Publishing Order and ProlougeEdit
|Battle of Swann's Heights (1744)|
|Author||Johnathan O' Reilly|
|Publication date||December 21, 1744|
|Published by||Royal Publishing Company|
| Preceded by|
| Followed by|
The Battle of Swann's Heights (1744) is the account of the first battle of The Second Anglo-Saxon War. The battle occured in the year 1744, and was the first decisive battle of the latter.
NOTE: This battle is told from the eyes of Johnathan O' Reilly, while taking on the duties of a Royal Marine commander.
The First DayEdit
"They are gathering to fight and it's almost bloody Christmas." grunted General Johnathan O' Reilly, the first in command of the Royal Marines. It was December 20, in the year 1744. The Second Anglo-Saxon War had just begun, and the Royal Marines were the first to respond to action. O' Reilly turned to his subordinates with a frown. "Well then, looks like we have to fight. Mr. O' Garland, take your division halfway to the bottom of the heights. There is a road there. Dig in and fortify yourselves at your discretion. I advise you post pickets some 300 yards ahead to warn of any oncoming danger." Garland nodded. He swung himself up onto his horse, and galloped away, turning to his aides and giving out orders. "Mr. Beckett, I shall want you to occupy the fort. Get the civilians in the storeroom, it will be safe for them there. Send your aide to the south side of the island, gather what militia you can." Beckett, O' Reilly's second in command, snapped a crisp salute and galloped away. "Mr. O' Reilly!" O' Reilly shouted at his eldest son, Declan, "get your division on those rocks to the west. If the enemy tries to flank us, they will go there." Declan trotted away on his horse with the orders.
O' Reilly adjusted his sword to his side, and turned to his aide. "See to it that the men stay lively." he hesitated. "And get the blasted band going! I want to hear music!" he shouted. Confused, the aide stumbled away. Within minutes, "The British Grenadiers" could be heard from the fort, and the drums joined in. O' Reilly turned and made his way to the road below.
"All in and ready for action." grinned Garland, with a touch of his shako. "We'll have em' y--" Garland was cut off by the screams of the Spanish ranks. Musket fire spat out at randome intervals, and the flashing bayonets of the enemy seemed to get closer and closer. "And, fire!" Garland shouted. A volley of 2,000 lead bullets spat out from the guns of the marines. "Pick your targets now boys! Huzzah!" Garland rallied his men with his waving sword. A flash was seen from a rear Spaniard, and the previously hyper general spun off his horse in agony. His aides rushed to his side, and he pushed them away. "Get off you damned ladies! I'm alright!" Garland screamed as he was lugged into the stretcher. "Sir, would you be so kind as to order these blasted fools to let me stay!" Garland shouted at his commander. O' Reilly shook his head, and watched as Garland was carried to the rear.
"Bloody Mary mother of God..." muttered O' Reilly. Two marines rushing before him were shot through with one bullet, and the corpses fell back onto O' Reilly. Mortified, he shoved them off and dove to the groud. He looked at the band, still playing, and he got back up. The marines had fought off two waves already, and were preparing for the third, when cannonfire was heard from above. The marines took cover, holding their hands over their heads to shield themselves, expecting a hail fire, when the third wave of charging Spaniards was cut down before their eyes. "Its Beckett, by God, its Beckett!" screamed O' Reilly. The guns from Fort Charles at the top of the heights were firing rapidly, and the marines watched as an enemy flanking company was cut down in two explosions. Suddenly the firing stopped, and a messenger galloped to O' Reilly. "Why has the firing stopped?" he inquired, wiping blood off his forehead.
"Well, si-" the orderly was cut off by distant firing. "That would do it. A Spanish squadron has sailed around the island; they have bomb-ketches and are using the mortars on the fort." he said. Just as he finished, a closer explosion revealed that they were firing explosives. "The gunners up at the fort have turned their guns round to fire on the ships. Down here these boys are all we've got." the orderly said, and galloped back up to the fort.
