Chapter 10: The Commander
Hard at work, another military drill was at an end. These men of pride and patriotic assets stand stiff at attention while the sun sets down. Arriving at the men pacing up and down was the commander in charge himself.
He is Uriah Coleman, specifically ‘Commander Coleman’ by the men. His cheek bones wide and his muscular structure showed he was the main man. A scar on his left eye and dictatorial character showed of his very treacherous but eventful past.
With a single wave of his arm, all the men stood at ease, still alert. The relaxing setting of the sunset in the crimson sky with the background of the dusty land showed that all work was done, and the men to be put off guard for the day. Their uniforms were a bright chestnut tan with odd looking Stetson hats not worn by cowboys. Even the spurs on their shabby leather shoes were bizarre.
A man walked up during the drill talking to the commander. He did not be ashamed or angered by this man’s presence; his uniform differentiating from the rest with his honour badges and military marks on his shirt. He saluted and said to Coleman,
“Sir! Our men are fit and ready for the attack tomorrow!” The commander was pleased and responded,
“Excellent work organising the men, Mansfield. We shall treat these lands as our own joy and kinship. They shall not keep under Native occupation.” The revered young man is Matthew Mansfield, and is Coleman’s right hand man, in charge of the recruits and privates of the US army.
His rank as a Brigadier, he did not bring dishonour to the army, Coleman and himself. Mansfield’s appearance was much the opposite as the commander’s. It was less aggressive, having a smooth voice and a weak but agile figure.
All the men were settled, and headed back to their dormitories for the evening. Coleman and Mansfield both looked into the mountains and the sky, thinking of their success. “Are you prepared for tomorrow? It may be fish in a barrel, but the Natives are a bit ‘unpredictable’.” Mansfield exclaimed in a cunning manner.
“We have the rebels in the south, so we can’t focus too much on the attack. But as you say, just a few harmless armed with sticks and stones…”
“That is right, sire. How are the men doing down there in Mexico?”
“The rough Mexican heat and terrain are causing them to drop like flies. On the bright side, we are in stable control of the rebel forces. We push them back from Leper’s Leap, and lead in towards Gorodo. Battlefields don’t look splendid, but somewhat sustainable. You are dismissed, brigadier.”
Mansfield held his rifle high above his head and on his shoulder, with a feeling of companionship and loyalty for his supreme commander. Knowing that it was late too, the commander slowly left with his heavy burden hauled.
When morning arrived, the commander exited his tent and already saw his men cleaning and polishing their guns in a glad style. Mansfield approached and stood at attention. He proclaimed,
“As you can see, we are prepared for the ambush on Indian territory. Rumour has it that they bought a few muskets and repeaters, but a short raid should be successful.”
“Ha, a few guns?! We have advanced carbines, with them still using muskets? I call no casualties on our side! How many men are called on this day?”
“20 of our finest soldiers ready to rain death, plus me, of course. Today is a glorious day for battle, commander. May I question you, why so hatred for the Natives?” With a sigh, Coleman sat in a chair, sunk into it, and began his story,
“They killed my family, right in front of me. Just like that, poof, gone. It was 5 years ago, at the dinner table at my brother’s riverside lodge for his wedding anniversary. A horrible setting I will never forget. Next thing I saw, arrows in all their hearts, with me escaping for my life. Also my ammunition dispatch team were taken down by them every month or so, costing my men loads of time and money. Well there is no more to it, alright? I hire you, slaughter them.”
“I shall do as you wish, sire.”
“Now listen, brigadier. Here is the map of when our scouts detecting the village. I am counting on you that all these men come back unscathed, using all the might you have and leaving no survivors.
As his usual act of faithfulness, Mansfield salutes with the commander nodding for an answer. His horse waiting and ready, Mansfield approaches and takes off for the native village. Soon after, the armed soldiers follow Mansfield’s lead, in an act of action and violence.
“Yeehaw! Giddeup, stallion! Let’s get right in there and show those natives the true leaders of these lands!” Mansfield boasted, who triumphantly signalled the men for the ambush. Each was armed to the teeth, and was prepared for this ruthless but powerful attack.
They arrived, seeing the natives polish and aim their guns in the air, and with the flames of battle rising, one wave of Mansfield’s hand was all it took for it to commence.
Men, women and children were shot on sight in the eyes of malicious Mansfield himself, keeping a close eye on the casualties of the natives. To get a closer look, most of the men dismounted to finish of those who hid.
5 soldiers advanced in an arrow formation, and walked slowly to finish any who remained. Many natives still tried to escape, but fell right into the judgement of the rifle. In the distance, a man was trying to escape on horseback, carrying one of their elders on the back. Despite many accurate hits on the horse and the targets, they both got away.
Few other soldiers began attacking another area of the village, though all was taken care of almost immediately, using their aim and firepower as an advantage. One soldier was near the outskirts of what looked like their town hall, and tried to search for any hidden treasures or equipment.
He saw a hidden chest inside, with many strange documents, until he found what looked like a map. It was made of strong Papyrus and was deeply stained, but readable. He discarded it into his ammunition pouch, and smiled with some sense of accomplishment.
In a sudden shock, a frenzied Indian charged in, firing a repeater rapidly in a fit of rage. The soldier was killed instantly, with many bullet wounds on his chest. He fell slowly on the walls of the town hall, with none of his comrades noticing.
Gasping for breath, the Indian tried to recover after his minor exploit. Smiling softly, he regained himself and tried to find and kill the others. Before he could think of a tactic, a cavalry sabre was sliced through his mandible by Mansfield, distressed and fuming by a casualty.
“Corporal Langley! No!”
Worried, Mansfield would have dreaded the fact of Coleman’s reaction when coming back with a dead man on his shoulders. For his own respect, he told the soldiers of what happened and carried the body on Mansfield’s horse. They rode noon until dusk, with his obligation of Langley’s death on his mind the entire time.
Upon arrival, the men looked pleased while Mansfield taking nearly full responsibility of the corporal’s death. He carried the body with grief, while Coleman approaches, examining it. He walks up and down the body in Mansfield’s hands, and shouts in anger.
Coleman pulls his gun and fires a few shots in the air, screaming and shouting. He calms for a second and sits down on a chair nearby. Mansfield tries to explain in anxiety,
“I’m sorry sir. I should have kept watch…”
“Never mind.” He calms down his anger and adds,
“Accidents happen. They are barbarians, what do you expect? Not all stories have a happy ending, you know. But besides, did the ambush come as planned? How many casualties?”
“2 escaped, while we predict 30-40 dead. Is that sufficient?”
“Yes… yes…” The commander said pleasingly, trying to forgive Mansfield. He added, patting on his shoulder,
“Good work brigadier. We may have lost a man, but they lost a village. You are dismissed, your head held up high. We’ll focus on Mexico tomorrow alongside Colonel O’Neil. Our men down south are working towards that at the moment, but you can keep yourself occupied later. You are dismissed from duty.”
Mansfield could not believe of his fate. For one, the commander was only in fury for a few seconds, and best of all, he wasn’t shot on the spot. Mexico was the next target for Coleman, but it would be long before Mansfield’s return.