"Hit 'em hard an' quick, confuse 'em, an' then turn tail an' run before they recover their wits!"
These fighting words echoed in fifteen-year-old Jed Barnes' ears as he rode out of his native Virginia for Washington's headquarters in New York. It was the summer of 1781, and Jed's errand was an urgent, indeed, a desperate one for the beleaguered Lafayette. Reinforcements were needed—and needed fast.
Jed covered the distance safely but for a run-in with a Redcoat peddler-spy. Then Jed remembered to "hit hard, turn tail and run." And miraculously he escaped, with the help of spunky Nell Runyon, an orphan girl.
With the message delivered, Jed and Nell returned to Williamsburg and his parents' farm to wait for Washington. But once home, Jed discovered that he had returned to two wars instead of one! His indignant sister Fran was not at all pleased at having a new sister. "Women," Jed muttered, and turned to help prepare for battle.
After weeks of back-breaking word the American guns were in place—eighteen and twenty-four-pounders with their muzzles pointed on Yorktown. Then—slam! General Washington fired the first shot and the battle for Yorktown was on! Grabbing his musket, Jed raced to take up his position against the British in the colonials' final fight for freedom.
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