Dave Darrin at Vera Cruz eBook

H. Irving Hancock
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 137 pages of information about Dave Darrin at Vera Cruz.

A marine dashed up, nearly out of breath.

“Sir,” panted the marine, “Corporal Ross wants to know if you want to order the Colt gun and the marines up here.”

“No,” Dave decided instantly.  “Help one of our wounded men back to the launch and tell Corporal Ross to remain where he is.  Is the Colt loaded and ashore?”

“Yes, sir; ready for instant action.”

“Did Hicks get the women and children to the launch?”

“No sir; he has hidden them behind the lower end of the sugar mill.  The air is too full of bullets to expose the women to them.”

“Good for Hicks!  Tell him I said so.  He is to remain where he is until either the Mexicans’ fire ceases or he receives different orders from me.”

“Very good, sir.”

Stooping, the marine picked up the worse injured of the two wounded sailors and swiftly bore him away in his arms.

“Cease firing!” shouted Darrin, running along his valiant little line of sailors.  “Load your magazines and let the rifles cool until the Mexicans start up again.”

For, with the exception of a shot here and there from behind the hedge, the destructive fire had ceased.

“We must have hit a few of them,” chuckled Darrin to John Carmody, who stood beside him.

“I hope you killed them all,” replied the planter.  “They’re brutes, when they have their own way.”

“Riley!”

“Aye, aye, sir.”

“Pass the word to the men and we’ll slip back.  I don’t like the silence behind the hedge.  I suspect that the men have been withdrawn and that we are to be flanked below the sugar mill.  Tell the men to fall back by rushes, not returning any fire unless ordered.”

“Aye, aye, sir.”

A moment later ten jackies were retreating.  They gained the sugar mill, and passed it.

“Hicks,” called Ensign Darrin, “get your party aboard.  Run for it!”

“Aye, aye, sir.”

“And help this wounded man back to the launch.”

The sailor, who had been carrying the second wounded man, turned him over to Hicks, who carried his burden manfully.

Dave continued to retreat more slowly with his fighting force, taking frequent observations rearward.  From the hedge a few, sniping shots came now and then, but, as no one was hit, Darrin did not allow the fire to be returned.

Suddenly, three hundred yards away, a volley crashed out on the right.

“Flanked!” muttered Darrin, grimly, as Riley threw his men into line to meet the new attack.  “I expected it.  Aim two feet above the ground, men, and fire at will until you have emptied your magazines twice.”

Down by the launch, and not thirty feet from the wharf, stood Corporal Ross with his marines and the Colt machine gun.  The marines were wild to join in the firing, but would not do so until ordered.  Darrin was loath to let them draw the enemy’s fire until the women had been made as safe as possible on the launch.

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Project Gutenberg
Dave Darrin at Vera Cruz from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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