During the war that followed between the colonists and England, the colonial children more than once proved themselves worthy to be the sons and daughters of the brave men and women who were struggling to save their country.
There was on the Ohio river a large fort, called Fort Henry. Of the forty-two soldiers who, with their wives and children, made up the garrison, thirty had been slain in ambush by the Indians. Only twelve men were left to defend these dear ones from a band of five hundred savages that one day suddenly burst upon them. But these soldiers, although few in number, were skilled marksmen, and it was not long before many an Indian lay dead under their unerring aim.
"The powder is giving out!" soon whispered the captain hoarsely.
Every one started in terror. To surrender meant death to every woman and child in the fort.
"Outside—only sixty yards away, in the powderhouse, lies a cask of powder. If we only had that!" groaned the captain.
"I will get it," said a youth, his face growing pale and stern as he spoke.
"You know it means death," answered the captain.
"I know; but the powder must be brought. One of us must go. It may as well be I."
"But not one man can be spared!" cried Elizabeth Vane, springing towards the youth. "Stand by your gun and I will go."
"You!" cried the men.
"But you will be killed."
"I shall be killed if we surrender," said she; and not a man can be spared." And out she rushed from the fort, across the space, straight towards the powderhouse.
Even the Indians themselves halted and stared at her. Straight through their fire she passed and entered.
The Indians did not seem to understand—not even when she came forth, the little cask folded in her apron. On, on she flew towards the fort; and not until she had nearly reached the gate did a suspicion of what she had done seem to dawn upon the stupid savages. But when they saw, whizz, whizz, whizz, whizz flew the arrows through the air around her head.
One second more and she has reached the gateway! The colonel himself springs forward and draws her in.
"Thank God! Thank God!" he cried, the great drops standing out upon his forehead.
The men seized the cask and tore it open. In a moment a fresh volley burst forth upon the foe. For a time the savages fell back. Every moment was precious. If only the garrison might hold out until relief came. Already a signal had been given. Help must come very soon. Bravely the twelve men stood to their post. Not a grain of powder was wasted. Not a shot but was carefully gauged; not one but did its work.
"If help will only come! We can hold out an hour longer," said the colonel. Slowly the time dragged on. Every moment seemed an hour to the strained hearts within the fort.
But at last help did come. Suddenly, without a moment's warning, the savage foe found themselves surrounded and attacked from every side. Relief had come.
With howls and yells the cruel red men darted their last arrows and turned and fled. The last cask of powder was nearly gone. But the fort was saved.
All honor to the brave girl, Elizabeth Vane, who dared the foe, and to the brave twelve who held them back!
|—MARA L. PRATT.|
Fear not, but let your hands be strong.
—Zechariah viii. 13.