Tim is happy to be home, but he and his mom are pretty worried about his dad. Mrs. Meeker tries to keep her spirits up, saying that her husband is just captured and will be home soon. But Tim isn't so sure.
Sadly, there's not much she or Tim can do about the situation. Instead, they have to focus all their energies on keeping the store and tavern going, so that they have enough income to live on. Lucky for them, the war means that there are lots of people who need supplies or a place to stay while on a trip, and the Meeker tavern/shop is the perfect place to help these folks out.
Of course, remember how we realized earlier that the war also means that there are fewer supplies out there and so the price of those supplies goes up? Well that keeps happening, so Tim and his mom have to raise their prices over and over and over again.
Amid all this hard work, Tim's mom decides that she is going to convince Sam to come home. She and Tim hope that maybe Betsy Read will tell Sam about Mr. Meeker's disappearance in her letters, but apparently she doesn't know where Sam is nowadays.
So there's a lot of hard work to be done and no Sam or dad to help out. Tim realizes that there's just one thing he can do in this situation: grow up… and fast. So that's just what he does. Tim starts helping his mom in every way he can.
All throughout the winter, Tim and his mom chug along, working hard and missing Sam and Mr. Meeker. Eventually, the spring of 1777 comes around.
On April 26, Tim and his mom get a big shock: British soldiers are marching into town.
As they watch, some soldiers go straight into Mr. Heron's house. Just down the road, there are two main Patriot supporters (Captain Betts and Mr. Rogers) who are meeting together, and Tim's friend Jerry is with them. Tim figures those guys are probably trying to work out how to attack the British.
Let's put it this way: the war has definitely come to Redding now.
In fact, the arrival of the British army makes Tim realize something pretty huge: he's a Tory. Wow, it's taken Tim a long time to make up his mind about which side he's on. But now he's decided it's Team English Nation, mostly because of what happened to his dad.
Besides this epiphany, nothing too dramatic seems to be happening in town, so that's good. But that's all about to change with a quick series of violent events. Here goes…
Violent Event #1: All of a sudden, a bunch of soldiers charge into Betts' house. They drag Captain Betts, Mr. Rogers, and Jerry Sanford onto the road. Uh oh, this can't be good. Tim thinks he's figured out what happened: "the officers had gone up to Mr. Heron's […] to find out who the Rebel leaders were" (10.45). These three Patriot guys now become captives of the British army.
Violent Event #2: When the British see a rebel messenger riding into town, they shoot him on the spot. And then they don't even look at his body when they go past him. Now that's cold. Tim gets involved when he's sent for the doctor. He starts hauling his rear end as fast as he can. Good thing Tim is a smarty pants: he runs through the pastures towards the doctor's house so that he can avoid the British troops who are taking the road.
Violent Event #3: While he's running, Tim hears shooting and stops to look over at the British troops. Sure enough, Tim sees the British firing at Captain Starr's home, where a bunch of rebels are firing back. Tim recognizes Captain Starr and Ned, an African slave owned by a man named Samuel Smith. As he watches, the British storm the house and kill Ned, first by stabbing him in the stomach and then by cutting off his head.
Yep, this battle is just about as violent as can be. (By the way, Captain Starr and Ned were real folks and Ned really did get killed this way on April 26, 1777. You can read more about that in "Trivia.")
With all this violence, Tim isn't all that excited about the British army. In fact, he might just be switching teams: "I didn't feel much like being a Tory anymore" (10.64). Well, we can't blame the kid.