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    Mark Arbour
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Odyssey - 28. Chapter 28

October, 1797

             

Granger stood behind an outcropping of trees and stared out at the Pacific Ocean from his hiding place. There, about three miles off shore, was a small brig, sailing southward. She appeared to be nothing more than a merchant brig, armed with perhaps a few four-pounders for defense against any aggressive natives, so from all appearances, she seemed to be a mere trader. But there was no reason for a trading vessel to be in these waters, and the only destination that was on her path was passage around the Horn. Even travelling from west to east, a much easier proposition than what Bacchante had just endured, that journey was probably beyond the capabilities of the small craft. He scanned her quarterdeck through his glass and saw a glittering epaulette on the shoulder of a young man, or at least he appeared to be young from that distance. The man must at least be an army captain. Why would someone of that rank be out here sailing about? There was really only one reason: Bacchante.

“Let’s return to the ship,” Granger ordered. They scrambled down the side of the mountain as quickly as they could, and jumped handily into Granger’s gig. A simple nod to Phillips was all it took to put the craft into motion, and send it hurrying back to Bacchante. They’d only spent a day here in the little bay, just enough time to water the ship. He noted the streaks on her side where the seas had removed her paint, and saw her jagged seams where they’d done a mediocre job of repairing the damage the sea had wrought. They’d repaired the seams well enough, but they certainly didn’t look very nice. He would have appreciated spending another few days here to set her fully to rights, but that was not in the cards, at least not right now.

“Welcome back, my lord,” Calvert said cordially.

“Thank you, Mr. Calvert. Our friend will be sailing past the entrance of this inlet shortly. Please have the ship moved to the mouth of the harbor. I want her positioned to spring out of here as soon as that ship passes.”

“Aye aye, my lord,” Calvert said. And so the backbreaking work began, of warping Bacchante out of the ‘hook’ of the inlet and into the more open part of the harbor. That took all of Bacchante’s boats, tugging at her stubborn bulk, dragging her by sheer oar power to a point where she could catch the wind and make her exit. The men labored away, the exertion warming their bodies in the cold air of southern Chile. They finally got Bacchante into position, and Granger admired their timing. No sooner had the brig passed the mouth of the harbor than Bacchante materialized there.

“Recall the boats,” Granger ordered. The wind was moderate from the southeast, perfect for their purposes. He waited for them to hoist the boats in, marveling again at what a wonderful innovation the davits were.

“Boats stowed, my lord,” Calvert reported.

“Excellent,” Granger noted. He watched the brig dallying about; still unaware that Bacchante was in the inlet. It would be difficult to spot her unless they were staring directly into the inlet, and they had already passed that point. While it was still possible for them to spot Bacchante’s spars, it was unlikely. Bacchante’s masts would blend in almost seamlessly with the trees that were so plentiful here. They would literally be lost in the forest, immune from all but the sharpest eyes. Granger was right in assuming they didn’t have the sharpest eyes on the brig. “I want every plain sail set, as quickly as you can.”

“Aye aye, my lord,” Calvert said. Whistles blew, petty officers bellowed, and starters smacked posteriors as the men soared up the masts. In five minutes, Bacchante’s masts ceased to be no more than sticks, but became alive with her filling sails. Granger felt the ship surge forward, heeling to starboard as she did, and a word to the helm steadied her on her course. As if she were launched out of a catapult, Bacchante shot out of the inlet, and headed straight toward the brig.

“Clear away the bowchaser, Mr. Robey,” Granger ordered. Robey waved his hand to acknowledge and cleared away the larboard bowchaser. The brig appeared to be oblivious to their presence, her attention focused ahead. She clearly saw no reason to worry about an area of the sea she’d already scouted, a very logical assumption, assuming her prior search had been thorough. Granger watched her through his glass, watched her get closer, until she was within long cannon shot.

Suddenly the negligent Spanish lookout seemed to spot them. Granger watched, smiling, as chaos ensued on her deck. He could see her master shouting orders, and he could see her crew hurrying up her masts to increase sail, but it was already too late. Bacchante was a fast frigate, thanks to her copied French lines. She would head reach on that brig even if the brig were under full sail. “Fire a shot, Mr. Robey,” Granger called.

The bowchaser went off, and the ball fell well within range, but a little to the right. Granger watched the army officer and the master arguing on deck, and began to wonder if they would have to pour a broadside into this brig just as they’d had to do to the last one they’d encountered. Bacchante was gaining on the brig fast; there was no escape for the Spaniard.

