General Bercollin turn to his aide Twyth and expressed "and you know what that man said to me?.... it's all a matter of mathematics so that the rafts arrive in the right place on the other shore so it's no problem crossing at night". Across the river the horizon was just lightening as the troops of the 23ieme Demi Brigade began to file down to the river edge. The boatmen looked very nervous, as well they might. They had declared the rafts unsafe and had refused to sail them until Representative Laine pointed out that they only had one other option available and it was more unpleasant.
Ah Colonel Claret, I hope your troops are all prepared.
"Yes General, I carefully was out of the way while many of them went to mass earlier, they wouldn't normally bother, but I wouldn't blame them as this time they are about to be sacrificed on the Champs de Mars.
Yes, Claret the river looked very hostile yesterday. I have posted dragoon picquets downstream so that any unfortunates who fall in can be rescued from the river if at all possible. I have also posted a gun battery opposite Stonew to try and provide some support.
"Thanks for that General, now I must send off my men"
Four large rafts were moored on the riverbank and each would carry a company of 100 men. There had been another raft, but it broke up on entering the river.
"Well Twyth I have made the best preparations possible to complete this mission, I hope it goes well, but I really hope that our losses are not too great"
"Yes Sir" said Twyth formally while looking over the general's shoulder.
"Ah there you are general" Representative Laine appeared from the gloom "I trust everything is ready, although I thought we had agreed that the crossing would be at night"
Representative Laine, I explained that a river crossing in the dark would be extremely hazardous as the boat would have no sense of direction and if they arrived on the far shore the troops would have no idea of where they were and would have difficulty forming up. This is the best time, the rafts will have just enough light to see where they are going, but as the sun will rise in the east our troops will be hidden from enemy observation in the gloom. Once landed they will be able to identify their objectives and coordinate their actions."
"Hmmff I shall be watching carefully the conduct of this operation" Laine retorted as he walked off down the river bank towards the rest of the 23ieme who would cross in the second wave"
The boatmen pushed off into the river.