Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. A list of changes is found at the end of the book. Oe ligatures have been expanded.
The original text used both number and symbol footnotes. This usage has been maintained in this version.
Journeys Through Bookland
A NEW AND ORIGINAL PLAN FOR READING APPLIED TO THE WORLD'S BEST LITERATURE FOR CHILDREN
BY CHARLES H. SYLVESTER Author of English and American Literature
VOLUME EIGHT New Edition
Chicago BELLOWS-REEVE COMPANY PUBLISHERS
Copyright, 1922 BELLOWS-REEVE COMPANY
PAGE RINGROSE AND HIS BUCCANEERS 1 DAVID CROCKETT 29 DAVID CROCKETT IN THE CREEK WAR 37 AMERICA Samuel Francis Smith 60 THE RETREAT OF CORTES William H. Prescott 63 BATTLE OF IVRY Thomas Babington Macaulay 76 THE BATTLE OF THERMOPYLAE 81 MARCO BOZZARIS Fitz-Greene Halleck 90 A DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTROM Edgar Allan Poe 95 PERE MARQUETTE Jared Sparks 121 THE FALL OF THE ALAMO 141 THE ALHAMBRA Washington Irving 153 HERVE RIEL Robert Browning 168 THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO Lord Byron 176 HOW THEY TOOK THE GOLD-TRAIN Charles Kingsley 180 A BED OF NETTLES Grant Allen 209 WASHINGTON IRVING 216 THE KNICKERBOCKER HISTORY OF NEW YORK Washington Irving 224 THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR Robert Southey 284 CASABIANCA Felicia Hemans 313 THE ROMANCE OF THE SWAN'S NEST Elizabeth Barrett Browning 315 THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT Robert Burns 319 CHARLES AND MARY LAMB 328 DREAM CHILDREN: A REVERY Charles Lamb 335 READING SHAKESPEARE 346 THE TEMPEST, A TALE FROM SHAKESPEARE Charles and Mary Lamb 348 THE TEMPEST William Shakespeare 364 STUDIES FOR The Tempest 468
PRONUNCIATION OF PROPER NAMES 489
For Classification of Selections, see General Index, at end of Volume X
PAGE PROSPERO AND MIRANDA (Color Plate) Arthur Henderson FRONTISPIECE WE ROWED AWAY DOWN THE RIVER Herbert N. Rudeen 3 A BATTLE AT LONG RANGE COMMENCED Herbert N. Rudeen 21 A CROSS WITH SEVERAL LETTERS BESIDE IT Herbert N. Rudeen 25 I SAID FAREWELL TO MY WIFE AND CHILDREN R. F. Babcock 39 I FOUND A DEER THAT HAD JUST BEEN KILLED R. F. Babcock 45 PILOTED BY FRIENDLY INDIANS (Color Plate) R. F. Babcock 48 THE ATTACK ON THE FORT R. F. Babcock 55 BATTLE ON THE CAUSEWAY Louis Grell 69 THEY DRAGGED THEIR FEEBLE LIMBS WITH DIFFICULTY Louis Grell 74 "CHARGE FOR THE GOLDEN LILIES NOW" Louis Grell 79 THEIR LAST ENCOUNTER Herbert N. Rudeen 89 THE TURK AWOKE Iris Weddell White 92 THE GIFT OF THE CALUMET R. F. Babcock 129 AT THE PORTAGE R. F. Babcock 137 ON THE MISSISSIPPI (Color Plate) R. F. Babcock 138 THE MEXICANS STORM THE FORT Louis Grell 146 THE DEFENDERS FIRING FROM WINDOWS Louis Grell 148 COLONEL BOWIE USED HIS WEAPONS TO THE LAST Louis Grell 150 THE GATE OF JUSTICE G. H. Mitchell 154 THE COURT OF LIONS G. H. Mitchell 157 THE HALL OF ABENCERRAGES G. H. Mitchell 160 THEY FOLLOW IN A FLOCK Louis Grell 172 BUT HARK! Iris Weddell White 177 "DO NOT SHOOT TILL I DO" Louis Grell 188 SOLEMNLY HE APPROACHED, STAFF IN HAND Louis Grell 197 WASHINGTON IRVING (Halftone) 216 HERE THEY REFRESHED THEMSELVES Arthur Henderson 238 HE WAS INTERRUPTED BY WANDLE SCHOONHOVEN Arthur Henderson 252 WILLIAM THE TESTY Arthur Henderson 265 THE TESTY WILLIAM ISSUED FORTH LIKE A WRATHFUL SPIDER Arthur Henderson 267 THERE CAME ON THE INTREPID PETER (Color Plate) Arthur Henderson 274 "I SHALL YET HAVE TO BEAT THEM!" Herbert N. Rudeen 286 AN INCESSANT FIRE WAS KEPT UP BY THE "VICTORY" Herbert N. Hedden 303 HE FELL UPON HIS FACE Herbert N. Rudeen 305 AN OLD QUARTERMASTER HAD SEEN HIM FIRE Herbert N. Rudeen 309 LITTLE ELLIE SITS ALONE (Color Plate) Arthur Henderson 316 TH' EXPECTANT WEE-THINGS Herbert N. Rudeen 321 ROUND THE INGLE Herbert N. Rudeen 325 CHARLES LAMB (Halftone) 328 ROAMING ABOUT THAT HUGE MANSION Herbert N. Rudeen 339 HE WOULD MOUNT A METTLESOME HORSE Herbert N. Rudeen 341 WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (Halftone) 346 FERDINAND LEAPED Iris Weddell White 353 TELL YOUR PITEOUS HEART Iris Weddell White 371 ANTONIO AND SEBASTIAN PLOTTING Iris Weddell White 403 PRAY YOU WORK NOT SO HARD Iris Weddell White 421 CERES ENTERS, AT IRIS' CALL Iris Weddell White 439 STEPHANO AND TRINCULO QUARREL Iris Weddell White 448 WHERE THE BEE SUCKS, THERE SUCK I Iris Weddell White 455 LOOK DOWN, YOU GODS, ON THIS COUPLE Iris Weddell White 461
RINGROSE AND HIS BUCCANEERS[1-1]
Just two days after we took possession of the town of Santa Maria, we departed thence on Saturday, April 17th, 1680. We all embarked in thirty-five canoes, which we had taken while lying at anchor at the front of the town. Thus we sailed, or rather rowed, down the river in quest of the South Sea upon which Panama is seated. Our prisoners, the Spaniards, begged very earnestly that they might be permitted to go with us and not be left to the mercy of the Indians, who would show them no favor and whose cruelty they so much feared, but we had such difficulty in finding boats for ourselves that we could assist them little. However, they found soon after either logs or old canoes, so that they were able to come along with us.
It was my misfortune to have a canoe which was very heavy and consequently sluggish. Because of this we were left behind the rest a little way, there being only four men beside myself in the boat. As the tide fell it left several shoals of sand naked, and hence we, not knowing the location of the channel amongst such a variety of streams, steered for over two miles into a shoal where we were forced to lie by until high water came. As soon as the tide began to turn, we rowed away, but in spite of all our endeavors, we could neither find nor overtake our companions. At ten o'clock, when the tide became low, we stuck an oar in the sands and by turns slept in our canoe, where we were pierced to the skin by the showers that fell in the night.
The next morning, as soon as the day had come, we rowed away down the river in pursuit of our people, and after going about two leagues we were so fortunate as to overtake them at an Indian landing place, where they had been taking in water. They told us that we would not find water again for six days, and that we must without fail fill our jars. Although we made what haste we could, by the time our jars were filled our friends had all departed and were already out of sight. Such is the nature of the pirates; they care not in the least whom they lose or leave behind.
We rowed after them as fast as we possibly could, but all in vain, for here in the mouth of the river the islands were so numerous that it was very easy for us to lose them a second time. After much trouble and toil we did at last find the mouth of the river, but here the tide was again coming in, so that though we were within a stone's throw from the mouth of the river, we could not go through it, but were forced to put ashore and wait for better water. Accordingly we hauled our canoe close by the bushes and fastened it to a tree which the tide had almost covered.
