"...I trusted in the Almighty… I knew I could only be killed once,
and I had to die sometime."
-Anne Bailey, 1823

Wednesday, May 12

The Raid upon Martins Station

May 7. We arose early to find a golden sun burning through a haze which had settled in the night to obscure the majesty of the Cumberland Gap. Off we set immediately, seeking the flash of trout in yonder streams with which we would like to break our fast. Though sparkling waters were quickly found, our desire was left insatiated. Though in truth, my heart was entirely satiated by the company, the magnificence of the surroundings and the anticipation of the coming day. Rarely in our travels do we find ourselves thus completely undone by our surroundings, truly in a condition of such complete satisfaction as we found upon this very morning.

Together, my companion Mr. Mains, and I tread ancient paths, among the rhododendron and pines. The silent whispering of our forebears filled our heads as the cool morning breeze caressed our cheeks and caused our hearts to swell with the knowledge we were not alone. Filled were we with tender thoughts of those many who had gone before on this very trail, leaving invisible footprints upon the earth and our souls.

Having reached the summit we so desired, we returned to Webb’s Inn to join friends. Over many cups of coffee and a hearty breakfast reigned tales of times past and future, completely unbridled by truth. Sustenance of heart and belly now satisfied, my dear companion and I set off for Martins Station.

Not wishing the constant company afforded by the masses gathered upon the hill outside the fort, nor to garrison within the fort, my companion and I hacked out a small encampment within the shelter of soft pines. Having but the necessary items, our camp was set quickly with little effort. Mr. Jos.Hinson’s comments notwithstanding, our encampment was quite well suited toward our purposes.

Indeed, t’was not long into the setting of camp that friends seemed to pour out of the very woods with hailed greetings, rough slaps upon our backs and much good natured ribbing. Thus the entire day was spent in the company of friends, visiting suttlers and admiring the many goods available for notice of the public. Many were the faces we had not seen since year last, or in many cases had but corresponded with and never placed face with word. It was a fine thing indeed to spend even little time in the camps of friends. Unbidden, the day quickly slipped into night and though constantly on guard of attack our company of settlers, hunters, horsemen and friendly natives passed the night unmolested by the gathering savages. Though safe from native attacks, Nature surely blew her best winds through the mountains causing minor harm to some.

May 8. My companion remarked upon the new day; “I was half awake and two thirds asleep all night!” which did indeed seem a fair if not mathematically accurate statement. Our small camp held tight and the morning coffee was enjoyed immensely. Having sutlers nearby caused our vain side to appear and I departed company from Mr. Mains in search of female companionship to obtain garments befitting a Sunday service. Though unable to locate the whereabouts of Mistress Patton, Mistress Selter and I passed a pleasant, but unfortunately short time together strolling through the assembled tradesmen’s tents. Just as a purchase was negotiated to obtain a pistol from Mr. Moore a runner approached announcing imminent danger of attack!

As is my wont to do, I flew off toward the station camp to render my services to Captains Titus and Martin. Though concerned with my obvious femininity, the captains discerned my sincere intent to fight, with or without their leave or consent to do so, and thus they welcomed the additional steady hand, powder and lead of an experienced shooter.

Within moments the thunder of hoofs confirmed our worst fears, the whooping and snarls of painted savages ripped through the afternoon air with the sounds of engagement. A rough moment took place in getting the inexperienced men into formation and out the narrow gate, nearly causing Captain Titus to explode with rage, but once no longer hemmed in by the fort walls, the men showed their courage and hours of drilling became muscle memory, as finally they began to follow command as second nature.

Smoke from burning cabins, screams of terror, agony, defeat and defiance filled my senses entirely. A high fever burned inside my soul for revenge against this heathen force. Further, a burning raging hatred for the militia's drilled volley fire filled me and nearly caused me to break rank and engage the enemy at will, as I knew my aim would be more accurately used, and alone I could pour many many more ounces of lead down the enemy’s throats and rip through their soft red bellies.

