what they done," snarled a frothing sergeant, picking up a handful of snow and mashing it into an icy ball.

"Yeah," growled another infantryman, similarly arming himself.

"Hey, wait a minute there, boys," joshed Boone. "Don't we at least git a ci-gar to smoke be-fore ya kills us? If we git a last meal, I'll even settle fer some crow."

"Don't listen to that jabbering fool," screamed another voice from the mob. "Let's pummel them."

"Hold on now," ordered a raw-boned lieutenant. "Wait for my signal. All together now. Ready! Aim! Fire!"

To escape the barrage of icy missiles, the Bucktails dove to the ground just in time. As snowballs splattered on the log wall behind them, Bucky and his mates snatched up ammunition of their own and returned fire. Hosea threw his projectile with such force that its impact bowled the mouthy lieutenant off his feet. Bucky's snowball smashed another reserve square in the face, while Boone's knee shot knocked a third man down.

The Bucktails' retaliatory strike only seemed to incense the mob further and was answered by volley after volley of hurled slush. Bucky suffered a deep cut on his cheek, and Hosea was bleeding from the forehead after a couple more rounds. When it looked like the three huddled soldiers were about to receive a serious pummeling, a bugle sounded from the brush huts that bordered the First Reserves' camp. Turning in surprise, the infantrymen found themselves under attack from a bristling company of bucktailed riflemen led by none other than Captain Taylor. The fight renewed, became fast and furious, and turned into a wild melee that involved fists as well as snowballs.

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THE BUCKTAILS AT THE DEVIL'S DEN returns the battered regiment to the defenses of Washington. Instead of the soft duty they envisioned there, the riflemen are harassed constantly by Rebel guerrillas and the Gray Ghost, John Mosby. The action intensifies when the First Rifles are ordered on a double-quick march to catch Lee's invading Rebel Army at Gettysburg. The Bucktails' brutal counterattack from Little Round Top and their deadly skirmish at the Devil's Den add another heroic chapter to the illustrious history of the 42nd PA Volunteers.

Excerpt from Chapter 16: "Day Three"

Bucky had no sooner reported to Hartshorne when the feisty major growled, "I see you stirred those Rebels up pretty good, Culp. Being you're familiar with the terrain up there, I want you to guide Lieutenant Kratzer's company and make another attack. The enemy won't expect you again so soon. You're sure to take the fight out of them this time. The rest of your men can fall out."

"Yes, sir," the sergeant answered grimly.

Sergeant Culp directed Kratzer's party back up the ridge, through the thick forest, and right to the doorstep of the Devil's Den. No Rebs opposed them as they sneaked silently along and then dispersed into a battle line. At the lieutenant's signal, the Bucktails dashed forward and got within a few feet of the enemy before the waiting Rebs leaped up and poured a murderous fire into the Pennsylvania ranks.

The Bucktail next to Bucky fell with a fatal head wound as another screaming bullet creased the sergeant's ear. The sting of his wound so infuriated Culp that he tackled the nearest Reb and brutally bashed his head against the rocks until he quit moving.

Kratzer, meanwhile, was engaged in a hot pistol duel with a lean Confederate officer who had a saber scar on his stubbly cheek. Both men fired twice at point-blank range before the Confederate collapsed with blood oozing from a neat bullet hole in his forehead. Kratzer's left arm, pierced through the elbow, hung uselessly at his side. Clutching his wound, the lieutenant screamed frantically for the men to retreat.

Bucky shot a charging Reb square in the face. Then he caved in the throat of a second attacker with his rifle butt before fleeing with the other Bucktails. He had just reentered the woods when there was a wild volley of musket fire behind him. As leaves showered from the surrounding trees, Bucky lowered his head and sprinted down the hill with amazing agility. He dodged oaks, hurdled rocks, and didn't stop running until he had vaulted the stone wall sheltering his squad.

As Culp collapsed in a panting heap beside his mates, Jimmy cried, "Look! You're bleeding! Where are you hit, Bucky?"

"Probably in the backside," replied the acerbic voice of Major Hartshorne. "That was the only target the sergeant presented."

"That ain't true," gasped Lieutenant Kratzer, staggering around the end of the wall holding his shattered arm. "The Rebs was layin' fer us, Major. They waited 'til we was ten feet away be-fore blastin' us. An' Culp was right there in the thick o' it. I seen him kill at least three Rebs myself. It's a miracle any o' us sur-vived."

