Assignment 3, Bring CC up to LCE
|Joshua hated being right about these things. Shortly after meeting with the President, war was declared.
As he suspected, the newly formed government would be hard pressed to stand up to a fighting force like the British military. But Joshua had been on the sea all his life. He knew what would work and what would not. That’s why he had worked out a plan of attack.
Joshua, summoned to Washington by an overwhelmed President, arrived with plans in hand for a new type of boat that could get in, strike, and escape. It was a sea version of the gorilla warfare that won America the Revolutionary War. The men hovered over the plans, questions and answers flying back and forth.
Joshua reached his limit first, “Jim, this will work. You know my record.”
“Yes, yes, you did a fine number on the British merchant ships.”
“They tell me that it brought in over a million dollars. That should be more than enough to get these built.”
“Yes, it did. But that money has already been spent to arm the militia.”
Joshua longed for battle. “I want back in battle. I can’t help if you won’t let me. My idea for this flotilla will work.”
“Why? You be over 50 years of age. You should be back on the farm taking care of your land, not charging into battle with your hat on backward.”
“Do you think I have not thought of this every day since the war ended? I knew that we would pay if we did not kill every single one of those bastards. And I am right. We are right back in it. You owe me, Jim. You know you do. You all do. This is what I want. Give it to me.”
Barney watched Jim stare out the window. He had smelled Dolly’s scent shortly after the meeting started. He listened for the signal from the gatekeeper, silently urging, “Come on now, Dolly. Yes or no? You decide my fate. Come now Dolly.” The others missed the soft knock on the wall, but Joshua heard it. He hid his smile behind his large hand and pretended to be in deep thought. Joshua was one of the few people who knew Dolly’s signals to approve or disapprove a plan. He would get his flotilla, Jim would support him now.
Joshua never told anyone why he needed to hear cannon blasts marry with the water slapping against the wooden sides of a ship and smell the gun powder mixed with salt water. It was only in battle, hearing the enemy scream in agony that he felt anything. Sometimes, with his family, he could feel, a little, and sometimes it lasted longer than a fleeting moment.
It began when Joshua was only 15 and these same bastards killed his brother. They had to pay. Joshua could still hear his brother’s dying words, “Promise me, Joshua. Get the men home. Get these bastards ….”
Without a tear, “I promise. The men will get home and I’ll get every last one of them. He was so young to be in command of the ship, yet he was a natural born leader. He got the men home -- and completed the mission. His destiny was determined that day. His next step was to annihilate every single British seaman. For Joshua, there was no coming off that mark. Two years later, he would sign on with the Navy and defend America in the Revolutionary War.
Joshua was only 17 then, but rose quickly in the ranks. He did not get to the rank of Lieutenant by age 20 by being gun-shy. He was a fearless fighter, and leader.
Now 40 years later, and after taking down many an enemy ship, he had another chance to avenge his brother, and attempt to heal the wound in his heart that festered and grew over time.
Joshua loved his flying boats. They motivated him and gave him the ability to disrupt the British ships as much as possible. Over time, Barney’s role in the war had changed. Although his gnat-like attacks on the Royal Navy had won him the respect of Admiral Cockburn himself, it was not enough. Barney’s squadron was utterly overmatched, and he was ordered to scuttle his precious design to avoid it falling into British hands. “Son, I despise that Cockburn bastard almost as much as Cornwallis for beating me like this.”
William Barney, an officer under his father, looked on without pity, “What would you have me say, sir?”
Without looking at his boy, “Not a thing, son. You are a good first officer. Are you ready to take command?”
“It won’t come to that, sir.”
“It may. Things are not going well. I think I would be of better use closer to Washington. You would have to take command of one of the ships and carry on without me.”
William swallowed hard, “That’s a sure fire way to get yourself killed….sir.”
Joshua clapped his hand on the young man’s shoulder, two light taps on his cheek, “I know. And I disagree.”
William stared at his father’s chin, “Aye … sir. Permission to retire to quarters.”
“You know I don’t go for that West Point folderol.”
“Yes, sir. And?”
William drew back to salute the superior officer. Heel, toe, 180 degree turn, shoulders back, 24 inch step …. training was all that got him out of the Commodore’s quarters with his dignity still in tact.