A Conversation by Firelight

Fiction By Elizabeth // 4/14/2009

“Tell me, sir, will you have your coffee with cream or sugar?”
“Cream, if you please.”
In a room with rich furnishings and the light of candles bouncing off the walls, two men sat. One, with a very dignified face and bright blue eyes was dressed in a smart, red uniform; and the other with a glance of cool, quiet knowledge was arrayed in a blue coat with gold buttons. These two men were sitting by the fire and sipping coffee while glancing at the flames with serious eyes.
“The wind blows exceedingly strong this night,” said the officer.
“And the snow drives with it in great speed,” said the other.
A pause. The man in the blue coat sipped at his coffee.
“Tell me, sir, why the reason of rebellion?’ said the officer.
The man in the blue coat looked at him with a gentle smile. “Yea, I will tell you.”
“Then, why the Boston Tea party?”
“Why else than the want of freedom from the injustice of England?”
This caused the officer to be silent. He pondered what the other said and looked again at the fire.
“Could the people not realize the safety England had provided?” he asked, thoroughly puzzled.
“Could the King not realize the burden he had placed on the shoulders of the colonists? The taxes, the acts, and the constant realization that they were under a power and were un-free to do what they would?”
This thought came rushing into the officer’s mind, and still he was left in complete loss of acknowledgement.
The man in blue took another sip of coffee, and stood up to put another log on the fire. The flames crackled as he did so, bursting into a new bright flame soon after. He sat down again and handed the officer a plate of little cakes. The officer took one.
“Thank you,” he said.
“You are welcome,” said the other
Another silence. The two ate the little cakes while busy with their own thoughts.
“Why would the men in this country, with no need in the world, want to fight for the unnecessary want of freedom?” said the officer.
“Unnecessary you say? Nay, but to these men the freedom was worth it. The acts of the King had burdened their families. The freedom was in their hearts. Freedom is in all. Freedom is what we are made for. It is what gives a country equality to all. We are not made to be above each other in power. We are all equal. This is what they fought for.”
Again the officer was left quiet.
“Take this example. A woman is standing with an angry threatening look, hands on hips and hair tied back. She is sharply gazing at a dog, sitting with his head up and ears drooped on the sides of his head. Nearby are chickens eating something on the ground oblivious of what is going on, except for one. This chicken seems to be cackling at the dog. The woman resembles England, glaring down at the dog, which resembles America. She pushes on the dog harsh words, resembling the acts sent out by Parliament. The dog has no word in the matter, for he has no voice. We had no voice in Parliament. The chicken that is cackling resembles the people of England, laughing at the Americans for what they would call a silly want of freedom, while the other chickens keep on eating without caring what is going on. These are the people in England who have no idea why America would want to have no king and keep on minding their business.”
“But what of the battle of Lexington and Concord? This battle was fought by a little group of Minutemen against experienced British soldiers. Even though the Americans won, they lost heavy casualties. What is it that made them want to continue?” said the officer.
“This question is answered by the answer I gave you before. We have a want of freedom so strong that it overpowers those of fear. The fear of the King overcame the fear of the total outnumbering British.”
The British officer, for he was the officer General Gage, began then to grasp this meaning and was working through his thoughts.
“These thoughts are all very strange to me. In England, I have experienced no restraining command from the King, nor wanted to oppose his laws. The King, in my mind, is the main source of civilization and educated thought.”
“Yet, for another land, under the rule of one far away, and with completely different landscapes, peoples, cultures, and thoughts, this is restraining. Most people, who came to America, came to escape the overruling powers of other countries. In this new land, freedom was to be expected, not the power of England overruling them.”
General Gage’s mind then began to open up to this new idea.
“Who was it that warned the Americans of the approach of the British at Boston and around that area?” General Gage asked.
“Different riders were sent out in April, on the eighteenth, 1775. Two of the riders were Paul Revere and Samuel Dawes. The riders took different routes on horseback, warned the towns to guard the weaponry, and warned John Hancock and Samuel Adams of the British approach. Thankfully, it was a spring night and not in the winter, for they rode a long distance and speed was needed, not the driving amount of snow.”
“Yet, how did they know what route the British came by?”
“Lanterns were lit in the Old North Church. One, if by land; two, if by sea.”
“A most clever idea!” General Gage remarked. “In December, how did you win victory in Trenton?”
“That night was one of the most challenging battles, not of the Germans, but of the weather. The night of December twenty-fifth was cold and blustery. The snow came down heavily and hail was falling with freezing rain. We crossed the Delaware River where ice blocks floated. The progress took slower than it would have in clear weather. When we landed on the other side, there was much distance to be covered from the Delaware River to Trenton. The attack began at eight o’clock in the morning and lasted for two hours. We lost two of our men in battle and five were wounded. Nine hundred and eighteen Germans were taken prisoners.”
General Gage was in wonder of such a well planned attack.
“How did your men during the winter of 1778 in Valley Forge gain so much more discipline?” General Gage asked.
“That winter was very hard for the men camped there. It took a long time to build cabins for those men, and they suffered from the cold terribly. Yet, that winter, Baron Von Steuben, the Prussian, came to our aid. He trained the men in discipline and taught them how to march.”
“He did a marvelous job,” said General Gage. “How was the battle of Yorktown ever won by the Americans?”
“Much of the victory of the battle of Yorktown was gained because of the French. Without the French, the British would have escaped by boat. The preparations started in September on the twenty-ninth. The British retreated farther back into Yorktown, and we advanced, building trenches. In October, on the sixth, we edged in even closer, and built yet more trenches. Then, three days afterward, the attack began. On the eleventh, we advanced. Three days later, the Marquis de Lafayette attacked with four-hundred men. On the sixteenth, the British attacked the men who were sleeping in the trenches and killed sixteen, while taking six guns. Finally, on the seventeenth, General Cornwallis surrendered, for he had run out of almost all food and water, and the ships that were to save him were fought off by the French fleet of Admiral De Grasse.
“I think, sir, that your army was a brave one, that their cause was true, and that their want of freedom strong. I hope that this country will blossom and always be free.”
“So do I,” said General Washington. “So do I.”

