Treason: The Violation of Trust - History (creative non-fiction) by Janet Hudgins

http://www.amazon.com/Treason-Violation-Trust-Janet-Hudgins-ebook/dp/B003KGBICU

The construction of the gibbet at Gallow’s Hill, on the eastern slope of a knoll just outside of Peekskill was nearing completion, a rude fabrication of logs from which would hang a looped cord. Hundreds would rise early tomorrow morning, the 8th of August 1777, to watch the spectacle.
In the camp, while the daily functions of war went on, news of the meeting spread very quickly and the empathy of the soldiers began to turn. The sergeant walked Anne back through the grounds past horsemen and riflemen, wood cutters and water carriers, and they all stopped their labour to look after her, a young beauty, heartbroken and inconsolable.

“In a state, i’n’t she.”
“Reckon you’d be too if we was going to garrote your mate tomorrow morning.”

A gun-shy hound heard her controlled sobs and furrowed her brow, tilted her head and looked up with pity to watch Anne pass.

When they reached the wagon and her friends, Anne turned to the sergeant and said, “Please, may I see my husband?”

“I cannot say, Ma’am, but I will ask the General’s aide. Wait here.”

She put the baby down in a wicker cradle in the wagon, wearily rocked it back and forth and searched for soothing words for the child. And while she waited she tried to consider the exigencies of the litigious nature of aberrant death, of family, of church, of burial, of future. She would have to get a message to Edmund’s parents waiting out the war in New York City, to give Lewis power of attorney. Edmund would need to draft his will naming Anne his executrix and to return her dowry. His last words would have to be composed in letters to his family.

None of the family, not even Edmund, were aware that the rebels had taken his farm.

His personal belongings and kit were in his barracks in King’s Bridge and someone would have to collect them. Anne would bury her face in his uniform, to smell the essence of the man she had loved so recently, to bring him back as close as she could ever have him again in the folds of the red wool. And she would wrap them carefully to keep the scent inside the package for as long as possible.
It was such a needless tragedy. Had it been any other commanding officer than Israel Putnam in Peekskill, Edmund Palmer would have lived and carried on with the ordinary business of war just as countless other officers on both sides had been doing and would continue to do for the duration of the war.

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