“Another shot, Mr. Robey!” Granger called. Evidently the Spaniard needed more convincing.

The cannon went off, and this time the ball landed ahead of the brig, clearly demonstrating that she was well within range of Bacchante’s artillery. Granger watched as the brig raised Spanish colors, and then lowered them just as quickly, indicating her surrender.

“Mr. Weston, please be so good as to go over and take possession of that vessel. You may take ten men with you as a boarding crew. Send the officers back to me.”

“My lord,” de Arana said in Spanish. “If there are any of my people aboard that brig, I may be able to get some information from them.”

“Very well. Mr. Weston, you may take Señor de Arana with you. Mr. Gatling, you go as well!” That was a necessary order, so there was someone to interpret for de Arana. Granger could have sent O’Higgins, but he didn’t completely trust him alone with his former Spanish comrades. Granger watched as the boat rowed toward the brig, while Bacchante closed to within half a cable of the unfortunate vessel and hove to so her broadside was aimed at the Spanish ship. He saw no signs of trickery, but if there were, Bacchante could load and fire enough guns to turn that brig into a wreck within two minutes.

Granger detested this, the waiting game, and forced himself to relax and appear nonchalant, even as Weston and Eastwyck boarded the brig. At times like this, he was required to stand completely still and act apparently unmoved. He’d bit back the desire to go over to the captured brig himself, knowing that he had no business doing so. He couldn’t even allow himself to walk the deck, lest the hands think he was unsettled. Instead, he simply stood there, as still as if he were a statue, only allowing himself to raise his glass and pivot slightly to take in different angles on the brig. He watched as Weston approached the Spanish master and army captain, watched as they bowed to each other, and watched as they exchanged pleasantries. He saw Gatling and de Arana begin to inspect the men, and the ship, and he saw the crew either complacently watching or engaging them in conversation. All this was as it should be, but Granger was chomping at the bit to know what the Spanish knew, and he wanted to know why that ship was looking for him.

Granger watched as the Spanish master and army captain were ushered into Bacchante’s boat, and watched as Eastwyck joined them. He put his glass down so as not to appear anxious, and merely waited for the launch to return. The army captain was first through the entry port, with two sideboys waiting for him in accordance with naval protocol. He was followed by the master of the captured vessel, then by Eastwyck. Eastwyck hastened forward to make the introductions.

“My lord, please allow me to present Capitan de Alaga, of His Most Catholic Majesty’s 32nd Tercio,” Eastwyck said in French. “And this is Captain Morales, of the brig Saphiro.” Eastwyck turned to address the Spaniards. “This is Captain Lord Granger, Viscount Granger, Baron of Ryde, Knight of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath, Collar of the Order of Carlos II.” Granger tried not to smile as Eastwyck rattled off his titles and honors, something that the Spanish seemed to appreciate. That last honor definitely raised their eyebrows.

“Welcome aboard, gentlemen,” Granger said affably as they bowed to each other. They seemed relieved that he knew Spanish.

“It is an honor to meet you,” de Alaga said. “Your reputation precedes your lordship even into the Pacific.”

“You are too kind,” Granger said. “And what brings you gentlemen to this part of the world?”

“We were merely patrolling His Most Catholic Majesty’s waters, to ensure they were free of pirates, my lord,” de Alaga lied. That didn’t really bother Granger. He did not really expect these two men to reveal any information of value to him.

Granger smiled. “While we are not pirates, the state of war that regrettably exists between our two countries must define me as a trespasser, none the less.”

“And that is indeed most unfortunate,” de Alaga said. He was a charming young man, with black hair and brown eyes. He had dark coloring, which Granger was becoming used to seeing in South America. His features, and more obviously his skin, were darker than that of the Spaniards Granger had encountered in Europe.

“As you may imagine, we must attend to getting our vessels underway,” Granger said. “Perhaps you would enjoy a drink in the wardroom?”

“But of course,” de Alaga said. Granger nodded to Robey, and delegated the Spaniards to him. He’d ply them with alcohol to see what he could get out of them. If nothing else, they would be drunk and out of the way.

“The brig was not carrying cargo, my lord,” Eastwyck said. “She mounts six eight-pounders, and has a crew of twenty. Señor de Arana is interviewing the crew members.”