As soon as the tide began to turn, we rowed away again, crossing the Gulf of Miguel. Here we had a very hard time fighting the waves, which dashed against our canoe and might easily have filled and overwhelmed it, for the boat was nearly twenty feet long and not over one and a half broad where it was widest. At dark we landed on an island where we had the most sorrowful resting place I ever experienced in my whole life. It rained impetuously all night long, in so much that we were wet from head to foot and had not one dry thread about us; and so violent was the rain that we could not keep any fire going to warm or dry ourselves. Not one minute's sleep did we get during the whole night, and our plight was indeed an awful one, remote from our companions and wholly destitute of all human comfort. As morning broke, our plight was little relieved, for a vast sea surrounded us on one side, and on the other we could see nothing but high mountains and rocks. Our boat was but an eggshell, and we had few clothes to defend us from the weather. In fact, not one of us at that time had a shoe to his foot.
Wet and cold as we were, however, we put forth to sea and rowed away, passing several islands. In the open sea the smallness of our vessel put us again in deadly peril, and it always required one man and sometimes two to bail out the water that came over the sides of the boat. When we had struggled for some time with these difficulties, and when we were near one of the smaller islands, a huge wave overturned our boat and we were all forced to swim for our lives, but did manage to get to shore, where soon our canoe was thrown after us. All our bread and fresh water were spoiled, but as our guns were lashed to the boat and were kept in waxed cases, we lost none of them. Our first business was to take them out and clean them.
Scarcely had this been done when we saw another boat suffering from the same misfortune at a little distance from us. The persons thus cast ashore proved to be six Spaniards from the garrison at Santa Maria who had followed us to escape the Indians. Presently they joined us, and we built a fire, broiled our meat on the coals, and all ate amicably together. We were suffering terribly for water, as we had none to drink and knew not where to get any. Fortunately our canoe was thrown on edge and very little injured, but the one on which the Spaniards came split itself against the rocks, being old and slender, and was broken into a hundred pieces.
My company was now much discouraged and wished to return, but after much persuasion I induced them to go forward at least one day longer, saying I would then be willing to do whatever they saw fit. About the time they concluded to follow me, our watchman espied an Indian, who as soon as he knew he had been seen, ran hastily to the woods. Immediately I sent two of my companions after him. Finding he was one of our friendly Indians, they followed him along the shore to where seven more of his companions with a great canoe were resting on the seashore. By means of signs I asked him what had become of my companions, and the Indians assured us that if we would take their boat instead of our own, we would overtake our friends before morning.
We were rejoicing over this news when the Indians noticed that six of the men of our company did not seem to be of the same language and kind as ourselves. We told them they were Wankers, which is the name the Indians commonly give to the Spaniards. Their next question was, "May we kill those Spaniards?" I answered them, "By no means; I will not consent to have it done." To this the Indians seemed to consent, but after a little while, when my back was turned, some of my company, thinking to oblige the Indians, beckoned to them to kill the Spaniards. Perceiving their danger, the Spaniards made a great outcry, which I heard, and I turned around in time to save their lives. Although I was able to accomplish this, I could not prevent them, however, from taking one of the Spaniards as a slave. To the others, however, I gave the canoe in which I came and bade them to get away as speedily as possible in order to save their lives from the Indians.
Then joining company with the Indians we entered a very large canoe, which was able to carry at least twenty men more easily than our canoe could carry five. Moreover the Indians had also fitted a good sail to the canoe, so that, having a fresh breeze, we set sail and moved rapidly away, to the infinite joy and comfort of our hearts. In one place we ran into a heavy sea, which was caused by a strong current and the heavy winds, and many times our boat was filled with spray. Again at night it rained heavily for several hours and was very dark.
About nine o'clock we discovered two fires on the shore of the mainland. The Indians began to shout and to cry out joyously that these fires were made by their companions. Accordingly we made for the shore as fast as we could drive, but as soon as we had reached it about sixty Spaniards, armed with clubs and other arms, rushed out into the breakers, laid hold of our canoe on both sides and pulled it out of the water. Thus were we all taken and made prisoners. I laid hold of my gun, thinking to defend myself, but it was all in vain, for four or five of them stopped and overpowered me. The Indians leaped overboard and got away very nimbly into the woods, though my companions were too much amazed to make any attempt to escape.
Our captors could speak neither French nor English, but I was able to talk, in Latin, with one of them who seemed more intelligent than the rest, and from him I learned that these were Spaniards who had been put ashore by our other boats for fear that some of them might escape and warn Panama that we were on our way to capture it. For this reason the Spaniards were much rejoiced at taking us, and they designed to treat us very severely for plundering their town of Santa Maria.
But even while the Spaniard was talking to me, there came in a poor wretch that I had saved from the Indians. When he reported how kindly I had treated him and the rest of his companions, the captain rose from his seat and embraced me, saying, "You Englishmen are very friendly enemies and good people, but the Indians are rogues and a treacherous nation. Come and sit by me and eat of the victuals which your companions left us when they turned from shore." For the kindness I had shown their countrymen, the Spaniards agreed to give us our lives and liberty, but it was only after long persuasion that I could induce them to spare the lives of the Indians. However, I accomplished this and was bidden to take my canoe and go in God's name, with the wish that we might be as fortunate as we had been generous.
Having found the Indians, we took our departure soon after, although the Spaniards invited us to stay with them longer. All that night it rained very hard and we found no place where we could land. About ten o'clock the next morning, however, after a night of rowing and paddling, we espied a canoe coming toward us at great speed. The men in it proved to be of our old English company, who supposed us to be Spaniards and were coming to attack us. They had given me and my companions up for lost, but now we were all mutually rejoiced, and were soon reunited on the shore of a deep bay which lay concealed behind a point of rocks.
On the morning of the second day after, that is, on the twenty-third of April, the day sacred to Saint George, our patron of England, we came before sunrise within view of the city of Panama, which makes a pleasant show to vessels that are at sea. At that time there lay at anchor near the Island of Perico, which is distant about two leagues from Panama, five great ships and three smaller men-of-war called The Little Fleet. The latter, it appeared, had been suddenly manned with a design to fight us and prevent us from making any further attempts upon the city or seacoast.
Accordingly, as soon as they spied us, they instantly weighed anchor and came directly to meet us. Two of our boats were very heavy and could not row as fast as the canoes, and accordingly we were already far in advance. There were five canoes in this company, and among them only thirty-six men in a very unfit condition to fight, being tired and worn with so much rowing. The enemy sailed toward us directly before the wind, and we feared greatly lest they should run us down. So we rowed straight up into the "wind's eye," as the sailors say, and got close to windward of them. While we were doing this, other of our boats in which were thirty-two more men overtook us, so that altogether we were sixty-eight men engaged in the fight that day.
In the three vessels of the Little Fleet that opposed us were altogether two hundred and seventy-eight men, of whom more than two hundred were native Spaniards, the rest being Indians or Mulattoes. The commanders of these ships had issued orders that no quarter was to be given to any of the buccaneers. But such bloody commands as these seldom or never prosper.
The canoe of Captain Sawkins and that wherein I was were much to the leeward of the rest. The third of the Spanish ships came between us two and fired on me to the windward and on Captain Sawkins to the leeward, wounding with these broadsides four men in the Captain's canoe and one in mine. Nevertheless, he paid so dear for his passage between us that he was not very quick in coming about again and trying it a second time; for with our first volley we killed several of his men upon the decks. Thus we got to the windward of the enemy as our other canoes had already done. At this moment the Admiral of the Little Fleet came up with us suddenly, scarcely giving us time to charge, and thinking to pass by us with as little damage as the first of his ships had received, or even less. But it fell out much worse for him, for we were so fortunate as to kill the man at the helm, so that his ship ran into the wind and her sails lay "a-back" as the mariners say. This gave us time to come up under the stern of his vessel, and firing continually into the vessel we killed as many as came to the helm, and cut in two his mainsail and brace.
At this time the third Spanish vessel was seen coming up to the aid of the Admiral's ship. Captain Sawkins left the latter to our four canoes and rowed away to meet the oncoming Spaniards. The dispute or fight between them was very hot, as they lay close together, and fought from one side of the deck to the other, both giving and receiving death as fast as they could charge. Meanwhile the first ship tacked about and came up to relieve the Admiral. We determined to prevent this design, and two of our canoes, Captain Springer's and my own, stood out to meet the new arrival, who made direct upon the Admiral, who stood upon the quarter-deck waving at him with a handkerchief what to do. But we met him in the middle of his way, and came so close to him that if he had not turned his course, we should have been on board him. As it was, we killed so many of his crew that the vessel had scarcely men enough left alive and unwounded to carry her off. Fortunately for them, the wind sprang up fresh, and they were able to sail away and save their lives.
