Bob Hampton of Placer eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 261 pages of information about Bob Hampton of Placer.
They poured in their volleys and waited.  But Reno made no move.  Weir and Brant, determined to hold every inch thus gained, threw the dismounted men on their faces behind every projection of earth, and encircled the ridge with flame.  If they could not advance, they would not be driven back.  They were high up now, where they could overlook the numerous ridges and valleys far around; and yonder, perhaps two miles away, they could perceive vast bodies of mounted Indians, while the distant sound of heavy firing was borne faintly to their ears.  It was vengeful savages shooting into the bodies of the dead, but that they did not know.  Messenger after messenger, taking life in hand, was sent skurrying down the bluff, to beg reinforcements to push on for the rescue, swearing it was possible.  But it was after five o’clock before Reno moved.  Then cautiously he advanced his column toward where N and D Troops yet held desperately to the exposed ridge.  He came too late.  That distant firing had ceased, and all need for further advance had ended.  Already vast forces of Indians, flushed with victory and waving bloody scalps, were sweeping back across the ridges to attack in force.  Scarcely had reinforcements attained the summit before the torrent of savagery burst screeching on their front.

From point to point the grim struggle raged, till nightfall wrought partial cessation.  The wearied troopers stretched out their lines so as to protect the packs and the field hospital, threw themselves on the ground, digging rifle-pits with knives and tin pans.  Not until nine o’clock did the Indian fire slacken, and then the village became a scene of savage revel, the wild yelling plainly audible to the soldiers above.  Through the black night Brant stepped carefully across the recumbent forms of his men, and made his way to the field hospital.  In the glare of the single fire the red sear of a bullet showed clearly across his forehead, but he wiped away the slowly trickling blood, and bent over a form extended on a blanket.

“Has he roused up?” he questioned of the trooper on guard.

“Not to know nuthin’, sir.  He’s bin swearin’ an’ gurglin’ most o’ ther time, but he’s asleep now, I reckon.”

The young officer stood silent, his face pale, his gaze upon the distant Indian fires.  Out yonder were defeat, torture, death, and to-morrow meant a renewal of the struggle.  His heart was heavy with foreboding, his memory far away with one to whom all this misfortune might come almost as a death-blow.  It was Naida’s questioning face that haunted him; she was waiting for she knew not what.

CHAPTER VIII

THE OLD REGIMENT

By the time Hampton swung up the coulee, he had dismissed from his attention everything but the business that had brought him there.  No lingering thought of Naida, or of the miserable Murphy, was permitted to interfere with the serious work before him.  To be once again with the old Seventh was itself inspiration; to ride with them into battle was the chief desire of his heart.  It was a dream of years, which he had never supposed possible of fulfilment, and he rode rapidly forward, his lips smiling, the sunshine of noonday lighting up his face.

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Bob Hampton of Placer from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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