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The last year of Sergeant Bucky Culp's enlistment was his hardest yet. After deserting the army to marry his darling Sarah, Culp barely misses being shot by a firing squad. Embroiled in the Wilderness and Spottsylvania Court House Campaigns keeps him in harm's way until the day he's mustered out of service. But the greatest test of Bucky's character awaits him at Sarah's place in Sharpsburg, Maryland. THE BUCKTAILS' LAST CALL ends with Sergeant Culp's greatest display of bravery as he handles this personal crisis in the fine fighting spirit instilled in him by the 42nd PA Volunteers.

Excerpt from Chapter 15: "Sharpshooters and Dead Men"

By late afternoon a thin line of haggard Bucktails crouched in the Union trenches. "We better pray that the Rebs don't charge us,"murmured Jimmy, staring off across no-man's-land at the opposing fortifications.

"They seem mighty quiet up there," said Boone. "They must be plannin' some devilment."

As if to confirm Crossmire's suspicions, a Reb voice shouted from above, "Hey, ain't you them stinking Bucktails that bushwhacked our boys down by the Po?"

"Yeah, an' if you stand up," quipped Boone, "we'll shows ya firsthand how we done it."

"Which one of yous done made them lucky shots on Jeb and Joe?" growled another Rebel.

"What do ya mean, lucky?" yelled Zeke, flushing crimson.

"If you's actually the killer, I want a crack at revenging my bothers."

"Yeah, I'm the MARKSMAN that drilled yer kin."

"Then, I challenges you to a duel, right here and now!"

"An' I ac-cept!"

"Hold yer horses," bellowed Hosea. "How do we know that you fellas will fight fair? Be-fore Zeke here stands up, we needs ya ta promise there'll be no hidden backup shooters snipin' 'im when he wins."

"We promise," agreed a Reb colonel, standing up to wave a white flag. "But it's our man who'll be victorious, sir. Back home in Carolina, Smith pleasured himself shooting flies off a barn wall."

"Alright, then," grunted Curtis. "We need each shooter ta stand up an' turn their backs ta each other. On the count of three, they'll turn an' fire."

"I doubt if any of you Yankees can count that high," drawled an anonymous Reb, "so you better let our colonel do that."

"Okay," answered Sergeant Curtis. "With his big mouth, neither fella's gonna have any trouble hearin' 'im. Send yer boy out."

A chunky Confederate dressed in butternut crawled boldly from his trench and strode ten paces closer to the Union lines. Before Zeke could do likewise, Boone grabbed his friend's arm and said, "Wouldn't it be best if I ac-cept their challenge?"

"Why's that? Didn't I prove I was the best dang sharpshooter in this outfit?"

"But think o' them little gals o' yers."

"Git yer hands off me, Boone. Ain't no way I'm gonna lose."

Zeke pushed Crossmire away and clambered from his rifle pit to face the big Reb. When Zeke stood up, a mouthy corporal taunted, "Hey, this here fight ain't fair."

"What do ya mean?" shouted Curtis.

"'Cause I seen circus midgets bigger than your boy. How's Smith gonna hit him?"

"Yer colonel musta fibbed then when he said yer fella kin pick flies off a wall."

"Alright, that's enough!" barked the Confederate officer. "Turn around, Bucktail. Smith, you, too. On the count of three you will spin and fire. One. Two. Three!"

Incensed by the memory of his brother's death, the Reb spun on his heels, leveled his rifle, and fired before Zeke could get halfway around. His bullet sang unheeded past Powers' nose, and the Bucktail squeezed off a shot that struck his opponent between the eyes. Before the dead Rebel even hit the ground, four more Southern voices screamed out to challenge Zeke.

"I'll take on all comers," answered Powers coolly, "one at a time."

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"A mountain man's first duty ain't to no king," yelped Lightnin' Jack Hawkins. "It's to survive!" That was enough justification for his fellow scouts, Bearbite Bob Winslow and young Will Cutler, when they fled from the massacre of General Edward Braddock's redcoats near Fort Duquesne. Yes, survival was an everyday priority for these hardy men who trapped beaver and hunted for their meat in the primordial forests of the Alleghenies. Dangers lurked everywhere here in the form of ferocious cougars, scalp-stealing savages, and white water rivers of immense fury.

