“At present we are unprepared to meet this great force but I suppose that help will come and that we shall not be dismayed. The modest man who leads the British army from the north declares in his proclamation that he is ’John Burgoyne, Esq., Lieutenant General of His Majesty’s forces in America, Colonel of the Queen’s Regiment of Light Dragoons, Governor of Fort William in North Britain, one of the Commons in Parliament and Commander of an Army and Fleet Employed on an Expedition from Canada!’ My friends, such is the pride that goeth before a fall. We are an humble, hard-working people. No man among us can boast of a name so lavishly adorned. Our names need only the simple but glorious adornments of firmness, courage and devotion. With those, I verily believe, we shall have an Ally greater than any this world can offer. Let us all kneel where we stand while the Reverend Mr. Munro leads us in prayer to Almighty God for His help and guidance.”
It was an impressive hour and that day the same kind of talk was heard in many places. The church led the people. Pulpiteers of inspired vision of which, those days, there were many, spoke with the tongues of men and of angels. A sublime faith in “The Great Ally” began to travel up and down the land.
Mrs. Scott and her little son were made welcome in the home of John Irons. Jack and Solomon were immediately sent up the river and through the bush to help the force at Ti. In the middle and late days of July, they reported to runners the southward progress of the British. They were ahead of Herkimer’s regiment of New York militia on August third when they discovered the ambush—a misfortune for which they were in no way responsible. Herkimer and his force had gone on without them to relieve Fort Schuyler. The two scouts had ridden post to join him. They were afoot half a mile or so ahead of the commander when Jack heard the call of the swamp robin. He hurried toward his friend. Solomon was in a thicket of tamaracks.
“We got to git back quick,” said the latter. “I see sign o’ an ambush.”
They hurried to their command and warned the General. He halted and faced his men about and began a retreat. Jack and Solomon hurried out ahead of them some twenty rods apart. In five minutes Jack heard Solomon’s call again. Thoroughly alarmed, he ran in the direction of the sound. In a moment he met Solomon. The face of the latter had that stern look which came only in a crisis. Deep furrows ran across his brow. His hands were shut tight. There was an expression of anger in his eyes. He swallowed as Jack came near.
“It’s an ambush sure as hell’s ahead,” he whispered.
As they were hurrying toward the regiment, he added:
“We got to fight an’ ag’in’ big odds—British an’ Injuns. Don’t never let yerself be took alive, my son, lessen ye want to die as Scott did. But, mebbe, we kin bu’st the circle.”