T’was only the sheer force and brute strength of the Captain’s will that held us together in rank, particularly when approached by savages with our own dear women as captives. Surely Satan himself must embody those hellish fiends for no son of God could destroy so viciously the innocence of women and children. My God, the terror those savages struck with their fires, tortures and scalping knives, twas surely a blessing for those who were quickly dispatched, not to be taken with force to the red man’s evil places to be further tormented. Worse still, were those race traders, those men of white skin who hath turned their yellow backs upon the ways of right and Godliness! Those yellow cur dogs deserve no less than the very tortures which they themselves inflict upon their own kind.

Within what seemed hours or even days of fighting the battle was over, a haze of gunsmoke filled the valley and the wounded and dead were retrieved from the field. Screams continued to rend the air as the good doctor made every attempt to save life and rend torn and useless limbs from the bodies of the mortally wounded. The militia formed up a line and marched to a safe area for the enjoyment of a rum ration and acknowledgement of a job well done. My dear companion once again found, we enjoyed the lecture of our friend Mr. M. Baker, after which some quiet time alone and the remainder of the day slipped easily by.

This quiet reverie was once again broken by the sound of drums, screams and the crack of firelocks. To arms we ran for it seemed another battle was underway, this time with a layer of intrigue! Early in the warm afternoon sun, acting in our natural capacity as spy and scout, intelligence was gathered of devious schemes afoot. Indeed, we had heard whispered rumor of the savage’s intent to disarm Captain Titus. Once such intelligence had reached our ears fierce was our intent to dissuade any fool from such a mission. Further, other spies had gathered intelligence of evil intent to remove the cannon from our possession. Thus we were hardened to battle with our very lives to protect the honor of our captain and our strongest defense.

To Captain Titus did Mistress Bailey attached herself with much determination. Acting as his personal guard along with Colonel Brown, Captain Titus addressed his men with a bellow and allowed them to know Mistress Bailey was granted his full permission to fire at will, and buttstoke any man who came within harms distance of himself.

Thus into battle we did advance. Darkness nearly upon us, the hateful fire, smoke, and crack of firelocks filled the night. Truer men than these can hardly be imagined. Strengthened by fierce loyalty and determined to protect that which was ours we marched into the night and took on the savages with raw power. Captain Martin roared commands at his men and the men responded with perfection firing as one into the night. During the heat of battle, the smell of powder and a heady knowledge of our forebears lent strength to our purpose. Indeed, so filled were we with a second life of those who had gone before, it seemed invisible fingers guided our own to insure perfect loading and we were joined with another’s eye with which to aim true. We welcomed in the ghosts of our fathers past and joined in spirit with them, we did surely fight with double strength, loyalty and honor! No evil intended man would brook the range between myself and Captain Titus, for rather we would place ourselves in harms way, guarding his very life with our own.

Twice, yellow bellied men with paint upon their bodies to cover their cowardliness, came to engage our captain and were instantly put down as the cur dogs they were. And still the fires burned bright into the night. Orphans screamed with terror as they were torn from lifeless mothers arms, men once sound of mind and body, lost a level of conscience and allowed their minds to take leave of their senses. Yet still we fought! And the savages too seemed filled with a mindless rage, as defiant and evil as we had ever engaged. Mistress Nature again whipped her mighty winds through the mountains and so the battle fever blew through us.

Memory does not serve one well in such times and suffice it to say this is for the best; for many such battle memories are too difficult for a thinking man to bear. The savages were partially successful in their endeavor to relieve us of the cannon, however their joy was much depressed to find our good men had spiked the thing, leaving them a heavy but useless trophy. Our own men were much gladdened with the capture of the most offensive of savages who was even now bound and left for dead in a secure blockhouse, to be dealt with appropriately.

As the fires burned down and the smoke began to clear we rejoined our companions within the station camp walls. Much rejoicing took place with the capture and success of the field. The prisoner was brought forth to the Captain’s presence and lo! Even in his weakened state, did this evil son of Satan make an attempt for Captain Titus’s sword! Having been earlier informed of this savages greatest intention, we were on the lookout for such an attempt and made quick work of him. His meaty hand twisted beneath my own as toward the sky I pulled it and gave him over to Colonel Brown, who immediately tossed him like refuse of a chamber pot into the fort yard.

