Page images

ning, having marched about thirty miles, we encamped in an open prairie, in front of a formidable looking hammock of several miles in length, which, we were told, was supposed to contain the celebrated Ca-Coochee, who had recently escaped from St. Augustine, and gathered together his scattered followers in some of the great hammocks between Jupiter Inlet and Fort Lane. A party of Indians having been seen by the express rider between these two posts, was the cause of our sudden movement.

Under these circumstances the greatest caution was necessary; no fires were allowed to be kindled, and the strictest silence was enjoined, As the darkness of night came on, our situation was rendered extremely unpleasant by a heavy storm of wind and rain. In the whole detachment there was not a single blanket or guard.coat, and we were obliged to pass the night as we could, under a torrent of rain. As on the preceding evening, nature was too much wearied to allow of long complaint on account of the weather, and taking off our coats and wrapping them around the cartridge-boxes to keep them dry, most of us soon forgot the rain and cold in sweet and refreshing sleep. Early in the morning we were roused from our slumbers, and ordered to prepare for the charge. The sun was just rising when the detachment began to deploy at thirty paces, preparatory to entering the hammock. The plan of operation was this :-two small bodies were sent to post themselves on the opposite side of the hammock, to prevent the escape of the Indians ; the remainder of the detachment was then formed into two ranks, faced to the right, and ordered to march, leaving a file of men at every thirty paces, until the whole line should be deployed; then, face to the front, and charge, converging as they advanced, so as to meet on the opposite side of the hammock. The manæuvre was rapidly completed, and we set forward with a quick step towards the hammock, which consisted mainly of palmetto and live-oaks, interwoven with vines and shrubbery of every kind, so as to render it almost impervious. The troops advanced slowly and painfully until they had reached the centre, where the ground was more free. At this moment the report of a single musket was heard in the direction of the extreme left, within a few files of where I was. The whole line halted for a moment and listened, expecting to hear the shot returned ; but all was silent as before, and the word was passed from file to file to “advance, and keep a good lookout." In about an hour we were once more on open ground on the opposite side of the swamp, having spent more than three hours in traversing less than a mile. The shot beard had been fired by the second file on my right, and its victim was the only Indian seen during the charge. The poor fellow was sitting at the foot of a large cypress-tree, eating his morning meal of parched corn, utterly unconscious of danger, when the fatal bullet found its way to bis heart. It seemed like a cruel and barbarous thing thus to hurry a fellow being into eternity, without a single warning note to apprise him of his danger. But it must be recollected, that he was supposed to be one of a band of cruel and treacherous foemen, whose suspected we were searching, and the measnre was one of necessity. He was brought out of the hammock and buried in the edge of the prairie, with as many expressions of sympathy as if he had been a comrade.

The object of the expedition having been accomplished, we now set off on our return to the Fort. The briers and bushes had made woful ravages on our wardrobes, leaving scarce enough on many to deserve the name of clothing; and the rain of the second night had not been more lenient with our provisions. These, consisting principally of hard bread, had become thoroughly soaked, and a few hours of warm, sultry sunshine, rendered them unfit for use. This circumstance obliged us to take a more direct route than had at first been intended. The loss of our bread confined us to rather short rations of boiled bacon, and we began to anticipate an unwelcome fast for the next two days. During the second day's march, however, some of the party shot an Indian cow, which was considered as a lawful prize and a lucky godsend. We at once encamped, though it was little beyond mid-day, to enjoy the unwonted luxury of fresh beef. Large fires were soon built, and the cow, divided into one bundred and fifty shares, was distributed by lot among the men. Using our bayonets for spits, the savory morsels were soon roasted, with no other condiment ihan the smoke of a pitch-pine fire, and in a little while it had gone the way of all (cow) flesh. On the fifth day we reached Fort Lane, having killed an Indian and eaten a cow!

As the Indians were now pretty certainly known to have removed from our immediate proximity, we were allowed more liberty during the remainder of the time spent at Fort Lane, and our days and nights were passed very agreeably, in fishing and fire-hunting, though in the latter we generally met with little success. The long continuance of the war had compelled the Indians to subsist mainly by the chase, and in consequence, the larger kinds of game had grown very scarce. Occasionally, however, the hunting parties would bring in a deer, and sometimes, though rarely, a bear.

On the opposite shore of the lake stood an Indian town, which, like the one in rear of the post, had been inhabited by Philip. It had been seen by our boatmen from the lake, but the foot of a white man had probably never pressed its soil. Having a great desire to examine the village, I one morning took my musket and ammunition, and set out on a tour of observation. As it was on the opposite shore, I was obliged to make a circuit around the head of the lake, and crossing the river near its mouth, in an old canoe usually kept there, I made my way for the village, about six miles distant from the entrance of the river into the lake. A pleasant walk of two hours brought me to the town, and a lovelier spot my eyes never rested on. It stood upon a plain, sloping gently back from the lake, and commanding a full view of its clear bright waters. The huts or lodges, about fifty in number, were built beneath the shade of a grove of the noblest live-oaks, whose spreading branches, festooned with a drapery of long gray moss, afforded a canopy from the summer's sun, and a covert from the wintry blast. The whole grove was free from undergrowth, and the spaces between the huts were occupied as gardens, whose weedless appear. ance gave good proof of the industry of the Indian women.