O' Reilly turned back to the marines, who were awaiting further commands. Distant beats of drumming could be heard; that was the Spanish again. Two stranded musket shots were heard, and it was discovered that the latter had been fired by two marine pickets that had taken a position near a small ditch. They were running back now, both lacking their tunics and hats. O' Reilly grinned. He knew that if the men had the sense to remove unecessary clothing by themselves, especially during a time like this, they could be relied upon. Pacing back and forth behind the line of marines, who had filed themselves into a front and rear rank, he observed the enemy movements. A few scattered reports were heard, and then quick "thuds" as the bullets hit home in the earth behind him. A marine threw down his musket and turned to run, but was quickly struck down by a lieutenant. "Get up you bastard!" he screamed at the marine, who sheepishly picked himself up and returned to his position.
A young lieutenant moved to O' Reilly, and he thought this boy can't be more than 15. "Please sir, take this horse and move back to the fort where it is safe."
"No." came O' Reilly, with a stern reply.
"Sir, please. It isn't safe here!" the lieutenant pleaded.
"Thank you sir." the lieutenant said, handing the reins to O' Reilly, who swung his leg up over the saddle and took a seat. "Sir, the fort is that way sir..." the lieutenant said, some what confused.
"I know, damn you."
"Then why are you facing the enemy and sitting upright?"
"Because I am a general, not some blasted captain." O' Reilly said with indifference. He grew weary of the drumbeats getting louder, when a crashing thunder exploded over the British lines. "Ah." said O' Reilly, "Now they're using artillery. Wonderful, just wonderful indeed!"
The lieutenant came running back to him. "Sir, with the artillery and shells its best for you to get down."
"You just told me to get up, now you want me down. I won't have it. I will lead my men from here, thank yo-" O' Reilly said calmly, but wad cut off concluding his sentence with two cannon balls exploding in rapid succession. He slowly swiveled in his seat, and fell forwards, swinging towards the ground. His right arm reached for the reins as he fell, but he missed. Blood spurted over him, and as he lay in shock underneath the dead body of the lieutenant he realized his staff was gathered around him, hurriedly screaming for suregeons. "What the bloody hell?" he inquired, "Oh, for the love of God! I've lost my left arm!" he exclaimed, suddenly growing pale.
"Get the surgeon! Get the surgeon, damn your eyes!" said Garland, galloping up to the group of aides. He had a bandage wrapped around his forearm where the bullet had hit him. He drew his sword and galloped off again, rallying his men. The staff cleared away, and O' Reilly felt himself being lifted into a stretcher, which was in turn lifted into a wagon. The wagon shook as it rattled up the path towards the fort, and O' Reilly was able to push himself upright. He watched as wounded marines limped up the side of the path, and he heard the screams and moans of the wounded lying on the ground.
"Stop the cart. Stop the cart!" he shouted at the driver.
"Stop the cart. I'm getting out."
"Sir...?" the drivier stood dumbfounded. O' Reilly made a gesture towards the wounded men lying on the ground begging in agony. He stumbled towards them, and ordered two marines overlooking them to place the worst wounded into the wagon. As six marines scuttled about inside, the wagon picked up speed and continued up the path, leaving O' Reilly to watch the battle. From the rock he was sitting atop of, he could see the road a mile below, and the advancing columns of Spanish troops. The exhiliration of the moment drowned the pain from his missing arm, but O' Reilly was brought back to reality by two stretcher bearers.
"General Beckett's respects, sir, and, well, he requests and strongly urges you to let us take you to the fort for better care..." said the young stretcher bearer, who turned to look at the still wildly bleeding part of the shoulder where the arm had been severed.
"Stop staring at it, man! And very well, I shall come." said O' Reilly grudgingly. The two stretcher bearers carefully bandaged his arm, or what was left of it, and placed him gently on the stretcher. He was carried up the heights, and within five minutes was being placed in a small storeroom below the fort where the wounded were being treated. A man was on a nearby makeshift table, with half of his face burned and his body black. He was unconscious, but barely alive. The man gave a low groan as he was swung to the ground, and O' Reilly placed on the table. The young lieutenant in charge of the wounded man protested, his voice cracking with young age.
"Sir, this man was being treated!" he shouted.
The surgeon cut in, "Lord O' Reilly is of higher nobility and rank, and as such he could have you disrated and dischar-"
"Well damnit he's not as wounded and I will protest as I see it to be my duty to keep this man, as he is from my squad, alive and well as long as possible!"
"Silence!" the surgeon roared as he began to dress O' Reilly's wound.
"The boys right, McElroy," he said calmly to the surgeon, "compared to that man's injury this is but a mere scratch. Come come, get him up here to be saved." O' Reilly requested.