With this excitement past, the Captain and I passed a short time quietly together, celebrating with a rum ration. As is his duty, the captain then went out to address the assembled men and women of the station camp. His sincere and heartfelt thanks was given to all those who fought bravely, but especial thanks to Captain Martin who’s own diligence and perseverance were remarkable. Three cheers were given and the huzzah’s rang over and over long into the night.

Mr. Mains, and I once more retired to our own encampment to discuss the passed hours, during which we had hardly laid eyes upon one another. His time spent primarily in company of Mr. Delph on a couple of mules well outside the station camp. Afore long the soft strains of Mr. C. Ross’s whistle and Mr. J. Salt’s voice carried into our small copse of trees and begged us join in the merriment. Delightedly we joined with friends new and old to cheer the day, sing songs upon Mistress J. Wingo’s whim, late into the night we joined with others in telling tales of exploits past. Few times in our lives have been passed so happily as these few hours around the campfire with twinkling stars above, mountains standing guard around us and the warmth of love and friendship upon our hearts.

May 9. It was with great dismay we awoke to find fellow scout and hunter Mr. Baker standing at our very feet whilst we slept! Indeed! with much vigor I beg Mr. Mains chose his friends more wisely in future, For Mr. Baker was there to inform Mr. Mains he was needed now at this very moment as the sun cracked the horizon, to go with him on an important mission.

Left to our own devices we determined to make coffee. With bucket in hand to the spring we went, passing two farmers and their indenture along our path. Said indenture, a Mr. Neidlinger, had upon the previous evening oft let loose with his tongue a number of insults which we had chosen not yet to responded to in kind. However, unbidden into the morning light his wayward thoughts got the best of him once more and one further insult too many resulted in a pail of cool spring water being dumped upon him. Now knowing the folly of his ways Mr. N. begged the forgiveness of Mistress Bailey and further presented her with a small gift that she should know his sincerity.

Once coffee, a bit of food and the company of others were enjoyed, it was not long before Mr. Mains returned to find us in the farmer’s paddock. Lo! Mr. Mains appeared to have once again suffered injury during his time with Mr. Baker, in whose company not one month past he had received a vigorous burning from the application of Cowpeas to his flesh courtesy of Mr. B.

This time however, it seemed the wound was self inflicted as Mr. M had been much carried away with the telling of a tale and stumbled upon a stob as though reliving the tale. Grateful not to have removed his own eye, Mr. Mains returned to our company, much marked but not truly wounded except perhaps in pride.

The sound of a horn rent the glorious mountain air as the Pastor called to one and all for divine services. To the station camp we assembled in the presence of Gods wisdom. With the pastors word, the surrounding mountain beauty and His word we were many of us carried in spirit far beyond our simple selves to truly feel His presence. The magnificence of these moments with God and His chosen company cannot be described by this humble writer.

T'was truly a blessed morning, furthered by the tender words of friendship offered by one whom this writer most admires and respects. For in all God’s creatures it is often the lowliest, most humble and downtrodden that He Himself instills His words and acts for the benefit of others. And so it she, our own dearest Mistress Maggie, a simple indentured servant who brings friendship and God’s words closer to our hearts, bringing tears to our eyes as the beauty, glory, and honor being her friend fills us so fully that room must be made by the spilling out of tears.

Indeed many words of love were spoken on this glorious day, and no better place on earth in which to share them. Love and friendship only tempered by the lack of time to be spent in each one another's company. For time doth pass too quickly and too soon must we be upon the trails to return to our home lands, but never in our hearts will this time among loved ones, past and present, be forgot. The grandeur of the mountains, the word of our Lord, and the divine inspirations granted to us this day are far reaching into our very soul leaving us somehow different and better than when we arrived.

Our greatest and most humble thanks to Mr. Heck, Captain Titus and those assembled at the Station we remain deeply indebted to you.

Your most humble servant,


sketching of the goings on may be viewed:


1 comment:

  1. A good read Ann Bailey, well done.
    Regards, Le Loup.