“Did you find any papers to indicate their mission?” Granger asked.

“We did not, my lord,” Eastwyck said, “but I brought these officers over as soon as we could to inform your lordship of the basic nature of the vessel. And to remove them so the crew could speak more freely.”

“Well done, Mr. Eastwyck. You may assist Lieutenant Robey. Mr. Calvert, I am going over to the brig. You have command in my absence. I assume our two Spanish prisoners are harmless, but keep an eye on them anyway.”

“Aye aye, my lord,” Calvert said with a grin. Granger watched as four marines preceded him into the launch, and turned to Somers, who merely winked. He was looking out for Granger, sending a guard along with him.

The trip to the brig was easy enough. She was a nice vessel, and did not appear to be too worn. The perfect kind of craft to patrol these waters, doing just as de Alaga had said. The launch hooked on to Saphiro, and Granger pulled himself aboard with ease. Granger was used to boarding Bacchante; Saphiro’s freeboard was quite low in comparison. Weston stared at him, horrified. “I’m sorry we did not have time to assemble an honor guard for you, my lord.”

“That is quite alright, Mr. Weston,” Granger said, smiling. “We will leave the niceties behind us. What have you found?”

“Mr. Gatling and I rooted through the cabins, but found no papers of any importance, my lord. We have not had time for a more thorough search.” That made sense. The Spaniards would have destroyed them, or they would still have them on their bodies. “The crew has been quite talkative, especially with Señor de Arana here.”

“Indeed?” Granger saw the Indian talking to several men, men who bore a resemblance to him. It made sense that the Spaniards would use native men to crew their vessels. “Corporal!” Granger said, addressing his marines.

“My lord?”

“Take two of your men and do a thorough search of the captain’s quarters and the quarters where Captain de Alaga was staying. Overlook nothing.”

“Aye aye, my lord,” the corporal said, and took his squad, less one marine he left to watch out for Granger. Granger had surmised that they would do a haphazard job if he made them all go, so he acquiesced to keeping one marine escort with him. If he hadn’t, the marines would be worrying about his safety among this potentially hostile crew, and worried at what Somers would do to them if he found out they left their captain unguarded. Sometimes these people made Granger feel a bit like a fragile doll, but he understood and appreciated their concern. He turned back to Weston. “They will have more time to rip things apart.”

“I suspect they will, my lord,” Weston said, with his engaging smile.

De Arana approached him. “Capitan, the crew of this ship are my people. They will sail for you.”

“That is most excellent news,” Granger said. That was quite a coup, having a small, armed brig dropped into his lap with a ready-made crew. “Did they tell you what they were doing here?”

“They hear things,” de Arana said with a grin. “And there is important news. The Santa Clarita is in Valdivia.” The Santa Clarita was the small, but well-armored frigate that O’Higgins had told him about. “They knew we were coming. They sent her there to forestall any actions against the harbor.”

“Surely they realize that a small frigate would not be a deterrent to us,” Granger noted with a grin.

“They did not say, and they do not know, but it is possible that the San Augustin will be joining her. She was sent north, to Mexico, to escort the Manila galleon to Callao.” The San Augustin would be a much greater threat to Bacchante. Granger could visualize her, one of the old Spanish 64-gun ships of the line. She would be old and obsolete by European standards, but more than a match for a frigate in a gun duel. It would be a major coup to actually defeat the San Augustin in battle, something almost unheard of. Taking on her, as well as the Santa Clarita, would be suicide.

“So they obviously knew we were coming,” Granger deduced without much effort.

“They did. He said they received word two months ago,” de Arana said. Granger all but gasped at that. How did the Spaniards acquire that intelligence, and have it beat him to the Pacific by two months? Even if they had learned of it after he had stopped in Cape Verde, a fast ship to Panama, a trek across the isthmus, and then a ship down the coast would have taken longer than that. They must have known of his mission before he even left London.

“Two months?” Granger asked, just to make sure.

“At least,” they said. “They do not tell these men, of course, but they have big ears, and one of them was posted to the governor’s household until an, uh, indiscretion caused him to go to sea.” Probably got one of the maids pregnant, Granger thought.

“We are returning to the ship. Bring this man with you,” Granger said, referring to the man who had worked in the governor’s household. “Mr. Weston!”

“My lord?”

“We are returning to Bacchante. Mr. Gatling, you have command here. You may keep our ten men, and along with the prize crew that should give you enough to handle the ship.”