Research Sources:

A Patriot’s History of the United States From Columbus’s Great Discovery to the War on Terror
Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York 10014, U.S.A
Copyright Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen, 2004

Christ and the Americas by: Anne W. Carroll
Copyright 1997 by TAN Books and Publishers, Inc.

Liberty Kids PBS


A very interesting concept.

A very interesting concept. I liked this : )

"I cain't be sure in the dark, but I think I blowed his head clean off."
~Grandma Lizzy - when asked what she did about the copperhead on her back porch

Mary | Tue, 04/14/2009

Brother: Your character should drive a motorcycle.
Me: He can't. He's in the wilderness.
Brother: Then make it a four-wheel-drive motorcycle!

I like this alot,

I like this alot, Elizabeth!! And I like how you put the picture of the woman glaring at the dog in there. Great job!
"Sing as if no one is listening;
Dance like no one is watching;
Live as if you will die tomorrow;
Love like it will never hurt."
-Old Irish Saying

Clare Marie | Tue, 04/14/2009

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]


Wow! I would have never gotten all this out of that picture... good job! :)
** ** ** ** ** **
"When you sat behind Jesus in the third grade..."
--my friend Val, after my mom began a story with 'back in the day...'

Hannah W. | Wed, 04/15/2009

Speaking of Tea Parties...

I just got back from one in Portland Oregon. It's scary, all the freedom and liberty that was won for us in the Revolutionary War seems to be eroding away before our eyes as government takes over everything. For the good of our country, we've got to return to the spirit that was in our country when we fought for independence.
Excellent portrayal!

James | Thu, 04/16/2009

"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle


very well written!
"...this is my tale, and it is ended. Good-bye." Pippin

Bernadette | Thu, 04/16/2009

Cool story! I liked how you

Cool story! I liked how you had the dialogue between General Gage and Washington, very neat!
James: you went to one of the Tea Parties! Coolness!
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

Heather | Thu, 04/16/2009

And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

I was so excited to read

I was so excited to read this, because this is exactly what I've been studying in history lately! This was really informative. :) Great job!


Anonymous | Fri, 04/17/2009