Having put to flight the vessel which was to relieve the Admiral, we turned about and with a loud halloo joined our friends in the other boat, and came so close under the stern of the Admiral's ship that we wedged up the rudder and at the same time killed both the Admiral and the chief pilot. Seeing how disabled their ship was, and disheartened by the slaughter, for at least two-thirds of their men had been killed and many others wounded, they cried for quarter, which had several times been offered them, but had been always stoutly denied. So we took possession of the Admiral's ship and put on board all our wounded men, including Captain Harris, who had been shot through both his legs. As soon as this was done, we instantly sent some of our ships to go and aid Captain Sawkins, who had been fighting against the second Spanish ship. Indeed, to give our enemies their due, no men in the world ever fought more bravely than these same Spaniards.
Coming up close under the Spaniard's side, we gave him a full volley of shot and expected to have a like return from him, but of a sudden we saw his men that were abaft the mast, blown up in the air, some of them falling into the deck and others into the sea. This disaster was no sooner seen by their valiant Captain than he leaped overboard, and in spite of all our shot succeeded in rescuing some of his men, although he was much burned in both his hands himself. But while he was rescuing these men to reinforce the ship and renew the fight, another jar of powder took fire and blew up several others upon the forecastle.
Under cover of the smoke from these explosions. Captain Sawkins led his men on board and took the ship. Soon after I went on board myself, and indeed, such a miserable sight I never saw in my life. For not one man was to be found but was either killed, desperately wounded or horribly burned with powder, in so much that their black skins were turned white in several places where the powder had torn it from their flesh and bones.
Having compassionated their misery, I afterwards went on board the Admiral's ship, and here what I saw did much astonish me, and would scarcely be believed by others than ourselves who saw it. There were found on this ship only twenty-five men alive, where before the fight there were four-score and six. And out of these twenty-five men, only eight were able to bear arms, all the rest being desperately wounded, and by their wounds totally unable to make any resistance. Their blood ran down the decks in whole streams, and scarcely one place in the ship was free from blood.
Having once possessed ourselves of two vessels of the little fleet, Captain Sawkins asked the prisoners how many men there were on the largest ship that we could see lying in the harbor of Perico, and also how many were upon the smaller ships. Peralta, the heroic captain of the second vessel, tried to dissuade Sawkins from attacking the Spanish vessels at anchor, saying in the biggest one alone there were three hundred and fifty men, and that all the other vessels would be found too well provided for defense against the small number of the buccaneers. One of the Spaniards, however, who lay dying on the deck, told Captain Sawkins that there was not a single man on board any one of the great ships in the harbor, for they had all been drawn away to fight on the ships of the Little Fleet. Believing the dying man's story, we sailed into the harbor and went on board the ships, finding, as we had been told, not one person there. They had set on fire the biggest ship and made a hole in her hull, but we put out the flames and stopped the leak. All our wounded were then placed on this ship, which for a time became our hospital.
Having counted up our own loss and damages, we found eighteen of our men killed and twenty-two wounded.
The three captains against whom we fought were esteemed by the Spaniards as the bravest in the South Seas, nor was this reputation undeserved by them, as may easily be seen from the story of this bloody battle. We began the fight about a half hour after sunrise, and by noon had finished the battle. While Captain Peralta was our prisoner, he would often break out and say: "Surely you Englishmen are the valiantest in the whole world, and always design to fight in the open; while all other nations have invented all kinds of ways to barricade themselves and fight as close as possible"; and yet notwithstanding, we killed more of the enemy than they have of us.
The journal of Basil Ringrose is a very interesting document, and we should enjoy following it to the end if we had the space and if it were not for the fact that he devotes so much space to information that is valuable chiefly to a sailor. Accordingly it seems best to give a brief summary of his journal in our own words:
Captain Peter Harris, whom Ringrose calls "a brave and stout soldier and a valiant Englishman, born in the county of Kent," died of his wounds, and they buried him with the usual honors of war—a volley from all their guns.
The buccaneers captured the five ships that lay near the Island of Perico and divided the spoils among themselves. Within the next two or three days, however, dissensions arose among them, and Captain Coxon, taking with him a large number of men together with most of the Indian allies, deserted the expedition and returned. During this time Captain Sharp was absent, and after the departure of Coxon, Captain Sawkins was chosen to command. For some weeks the buccaneers remained in the Bay of Panama, capturing vessels and ravaging the adjacent islands.
While they were at Taboga, the governor of Panama sent a message to Captain Sawkins inquiring why he came to this locality. Captain Sawkins replied, "We came to assist the Indian King of Darien, who is the true lord of Panama and all the country round about. Since we came so far, there seems to be no reason why we should not have some satisfaction. Accordingly, if you will send us five hundred pieces of eight for each man and a thousand for each commander and will promise no longer to annoy the Indians or deprive them of their liberty, we will go away peaceably: otherwise, we will stay here, get what we can and cause all the damage possible to you."
In answer to this, the governor inquired by messenger—"From whom do you have your commission and to whom shall I complain for the damages which you have already done?"
The reply of Captain Sawkins to this message was prompt and decisive, for he said, "All my company have not yet arrived, but as soon as they come, we will visit you at Panama and bring our commissions on the muzzles of our guns, at which time you may read them as plain as the flame of gunpowder can make them."
On the 22nd of May, Captains Sawkins and Sharp took with them about sixty men and attacked the town of Pueblo Nueva. The buccaneers found that the inhabitants of this town were well prepared for the defense. They had cut down great trees and laid them across the narrow river which led to their town in such a way as to prevent the ascent of any boats.
Sawkins and his followers landed at the mouth of the river and made their way by land until they reached some heavy breastworks which had been thrown up by the Spaniards. With undaunted courage, Sawkins stormed the defenses, and was killed at the head of his men. His loss was a sad one to the pirates, because they regarded him as their most valiant leader, and because, next to Captain Sharp, he was best beloved by them. In fact, his loss meant the desertion of a number more of the buccaneers, who left their companions and returned over land, as Captain Coxon and his officers had done.
Thus all the adventurers who wished to remain in the South Seas and still further ravage the coast of South America, elected Captain Sharp commander-in-chief, and vowed themselves to be faithful to him in all things. A large number, however, of the pirates deserted, preferring the dangers of land travel in the rainy season to continued adventure in the South Seas.
Basil Ringrose was among those who were tired of the expedition and wished to return home, but he finally decided to remain with Captain Sharp because of the great difficulties he foresaw in returning by the shorter way.
It was the last day of May when the mutineers departed, and it was on the sixth of June, a dark and rainy day, that they set sail on the long and adventurous voyage. Almost from the start they met with most vexatious delays which gave an opportunity for the Spanish on shore to send ahead news of their coming. In consequence of this, they were almost everywhere expected, and most of the towns which were unable to defend themselves succeeded in concealing their wealth, provisions and supplies so that the buccaneers were unable to seize treasures of any great value. As a whole, the voyage was a disappointment, but from time to time the adventurers succeeded in taking sufficient food and occasionally gold and silver in such quantities that the voyage was somewhat profitable to those who survived.
The journal of Ringrose is full of interesting little details, which show how exciting the trip must have been, and how great were the perils and privations of its followers.
In one place we find them anchored for four or five days, trying to dry their sails so that they could be able to take them down and repair the hull of their ship, yet all the time the rain fell in such torrents that they were unable to work. At another place he tells of killing a snake which was fourteen inches in circumference and eleven feet in length. On this part of the coast they saw every day whales and grampuses, which often came and dived under the ship, and although the men fired at them several times, the bullets rebounded from their tough skins. At this place, too, the best food consisted of Indian conies, snakes, oysters, periwinkles, a few small turtles and a variety of small fish.
Again, we find some of the most valuable of the men dying from malignant fevers, and all suffering from want of provisions. For a long time they had nothing but flour and water, and then again they were able to revel in small particles of meat, with a good supply of sugar which they took from some of the mills along the coast. Now and then they seized a flock of goats, and then for days the feasting was continuous, while the surplus flesh was salted and stored away for future use.
