By Eric Niderost Peter Drake was a cavalryman, but at the moment he was standing near his horse’s head, holding his mount’s bridle and calming the beast when the animal grew restless after a night of inactivity. It was the predawn hours of September 11, 1709, and Drake was a trooper in the Gendarmes, a cavalry unit in the army of King Louis XIV of France. The cavalryman was Irish by birth, English in ancestry, and a soldier of fortune by trade. He changed sides as easily as changing clothes

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