The woodsmen's worst nemesis, though, was Bold Wolf, the vicious Ottawa chief who brutally murdered Cutler's father and wanted to kill all the English like one pigeon. If that failed, the ruthless villain was more than willing to torture his enemies in the gauntlet or burn them at the stake. It was only through Bold Wolf's demise that Cutler could achieve inner peace. But would the resourceful lad be brave enough to meet the challenge when his cruel foe ambushed him in the dense hemlocks of the Alleghenies?

Excerpt from Chapter 16: "The Gauntlet"

Upon spying the trapper, the Indians rapidly formed two lines. Brandishing hatchets, switches, ramrods, rifles, and war clubs, they beckoned him to run through their midst. They spit and howled and worked themselves into such a frenzy that even Jack was a little shaken. After surveying the hissing, snarling faces, Hawkins pinched himself twice to make sure he wasn't dreaming the whole episode.

Suddenly, the trapper was pushed from behind to prod him into running. Wheeling in anger, he saw Bold Wolf leering evilly at him. "So who the fiercest mountain man, now?" taunted the chief. "Can't be he who cower like fawn or frightened kit."

"Let me loose, an' you'll find out quick-like!" snarled Jack, squirming to free himself from the lasso that still bound him. "How kin I run proper like this?"

Hawkins continued to rage and struggle until one of his tormentors stepped forward to cut him free with a flint knife. The instant he was untied, Lightnin' slammed his fist into Bold Wolf's sneering smile, spraying blood and teeth in all directions. Then, he whirled and sprinted for all he was worth between the lines of gasping Indians.

In just two strides Jack was already running full-speed. He flew so fast that he got half-way through the gauntlet before the savages could react. As he streaked along, he juked and dodged and roared like a man possessed. Finally, a powerful Delaware swung a huge war club that just missed Hawkins' ear. The momentum of the swing carried the weapon back into the line of Indians, braining the unlucky brave beside him. Hawkins cackled at the mishap, incensing another warrior to swing so hard that his hatchet slipped from his grasp. When it missed the elusive trapper, the ax sailed into the row of Indians across from him, severely wounding a tall Ottawa.

Lightnin' then began to vary his speed to throw off his attackers. By slowing down or streaking faster, he ruined the aim of another dozen assailants. Outraged by this maneuver, two Shawnees who faced each other swung simultaneously at the woodsman. At the last second Jack ducked, and the Indians knocked each other out. Hawkins had little time to relish this victory, however, when a brawny brave smacked him across the face with his ramrod. This stung so much that he didn't have time to evade a rifle stock that hit him in the stomach. Jack went down in a heap as again the Indians raised a rapid succession of piercing shrieks.

As the Shawnees there closed in for the kill, Jack scooped up a handful of dirt. Leaping to his feet, he flung the debris in the eyes of his nearest enemies. The braves screeched in frustration and sudden pain and groped blindly for Hawkins as he wormed through their midst. Only Deep Waters wasn't affected. With a shrill whoop, he swung his hatchet with all his might. Just before it struck Jack between his shoulder blades, a dazed Shawnee stumbled into its path. The axe sliced through the ill-fated brave's neck, showering his tribesmen with gore. The resulting confusion allowed Hawkins to squeeze into the last stretch of the gauntlet.

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In 1755 and 1756, the bloodthirsty warriors of Kit-Han-Ne descended upon the frontier of Pennsylvania and annihilated all in their path. Led by the Delaware chiefs, Shingas and Captain Jacobs, they spread terror to Philadelphia's very doorstep. The Indian rampage had devastating consequences for Lightnin' Jack Hawkins and his trapper friends, too, for they suddenly found themselves out of work and near starvation. Jack's fortunes became even grimmer when he was captured by villainous rum traders and taken to the Delaware terrorist base to face certain torture or death. Instead, the fleet-footed woodsman escaped to lead Colonel John Armstrong's colonial army to Kit-Han-Ne. When the white men answered the Indian menace fire for fire and blood for blood, Hawkins endured a life-changing experience that taught him the true meaning of human compassion. ATTACK IN THE ALLEGHENIES, the second novel in the French and Indian War series by William P. Robertson and David Rimer, gives a chillingly accurate account of the September 8, 1756, raid on Kittanning.