On the 24th of August they discovered a vessel some distance from them, and because of the darkness, ran very close to it before they were discovered. When they were within hail, they called in Spanish to the ship and commanded it to lower its sails. "Not we," replied the Spaniards; "we will soon make you lower your own." The pirates immediately fired upon them, and they responded at a lively rate from their own guns. For half an hour or more the fight was very brisk, and undoubtedly would have lasted much longer had not the buccaneers been fortunate enough to kill the man at the helm, after which no one of the Spaniards dared to take his place, and the ship drifted aimlessly. About the same time another lucky shot tore off the mainsail, and seeing their helpless condition, the Spaniards begged for quarter and gave up their ship. Afterwards they declared that they fought the pirates only out of bravado, for they had agreed on a wager before they left shore to do so in case they met with Captain Sharp. Although the fight was short, the pirates themselves had suffered considerable damage to their ship, and several of their men were sadly wounded.
The captain of the captured vessel gave the buccaneers a great deal of information as to what had happened after they left Panama, and also as to the preparations which were being made to defend the towns against the adventurers, and to capture the vessel if possible whenever it appeared.
At Tumbes they heard that this was the first settlement made by the Spanish after Panama, and that at the time of the settlement a priest went ashore with a cross in his hand, while ten thousand Indians gathered on the hillsides and stood watching him. As he landed, two lions came out of the woods toward him, but when he laid the cross gently over their backs, they fell down and worshiped him; moreover, two tigers following did the same thing. The Indians seeing these wonderful things recognized the power of the Christian religion and at once embraced it.
By the end of October they were near the Fort of Hilo on the coast of Peru, far south of the equator. Here at night they anchored about two miles from the village, while they sent four canoes with fifty men in them to seize and plunder the town. In the morning they discovered by the flags which the men had put out, that the town was in the hands of the English. Accordingly, all the men that could be spared from the ship landed and learned that the enemy had been put to flight after a few volleys had been exchanged. In the town they secured great quantities of pitch and tar, besides oil, wine, flour and several other kinds of provisions. Most of the Spaniards had fled to the hills, and the pirates were afraid that at any moment they might be attacked. About sixty men were sent out to search the valley and the country round about the town. The whole region was found to be very pleasing, thickly set with groves of figs, olives, oranges, lemons and other fruits. About four miles up the valley appeared a great sugar factory, where sugar, oil and molasses were found in abundance. The mill was deserted, and the pirates were unable to capture any of the inhabitants, though from time to time the Spaniards were seen marching along the hilltops whence they tumbled down great stones and fired at random among the buccaneers.
At the sugar factory, under a flag of truce, the Spaniards promised to deliver eighty beef cattle at the port the next day by noon as a ransom for the building. Captain Sharp accordingly sent word that no violence was to be offered to those who brought the beeves down to the ship.
The next morning, the Spaniards, bearing a flag of truce, came to Captain Sharp and told him that sixteen of the cattle were already at the port, and the rest would be there the next morning. Accordingly, the raiders began their retreat to the sea, expecting to re-embark on the ship. Ringrose thought that at least twenty men should be left behind at the sugar house for a lookout to keep watch of the Spaniards, but he was overruled on this and all went on to the port, where, however, no cattle were found, nor was there evidence that any effort had been made to bring them. The next morning Captain Sharp went again to the hills and met the Spaniards, who promised that the cattle would certainly be there by night, and accordingly it was decided to wait one day more. The next morning the experience was repeated, but that day passed without any of the beeves appearing, and on the following morning the pirates marched to the village and burned not only the sugar mill but all of the buildings round about, breaking the machinery and destroying all of the oil and other provisions which they could not carry away.
This done, they returned to the port by a new route over the mountains, and in doing so escaped an ambuscade which would inevitably have destroyed them all. As it was, they reached the shore only to find more than three hundred cavalrymen charging upon them from the north. As quickly as possible the buccaneers threw themselves into a posture of defense and charged to meet the advancing horsemen. The horsemen retreated as the pirates advanced, with the intention of leading the latter away from the village and the rocks near the port. Detecting the stratagem, the pirates returned to the port, and a battle at long range commenced, which lasted the entire day. Meanwhile the Spaniards had been receiving continuous reinforcements, and appeared in numbers on the hills on all sides, so that the pirates, fearing they would be overpowered by force of numbers, resolved that night to escape and sail away from the coast which had brought them so much trouble. Nevertheless, they had gathered a great quantity of provisions, which were very acceptable under the circumstances.
Early in December the buccaneers had another series of exciting experiences at the town of La Serena. Here a force was landed and sent toward the city, but it quickly discovered that the inhabitants had been warned of the approach of the pirates and were rallying to defend themselves, led by a troop of a hundred Spanish horse. The advance guard of the buccaneers, however, was able to rout the Spaniards and drive them from the town. At a short distance away, however, the cavalry rallied, and appeared ready to offer battle in a more favorable place, but the pirates brought up their reinforcements, and when they offered to attack the Spaniards, the latter fled again. A third time they formed and a third time retreated. This method of fighting they continued until the English were drawn far away from the town, which was evidently the plan of the Spaniards, although they lost three of their officers and several horses. The buccaneers, abandoning the chase, crossed the green fields and waded the irrigating streams which enclosed them, finding here and there a house, but all destitute of both inhabitants and provisions. The Spaniards had taken good care that little should be left for the pirates. Near the town they found fine fruit orchards and gardens, and regaled themselves with strawberries, which are described as being big as walnuts and very delicious to the taste. In fact, everything about the place pleased them, excepting the fact that most of the valuables had been transported and hidden. It appeared, too, that the Spaniards, fearing a revolt among their Chilian slaves, had killed nearly all of them. Nevertheless a few were found who served as guides and showed the pirates where much plate and many kinds of valuable goods had been stored away.
The buccaneers spent that night in the village, and the next morning the Spaniards came bearing a flag of truce and offered to treat with their conquerors. The buccaneers finally agreed to depart, providing a ransom of ninety-five thousand pieces of eight was paid. This was promised by the inhabitants, and it was agreed that it should be paid the next day.
That night an earthquake shook the surrounding country and badly frightened the pirates, who were sleeping in one of the largest churches. Moreover, during the night the Spaniards turned the mountain streams through the streets of the town, apparently hoping to drive out the buccaneers, or at least to prevent the burning of the town.
Until noon the next day the pirates waited for the ransom, but when it did not appear they were satisfied that the Spaniards had never intended to pay it, and accordingly the buccaneers burned the town and retreated to the coast. Here they found that the Spaniards had tried to burn the ship by rather an extraordinary stratagem. They took the hide of a horse, blew it up till it floated like a great bladder, and upon it put a man who paddled himself under the stern of the ship. Here he crammed oakum, brimstone and other combustibles between the rudder and the sternpost, and set the whole on fire. In a few moments the vessel was covered with smoke, and in the confusion the Spaniard escaped. However, his plot was not successful, for the pirates had the good fortune to discover the cause of the fire and put it out before any serious damage was done.
Three weeks later, the pirates visited the island of Juan Fernandez, where they spent several days and where they celebrated their Christmas holiday by firing three volleys of shot. They found an abundance of goats on the island and were able to replenish their larder. The water supply was excellent, but at one time when Ringrose with nine of his companions in two canoes had landed to fill their jars, a storm came up which prevented them from returning to the ship. The wind grew so violent that the ship itself was forced to sail out into the open sea. About noon, Ringrose and his companions tried to follow the ship, but were driven back upon the shore by a raging sea. Early in the evening they tried a second time, and got some little distance from land, but the waves were so violent that they were forced to throw overboard all their jars of water to lighten their boats. Even then they were unable to reach their ship, but went ashore in the darkness and hauled up their canoes. They were unable to rest where they landed because of the great numbers of noisy seals that troubled them exceedingly. Therefore they went higher up into the islands, kindled a fire and spent a wet, hungry and uncomfortable night. All about them were the nests and roosting places of a multitude of birds, one of which fell down into their fire and was killed. Early the next morning they put to sea again, and finally found their ship half a league from them at anchor in a bay which furnished them a better anchorage than any they had previously discovered. More days were spent in taking on water, chopping wood, catching fish and killing goats. Terrible storms struck them, and the death of one of their mates made the stay an unhappy one.
Here they were told the story of a man who was cast upon this island, the only one saved from a large ship, and who lived five years there before any one came to carry him off. This was probably Alexander Selkirk, from whose adventures on the island Defoe wrote his Robinson Crusoe. Ringrose tells us that he on a trip into the island one day found cut in the bark of a tree a cross with several letters beside it, and that on the same tree he cut his own name with a cross above it. On the twelfth of January, seeing three ships which appeared to be men-of-war sailing toward them, they hurriedly left the island, abandoning there one of their Indian allies because he could not be found in time. Thus a second Man Friday was deposited upon Robinson Crusoe's island.
