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Day of the Flogging

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Day of the Flogging

Post  John Vickery on Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:58 am

(For clarification purposes, this takes place on the morning of the fourth day on the march north from Lisbon)

Vickery hadn't been too happy at first to hear that it would be his own men who would actually inflict the punishment, but he knew that he - and his men - would prefer to do that themselves rather than to have it done by redcoats. And Cotton would not feel himself slighted or in any way victimised by the soldiers of the Line regiment.

His watch chimed softly, waking him to a pre-dawn chill. He'd had to borrow the services of Lieutenant Brady's Hanoverian batman, but Jestel was only needed to help with his sash; he could manage everything else by himself.

He sighed as he saw two redcoats putting the triangle together, from four sergeant's halberds. That, and the cats, were the only things borrowed from the 62nd for this morning's parade, which he was dreading. He'd never liked to see the cat used, and today's miscreant was his own servant, one of the most popular men in the Company.

He hoped the day would improve when this was over and they could get back on the road.

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
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John Vickery
Captain

Species : Captain; 5/60th Rifles
Number of posts : 2869
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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  Guest on Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:55 am

Edrington walked across the camping ground towards Captain Vickery. The 62nd and its Rifle companies were preparing for the punishment parade, an unpleasant start to any day. This morning, the damp grey chill made a perfect accompaniment, and the sight of the triangle being rigged by men of the 62nd reminded him that it was important that justice - or some kind of fairness - was seen to be exercised. Mercy came second to discipline and order.

"Captain Vickery, a sad morning. Your Rifleman is popular, I believe."

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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  John Vickery on Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:11 am

"Morning, sir. A sad one, as you say. I never thought I should see the day." He sighed a little. "Yes, sir, he is. You need not worry, though, sir. My men know their duty. Even if that means one of their own will suffer for it."

It was a heavy, overcast day, with the threat of more rain to come. One might almost call it poetic, the way the weather fit the mood of Vickery's men.

He had already written the entry in the Punishment Book last night: the sole single flogging yet contained within the pages of the black-bound book. Proof that the Rifles would flog if necessary. And how he had hoped it need not come to this.

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
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John Vickery
Captain

Species : Captain; 5/60th Rifles
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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  Guest on Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:15 am

Edrington shivered as the chill struck him. "I never doubted that they would, but I thought it best... It is bad enough that I wear a red coat, but they must accept that - your own Colonel is not here. But I did not think they would want to be flogged by - by strangers in red coats. You can find men to do it?"

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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  John Vickery on Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:26 am

"I have done. We have no drummers in the Rifles, as you are no doubt aware, and I would never ask it of our bugler."

He had in fact called for volunteers, telling them that someone would have to do it, and Cotton would prefer it to be men he could trust to do right by him. And the Palmer brothers had come to him. They weren't the only ones; everyone knew the seriousness of the situation Cotton was in, and everyone knew he was the least likely man in the Company to have done such a thing, and not one of them wanted to do it, but they had volunteered to, so that Cotton would know they were all in it together, supporting him.

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
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John Vickery
Captain

Species : Captain; 5/60th Rifles
Number of posts : 2869
Location : Leading from the front
Member since : 2008-08-03

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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  Guest on Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:38 am

"Have them change frequently," Edrington said, and regretted it instantly. His intention had been to stop the flogging as the men changed, for convenience, but he realized that it would sound as if he wanted to ensure that the blows were struck by fresh strong arms. He did not wish to confide his intention to Vickery, although Sharpe had a good idea of it, and might have spoken to the other Rifle officer.

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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  John Vickery on Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:45 am

"I... I don't think that will be necessary, sir," Vickery said, taken aback by the suggestion. "It'll be bad enough anyway, for all concerned." He just wanted to get it over and done with as soon as possible, and changing floggers would not help that, and would certainly not help Cotton, either during the punishment or during his recovery from it.