“Aye aye, my lord,” Gatling said, grinning.

“I suspect it is only temporary,” Granger cautioned. “Do not be upset when you are asked to relinquish command.”

“But it is still a command, my lord,” Gatling said. “Thank you.”

De Arana and his countryman, then Weston, preceded Granger into the launch. “Mr. Weston,” Granger said, getting his attention once they were seated. “I am hoping you do not feel slighted by me leaving Mr. Gatling in charge of the brig instead of you.”

“Not at all, my lord,” Weston said. He was such an affable, easy-going man. He reminded Granger of Ralph Miller, the Canadian captain who had become part of Nelson’s entourage. “I suspect it will do him some good.”

“As was my intention,” Granger said, smiling. “His fluency in Spanish is also helpful.”

“Something I have been working on, my lord,” Weston said, in very bad Spanish.

“Good for you, Mr. Weston,” Granger said slowly in Spanish, then reverted to English. “We will have to find you a tutor.”

“Mr. Gatling has been helping me, my lord,” Weston said. Did he blush? Now that was interesting.

“I will have to make it a point to keep better tabs on what my officers do in their spare time,” Granger joked, and saw a momentary look of alarm on Weston’s face before he masked it again. They returned to Bacchante, and Granger greeted Calvert. “Mr. Gatling is in command of the brig. We’ll get underway at once. Signal him to lead off.”

“Aye aye, my lord,” Calvert said, smiling. Everyone liked Gatling, and they would be happy to see him have this opportunity.

“Señor de Arana, I would like to see you in my cabin,” Granger said to him. He merely nodded his assent. Granger then turned to Calvert. “Please have Mr. O’Higgins meet me there as well. After we are underway, you may join us as well.”

“Aye aye, my lord,” Calvert said, his only real response.

Granger got his charts of Valdivia and the surrounding area and brought them in to his cabin, laying them out on his dining table. In the time he took to do that, O’Higgins arrived.

“Mr. O’Higgins, Señor de Arana has explained that the Santa Clarita is currently in Valdivia,” Granger said, in Spanish.

“They sent her here to intercept us, my lord?” O’Higgins asked.

“It seems she was sent to help deter us from causing problems with the privateers and the harbor. We have surmised that the San Augustin will join her when she is done escorting the Manila galleon to Callao.” He looked at the map. “You have both explained to me that Valdivia is well fortified.”

“That is correct, my lord,” O’Higgins said. “It is ringed by ten forts.” He made a marking to roughly indicate where the forts were. “Of those, there are four that are substantial. The other six are largely used to keep the town safe from Señor de Arana and his people.” He smiled at de Arana, who nodded. He put a star where the four major forts were. “The four forts form a square. They are stout, made of masonry, and house large caliber guns. I am not sure if they are capable of firing heated shot, but it would not surprise me. The fort in the northern point of the harbor is in Niebla. Across the bay, at the southern end, is the fort in Corral. That is the nerve center, the headquarters of the defenses. Another fort is to the seaward side, the Castillo de San Luís de Alba de Amargos. And finally, on the inland side, is a fortified island, the island of Mancera. The forts around Valdivia are considered to form one of the most impregnable fortress systems in New Spain, and it would require a siege train to capture the city.” Granger pondered that, looking at the map. A siege train meant an army with artillery, and would entail a long process of battering the walls of a fortress until a breach could be made. Then soldiers would be sent to charge through the breach. To conquer Valdivia, an attacker would probably have to storm at least two of the major forts, maybe three. Granger had guns on Bacchante that would be bigger than anything a siege army would have, but he had no army to go with them. Besides, his orders did not direct him to capture Valdivia, they merely directed him to neutralize the French privateers and create chaos along the coast.

MAP OF VALDIVIA: Ignore the Arrows. This is a diagram of how the rebels attacked and captured Valdivia during the Chilean War of Independence from Spain.

“You said that the prisoners are held at Niebla?” Granger asked.

“Yes, my lord,” O’Higgins answered.

“What if we were to capture merely one of the forts?” Granger asked.

“Capturing a fort is not so hard,” de Arana said. “Especially the fort at Niebla.”

O’Higgins gave him a disbelieving look. “And why is that?” Granger asked.

“They are not too tight with their security normally. If a ship appears, the fort goes on alert. If there is nothing unusual, the gates are often open, and it would be easy to storm the bastions,” de Arana said.

