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Good Stories for Great Holidays by  Frances Jenkins Olcott


 

 

WASHINGTON AT YORKTOWN

BY HENRY CABOT LODGE

[67] DURING the assault Washington stood in an embrasure of the grand battery, watching the advance of the men. He was always given to exposing himself recklessly when there was fighting to be done, but not when he was only an observer.

This night, however, he was much exposed to the enemy's fire. One of his aides, anxious and disturbed for his safety, told him that the place was perilous.

"If you think so," was the quiet answer, "you are at liberty to step back."

The moment was too exciting, too fraught with meaning, to think of peril. The old fighting spirit of Braddock's field was unchained for the last time. He would have liked to head the American assault, sword in hand, and as he could not do that, he stood as near his troops as he could, utterly regardless of the bullets whistling in the air about him. Who can wonder at his intense excitement at that moment?

Others saw a brilliant storming of two out-works, but to Washington the whole Revolution and all the labor and thought and conflict of six years were culminating in the smoke and din on [68] those redoubts, while out of the dust and heat of the sharp, quick fight success was coming.

He had waited long, and worked hard, and his whole soul went out as he watched the troops cross the abatis and scale the works. He could have no thought of danger then, and when all was over, he turned to Knox and said:—

"The work is done, and well done. Bring me my horse."


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