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George Stevens saw the blood suddenly spurt from the arm of a man stationed at his gun. He saw nothing strike him. The effect alone was visible. In an instant, an officer bound his handkerchief about the shattered arm and sent the poor fellow below. A glance was all George could give the surroundings, for the boy at gun number six was wounded, and he had to do service for both. A moment later the lad at number four was killed. He was hurrying forward with his cartridge, when it took fire and exploded in his hands and burnt the flesh off his face. In this pitiable situation, the agonized boy lifted up both his hands, as if imploring relief, when a passing shot instantly cut him in two.
A sailor named Blivens had his right hand cut off, and, before he could get below, a shot had passed through his body. George saw one of his division officers fall with a bullet just above his heart. He was carried below, but died soon after.
Mr. Calvin, the first lieutenant, was slightly wounded by a grummet or small iron ring, probably torn from a hammock clew by a shot. He went below, shouting to his men to fight on, and, having his wound dressed, came back, shouting and cheering his men at the top of his voice.
The wounded were carried below; but as the dead began to encumber the deck they threw them overboard as fast as they fell. The battle still went on, and the men continued to shout and cheer, George joining them, although he began to have serious doubts of the result. Not only bad several boys and men been killed and wounded, but several guns were disabled. Number five had a piece of the muzzle knocked out; and, when the ship rolled, it struck a beam of the upper deck with such force as to become jammed and fixed in that position. A twenty-four pound shot had gone through the screen of the magazine, immediately over the orifice through which powder was handed out. The brave boatswain, who came from his sick cot to take part in the conflict, was wounded, and, as he was carried below past where George was stationed, the boy could hear the great drops of blood fall pat, pat, pat, on the deck.
The two vessels had slowly but surely drawn nearer and nearer together, until both were wrapped in a vast cloud of smoke, which settled down over the water, until the ships were concealed. At last the banner of France was seen emerging from the clouds about the privateer, and the boarders and marines were hurried forward. The two vessels came together with a crash, and guns were discharged at such close range that the muzzles passed each other. With a wild shout, the boarders leaped
to the deck of the Frenchman, and George Stevens heard the order given to cease firing.
As the dense clouds of smoke rolled away, the French flag was lowered, and the red cross with the British lion was mounted to its place. George grew faint and bewildered. He looked about for Elmer, for he had not seen him since the attack began. All of a sudden he felt a twinge of pain in his right side. He had been wounded in the affray; but in the excitement he had not noticed it. Now the reaction was overwhelming.
“Elmer! Elmer!” he feebly called, and sank fainting to the deck. .. When he regained consciousness, he was lying in his bunk, his brother at his side, alive and unhurt. He looked out over the ship's side and saw the prize near them. Though they had suffered greatly, they were not nearly so cut to pieces as was the enemy. One of their masts had been shot away, their sails were in rags, and the hull was badly battered.
Many of the valuables on board the prize were being removed to the deck of the privateer, and among them was a bell, which had been bought for the church of St. Louis at Caughnawaga.
“It will serve for a different worship,” said George Stevens as he sat on the deck gazing at the bell.
He little dreamed of the misery which that chapel bell would occasion himself.
The ship put in to Boston with her prize. Here many of the wounded were left, and among them George Stevens, whose side had by no means healed.
“A voyage at sea would be dangerous for you, brave lad; remain on shore. You have friends and relatives here, who will care for you,” said the kind-hearted captain.
Charles Stevens, who had formally resided at Salem but had removed to Boston, being a distant relative of the Stevens family in Virginia, and also being under some obligations to Robert Stevens, the father of George, induced the lad to make his house his home, which George consented to do. He had relatives living at Deerfield, who next summer persuaded the roving youth to come there and spend a few months with them.
The ship on which his brother had sailed had not put into port since its departure. Though his parents had written him several times to return to his home at Williamsburg, Virginia, he decided to go to Deerfield for a few months and learn something of northern New England.
As soon as war had been declared between France and New England, in 1702, Governor Dudley, realizing how essential it was to secure the aid of the Indians, with some magistrates of Mas. sachusetts held a conference with the eastern Indians at Casco, in June, 1703. With well-feigned friendship, the savages renewed former treaties. They declared that the French had asked them to take up the hatchet against the English, but that they had refused, because their friendship for the people of Massachusetts was “as firm as the mountain, and as enduring as the sun and moon.”
Some of those hardy frontiersmen believed in their sincerity; but others shook their heads in doubt and asserted that it was their opinion that the savages, under the tutelage of the French, were playing a treacherous part. No one was long left in doubt, for, only a few weeks after the conference, the very Indians who had participated in it fell with remorseless fury upon the frontier settlers of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, scattering solemn treaties to the winds and supplanting them with death and terror. From the Merrimac to the Penobscot, the tribes desolated the border settlements, murdering the innocent, plundering the thrifty and laying cabin, mansion and village in ruin. Not even the benefactors of the Indians, the Friends, or Quakers, were spared. They respected “neither the milk-white brows of the grave and ancient, nor the mournful cries of the tender infants.”
This treachery was charged by the English to