Wednesday, May 8, 2013
It had been over a month since the Battle of Twynford in Lyndhurst county, the Confederation forces though beaten did not suffer serious losses and withdrawn back on to Cadmans bridge, where a stalemate developed between General Ferguson’s Confederation forces and General Leopold Anders Royalist Army.
It was not that both armies merely sat on their backsides, there had been plenty of maneuvering since they arrived at Cadmans bridge, but each move was matched by a counter move and they always ended up back covering the bridge.
Then 4 days ago General Ferguson received instructions he was to turn over command of his small army to Colonel Sorenson, who overnight was rapidly promoted to Maj General.
General Ferguson was with all haste to make his way back to Dover for a new task.
At first Ferguson was suspicious of the order, he wondered whether it was merely to get him away from his command at Cadmans bridge, he was all to aware that his second in command Sorenson had continuously reported Ferguson’s every move back to Lord Bedford the Commander of the Southern Confederation forces.
However reason indicated that if he were to be sacked he simply would have been told such, there was no need for deceit. Whats more as he made his way east it occurred to him the French army was supposed to be gathering at Folkstone near Dover and then it occurred to him,
'Good God Im going to be given command of the French forces'.
The rest of the journey just seemed to fly away as Ferguson spent much of it visualising himself in command of French Regulars, now there is a real command. Of course things would need to change, he would need a new uniform to fit his new status, but the prospects were enormous, not only prestige but riches as well.
As he rode through Dover making for Lord Bedford's headquarters in Dover castle he saw plenty of evidence that his new French army had not only landed at Folkstone they were already moving, he had seen some French cavalry just yesterday, their young commander told them he was heading towards London to form a advance screen; and as he neared Dover he had seen they were also in and around the castle in some strength.
It was clear to General Ferguson that he was to lead the assault on London, and the thought of him sacking that bloody nest of Royal vipers had him almost salivating at the prospect.
As he entered the inner courtyard he gave his orders to the officer of the watch a man who appeared as a rather rather stiff and arrogant officer, who merely nodded and said,
“We were expecting you yesterday sir,”
Ferguson was dirty and tired he was in no mood for junior officer smart remarks,
“Well captain while you have been sitting here polishing boots and kissing bare backsides I have been fighting the bloody enemy, so dont bother me with your insubordinate attitude or I will drag up to that bloody tower and throw you from it, now go run along and tell M'Lord Bedford that I have arrived.”
The Captain, halted looked General Ferguson in the eye, clearly he was being torn between retaliating at the impertinence of this damn dust covered country yokel and that of doing his duty, through good training or he would prefer gentlemen's manners good duty won through.
“Sir I have instructions to take you directly to Lord Bedford the moment you arrive.”
“Not before I have washed and eaten you wont, now go find me some food and where can I change and clean up.”
The captain signaled to a nearby ensign,
“Fleming you will take General Ferguson to the officers quarters, show him his rooms and make sure his bags are delivered, I will go tell Lord Bedford and Chevalier Busset that they must wait for the General to tend them”.
Ferguson then realised the stupidity of his remarks, he halted the ensign and turned to the captain,
“If his Lordship and this Chevalier chap are waiting for me I guess I cannot keep them waiting, please show me to his offices if you will captain.”
The captain smiled to himself as he lead the General through the castle to Lord Bedford's office, he knocked on the door and stepped through, from the hallway Ferguson heard the captain announce that General Ferguson and finally arrived, then moments later the captain held the door open and indicated with a smirk and a nod that Ferguson should enter.
As General Ferguson entered the room he all of a sudden felt like the poor relative at a family gathering, both Bedford and Chevalier Busset looked splendid in their respective fancy attire, where as Ferguson smelt of sweating horses and was covered from head to foot with dust and dirt.
Lord Bedford looked him from head to foot,
“Good God General, you could have at least cleaned yourself up before presenting yourself in such a..a condition.”
Ferguson sighed, he was tired and now a little annoyed,
“My Lord I apologise for my condition but I have ridden hard for 3 days to get here I was told on arriving that you wanted to see me urgently and so as to not inconvenience you any further I came straight here.”
“Yes well Ferguson, you are a day late of course, why three days when the journey should have taken two”
“My Lord there is no way I or anyone could have ridden from Cadmans bridge to here in two days, I rode hard and 3 days was the quickest I could do it in.”
“Yes well no matter General, may I introduce to you Chevalier Busset, who is commander of our allies forces.”
General Ferguson gave as gracious bow as he could, the Chevalier responded with a nod and offered his hand, he spoke perfect English.
“My Lord Bedford has been telling me of your gallant battles against the Royalist forces to the west, a most impressive achievement General, most impressive indeed.”
Ferguson was not sure what Lord Bedford had really told this French noble, but Ferguson decided that as far as nobles went, in particular French nobles he seemed a decent sort. He thought I can see the chevalier and I will work together just fine.
“Yes it has been a trying campaign in damnably bad terrain with inexperienced troops, however we have have held the royalist advance and that is the main thing for now.”
Lord Bedford said
“Indeed General you have done splendidly, most splendid indeed and because of that I have decided you are the man for a special command, just the man I need., now Gentleman please, come take a seat while I explain a little more.”
General Ferguson dusted himself down a little before he sat too close to the others, all the while pondering the words
“Special command”, yes he mused to himself it would take a special sort of man to command French troops on English soil, a hard man and a man with some recent military experience.
“Now then General have you ever been to America” Lord Bedford asked.
All of a sudden things began to start looking a little complicated,
“Ahhh America, yes I have been there in my errrr previous naval capacity.” which he and Lord Bedford knew really meant as a pirate. “But why do you ask M'Lord?”
“Because General Ferguson that’s where you are going, we need a man of your special talents to command a special group of err irregulars in North America and I and the rest of the Confederation High Command feel you are the man just for this task.”
“But M'Lord, the war is here in England, why am I being sent to the Colonies, surely there must be someone else you could send, I thought I would be leading the French against London my Lord, not a bunch of half trained militia against a rag tag Royalist militia.”
“Good god Ferguson, you value yourself rather highly, commanding the French Forces indeed, we have a professional soldier in the Chevalier to do that, a man of many years of military experience, command the French indeed.”
“No no Ferguson, its to the colonies for you, and its not simply to as you say tackle the Royalist Militia, good grief no, we have a bunch of men who just like you have talents for ummm errr creative skills and individual initiative, and if you do well Ferguson I can see you sitting rather comfortably in a lovely English estate on your return here or indeed as the owner of vast American lands, perhaps with slaves, yes lots of slaves I think”
General Ferguson all of a sudden had the feeling he had been set up, he listened as Lord Bedford related what was being required of him in North America.