While at the island, some of the buccaneers mutinied, deposed Captain Sharp, and chose Watling to be their commander. When they left the island they went directly to the coast and made a second attempt upon the town of Arica, but they were beaten off with a great loss of men, among the killed being Captain Watling. After their return to the ship, Sharp was again chosen captain, and remained as such until the end of the voyage.
It seems that about the first of February, Ringrose was taken sick, and that thereafter he was unable to keep a constant diary, so that our accounts of the remainder of the voyage are brief and broken.
In March, sick and discouraged by the misfortunes they had met, the buccaneers decided not to continue the voyage, but to land, abandon their ship and return home across the continent. For one reason and another, however, they delayed leaving the ship, and continued to work their way north until about the middle of April. Forty-seven of the men who had been discontented all along were then put ashore, while the rest of the party decided to remain loyal to Captain Sharp, and to go home around the southern part of the continent. Before the mutineers were put ashore, the ship had come north almost to the equator, so that the journey of the deserters was materially lessened. Two of the mutineers reached the Isthmus, crossed it and subsequently published some brief accounts of their experiences.
Sharp's vessel cruised about in the vicinity of the equator, raiding small towns and capturing Spanish vessels, and piling up a large amount of treasure, until the end of August, when the buccaneers turned south with a determination to make the voyage home as quickly as possible.
About the twentieth of September they passed the Tropic of Capricorn, and by the middle of October they were almost opposite the Straits of Magellan. On this voyage they had kept most of the time far away from the coast, and had landed only when necessary to re-stock their ship with water and provisions.
In the wildest kind of weather they searched the rocky coast, trying to find the opening into the Strait of Magellan, but were unable to do so. Provisions ran low, and many times they feared actual starvation little less than destruction by storms and hidden rocks. Most of them were sick, and all were discouraged. At last they abandoned the idea of going through the straits, and sailed south around Tierra del Fuego through rain and fogs and frost.
About the middle of November they were able to turn their course to the north, and from that time we find them working steadily forward, till, on the twenty-eighth of January, they sighted the island of Barbados. Here they were told that peace was declared between Spain and England, but as they saw one of the British men-of-war lying at anchor, they did not dare to put into the harbor, fearing they would be seized as pirates, for throughout their whole expedition they had had no commission. Still they were overjoyed to see some of their countrymen again and to talk with them, as they did with the mariners on some of the small vessels that were putting out from the island.
They set free at this place a negro who had served them as shoemaker, giving him his liberty because he had worked so faithfully. Besides this, they presented Captain Sharp with a mulatto body servant as a mark of the respect and admiration they had for his skill in conducting them through so many dangerous adventures. Then they divided the last of their prize money and started a fund for the celebration of their return. As a nucleus, there were a hundred pieces of eight, prize money which they could not divide satisfactorily. To this they added the price of a little Spanish dog which they had found on one of their prizes, and which they had fed and cared for to the present time. Captain Sharp bought the dog, paying forty pieces of eight for him, with the understanding that the money should go into the "jollification fund."
On the thirtieth of January they sighted the island of Antigua, and sent a canoe on shore to get tobacco and find out whether the governor would permit them to come into port. They found everybody excepting the governor willing and anxious to see them, but the latter flatly denied them entry. Accordingly, the ship was given to those of the pirates who had lost all their money at play, while the remainder separated themselves into two groups and took passage for England.
Ringrose and thirteen of his companions reached England on the twenty-sixth of March. There they were tried for piracy in the South Seas, at the instigation of the Spanish ambassador, but were not convicted. On the most serious charge they were released on the plea of self-defense, as it was claimed that the Spaniards had fired first upon them. Three of Sharp's crew were tried at Jamaica. One pleaded guilty and was hanged, but the other two fought their cases in court and were finally acquitted for lack of evidence.
[1-1] This selection is taken from The Dangerous Voyage and Bold Attempts of Captain Bartholomew Sharp and Others, written in 1685 by Basil Ringrose, one of the pirates who sailed with Captain Sharp.
The expedition was organized with a general design to pillage and plunder on the Isthmus of Darien and the continent of South America. At the original rendezvous there were seven ships containing four hundred and seventy-seven men under the command of experienced pirate captains. The natural leaders were Captains Coxon, Sawkins and Sharp. At first the expedition met with comparatively little opposition, and they captured the town of Santa Maria, but the plunder was so small here that they were dissatisfied with what they were doing and decided again to take and plunder Panama. It is at this point that we take up the narrative of Ringrose.
Where the account appears in the first person, it is practically as it came from the pen of Ringrose, though omissions have been made and occasionally the phraseology has been changed.
Unique among the characters in American history and one of the most interesting men of pioneer days was David Crockett, who was born on the 17th of August, 1786, in the backwoods district of what has since become the State of Tennessee. His father, who was of Irish parentage, during his youth lived with his parents in Pennsylvania, but afterwards moved to North Carolina and thence into the Tennessee country. David's grandparents were both murdered in their own house by the Creek Indians. At the same time, one uncle of David's was badly wounded, and a second, a younger one, who was deaf and dumb, was captured by the Creeks and kept in captivity for seventeen years, when he was met and recognized by an elder brother, who purchased him from the Indians that held him. Hearing of such atrocities must have affected the young David, and undoubtedly accounts for some of the fierce hatred which the backwoodsman felt for the Creeks, and the callous way in which he looked upon their sufferings when later he fought against them with the militia from his neighborhood.
David had five brothers and three sisters; his father was a poor man who tried farming and other pioneer occupations, who built a mill and lost it in a freshet just as it was completed, and who finally established a little roadhouse or tavern on one of the Tennessee trails. So poor were they that much schooling was impossible for the children, yet David was sent at the proper time, and applied himself diligently for a few days to his letters. However, he was so unfortunate as to quarrel with one of his older companions who little realized the savage nature of the newcomer. That night Davy lay in wait for the larger boy and set upon him so fiercely and beat him so unmercifully that he was soon ready to cry for quarter. On the way home Davy persuaded his brothers to say nothing about the fight, and the next morning instead of going to school, he ran off into the woods, where he stayed until the children returned at night. He kept this up for several days, fearing to return to school and take the whipping he knew he must get from his teacher. In the end his father heard that he was playing truant, and tried to force the boy back to school. Davy refused to go, and when his father tried to punish him, ran away from home and engaged himself to a drover. He was fifteen years old before he returned to his home, and then he had changed so much that his parents did not recognize him, and it was some time before one of his sisters discovered who he really was. They received him joyfully, and thereafter, until he reached his majority, he worked faithfully for his father, paying off the latter's indebtedness and assisting the family in every possible way.
His life during this time was that of a backwoods boy, working hard and finding his recreation in hunting, fishing and the sports of the border. It was during this time that he acquired the over-powering taste for hunting in the woods, that lasted all his life. During these years, too, he developed that sturdy manhood which carried him through many trying ordeals. Though he never had schooling, and his conversation and writings were lacking in grammar, yet his speech was full of a sharp, rude wit, and his ideas were characterized by shrewd common sense.
Davy's motto, adopted early in life, was, "Be sure you are right, then go ahead,"—words that his own career made famous.
When the Creek War broke out, Crockett volunteered, and he served as soldier and spy till peace was declared. His experiences there we will let him tell himself, as he wrote them in his autobiography. (See page 37.)
After his return from the Creek War, he was elected to Congress in 1826 and in 1828. He was defeated in 1830 and re-elected in 1832. When he was first elected he knew very little about the government, and was totally ignorant of his duties as a member of Congress, but here again his good common sense and bright mind came to his aid; and although he worked under great disadvantages, yet he won respect and admiration from the other law-makers. He was always a curious and noticeable figure in Washington, both on account of his dress, which was similar to that of his backwoods companions, and because of his manner, which was as strange as his clothes. Such a man could not help being noticed, and on a trip which he made to Philadelphia, New York and Boston, he was received everywhere kindly and added not a little to his fame.
He was defeated at the close of his third term in Congress, and being stirred by the exciting news that came from Texas, he left his home in Tennessee and went West to join those men who were fighting the Mexicans in an endeavor to make Texas really a free and independent state.
