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Sam Mayden was a rifleman of the 2nd Battalion 95th Rifles who was shot for desertion by firing squad. He was a player character belonging to Keiju. His PB was an unknown extra from Sharpe's Enemy.

Family[]

Father: Thomas Mayden (former Marine)

Mother: Martha Mayden

Brother: David

History[]

Sam Mayden came from unusual stock. His father was born in Boston and had left the colonies when the revolution broke out. The elder Mayden served with distinction in the Corps of Marines, and eventually settled in London after losing a leg at the Battle of the Saintes. Sam and his brother were born within three years of the end of that war and spent their childhoods scrabbling around their father's tavern. At the outbreak of war with France, Sam was not old enough to enlist. His brother was not interested in something as foolish as a war, to hear him talk, and their father was less than encouraging about joining the service.

Obliged to wait until he was of age, Sam began to resent what he perceived was the family stance against upholding tradition. It defied his understanding why his father of all people would be such a naysayer. The week of his seventeenth birthday, or as near to that occasion as he was able to guess, Sam Mayden departed the little tavern in Covent Garden to go for a soldier. He joined the 95th Rifles and was with the 2nd Battalion in Spain during Sir John Moore's famous retreat. When he and a group of others were cut off by a French cavalry troop, the retreat suddenly evolved into a much more desperate game of survival. Somehow, primarily due to the wiles and determination of the one officer in command, the thirty-odd stragglers eventually made it to the safety of British lines.

The 2/95th had gone home to England, so the half-company remained in Portugal under the command of Lieutenant Richard Sharpe, where it was attached to the 3rd Company 5/60th. They were with the army when it took up offensive operations in the spring, taking on its share of scouting and skirmishing duties alongside the company from the 5/60th, which was commanded by a Captain John Vickery. Mayden was wounded in a clash with a French cavalry troop, which made a raid on the British baggage, and was thus left behind when Lieutenant Sharpe and the rest of his half-company were sent away from the army on detached service.

Being thus parted from their comrades, Mayden and his fellow Londoner, Jack Kirridge, soon found themselves in trouble. A squabble with a redcoat private quickly became a feud and when Kirridge abruptly elected to desert, Mayden accompanied him. Had Kirridge at once made his run, matters might not have escalated for the pair but instead the two Londoners discarded their uniforms in exchange for civilian clothes, hid their rifles, and stayed several days in the army's baggage train. This decision soon had disastrous consequences. The redcoat with whom Kirridge was feuding discovered them and in a fight between the two, the redcoat managed to slip his bayonet into the soft underside of Kirridge's underarm, a blow which was almost immediately fatal. Mayden made a belatedly attempt to avenge his mate but, being wounded by the redcoat's bayonet himself, wisely chose to grab Kirridge's body and flee.

He went straight to James Todd, the surgeon attached to Vickery's company, in the vain hope that something might be done for Kirridge. Making his presence known again led to his arrest for desertion. Despite not having actually left the army, the subsequent court-martial found Mayden guilty of the crime and sentenced him to death. An example was clearly being made of him but he accepted his fate with a rifleman's stoicism. It was perhaps a blessing that the rest of his half-company were away, for Mayden felt that he could never have borne up so well if they had been present. He faced the firing squad with as much composure as he could muster and in that regard, did at least prove he was never afraid, merely misguided.

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