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
avatar
John Vickery
Captain

Species : Captain; 5/60th Rifles
Number of posts : 2869
Location : Leading from the front
Member since : 2008-08-03

View user profile http://showthecolours.forumakers.com/t1736-capt-the-hon-john-vic

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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  Guest on Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:43 am

"Of course," Edrington said, and watched as the camp resolved itself into individual soldiers, forming up into companies. "Our surgeon will attend, of course. But ... How is the man?"

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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  John Vickery on Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:48 am

"He's healthy enough, of course. But I do not think he slept much last night, for thinking about it. He is the last man I should have expected to be brought to the triangle." He did not offer the words as a criticism, for there was nothing to criticise. Edrington's judgement last night had been impartial and, based on what he had heard and knew, there was indeed no proof Cotton had not done what he was accused of doing. And two hundred... many officers would have given more than that, even twice as many, or more.

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
avatar
John Vickery
Captain

Species : Captain; 5/60th Rifles
Number of posts : 2869
Location : Leading from the front
Member since : 2008-08-03

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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  Guest on Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:21 pm

The drummers of the 62nd were beginning to bring their companies into the square that would serve for the punishment parade. His eyes, scanning their ranks as he always did, caught those of Waldegrave, and hoped that it was merely the dim light and the distance that gave him a secret smile.

Edrington could now see movement as Sharpe's men too were taking their places.

"We do not want to delay this more than necessary, Captain. Is your man - your men - ready?"

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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  John Vickery on Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:32 pm

"Yes, sir. They are. At least, as ready as they can be, all things considered."

His Company were getting themselves together, reluctantly, chivvied by the Sergeants and Corporals. He really should go to them, but of course he had not been dismissed yet.

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
avatar
John Vickery
Captain

Species : Captain; 5/60th Rifles
Number of posts : 2869
Location : Leading from the front
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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  Guest on Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:48 pm

"Go and pepare to start the punishment. I shall be in my place." He saluted in dismissal and walked back to stand in front of the 62nd. The drum roll, the shuffling of feet falling into place, and high in the sky the squeal of a bird.

Edrington looked towards Vickery and nodded sharply as a signal to begin.

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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  Maggie Cotton on Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:51 pm

Maggie had awakened early, surprised to find that she had slept at all. She felt nervous, afraid. She had behaved well late last night when she had met with Cotton in secret. She had stayed cheerful and pleasant and calm, hoping to calm him as well. But privately, she wished they would shoot her instead of flogging him. She blamed herself, and she wished she were dead. She wished Gabe had never had the misfortune of meeting her, for all he seemed to love her. She wished she had died at Vimeiro instead of Jem, so two good men would have been better off. But she had better sense than to say all of that to Gabe.

Sarah Palmer had agreed to accompany her before either of them had learned that it was Sarah's own husband Zeb and his brother Jed who were to carry out the sentence.

"Oh Maggie!" Sarah had exclaimed. "I'm... I'm so sorry! Are you sure you want me to go with you?"

"It's all right, Sarah. It's not your fault, or theirs. It has to be someone. Better them than some redcoat who doesn't care. Please go with me, if you will!"

So they dressed themselves warmly - Maggie in her bottle green shawl - and followed the riflemen to where the regiment was gathering.

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Maggie Cotton
Captain

Species : Camp follower/sutler, 5/60th Rifles
Number of posts : 2337
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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  Joe Newbury on Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:25 pm

Joe Newbury stood with the rest of his company, feeling distressed that this parade was even happening. One of his fellow Riflemen was being flogged for robbery. The more particular details about the charge had been supplied chiefly by rumour, but Newbury viewed it as a show of overbearing authority on the part of the red-coats. Which was a little ironic considering his own past service as a red-coat.

The drums were still rolling as the last stragglers fell into their ranks. Newbury sucked on his lower lip and tried not to feel disgusted. He resented that it had been a red-coat officer to bring such a dangerous charge forward and pursue it to this point. They were supposed to be on the march by now, not standing in punishment parade. Damn it all.