He kept a journal during this trip, and in it he describes very entertainingly his companions and their experiences. Among them were three curious characters: a bee hunter, who was well known through Texas and who left his wife Kate at Nacogdoches; a fierce old man, who had been a pirate and had abandoned the sea for more exciting events on shore; and a quaint gambler, whom Crockett picked up near the Mississippi and persuaded to abandon the petty shell game by which he was getting small sums from the people he met on the way. The real name of this man Crockett never told, but assigned to him the nickname "Thimblerig."
We shall tell of the fall of the Alamo in another place (page 141), but Crockett's connection with it is so intimate that we must borrow a little from his diary.
We find him writing at San Antonio on the nineteenth of February in high spirits, although he confesses to a shortage of provisions, but hopes to satisfy his appetite with fighting if in no other way. On the twenty-third the enemy came in sight, and the little garrison resolved to defend the Alamo to the last extremity. They made a large national flag of thirteen stripes, red and white alternately on a blue ground, with a large white star in the center, and between the points the word "Texas." When the flag was raised, the bee hunter sang in his wonderfully mellow voice the following patriotic song, that roused the enthusiasm of his hearers to the highest pitch:
"Up with your banner, Freedom, The champions cling to thee; They'll follow where'er you lead 'em, To death, or victory;— Up with your banner, Freedom. Tyrants and slaves are rushing To tread thee in the dust; Their blood will soon be gushing, And stain our knives with rust;— But not thy banner, Freedom. While stars and stripes are flying, Our blood we'll freely shed; No groan will 'scape the dying, Seeing thee o'er his head;— Up with your banner, Freedom."
For the next nine days, Crockett gives an account of their privations and sufferings, their brave and successful defense, and the marked execution they were able to make among the Mexicans who showed themselves within range. On the third of March they had given up all hopes of receiving assistance from without, and had promised to fight to the last extremity, and in dying kill as many of their foes as possible.
His entry for the fourth of March is substantially as follows: "Shells have been falling into the fort like hail during the day, but without effect. About dusk this evening we saw a man running toward the fort pursued by about a dozen Mexican cavalry. The bee hunter immediately recognized him as the old pirate who had gone to Goliad for assistance, and calling to two others, the bee hunter sallied out of the fort to the relief of the old man, I following close after. Before we reached him the Mexicans were close upon his heels. He stopped suddenly, turned short upon his pursuers, discharged his rifle, and saw one of his enemies fall from his horse. After running a short distance again, the old pirate, finding that he would be taken and cut to pieces, turned fiercely, and to the amazement of the enemy clubbed his gun and dashed among them like a wounded tiger. By the time we reached him, his pursuers had fled like sparrows, and in the ardour of the moment we followed them some distance, not seeing that our retreat was cut off by another detachment of cavalry. Nothing was to be done but to fight our way through. We were all of the same mind. They were about twenty in number and stood their ground while we dashed among them, and for about five minutes a bloody conflict ensued. Then a detachment was seen coming from the fort to our relief, and the Mexicans scampered away, leaving eight of their men dead upon the field. We did not escape unscathed, for both the pirate and the bee hunter were mortally wounded, and I received a saber cut across the forehead.
"The old man died without speaking as soon as we entered the fort. We bore my young friend to his bed, dressed his wounds, and I watched beside him. He lay without complaint or manifesting pain, until about midnight, when he spoke. I asked him what he wanted. 'Nothing,' he replied with a sigh that seemed to rend his heart, and his eyes filled with tears as he continued his 'Poor Kate of Nacogdoches; her words were prophetic, Colonel,' Then he sang in a low voice,—
'But toom' cam' the saddle, all bluidy to see, And hame cam' the steed, but hame never cam' he.'
"He spoke no more, and a few minutes afterward died. Poor Kate, who will tell this to thee?"
The last entry in Crockett's diary bears date March fifth. It is as follows:
"Pop, pop, pop! Bom, bom, bom! throughout the day.——No time for memorandums now.——Go ahead!——Liberty and independence forever!"
Before daybreak the next morning, the final assault was made on the Alamo, and when Santa Ana entered in person, after the terrible butchery, only six men, among whom was Colonel Crockett, were found alive. The Colonel stood alone in an angle of the fort, the barrel of his broken rifle in his right hand, and in his left a huge Bowie knife dripping blood. Across his forehead was a terrible gash, while around him lay a barrier of dead Mexicans who had fallen at his hands. At his feet lay the body of his friend Thimblerig with his knife driven to the hilt in the throat of a Mexican, and his left hand clenched in his hair.
"General Castrillon was brave and not cruel, and disposed to save the prisoners. He marched them up to that part of the fort where stood Santa Ana and his murderous crew. The steady, fearless step and undaunted tread of Colonel Crockett, on this occasion, together with the bold demeanour of the hardy veteran, had a powerful effect on all present. Nothing daunted, he marched up boldly in front of Santa Ana, and looked him sternly in the face, while Castrillon addressed 'his Excellency,'—'Sir, here are six prisoners I have taken alive; how shall I dispose of them?' Santa Ana looked at Castrillon fiercely, flew into a violent rage, and replied, 'Have I not told you before how to dispose of them? Why do you bring them to me?' At the same time his brave officers plunged their swords into the bosoms of their defenceless prisoners. Colonel Crockett, seeing the act of treachery, instantly sprung like a tiger at the ruffian chief, but before he could reach him a dozen swords were sheathed in his indomitable heart; and he fell, and died without a groan, a frown on his brow, and a smile of scorn and defiance on his lips. Castrillon rushed from the scene, apparently horrorstruck, sought his quarters, and did not leave them for several days, and hardly spoke to Santa Ana after."
It is only fair to say that the account which we have quoted above is denied by some authorities, who say that Crockett was killed before ever Santa Ana entered the Alamo.
DAVID CROCKETT IN THE CREEK WAR
ABRIDGED FROM HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY
I was living ten miles below Winchester when the Creek warriors commenced their open hostilities by a most bloody butchery at Fort Mimms. There had been no war among us for so long that but few who were not too old to bear arms knew anything about the business. I for one had often thought about war and had often heard it described, and I did verily believe in my own mind that I couldn't fight at all; but my after-experience convinced me that this was all a notion, for when I heard of the mischief which was done at the fort, I instantly felt like going, and I had none of the dread of dying that I expected to feel.
In a few days a general meeting of the militia was called for the purpose of raising volunteers; and when the day arrived for that meeting, my wife, who had heard me say I meant to go to war, began to beg me not to turn out. It was mighty hard to go against her arguments, but my countrymen had been murdered, and I knew that the next thing would be that the Indians would be scalping the women and children all about there if we didn't put a stop to it. I reasoned the case with her as well as I could, and told her that if every man would wait till his wife got willing to let him go to war, there would be no fighting done until we would all be killed in our houses; that I was as able to go as any man in the world; and that I believed it was a duty I owed to my country. Whether she was satisfied with this reasoning or not, she didn't tell me; but seeing I was bent on it, all she did was to cry a little and to turn about to her work. The truth is my dander was up and nothing but war should bring it right again.
I went to Winchester where a muster was to be. When the men were paraded, a lawyer by the name of Jones addressed us; informing us he wished to raise a company, and that then the men should meet and elect their officers. I believe I was about the second or third man that stepped out; but on marching up and down the regiment a few times we found we had a large company.
We volunteered for sixty days, as it was supposed our services would not be longer needed. A day or two after this we met and elected Mr. Jones our Captain, and also elected our other officers. We then received orders to start on the next Monday week; the time arrived, I took a parting farewell of my wife and two little boys, mounted my horse and set sail to join my company. Expecting only to be gone a short time, I took no more clothing with me than I supposed would be necessary; so that if I got into an Indian battle, I might not be pestered with any unnecessary plunder to prevent my having a fair chance with them. We all met and went ahead till we passed Huntsville and camped at a large spring called Beaty's Spring. Here we stayed several days, in which time the troops began to collect from all quarters. At last we mustered about thirteen hundred strong; all mounted volunteers and all determined to fight, judging from myself, for I felt wolfish all over. I verily believe the whole army was of the real grit.
While we remained at the spring, a Major Gibson came and wanted some volunteers to go with him across the Tennessee River and into the Creek nation to find out the movements of the Indians. He came to my Captain and asked for two of his best woodsmen and such as were best with the rifle. The Captain pointed me out to him, and said he would be security that I would go as far as the major would himself, or any other man.
