(Coat of Arms of Baron Seaton by Ricky)

It's a Plan

Disclaimer 1: This is fanfic. That means I do not own any of it. I just borrow it to play with for a little while and let people see the pathetic results if they really want to.

Disclaimer 2: I'm not making any money from it. It's just for fun.

Disclaimer 3: What isn't borrowed is all made up. None of this is real or most likely at all realistic. Please don't trust any of the information in here. Most likely you know more about whatever I'm writing about than I do.

Disclaimer 4: Attitudes, views and opinions expressed by the characters or in the story are not necessarily those of the author. Even when writing Science Fiction or Fantasy I do not tend to attempt to create perfect/better worlds in which everybody gets a happy end ... or whatever is best for them. Please accept that some characters will have a bad ending or be unhappy.

Disclaimer 5: I intend no insult to anyone. If I offend anyone I'm very sorry. Please understand that it was an accident as I tend to be very clumsy in these things.

Disclaimer 6: If my characters' conversations seem odd or they appear to be talking past each other the latter might occasionally be intentional, but most likely it is an accident and I'm not aware that they are. It's just my bad communication skills.

AN: While the scene itself is fictional all persons and events are historical.
Dramatis Personae (if anyone’s that interested):

“Well, we’re rid of him,” declared Captain Harry Smith entering Lieutenant-Colonel Colborne’s tent without bothering to announce himself.

“Good morning, Harry,” greeted Colborne with just a hint of a smile. “Whom are we rid of?”

“The General,” said Harry sitting down on Colborne’s bed uninvited since the Colonel himself was already sitting on his only chair. “Skerret’s going home ... sick, or so he says.”

Colborne closed his book. There was no chance he’d get any more studying done with restless Harry Smith in his tent and it wouldn’t do to kick him out. Besides he rather liked Harry, disrespectful and hot tempered as he was. There was no malice in it and the young brigade mayor was eager and had a good head on his shoulders. He certainly knew better how to run a brigade than Skerret did. Not that that was saying overly much. The General was no great loss.

“If you ask me, it’s an excuse,” Harry continued happily. “I’ve seen as much of him as anyone, being his brigade mayor – even if he wouldn’t see me outside of business – and he seemed perfectly healthy. I bet General Alten’s none too happy with him after the affair at Vera and chances are Wellington’s heard of it, too. Maybe he even told him to pack.”

“Maybe,” Colborne allowed. “But we won’t know. I wouldn’t go spreading gossip about your fellow officers, if I were you.”

“Oh never,” Harry assured him. “He wasn’t a bad fellow anyway. Quite a gallant grenadier, I always thought. He just didn’t understand the first thing about the work of light troops.”

That however was as damning a judgement of a brigadier in the Duke of Wellington’s light division as it was true. Poor, foolish Skerret. He might have done fine, if only he’d admitted his ignorance and been willing to take the advise of the old hands that surrounded him.

“And it certainly didn’t need old Douro himself stepping in,” Harry continued. “It was quite obvious enough that the brigade would no longer obey him. I’ve never seen them this rebellious, not even on the retreat from Burgos when they sent the baggage train down the wrong road and the supplies ran out. They’ve lost all trust in their commander.”

True and perhaps deserved, but the men would not have gotten so completely out of Skerret’s hand, if it hadn’t been for Harry himself. Harry had been known to give his own orders and run off with the brigade before if a brigadier took too long to take action, but he’d never so openly altered orders, not had it looked good to the soldiers how much Skerret had withdrawn from the other officers when all his predecessors had pretty much shared their quarters with their staff. Harry had been their brigade mayor for years, they knew and trusted him. If only he and Skerret would have assumed an appearance of harmony, it would not have had to come to this, Colborne thought, deliberately ignoring his own complicity in Harry’s actions.

“But whatever the reason,” Harry said brushing those thoughts aside. “He is leaving and you know what that means.”

Yes, he did. It meant that he would have to tame Harry. It was impossible to command the brigade, if Harry one couldn’t control Harry Smith.

“The Duke will appoint a replacement soon enough,” he told Harry calmly.

“He might,” Harry allowed and they both knew he didn’t believe it. Wellington had left Leutenant-Colonel Barnard in temporary command of the entire division during the siege and storming of Badajoz and he liked Colborne, perhaps even as much as he did Barnard. “You’ve commanded a brigade before. I saw it.”

This Colborne had not been aware of. “Did you?”

“I passed though your position with a dispatch to General Hill. Your works almost stopped me.” It wasn’t an accusation. They’d been meant to keep out the French after all.

“It was only a temporary command and didn’t end well,” he reminded Harry calmly as if it didn’t matter.

It did, though. He’d built up a fine reputation and good relationships with the officers only to see his brigade slaughtered at Albuera. It hadn’t been his fault, but he’d still been surprised when this misfortune, rather than send him home in disgrace, had landed him the command of the 52nd regiment, the hand-picked men of his dead mentor General Moore. Nevertheless the memory of that battle remained painful.

“But while I do have it in my power, I mean to do good by you and your young wife,” he told Harry shaking off the painful thoughts. “If you’re still by my side at the end of the next battle, I’ll recommend you for promotion.”

That ought to stop Harry from making off with the brigade at any rate and Colborne didn’t plan on being easy to keep up with. He’d show the little daredevil sportsman a challenge he couldn’t resist – and he’d win. That should impress Harry enough to ensure his loyalty and that of the brigade.

Besides, Harry and Juana really could use the money a promotion to Mayor would bring. Colborne himself would never have dared to marry on a Captain’s income and he’d always been much more cautious with his money than happy-go-lucky Harry Smith.

Yes, it was an all around good plan.

To be continued?

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