73:Miskokway Lake, Ontario. July 1862
Leaving Upper Fort Garry and using Metis trails, the 4,500 troops have established camp at the remote lake on the edge of the Canadian Shield. Scouts have returned from the British fort at Parry Sound, 30 miles to the south. The Garrison has been reduced to 300 men. Mangan suggests that the fort is surrounded and communication to Toronto cut off. Then, unless the British commanding officer is mad, an immediate surrender will be offered. Progress to the camp has been quicker than expected, and to keep to the strictly coordinated timetable, Mangan orders his men to rest up for three days. The messenger dispatched by O’Neill arrives. Mangan, Jean-Paul, Nault and Finbar meet in Mangan’s tent to assess the situation. Everything has gone to plan in Buffalo and St Albans. All the men are amused at the British reaction in Ireland. Pulling troops out of Canada is an ironic bonus. It is the news about the Civil War that is the problem. Although the Union are winning battles the South are clearly winning the war. The Confederate hero, General Lee, and his army, are moving relentlessly towards Washington. Jean-Paul argues that the attack on the British Garrison will be the point of no return and the timing is against them. Perhaps they should consider suspending the invasion, hoping that the tide of the Civil War will change. Nault does not look happy but it is clear that Jean-Paul has already convinced him. Finbar, who has been unusually quiet throughout the meeting, now speaks. He says that he wants to make two cases for a change in the plan. One from his heart and the other from his head. He starts by passionately painting a picture of what life is like for slaves in the South. He emotionally argues that the plight of a catholic farmer in Galway, or a Metis fur trader in Manitoba pales into insignificance when compared to the plight of slaves. After he has finished, Mangan breaks the silence. He asks Finbar what he intends doing about it.
74:Rochester. August 1862
Frederick Douglas is intrigued to have a letter from his old friend hand delivered by a Metis horseman. Douglas’s reply is to tell Finbar that had his message arrived a day