I willingly engaged to go with him, and asked him to let me choose my own mate to go with me, which he said he would let me do. I chose a young man by the name of George Russell, son of old Major Russell of Tennessee. I called him out, but Major Gibson said he thought he hadn't beard enough to please him—he wanted men, not boys. I must confess I was a little wrathy with this, for I know'd George Russell and I know'd there was no mistake in him and I didn't think that courage ought to be measured by the beard; for here a goat would have the preference over a man. I told the major he was on the wrong scent; that Russell could go as far as he could, and I must have him along. He saw I was a little wrathy and said I had the best chance of knowing, and agreed it should be as I wanted it.
We took our camp equipage and mounted our horses; and thirteen in number, including the major, we cut out. We crossed the Tennessee River and then traveled about seven miles further, and took up camp for the night. The next morning, Major Gibson and myself concluded we should separate and take different directions to see what discoveries we could make; so he took six of the men and I five. We were to meet that evening where the roads came together, fifteen miles the other side of the house of a Cherokee Indian named Dick Brown.
I and my men then started and went on to the place of meeting, but Major Gibson was not there. We waited till almost dark, but still he didn't come. We left the Indian trail a little distance and turning into the head of a hollow, we struck up camp. We stayed next morning till after breakfast; but in vain, for still the major didn't come.
We started ahead and went about twenty miles to the house of a man by the name of Radcliff. He was a white man, but had married a Creek woman, and lived just in the edge of a Creek nation. He had two sons, large, likely fellows; and a great deal of potatoes and corn; so we fed our horses and got dinner with him. But he was bad scared all the time; he told us that there had been ten painted warriors at his house only an hour before, and if we were discovered there, they would kill us, and his family with us. I replied to him, that my business was to hunt for just such fellows as he had described, and I was determined not to go back until I had done it.
Our dinner being over we saddled up our horses and made ready to start; but some of my small company I found were disposed to return. I told them if we were to go back we should never hear the last of it; and I was determined to go ahead. I know'd some of them would go with me and the rest were afraid to go back by themselves; and so we pushed on to the camp of some friendly Creeks, which was distant about eight miles. The moon was about at the full, and the night was clear; we therefore had the benefit of her light from night to morning, and I knew if we were placed in such danger as to make retreat necessary, we could travel by night as well as in the daytime. It was after dark when we got to the camp, where we found about forty men, women and children.
They had bows and arrows, and I turned to shooting with their bows by the pine light. In this way we amused ourselves very well for a while, but at last a negro, who had been talking to the Indians, came to me and told me they were very much alarmed, for the Red Sticks, as they called the war party of the Creeks, would come and find us there; and if so, we should all be killed. I directed him to tell them that I would watch, and if one would come that night, I should carry the skin of his head home to make me a moccasin. When he made this communication, the Indians laughed aloud.
At about ten o'clock that night, we all concluded to try to sleep a little, but that our horses might be ready for use, we tied them up with their saddles on them and put everything in readiness in case in the night our quarters should get uncomfortable. We laid down with our guns in our arms, and I had just gotten into a dozing sleep when I heard the sharpest scream that ever escaped the throat of a human creature. It was more like a wrathy painter[42-1] than anything else. The negro understood, and he sprang to me, for though I heard the noise well enough, yet I wasn't wide awake enough to get up; so the negro caught me and said the Red Sticks was coming. I arose quickly then and asked what was the matter. Our negro talked with the Indian, who had just fetched the scream, and learned from him that he had come into camp as a runner, and said that the war party had been crossing the Coosa River all day at the Ten Islands and was going then to meet Jackson. This news very much alarmed the friendly Indians, who were in the camp, and they were all off in ten minutes.
I felt bound to make this intelligence known as soon as possible to the army which we had left; and so we all mounted our horses and put out in a long lope to make our way back to that place. We were about sixty-five miles off. We went on to the Cherokee town we had visited on our way out, having called at Radcliff's, who was off with his family. At the town we found large fires burning, but not a single Indian was to be seen. They were all gone, and it appeared we must be in great danger. We therefore stayed only a short time in the light of the fires about the town, preferring the light of the moon and the shade of the woods.
We pushed on till we got again to old Mr. Brown's, which was still about thirty miles from where we had left the main army. When we got there, the chickens were just at the first crowing for day. We fed our horses, got a morsel to eat ourselves, and again cut out.
About ten o'clock in the morning we reached the camp, and I reported to Colonel Coffee the news. He didn't seem to mind my report a bit, and this raised my dander higher than ever; but I know'd I had to be on my best behavior, and so I kept it all to myself; though I was so mad that I was burning inside like a tar-kiln, and I wonder that the smoke hadn't been pouring out of me at all points. Major Gibson hadn't yet returned, and we all began to think he was killed.
The next day, though, the major got in, and brought a worse tale than I had, though he stated the same facts as far as I went. This seemed to put our colonel all into a fidget; and it convinced me clearly of one of the hateful ways of the world. When I made my report, it wasn't believed because I was no officer: I was no great man, but just a poor soldier; but when the same thing was reported by Major Gibson! why, then it was all as true as preaching, and the Colonel believed it, every word.
He therefore ordered breastworks to be thrown up nearly a quarter of a mile along; and sent an express to General Jackson, requesting him to push on like the very mischief, for fear we should all be cooked up to a cracklin before they could get there. "Old Hickory-face" made a forced march on getting the news, and on the next day he and his men got into camp with their feet all blistered from the effects of their swift journey. The volunteers therefore stood guard all together to let them rest.
About eight hundred of the volunteers, and of that number I was one, were sent on through Huntsville so as to get on the Indians in another direction. After we passed Huntsville, we struck the Tennessee River at Melton's Bluff. The river is here about two miles wide, and has so rough a bottom in many places as to be dangerous. At this place we left some of the horses with their feet held fast in the crevices of the rocks; their riders went on foot.
We pushed on till we got to what was called the Black Warrior's town, which stood near the very spot where Tuscaloosa now stands. This Indian town was a large one, but when we arrived we found the Indians had all left it, scared off no doubt by our arrival. There was a large field of corn standing out with a pretty good supply in some cribs. Without delay we secured the corn as well as a fine quantity of dried beans, which were very acceptable to us. Then we burned the town and left the place.
The next day we were entirely out of meat. I went to Colonel Coffee, who was then in command of us, and asked his leave to hunt when we marched. He gave me leave, but told me to take mighty good care of myself. I turned aside to hunt, and had not gone far when I found a deer that had just been killed, for his flesh was still warm and smoking. From this I was sure that the Indians who had killed it had been gone only a few minutes, and though I was never much in favor of one hunter stealing from another, yet meat was so scarce in camp, I just took up the deer on my horse before me and carried it on till night.
I could have sold it for almost any price I would have asked, but this wasn't my rule either in peace or war. Whenever I had anything and saw a fellow-being suffering, I was more anxious to relieve him than to benefit myself; and this is one of the true secrets of my being a poor man to this day. I gave all my deer away except a small part I kept for myself and just sufficient to make a good supper for my mess. We had to live mostly on parched corn.
The next night I told my mess I would again try for some meat; so I took my rifle and cut out, but hadn't gone far when I discovered a large gang of hogs. I shot one of them down in his tracks, and the rest broke directly toward the camp. In a few minutes the guns began to roar as bad as if the whole army had been in an Indian battle, and the hogs to squeal as bad as the pig did when the devil turned barber. I shouldered my hog and went on to camp, and when I got there I found they had killed a good many hogs and a fine fat cow into the bargain. The next morning we marched on to a Cherokee town and gave the inhabitants an order on Uncle Sam for the cow and the hogs we had killed.
The next day we met the main army and all went on to Radcliff's. There we found he had hid all his provisions, and learned that, when I was out as a spy, he had sent a runner to the Indian camp with the news that the Red Sticks were crossing at Ten Islands in order to scare me and my men away with a false alarm. To make some atonement for this, we took the old scoundrel's two big sons with us, and made them serve through the war.
We marched to the Ten Islands on the Coosa River, where we established a fort and sent out spy companies. They soon made prisoners of Bob Catala and his warriors, and in a few days brought news of some Indians in a town about eight miles off. So we mounted our horses, and put out for that town under the direction of two friendly Creeks.
