Major Minor proceeded the Light Company as they marched back to Division HQ. He carried a rather smug smile on his face - very unlike his normal dour expression. Captain Beesley and the major proceeded to located the Colonel. Snapping to a smart attention they reported in.
Sensing the happiness of the two officers in front of him, the Colonel asks, "Well Minor, you seem rather pleased with yourself. Rather like the cat that ate the canary so to speak. What brings you such joy today?"
"Yes Sah! I accompanied the captain in a reconnaissance of Sonolenta Aldeia. We were landed ashore by the navy and proceeded to some woods near the town. Our command was joined by a naval gun crew that set up a gun pit for their 6 pounder to be able to fire on the town. Spotting several French patrols we prepared to leave and report back our findings." The near monotone of the glum major nearly puts the captain to sleep as he tells their tale. Beesley stifles a yawn as the major drones on.
"The day we decided to pull out, we set our sites on liberating a local ox cart to pull the Navy's gun and bring it out with us. The French beat us to the town. A full company of Legere arrives in skirmish order and occupied the town."
"The navy immediately put the French under fire and we advanced the infantry forward to the tree line. While we were engaging the French, we spotted movement to our left. This turned out to be Lieutenant Houseman of the Navy coming to retrieve us and their gun. The lieutenant placed his marines to the fore who began down the road in column."
"While we welcomed the navy's assistance, they were hardly necessary for the small scrap I dare say."
Captain Beesley coughs as he hears the Major downplay the navy's role. Without their arrival, the French would have undoubtedly concentrated all of their forces against you instead of dividing their forces as they did to engage them as well, things could have been a bit sticky.
"The French advanced in skirmish order across a curved front. They sent troops into the fields to our right and others towards the vineyards to the front as well as advancing a third portion down the road and the final portion towards our positions. I had Captain Beesley advance his men to the treeline and given them a good volley. We dedicated Sergeant Smallwood to supervise the gun.
Captain Beesley charged forward to engage the enemy with steel following their volley. Their charge was beaten off but the casualties were very light." While the words were not condemning, the tone implied that the Captain should have done more to ensure success.
Beesley almost let his anger show on his face. His men performed admirably in their charge. They only lost a single man. The French would later collapse and run while his men fell back in good order and continued the fight.
The major continued, "Drawing Lieutenant Harthwaite's platoon in line we also charged the enemy. The boys on the right of the line became tangled in the hedges. They were to exchange fire with the French stuck in the fields. Most of the line reached the enemy and drove them from the field. We captured three French officers and a sergeant. The French left several of their dead behind on the field. The action was a resounding success. We held the field. Met with the Navy and secured transport for their gun. The Marines suffered a single man lost while the Light Company lost but a few men."
Beesley nodded as now the Major's recollections were more closely matching his own. The Colonel nods and smiles, "Well done men. I see I can expect great things for the Light Company in the future. I have no doubt that we can find gainful employment for you and your men."
Even with Sergeant Smallwood's excellent supervision of the gun, he still does not have the confidence that you expect him to have (did not get promoted a level).
You are pleasantly surprised to find that all four of your men who you had sent out to request help are waiting for you and eager to be back with their friends in the company. Furthermore, you are able to replace all of your losses with well trained men. Your quality will not suffer from the few losses that you have taken.
As you and the Major begin to leave the Colonel's tent, the Colonel beacons you back for a moment. The major frowns as he is left out of this confidence. Once the tent flap closes behind the glum major, the Colonel gives you a smile. "Your episode will be communicated to the division in rather glowing terms. You have done the regiment proud sir. I feel your are an officer to be watched. A man such as you is just what I need at the moment. I will need your men to retrieve something for me."
What began as a moment of pride in yourself and your command turns to a sick dread. It sounds like the Colonel wants you to do something dangerous.
"An officer of engineers was performing a similar task to the one you just preformed. He, however, has been cut off. The Frogs have cut him off from friendly lines. I will need your company to fetch him back home. Do you think can manage this for me, sir?"
Stay tuned for the next installment of Captain Beesley and the light company.
Thanks to Mark Luther for bringing a camera to the game. All the pictures are his. Great fun. Mark played the light company while I umpired and played a late arriving French Cavalry unit. Dan Fox played the French infantry (new player to Sharp Practice) and Jim and Cody played the Naval landing party. It was great fun for me at least. I hope the other players enjoyed it as well.