One fanatical resident of Patriots’ Day Town shows you his collection of war correspondences.

I hope this message finds you in good health. I am weary of the violence of war, but I know our struggle will be worth it if we can shake off the burdensome yoke of British oppression. We will surely engage in many battles away from home, but I trust in our general’s military tactics. We will consistently face the enemy placing our cavalry at the fore with infantry close behind, and with artillerymen at the rear in front of a lone cannoneer. I am sorry I did not write to you during our first seventeen campaigns. From here on, I pledge to keep you informed of our most significant battles, so that you might trace our progress from battlefield to battlefield during each campaign. Wish us luck.

A promising beginning to today’s encounter led to naught but stalemate. We seized the high ground with two well-placed shots, but we could not hold this advantage; the enemy hit their target several minutes after our second strike, and just as the conflict was drawing to a close, one of their artillerymen fired a bullet that fortuitously caromed off of a piece of wood and into its intended destination. While we do not always stand victorious at the end of the day, we have managed to engage in eight consecutive battles without a defeat.

Both of the armies in today’s combat were adjusting to change. Our enemies were engaging in their first battle with a brand new general, while we were overjoyed to welcome an old friend back to our ranks, a cavalryman who had contracted a deadly disease but valiantly survived. In the end, perhaps the opposing side dealt with the change more effectively. Another member of our cavalry hit his target during the first phase of the battle, but the opposition struck back three times in the latter phase, and we were unable to answer.

By my count, we fired seven more shots than our enemies today, but bullets in the air do not determine the victor. Military superiority is determined by the shots that hit their target, and on this day, there was one such strike on each side. Notably, our men were so close to the opposing forces that one of our artillerymen literally butted heads with the leader of the enemy cavalry early in the fray. Their man was unable to continue the fight, while ours stepped back onto the battlefield after some hasty bandaging in the medical tent.

I am exhausted from today’s engagement, where the advantage teetered back and forth, but ultimately no one could declare victory. The top enemy infantryman drew first blood, but two of ours were the next to hit their targets, all before the end of the first phase of battle. But that same enemy soldier was soon successful again, and after that, little was accomplished in the last forty minutes of combat. The general has informed us that we can expect seventeen days of rest before our next battle, and I personally look forward to taking the time to read up on the state of military affairs on a more global scale.

I shall never forget the horrors I have witnessed today. We strode bravely onto a battlefield we had never seen firsthand, but we were ambushed with a massive and relentless onslaught. Soon we were outnumbered, and then soon after outnumbered by twice as much. All told, seven bullets hit their target, none of which were fired by our weapons. Truly this was the bloodiest day in our army’s history. Let us never speak of it again.

If you had told me this morning that our enemies would fire three times as often as we would, I would have considered that a grim outlook. But as it turned out, our aim was far truer, as the enemy was hit three times as often as we were. Notably, our opponents’ first casualty was due to friendly fire, which was fortuitous, and their third came as one of our infantry deviously stole the weapon of a man who seemed to represent the ideals of our fledgling country despite flying the flag of another.

In what would be our last battle of this all-too-brief campaign, one of our infantry, having recently recovered from a stint in the medical tent, stepped valiantly onto the battlefield. He wished to fight in honor of a poor youngster who had tragically not survived to see this skirmish. He may only have been able to muster nine minutes of offense, but in that time he was able to strike the decisive blow, an emotional moment to say the least. What a relief to defeat the enemy . . . it feels like it’s been over a year since we declared victory in enemy territory.

Is nothing sacred on the field of battle any longer? Eight minutes into this engagement, an opposing soldier yanked on the military uniform of one of our most distinguished artillerymen. Warfare is one thing, but have some respect for a man’s regimentals! No one was impressed by this display, and the ensuing opportunity led to our first successful shot of the campaign. Firing once was not enough, alas, since after an hour in which we enjoyed the upper hand, the enemy’s top cavalryman fired twice on target to seize the advantage. Note that we did not respond by yanking at his clothing, because we are men of honor.

It is always tragic to be felled by a self-inflicted wound, and so it was near the end of the first phase of this battle when we were victimized by a shot from one of our own artillerymen. The enemy was slow to capitalize, but they did follow up with a well-placed bullet in the very last moments of the fight. This was not a stand to remember, although it was inspiring to see one of our allies, born in the colony of Pennsylvania, making his first appearance on the battlefield.

It seems like it’s been a hundred and thirty-two days since we last saw formal combat. Our skills were understandably rusty today, and we fell to our enemies via a single gunshot, even with their well-respected cannoneer unable to participate in the battle. I admit to some skepticism about our brand new military uniforms. Wearing one color on the left side and another on the right makes it hard to concentrate on the fight.

Oh, the thrill and despair that can occur in the same skirmish! Our goose seemed cooked when an opposing cavalryman struck within the first fifteen minutes. We spent virtually the entire engagement fighting from below, when suddenly an enemy was seemingly struck on the hand. As a result, we were able to hit a target with little effort, and six minutes later our infantry landed a more traditional shot. We thought we would escape victorious, but one of our men left the field prematurely, and as another was being treated in the medical tent, a cur from the other side of the world fired successfully. No one could be considered a winner this day.

