Page:Yule Logs.djvu/117

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
101
"A FRENCHMAN'S GRATITUDE"

to unlimber; but the moment the enemy saw the six-pounders at "action rear," he retired out of range. Then the gunners limbered up, and we resumed our march. This happened, I think, three or four times.

We had not got very far into the plain when we were joined by a detachment of De Rolle's Regiment, under Major Vogelsang. The major, who as senior officer assumed command, told us that Macleod had ordered him to retire from his position, leaving a strong piquet to cover his retreat, and move obliquely across the plain until he fell in with us. We were then to join forces and wait for further orders.

"Colonel Macleod has ridden off to withdraw the remainder of the force," explained Vogelsang, in his broken English. "The colonel's intention is to concentrate his force and stand on the defensive until Stewart comes to our aid; but I fear the detachments are so scattered that they will be cut off in detail."

"I agree with you, major," said Holroyd. "However, we must await Macleod's arrival, and if attacked, make the best defence we can."

We then formed square with Vogelsang's men, the two field-pieces being placed in the centre, and calmly awaited the arrival of Macleod with the other divisions, or the onslaught of the enemy, whichever should come first. Our combined force numbered about two hundred and fifty bayonets, besides officers and artillerymen.

Although the enemy kept up his threatening attitude, we were not seriously attacked; but it was evident, from the sound of heavy firing on both our flanks, that Macleod, and Vogelsang's party which he had left to cover his retreat, were having a very warm time of it. We became terribly anxious about them, and would have given worlds to know how they fared. Unfortunately we could only hear, not see the fighting; for the country around us was like a sandy sea, broken up, so to speak, into waves, or