Gabriel Martin is THE Patriot. His ideals reflect those of the young men who were most patriotic about American sovereignty and freedom. He is part of the generation that was too young to remember the French and Indian War and has grown up in a (relatively) stable and civilized colonial atmosphere. By April 1776, he is eighteen and has impatiently waited for Benjamin's consent to join the fighting. He finally enlists against his father's wishes when Colonel Harry Burwell speaks before the South Carolina Assembly asking for their support for the war.
Gabriel spends some time in the North, fighting and growing up, and endures harsh winters with General George Washington. He returns to his home as the fighting has come to the South. Now an officer under Colonel Burwell, he is bearing dispatches when wounded not far from his own family's home. He reaches home and is looked after. The next day he is arrested by Colonel William Tavington for spying.
After Thomas' death and Benjamin's rescue of him from British custody, Gabriel chooses to return to duty. This time his decision draws his father into the war as well. Gabriel becomes second-in-command of the state militia under his father. During this time, he begins courting Anne Howard. He and the farmers that he has recruited end up at odds with the more brutal tactics of his father and the veterans of the French and Indian War. He insists that the British soldiers be treated fairly.
Even though Gabriel has become a veteran of war, his experience in the North were pitched battles between organized armies. The brutal tactics and no-mercy mentality of guerilla warfare is another shock to him. He also goes through falling in love, courting, marrying and burying his wife before our eyes. In his quest for revenge against Colonel William Tavington, Gabriel finally understands what his father feared. His final apology to his father is for making the mistake of letting his rage consume him as it had his father years before.
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