July 4th, 1777

One year after the initial declaration of independence, the country was embroiled in war.

Washington was trapped outside Princeton. 8000 Hessians were camped out in the fields of New Jersey, while General Cornwallis was seeking to flank him from the west. His supply lines had been devastated by the Iroquois. The Indians knew the land better than they did. Still, the revolutionaries knew the land better than the Hessians.

Washington curled his lips around his wooden teeth. “We could take those Hessians!”

Patrick Henry looked up at his leader, a wild look in his eye. “They have the numbers, but we have the spirit!” he exclaimed, “Give me those Hessians or give me death!”

Benedict Arnold scowled an unfaithful Judasian scowl, “There’s no way. They’re too careful not to light fires. The night is overcast. No one will be able to see a thing!”

“Cussed bull!”

Just then Ben Franklin came riding in from Boston, fresh off his envoyship to the Kingdom of China.

Washington brightened. “What Ho Franklin! What news do you bring from the Chinee?”

“Nothing but mystic voodooery and neutrality I’m afraid. They pledged to help us manage our war debt, after the hostilities are ended. The people are very smooth, lithe and sensual.”

“Cussed bull! We need a spot of good news. We’ve caught the Hessians sleeping, but it’s too dark to attack.”

“Too dark you say?” Franklin pulled a sack of mysterious packages from his horse, “Perhaps these could illuminate our immediate situation.”

“What ho?”

They are the latest word in pyrotechnics. Fire illusions and illuminations. Locofocos and Roman Candles. Could be just what we need.”

As Frederick Scott Key played “Yankee Doodle” on his fife, the founding fathers indulged in pyromania, climbing Breed’s Hill just above the sleeping Hessians in the valley. Soon the Chinese fireworks torched the sky, and as the illuminations hung in the air, Washington called on his Calvary to charge.

Just then, Paul Revere rode up, swinging a lantern. “The British are coming!” he cried.

Washington smiled a pained yet satisfied smile. “Let them come. We’ll be waiting for them. At least you will, Alexander.”

Alexander Hamilton, the unassuming Lieutenant, gaped in surprise. “Me sir? Where will you be?”

Washington plucked a silver dollar from his rucksack and polished it with a hankerchief. “Me? I’ve got a river to cross.”

–Dan Kilian
The Rose Armonica
WWII Fiction


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