January 1777; Chatham, NJ. I recently had the opportunity to interview Lieutenant Colonel Daniel “Black Dan” Scott of the New Jersey Militia, who appears in the novel A Nest of Hornets. Below you will find my questions and his answers. (NOTE: his answers were editing to remove profanity)
Robert Krenzel: Lieutenant Colonel Scott, please tell us a little about your background.
Dan Scott: Not much to tell, really. I was born in my family home in 1749. My father was a merchant; some of the ships that called at the Landing near our home came from across the globe, so I learned a fair bit about the world that way. I didn’t care much for school; I suppose you could say I was a bit of a trouble maker. I joined the militia when I was sixteen, and naturally for someone of my upbringing and talents I soon became an officer. When the war started I played quite a role in getting the Middlesex County Militia organized, so in 1775 I was raised to lieutenant colonel.
RK: You join us having already established a fierce reputation. How did you acquire the nickname “Black Dan?”
DS: [with a grin] It’s for my black hair.
RK: I’ve been told it has more to do with your actions than your appearance.
DS: You can’t believe everything you’re told. But…I suppose it’s a black day for him when a tory finds himself my prisoner.
RK: As I understand it, your troops don’t capture many Loyalists.
DS: Capture or bring into prison? There’s a difference. We’ve captured plenty. They just tend to die of their wounds or are killed trying to escape or some such thing. Whatever the cause, they just always seem to die. [Grinning] It’s a pity, that is.
RK: I see. So…you are married, are you not?
DS: Yes, of course! To my beloved Kate! We married in 1774, and she’s the best thing that ever happened to me!
RK: How did you meet?
DS: At a gala in New Brunswick. Our fathers arranged it, but for me it was love at first sight. We were married not long afterward. She is a fine, cultured woman with impeccable taste and good connections. We lived quite a happy life. Until the [multiple expletives] British came, that is.
RK: You used to reside in New Brunswick, but now you are in Chatham. Why is that?
DS: [turning red in the face] Because a [expletive] regiment of Hessian [expletives] is quartered in my [expletive] house right now! If I’d stayed there, the [expletives] would have hung me from the nearest tree and left me for the ravens. We had no choice but to leave. Fortunately our current residence was conveniently vacated.
RK: Your current home actually belongs to a Loyalist family, does it not?
DS: Yes. And I’m caring for it a lot better than my house is being looked after, I promise you that. Besides, I doubt they’ll be coming back for it.
RK: Have you heard from the current owners?
DS: No, and I don’t care to. May they rot in hell.
RK: The current war has been hard on New Jersey and its population; are you hopeful for the future?
DS: Oh, yes! Very much so! Some doubted our prospects, but I have never waivered in my belief in the Cause. Now, after Trenton and Princeton, it is fashionable to be optimistic, but I have always believed that we would come through this war stronger and more unified.
RK: What do you think it will take to heal the wounds left by this war?
DS: Two things: First, we beat the British and their craven, beef-witted, Hessian lackeys. Then, we hunt down every [expletive] Loyalist [expletive] who darkens this land with his filthy shadow: we hang each and every one from a tree and stretch his neck but good. Once that is done, everything else should sort itself out.
RK: Lieutenant Colonel Scott, thank you very much for your time. This has been truly…informative.
DS: Any time.
You can learn more about “Black Dan” Scott in Gideon Hawke #3, A Nest of Hornets!
A Nest of Hornets on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NBI511Q/