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Joe Newbury
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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:35 pm

If he were to hurry he could still report and be done with it before the flogging was to begin. It shouldn't take more than a moment. Enough to state his presence, name, rank and station. And then be on his way again. he couldn't slack n' idle about like a ghost. He thought that he had waited long enough and should he miss another opportunity, who knows when he could see the officer again.

With a heavier, sharp limp, for he had to make haste before the sentence would begin, he walked in the direction of the lord, easily noticed by his finer uniform, than others. At last, he was not in conversation with any of the officers, which would set him back to wait for the man like a puppy trained to do the biddings of his master. When the distance was smaller, he slowed down somewhat and he asked a soldier if he could notify the lieutenant colonel.

"Sir. There's a man requesting a moment of your time." He motioned to the young man, that stood patient and proper. He had wondered why the youth could not just wait, ignorant of the fact he had done so for a day. But then, he was a Hussar. Ofcourse those would not wait, Private or officer!

Willoughby observed the two men in silence and just the mildest of curiosity, his leg giving him a good trashing for abusing it too.
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Timothy Willoughby
Captain

Species : Cornet, 15th Light Dragoons (Hussars)
Number of posts : 3280
Location : In the mud
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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  Guest on Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:02 pm

Edrington looked around as the soldier reported that there was a cavalry trooper who wished to speak to him. A hussar, he noted, looking rather the worse for wear - Hussars were normally so proud of their uniforms that no speck of mud or even dust would be allowed to remain. He looked tired and walked with a limp, stopping as the colonel turned towards him. He raised an eyebrow and walked towards him.

"You're the Hussar the riflemen brought in yesterday," he said. "I have been rather busy since I heard. Have you been looked after?" He cast a glance around - the square was still forming.

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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:26 pm

"Yes sir.The riflemen have been most generous. I've rested and been fed proper." Completely understandable that lord Edrington had been busy. He saw a portion of the reason right himself.

What food and stay was concerned, he hadn't gone hungry nor without a place where he could rest. But for the surgeon he hoped, that he could do that day. Atleast a glimpse, enough to confirm all was well. And now, for a proper introduction, so that the officer would be rightly informed:"Private Timothy Willoughby, of 15th Hussars."

He straightened some, and wished his uniform would've looked a might better. The pellise was tattered at the edges but less filthy as it had been a day before. His trousers were not much better, nor his boots. He had brought little shine to them, and removed some of the mud, but he could not bring himself to press much harder at his right foot. The ache had been enough to discourage.

"I came as soon as I was able. Sir." To report to the officer, whom he could not pin down for a moment a day before.
His face showed signs of strain, as they had when he first stood before Cotton trying his best to keep standing straight.


Last edited by Timothy Willoughby on Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:42 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : T's)
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Timothy Willoughby
Captain

Species : Cornet, 15th Light Dragoons (Hussars)
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Location : In the mud
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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  Guest on Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:55 pm

"Good. I will need to know more about what happened to you, but this is not the time. Afterwards..."

Edrington remembered the limp. "Have you seen our surgeon about your leg? He's going to be busy, once this ugly business is over, but you should have it looked to before we go. And if he says you are fit to ride, the 62nd has some army mounts that are not too despicable. Get yourself one and report to me as we move. We will have wasted enough time this morning."

He smiled briefly, but his eyes flickered again towards the triangle. "I must not stay. Speak to the surgeon as soon as he is free." He accepted the other's salute and moved back towards Vickery. "Willoughby?" he thought. "Of course! Timothy Willoughby!"