Our army is nothing if not charitable. After hitting the enemy thrice, including a first strike within two minutes of the beginning of the fray, one of our rear infantry literally handed our foes the chance to capitalize on a closing salvo. For a day oriented around decisions, that was perhaps not the best one. Still, we live to fight again, although frankly, we would have had to suffer a very humiliating defeat in order for the campaign to end today!

Our forces struck quickly today, as our lead cavalryman landed the first blow a mere twenty-three seconds after the soldiers stepped onto the battlefield. One of our infantry helped in this initial effort, but he would step into the spotlight himself multiple times before the fight ended. This victory was sorely needed after our defeat four days ago (in a battle that did not affect our current campaign but was crucial nonetheless).

Over the past few months, the army we encountered today has been plagued by physical attrition. But today, their three most high-profile fighters stood before us healthy and ready to engage, an imposing sight to say the least. Still, the upper hand passed back and forth. We drew first blood but were then put at a disadvantage via two surgical strikes, the first of which was the direct result of an artilleryman’s moment of excessive eagerness. Nonetheless, we struck again to even things out. Given that the enemy fired their weapons nine more times than we did, ending at an impasse was somewhat fortunate for our troops.

Revenge can be sweet, but sadly today’s revenge was achieved not by us, but by our adversaries. One month earlier, we had struck against this particular army four times on favorable ground, but this time they did the same to us in a setting more familiar to them. One of our newest European recruits attempted to stem the tide with two discharges of his own, but we were no match for the opposition’s key infantryman, who helped organize three of their attacks before striking the final blow himself.

The other side was relentless in this combat, firing on us twenty-three times. Only three of those barrages accomplished their objectives, but that number of hits was sufficient to claim a victory, since we only successfully returned fire twice. Those well-placed bullets came from a colonist and a Frenchman . . . Lafayette would be proud of their alliance.

Things looked grim early in this battle, as one of our enemies fired a successful shot a mere eight minutes after the fray began. But fear not, we persisted valiantly. Our lone cavalryman hit his target during the latter phase of the battle, and then a promising infantryman, a young lad of merely eighteen years, struck the decisive blow. The enemy were strong but dishonorable. They fired at us fourteen times, but they breached combat etiquette on exactly as many occasions.

This was not our best day on the battlefield. None of our bullets hit their mark, while the enemy struck our forces three times. Adding insult to injury, the third blow came in the waning moments of the battle, dealt by a traitor who fought on our side the previous year. I was reluctantly impressed by the man who landed the first two shots; if only he could fight for us in the future!

This was our first of two consecutive battles against the same squadron, and this first one took place in their territory, I’m pleased to report that we came out the victors. It was a violent struggle, with hits to multiple targets on each side of the field. As the battle neared its end, I thought we would return home having struck thrice more than the enemy, but an ill-advised move by one of our artillerymen led to one final opportunity that an enemy infantryman capitalized on, giving us something to think about before our next encounter.

Today is the last time I underestimate a soldier just because they are small in stature. That sixty-four-inch pipsqueak in their cavalry ran circles around us, hitting three targets before we were able to respond! Apparently he is trying to achieve some sort of honor in the form of metal footwear, and after today he is favored to reach his goal. I am heartened by our fruitful attack near the end of the fray, although sadly we were not the last to strike.

Today’s experience moved me to tears of joy. Knowing the singular importance of this battle, hundreds of civilians traveled for miles to support our efforts, and we were glad to repay them for their travels with victory. We landed a shot early and one late, and while the opposition’s top cavalryman hit his target as well, he also foolishly charged our cannoneer with embarrassing results. We will face these same enemies again very soon, but I am confident he will make no contribution to that impending clash.

We hoped today would be a beautiful day . . . the sort of day your country might consider declaring independence . . . but it ended with an embarrassing defeat for our forces. The enemy struck once early and twice late, and we were unable to answer. This was our fourth consecutive defeat in this campaign, and while I believe in our cause, the disgrace is becoming difficult to bear.

When things look bleakest, our men often prove themselves through bravery and skill. In the first phase of this battle, an enemy cavalryman was the only participant to hit his target. But in the second phase, our most valuable soldier singlehandedly turned the conflict around, firing twice in the span of half an hour to change the result from defeat to victory. This fearless fighter keeps a tally of his successful incursions, and his current total of seventeen has never been equaled by another infantryman.

Who wins a battle between an army that attacks from many different angles, and one that focuses their onslaught through a single point? Apparently no one. Today we reached a stalemate after the enemy was hit thrice, twice by two of our forces and once as a result of friendly fire, but one talented enemy soldier fired three shots that struck their intended target. Apparently this sort of impasse is typical for this particular squadron, as our opponents’ previous three battles have featured no victor.

With our general commemorating his hundredth time overseeing our army, we hoped to reward his service with triumph, but it was not to be. On the bright side, after both of the occasions in which our enemies surged ahead, we were able to strike back and level the playing field. If anything, I would say that this conclusion assured a lengthened campaign. While we are all exhausted, we agreed that this was something to be happy about.

With the opportunity building on a military victory two weeks ago and a much-needed respite the week afterward, I felt optimistic about our chances against arguably the least effective squadron we’d encountered in the campaign. My confidence was misplaced. By the time we parted ways, the enemy had lost one of their cavalry, and we had lost our trusted cannoneer. But even with casualties on both sides, we had to hang our heads in defeat. While it is not certain, I suspect our next battle will be our last chance to progress in this war for quite some time.