“If that is so,” O’Higgins asked de Arana, “why have your people not seized the fort?”

“Señor, we can seize the fort, but then what are we to do?” de Arana asked. “We can infiltrate enough men in to take control, but then the alarm will be sounded, and the soldiers will encircle the fort. We would be starved into submission, and there would be no way to reinforce us, or get us out. And once we were captured, the penalty is a death too horrible to discuss.”

“Is there a way to get to the fort from the sea?” Granger asked.

“I am told that there is,” de Arana said. “There is supposed to be a foot path that leads to a small beach, north of the fort.”

Granger felt the rush of adrenaline, the surging of energy in his body, caused by an idea. A plan was forming in his brain. A plan that was complex and probably foolhardy, but if he could pull it off, it would significantly change the balance of power in the Pacific to his favor. “Could you lead a group to capture the fort?” Granger asked de Arana. De Arana looked at him, wondering if Granger was asking him to go on a suicide mission. “In the past, you could not escape, because you did not have control of the sea. This time, we will.”

De Arana thought about it, and then a huge smile broke out across his face. “It would not be a problem. The only thing is that they must not be alarmed. If they are, then they will close the gates.”

“If we are to take you home, to plan this attack, where would we go?” Granger asked de Arana.

“Here,” he said, pointing to a large bay south of Valdivia. “If you land me here, I can make arrangements.”

Calvert chose that moment to enter the cabin. His inability to speak Spanish meant that Granger would have to switch back and forth between languages, something he found tedious at this point, when he was so excited about his plan, but it could not be helped. “Here is what I propose,” Granger said. “I propose to take Bacchante here.” Granger pointed at the map, at the place de Arana had mentioned. “There we will meet with Señor de Arana’s people, and organize forces for an assault on Niebla.”

“You think that can work, my lord?” Calvert asked skeptically.

“I think it can,” Granger said. “My experience is similar to Señor de Arana’s. If a town is at peace, and there is no immediate threat, there is no need for the gates of the fortress to remain locked, and there is no need for a full guard to man the ramparts.” O’Higgins interpreted Granger’s comments for de Arana, making himself even more useful.

“Who will lead the attack?” Calvert asked.

“I will, in conjunction with Señor de Arana,” Granger announced. He saw the protest forming on Calvert’s lips and forestalled it. “It will require diplomacy, something I am occasionally good at, and it will also be useful for the leader to speak Spanish, something else which I can do adequately.” He smiled when he said it, to soften the blow to Calvert, but that didn’t work.

“But my lord…” Calvert began. A stern look from Granger silenced him.

“Mr. Robey will remain in command here, with a reduced crew.”

“What am I to do, my lord?” Calvert asked, his curiosity piqued.

“We will man the brig with one hundred men and marines, and you will lead her in and cut out the Santa Clarita,” Granger said.

“You propose to coordinate this attack?” Calvert asked.

“The attack on the fort must come first. Then, once the fort is in our hands, Bacchante will be seen chasing the brig into Valdivia. The brig will be faced with a formidable challenge. She will either have to face Bacchante, or brave the fort at Niebla. She would choose the latter, assuming that the other forts will keep us busy in Niebla.”

“Won’t the Spaniards on Santa Clarita be fully alert by then, my lord?” Calvert asked.

“They will. And they will probably be armed and ready,” Granger said. “But we will see if we cannot find someone to speak Señor de Arana’s tongue. Maybe he can call to those who are Mapuche on the crew and persuade them to surrender. And if not, I would put my money on one hundred fearsome British sailors and marines over a Spanish crew any day.”

Calvert digested Granger’s plan, and began to grin. “They will be at their guns, or readying to maneuver, to try and avoid fire from Niebla,” he said. “They will not be expecting to be boarded.”

“That is correct. I daresay that if we fire a gun at the brig and you stage an accident, say, allowing a top mast to fall, you may be able to convince them we have made you non-maneuverable,” Granger noted.

“Then what, my lord?” Calvert asked.

“You will con the Santa Clarita out of Valdivia, braving the fire from the other forts as you go. We will endeavor to suppress it to the best of our abilities. Then we will evacuate the fort by sea, and blow it up as we go.”

“How will that benefit Señor de Arana’s people?” Calvert asked. In other words, what was the payoff for their participation? That question was delicately posed to de Arana.