When we got near the town, we divided, one of our pilots going with each division. Thus we passed on each side of the town, keeping near to it until our lines met at both sides. We then closed up at both ends so as to surround it completely, and sent Captain Hammond to bring on the affray. When he came near the town, the Indians saw him, raised a yell and came running at him like so many red devils. The main army was now formed in a hollow square around the town, to which Hammond retreated till the Indians came within reach. We then gave them a fire and they returned it, after which they ran back into their town, when we began to close on it. The Indians soon saw they were on our property, and wanted us to take them prisoners. Their squaws and children would run and take hold of us as they could, and give themselves up. I saw seven squaws at a time holding on to the hunting-shirt of one man. We took all prisoners that came out to us in this way. I saw some warriors, however, run into a house until I counted forty-six of them. We pursued them until we got near the house, when we saw a squaw sitting in the door. She placed her feet against the bow she had in her hand, took an arrow, raised her feet, drew with all her might and let the arrow fly at us, killing Lieutenant Moore, I believe. His death so enraged us all that she was fired on, and at least twenty balls were blown through her. This was the first man I ever saw killed with a bow and arrow. We now shot them down like dogs, and then set the house on fire, burning it with the forty-six warriors inside.
I remember seeing an Indian boy, who was shot down near the house. His arm and thigh were broken, and he was so near the burning house that his flesh was fairly cooking. In this situation he was still trying to crawl along, but not a murmur escaped him, though he was only twelve years old. When an Indian's dander is up, he would sooner die than make a noise, or ask for quarter.
The number that we took prisoners being added to the number we killed amounted to one hundred and eighty-six, while five of our men were killed. We then returned to our fort, but no provisions had yet reached us, and we had been for some time on half rations. For several days we remained there almost starving, as all our beef was gone. Then we commenced eating beef hides, and consumed every scrap we could lay our hands on, before we received orders for marching.
We crossed the Coosa River, and when we had come near to Fort Taladega, we met eleven hundred painted warriors, the very choice of the Creek nation, who had shut up the friendly Indians in the fort, and threatened that if they did not come out and fight against the whites, they would lose their fort, ammunition and provisions. The friendly Indians had asked three days to consider their answers, and had immediately started a runner to Captain Jackson, and it was the receipt of this message that had caused us to come over.
The Creeks from their spies had discovered us coming, and told the friendly Indians that we had a great many fine horses and blankets and guns and everything else, and if they would come out and help whip Captain Jackson, they should share the plunder. This they promised to do.
About an hour after sunrise in the morning, piloted by some friendly Indians, we came near the fort and divided as we had done in our former battle; so as to form around the Indians, as before, a hollow square. This time we sent Major Russell and Captain Evans with their companies to bring on the battle.
When they got near the fort, they saw that the top of it was lined with friendly Indians crying out as loud as they could roar—"How-de-do, brothers! How-de-do!" They kept this up till Major Russell had passed by the fort and was moving on toward the besiegers.
The Creeks had concealed themselves under the bank of a branch that run partly around the fort, in the manner of a half moon. They were all painted as red as scarlet, and were just as naked as they were born. Russell could not see them, and was going right into their circle; although the friendly Indians on the top of the fort were trying every plan to show him his danger. He could not understand them, but at last two of them jumped from the fort, ran and took his horse by the bridle, and pointing, told him there were thousands of Creeks lying under the bank. This brought his company to a halt.
At the same moment the Creeks fired on them and came rushing forth from their hiding place like a cloud of Egyptian locusts, and screaming like all the young devils had been turned loose with the old devil at their head. Russell's company jumped from their horses and hurried into the fort, while their horses ran up to our line, which by this time was come into full view.
The warriors came yelling on until they were within shot of us, when we fired and killed considerable of them. They then broke like a gang of steers, and ran across to the other line, where they were again fired on. And so we kept them running from one line to the other, constantly under a heavy fire, until we had killed upwards of four hundred of them. They fought with guns and also with their bows and arrows, but at length they made their escape through a part of our line, which was made up of drafted militia. We lost fifteen of our men, as brave fellows as ever lived or died. We buried them all in one grave, and started back to our fort, but before we got there two more of our men died with wounds they had received.
We now remained at the fort a few days, but as no provisions came, we were all liable to perish. The weather also began to get very cold, our clothes were nearly worn out, and our horses getting very feeble and poor; so we proposed to General Jackson to let us return home, get fresh horses and fresh clothing, and so be prepared for another campaign. The sixty days for which we had enlisted had long gone out. The General, however, issued his orders against it. Nevertheless, we began to fix for a start home, but the General placed his cannon on a bridge we had to cross, and ordered out his regulars and drafted men to keep us from passing. But when the militia started to guard the bridge, they would shout back to us to bring their knapsacks along when we came, for they wanted to go as bad as we did. We moved on till we reached the bridge, where the General's men were all strung along on both sides, but we all had our flints ready picked, and our guns ready, so that if we were fired upon, we might fight our way through or all die together. When we came still nearer the bridge, we heard the guards cocking their guns, and we did the same; but not a gun was fired nor a life lost. When we had passed the bridge, no further attempt was made to stop us. The General said we were the worst volunteers he had ever seen. That we would volunteer and go out and fight, and then that we would volunteer and go home again in spite of the devil.
After we had procured fresh horses and a more suitable supply of clothing, a few of us pushed on to the army again. I joined Major Russell's company of spies and overtook General Jackson, where we established Fort Williams. Then we pushed on to the Horseshoe bend of the Tallapoosa River, where we began to find Indian signs in plenty.
Here we struck up camp for the night; but about two hours before day we heard our guard firing and were all up in little or no time. We mended up our camp fires and then fell back into the dark, expecting to see the Indians pouring in, and intending, when they should do so, to shoot them by the light of our own fires. It so happened, however, that the Indians did not rush in as we expected, but commenced a fire on us as we were. This we returned and continued to shoot as well as we could in the dark, guided only by the flash of the Indians' guns. When day broke, the Indians disappeared, but they had killed four of our men and wounded several. Whether we killed any of the Indians or not, we could not tell, for it is their custom to carry off their dead whenever they can. We buried ours all in one grave and laid logs over them and set them afire, so that the savages might not find them when they returned, as we knew they would do, to scalp the slain.
We made some horse-litters for our wounded, and took up our retreat. We had to cross a large creek, and when about half our men were over, the Indians commenced firing and kept it up very warmly. They hid themselves behind a large log and could kill one of our men, who were in open ground and exposed, with almost every shot. At this trying moment two of our colonels left their men, and by a forced march crossed the creek out of the reach of the fire. Here Governor Carroll distinguished himself by a greater bravery than I ever saw in any other man. In truth, I believe that if it hadn't been for Carroll, we should all have been genteelly licked that time; with part of our men on one side of the creek and part on the other, and the Indians all the time pouring it in on us as hot as fresh mustard is to sore skin. I know I was mighty glad when the savages quit us, for I began to think there was one behind every tree in the woods.
Soon after this, an army was raised to go to Pensacola, and I determined to go again with them, for I wanted a small taste of British fighting and supposed I would find it there. I joined old Major Russell again and followed on after the main army with about a hundred and thirty men in our company. We crossed the river near where I had crossed when I first went out; then we passed through the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations to what is called the Cut-off at the junction of the Tom Bigby with the Alabama River.
This place is near the old Fort Mimms where the Indians committed the great butchery at the commencement of the war. The fort was built right in the middle of a large old field; and before the massacre the people had been there so long and lived so quietly that they didn't apprehend any danger at all, and had therefore become quite careless. A small negro boy, whose business it was to bring up the calves at milking time, had been out for that purpose, and on coming back he said he saw a great many Indians. At this the inhabitants took alarm, closed their gates and put out guards who continued to watch for a few days. Finding that no attack was made, they concluded the little negro had lied, and again threw their gates open and sent out their hands to work their fields. The same boy set out again on the same errand, and returned in great haste and alarm, and informed them he had seen the Indians as thick as trees in the woods. He was not believed, but was tied up to receive a flogging for the supposed lie. In fact he was actually getting badly licked at the very moment when the Indians came in a troop. They were loaded with rails with which they stopped all the portholes of the fort on one side, and then they fell to cutting down the picketing. Those inside the fort had only the bastion to shoot from, and as fast as one Indian would fall, another would catch up his ax and chop away until they succeeded in cutting down enough of the picketing to permit them to enter. Then they rushed through and immediately commenced scalping without regard to age or sex. Having forced the inhabitants up to one side of the fort, they carried on the work as a butcher would in a slaughter pen.