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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:17 pm

At last. He smiled to himself as he left the lord, glad it had gone so smoothly. He limped, walking slower. The flogging would soon begin, and men were near ready to witness it. Seeing as the surgeon would be rather busy, it was nothing more he could do but to wait and observe along with the rest or leave and see to the horses. It was not a business of a hussar let alone a trooper, so he chose the later. It would do Cotton no better, not that he knew the man enough that the rifleman would give care anyways.
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Timothy Willoughby
Captain

Species : Cornet, 15th Light Dragoons (Hussars)
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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:45 pm

It was a cold day, too cold to have to be stripped to the waist for any reason. Cotton shivered. He had slept, for an hour or so, but it was so full of dreams and thoughts that it hadn't been at all a restful sleep.

He was going to keep his jacket on as long as possible. He remembered hearing somewhere about some king who was to be executed for something, who'd worn two shirts so as not to shiver and make folks think he was a-feared. Well, he couldn't wear two shirts, he couldn't even wear one, and if he shivered it was going to be from the cold.

He unbuttoned his jacket anyway and sat there for a moment longer with the blanket wrapped around him before the guard came to escort him to the triangle.

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  Guest on Fri Oct 03, 2008 11:23 pm

Harris felt some responsibility for the youngsters. No ssoner had they started to recover from the horror of the dead Frenchmen, than they had this, the flogging of a Rifleman. The 60th, not their own Company, but they knew Cotton more than the others, because he was the man who had beaten Hagman in a shooting contest. Cotton had seemed to be one of the best, and it was almost certainly another triumph of military injustice. There was nothing he could do, except remember that it was the way things went, and at least two hundred would not make him incapable. Trust the army to ensure that they didn't lose any of their fighting strength when there was no need.

He was not sure if young Carty had ever seen a flogging - not since he had joined Sharpe's company, that was for sure. The boy had still not recovered from the events of two days earlier. He had been as nervous as a kitten, coming back to camp that night white and shaking, and barely moving from the group ever since.

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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  John Vickery on Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:26 am

Vickery went to fetch Cotton himself. He owed it to the man, after all, or felt he did. He had tried his best, and his best hadn't been good enough. The sentries by the tent straightened to attention as he approached, but he dismissed them to their regiment before ducking into the tent.

"It's time," he said as Cotton looked up wordlessly.

The Rifleman scrambled to his feet, dropping the blanket, and shrugged off his jacket, which he held out to his Captain. "Would you look after it, please, sir?" he asked.

"I will, and your shirt. No, you don't have to take that off yet," he added as Cotton moved to pull it off. "Wait till we're out there." He sighed. "I think the Colonel may want to read the sentence out."

Cotton nodded and followed Vickery out of the tent and toward the paraded 62nd and the Rifles attached to them.

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
avatar
John Vickery
Captain

Species : Captain; 5/60th Rifles
Number of posts : 2869
Location : Leading from the front
Member since : 2008-08-03

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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  Guest on Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:22 am

Waldegrave stood alongside Captain Simmonds in front of the Company of the 62nd, looking suitably grave. This was something that had to be, to enforce the law and the regulations even in those parts of the Army which were notoriously unorthodox. But even that did not excuse theft. That Cotton had intended to steal the watch seemed self-evident. That the woman had been his accomplice was equally obvious to him, but she was not to be punished, just standing there waiting for her man to come out to take the punishment. His eyes drifted round the square, from the ranks of the 62nd, smart and well-ordered, to the 60th, preparing to flog one of their own, and on to the small group belonging to the 95th, with Sharpe in front. He brought his eyes back to watch as the Captain of the 60th led out Rifleman Cotton, without his jacket.

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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  Guest on Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:26 am

Edrington stood in the square, in front of his 62nd Regiment and the Riflemen attached to it, and read out the verdict and sentence of the court-martial, concluding: "Rifleman Gabriel Cotton is sentenced to two hundred lashes. Captain Vickery, your men are to do their duty."

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Re: Day of the Flogging

Post  Maggie Cotton on Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:28 am

Maggie shuddered and caught her breath. Beside her, Sarah reached out and clasped Maggie's arm.

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Maggie Cotton
Captain

Species : Camp follower/sutler, 5/60th Rifles
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Re: Day of the Flogging

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