“You have saved my life,” he said. “I, and my people, are in your debt. That is enough.”

“Perhaps,” Granger agreed. “But perhaps there is something else we can do, or provide. Something more tangible.”

“You do not think that my life is tangible?” de Arana joked, making them all laugh, even Calvert, once it was translated.

“We must defend ourselves against Spanish forces,” de Arana said. “They are better armed than we are. So if we need anything, it is guns and gunpowder.”

“We will have to see what we can do on that account,” Granger said. “What will you do with the arms we provide you with?” Granger knew that he would give de Arana what he could, but he wanted to salve his conscience, to know that they weren’t going to be used to murder Spanish settlers indiscriminately. De Arana seemed to sense Granger’s unease.

“The time is not right for a rising, or a revolution, as you may call it,” de Arana said philosophically. “Now, we must simply be able to defend ourselves. If we are armed, then the Spanish will not settle our lands. It will be too dangerous. We negotiate treaties with them in good faith, then they break them. It is because they are strong, and we are weak. If we are no longer weak, they will honor our treaties.”

“You need your own fortress,” Calvert joked, after O’Higgins had translated de Arana’s comments for him.

Only de Arana didn’t laugh, even after Granger translated Calvert’s words back to him. “If we had a fortress, they would merely attack it. If we do not, they do not know where to look for us. As soon as they reach out to grab us, we are gone.”

“How did they capture you last time?” Granger asked.

“We caused too much trouble, and were too aggressive. They set a trap for us, and for me. I was too arrogant, too sure of myself, and I walked right into it,” he said. “I will not make that mistake again.”

“A wise man learns from his past mistakes and changes his course accordingly,” Granger said sagely. “That will not happen this time.”

“If it does, it does,” de Arana said. “There is no gain without risking one’s self, one’s life. I am willing to do that.”

“If this mission fails, then you and I will die together,” Granger said.

“I will be in good company,” de Arana said with a smile.

Copyright © 2014 Mark Arbour; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

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Chapter Comments

On 01/26/2013 06:56 AM, Daddydavek said:
A bold and complicated plan laid out by Granger. Surely, nothing will go wrong!
Surely. :-)
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Nope, this is Granger! He will be as successful as he was much earlier in his career while in the Caribbean…

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The bold and elaborat plans and then the execution are what makes this series so great. Of course it is also drives me wild waiting for the next chapter.

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I continue to love the adventures of George Granger, Mark! Many thanks! These stories have served as a catalyst to learn more about late 18th - early 19th century history! So much research you must do! I'm looking forward to George taking down another fort. He's quite adept at that sort of task. Hehehe! He has so much talent aboard Bacchante ... let's hope it all goes well! Looking forward to the next chapter!!!

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On 01/26/2013 04:41 PM, KevinD said:
Nope, this is Granger! He will be as successful as he was much earlier in his career while in the Caribbean…
He's a lucky bloke, to be sure!
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On 01/26/2013 04:43 PM, JimCarter said:
The bold and elaborat plans and then the execution are what makes this series so great. Of course it is also drives me wild waiting for the next chapter.
Thanks. George is certainly lucky, but I also think that his quick mind, and his ability to adapt to crisis situations, are what generates most of that.
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On 01/29/2013 07:23 PM, Rosicky said:
I continue to love the adventures of George Granger, Mark! Many thanks! These stories have served as a catalyst to learn more about late 18th - early 19th century history! So much research you must do! I'm looking forward to George taking down another fort. He's quite adept at that sort of task. Hehehe! He has so much talent aboard Bacchante ... let's hope it all goes well! Looking forward to the next chapter!!!
Thank you for your nice comment! I'm so glad that I stimulated you (blush) to learn more about the era. If only I were that effective with my students!
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How did they know he was coming, very troubling. Another bold plan,one that would capture him a fort, free prisoners, arm the natives and increase his new fleet to three ships. Typical Granger always thinking outside of the box. Great chapter, thank you.

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This should be an interesting few chapters. I am sure that Granger will pull it off but I have to admit that something about this activates my spidey senses and I am not sure I like it...

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You have inspired me as well, Mark. I am now, after considerable study, considered the local expert on late 18th Century naval warfare, ships and government in Britain. I am very much a schoolteacher and love to learn and teach. You have inspired me. I am convinced you should write a non-fiction book on the 18th Century British Navy, its offices and men. Thank you for your inspiration.

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