It was fully light when the soldiers entered Kit-Han-Ne, and Jack and his friends surrounded the first house they encountered. A surprised warrior stepped outside and found three guns pointed at him. "White Men!" he screeched, and soon after Hawkins heard Captain Jacobs' war whoop reverberate from the center of town. "You men," shouted Colonel Armstrong, "secure that prisoner and come on!" As Will and Jack tied up the captured brave, Hawkins was relieved to see a steady stream of Delaware women and children running for the shelter of the forest. "I sure hope Willow and Red Hawk git away," he jabbered, searching vainly for a glimpse of them. "Me, too!" yelled Will. "I can't believe there's a bounty on women and boys." "Fergit them," yelped Bearbite Bob. "Look! Our colonel's got his hands full!" Glancing down the hill, Jack saw Armstrong's company had surrounded Captain Jacobs' house. The chief and his family were shooting through loopholes in the log walls, and their accurate fire knocked one green-coated soldier after another to the ground. "Let's go!" exhorted Will. "They sure need us marksmen." With Bearbite hobbling after them, Cutler and Hawkins sprinted off to join the assault below. They had just reached John Armstrong's side when a fresh Indian volley ripped through the ranks. Hawkins heard the whoosh of bullets sing past his ear and then watched in horror as Will and the colonel collapsed in a spray of blood. Bending low, Hawkins scrambled to attend his fallen comrades. First, he crouched over Will to examine the gore oozing from a nasty wound in the lad's side. Ripping open Cutler's shirt, he tried desperately to staunch the flow of blood with a folded handkerchief. As Will lapsed into unconsciousness, Hawkins heard Colonel Armstrong groan for him. With Jack's help, the groggy officer rose holding his bloody shoulder. Staggering back into rank, he yipped, "Come on, men. Keep shooting!"

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Lieutenant Colonel Walton Dwight inherited the arduous task of whipping the green 149th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry into battle shape before the summer campaign of 1863.  Through brutal drilling, he instilled in his raw Bucktails the discipline to withstand the horrors of the first day's action at bloody Gettysburg.  Fearing Dwight more than the Rebels, the 149th held their ground despite relentless artillery cross fire and Confederate charges that decimated them for over two hours.

Among the ranks of Dwight's regiment were Henry and Willie Cole, farm boys who had as much to learn about being men as they did about being soldiers.  Henry was too cocky for his own good, while his younger brother lacked assertiveness.  Two dogged charges to the railroad cut near McPherson's farm changed all that as their comrades fell dead and wounded around them.  Gettysburg was not only the crowning moment for the Fighting 149th.  It also brought to age a contingent of brave lads who endured the lethal rain of bullets and canister to write a new chapter in the glorious history of the Pennsylvania Bucktails.

Excerpt from Chapter Twenty: Lethal Rain

Wearing fear on their faces, the exposed Bucktails scrambled from the farm lane and dove on their bellies behind the embankment to the right of Willie's company.  When the entire regiment faced the Rebel battery, another boom echoed ominously from the west.

Willie glanced down the line just as a bright flash burst in the midst of Company B.  When his vision cleared, he saw the broken bodies of six soldiers strewn about the blood-splattered ground.  Another man writhed on his back, holding his belly.  Gore leaked out between his fingers while he tried to hold in his intestines.

Willie was about to faint when another victim hopped from the carnage on his hands and feet wailing, "I am killed!  I am killed!"

"The hell you're killed!" growled Colonel Dwight.  "Go back to your place, private!"

Hysterically shrieking from unspeakable pain, the stricken man keeled over on the bank and coughed up blood until he died.  While Willie absorbed the brutality of it all, he felt a nearer concussion rock the earth and shower him with dirt and stones.  Covering his head with his arms, he lay very still for a full minute until he heard Asher cry, "Not Captain Sofield!"

Working up his courage, Willie peeked toward the place his captain had been laying.  The victim of a direct hit, Sofield had been literally cut in half, and his head now touched his heels.  Private Dimmick and Corporal Wilcox were ripped apart by the same shell and did not respond to the urgent calls of nearby comrades.

"Now, we're caught in a damn crossfire!" blared Professor Phillips, gesturing toward a second Reb battery just visible on the ridge to the west.  "Those blighters are pummeling us with enfilading fire!"

"Lay down, Phillips, and shut up!" barked Colonel Dwight.  "I don't care if the devil himself is bombarding us!  We were ordered here, and here we'll stay."

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