It was

I wandered about the deserted village, peeping curiously into the interior apartments of the dwellings, and examining with pleasure, not unmingled with pity, the many obvious proofs of the comfort and happiness of the unfortunate inhabitants, before the bloody gripe of war had snatched from them their country and their all. As I rambled around the precincts, my attention was attracted by a tall pole, standing in the midst of a well-beaten circle some fifty feei in diameter. the pole around which their dances were celebrated. Here, doubtless, when peace and prosperity smiled upon the little community, the idle hours of eventide were whiled away by the young men and maidens in the festive dance : here was chaunted the song of love, and here, too, the wild, thrilling war-song raised its husky voice, to drown the gentler lay of peace and love.

As I stood and mused upon the varied scenes enacted on that spot, my attention was attracted by something attached to the pole, and playing in the breeze. I approached and removed it. It was a lock of female hair, whose softness and color too plainly told its origin ; it had probably been torn from the scalp by a splinter on the pole, upon which it had been placed when the horrid scalp-dance was performed. My heart sickened at the sight, and I turned and left the spot, feeling little regret for the fate of wretches who could bury the hatchet in the brain of helpless infancy and unoffending age, and whose bloody hands could tear the reeking scalp from the head of the murdered mother. The fountain of sympathy was suddenly dried up, and I know not but that I rejoiced in the fate that has swept the monsters from our land.

So much had my thoughts been engaged with the scene around me, that I had not noticed the lateness of the hour until I reached the shores of the lake. The sun had then already set, and the shades of evening were gathering rapidly around. The Fort was about ten miles distant by the route I must traverse, though I could distinctly hear the evening drum, as the breeze bore its notes directly across the lake. The night soon set in, dark and threatening, so that it was with difficulty I could find my way. Keeping close to the shore of the lake, however, I succeeded, about eight o'clock, in reaching the mouth of the river. Here a new and unexpected dilemma arose. The boat in which I had crossed in the morning was nowhere to be found, after a search of half an hour! The only alternatives were to remain where I was all night, or swim the river. To do the former, under circumstances so suspicious, was, to say the least, fool-hardy; to swim the stream, encumbered as I was with my arms and clothing, promised to be no easy task. The stream was about thirty yards in width, and fordable perhaps one third of that distance. After some hesitation, I resolved to swim it, and fastening my cartridge-box to the top of my musket, to keep it dry, I breasted the stream, and soon found myself on the other side, with less difficulty than I had anticipated. About ten o'clock I reached the Fort, where I found a small detachment preparing to go in search of me. The canoe was found next day at the lower side of the Lake, whither it had probably drifted, without any assistance from the Indians.

The winter was now wearing rapidly away, and with approaching

spring the dysentery, and other diseases common to the climate, made their appearance among the troops, to such a degree that it became necessary to recall the army from the field and remove it to summer quarters, at St. Augustine and other healthy posts. One after another the advanced stations were abandoned, until Fort Lane was left the only post on the St. John's south of Fort Mellon. To retain this post was an object of considerable importance, from its situation in the very heart of the hostile territory, and on account of the extensive clearings around it, upon which the Indians might, with ease, raise enough during the coming summer to supply them in the next campaign. It was accordingly determined not to abandon it, if it could be held without too great sacrifice of life, and preparations were made to render the troops as comfortable as possible in summer quarters.

About the beginning of March, however, the waters of the Lake began to rise rapidly, without any apparent cause, and to assume a brackish taste, so that in a week they were utterly unfit for use. Owing, perhaps, principally to this cause, the dysentery, though in a mild form, made its appearance in our midst, and in a few days nearly one fourth of the whole garrison was unfit for duty.

Being without a surgeon, the whole care of the sick devolved upon myself—a responsibility which an older and more experienced man might well shrink from, particularly in diseases where whatever is done must be done quickly. Applying the little knowledge I had gained in six months' familiarity with the diseases most common to the troops, and referring to the prescription books, written by myself from the mouths of the different surgeons, I was providentially enabled to check the progress of the disease, so far, at least, as not to lose any of our number by death. I was not slow, however, in recommending an abandonment of the post; and a certificate of the health of the garrison, signed by the officers, soon brought the required permission, and about the 25th of March we turned our backs upon Fort Lane, where we had spent many days of pleasant idleness, and still more pleasant service.

Owing to the rise of the river, we were enabled to descend it in steamboats, carrying with us every thing portable, and leaving the Fort we had built, with its large block and warehouses, to the mercy of the Indians. Whether they were destroyed by them or not, I never knew.

When we arrived at Fort Mellon, we found the body of the army there, worn out with fatigue and sickness. The service of the campaign had been arduous in the extreme, and many whom we had seen in vigor and health when we parted from them in December, were now sleeping their long sleep, in the hammocks and prairies of Southern Florida

The campaign was now closed. Its history and results, so far as other portions of the army were concerned, are written elsewhere; with them I have nothing to do. I have endeavored to give a plain, unvarnished account of what I was personally concerned in, and if the narrative is barren of personal incident or thrilling adventure, be pleased to recollect, courteous reader, that I profess to give an account, not of what I did, but of what I saw. VOL. XI.



With a fragrant Havana

I'll whiff away care,
While halos of beauty

Shall float on the air.

"Tis the last silver sixpence

Left shining alone;
All its once dear companions

Expended and gone;
No coin of its kindred,

No poor bit is nigh,
To reflect back its brightness,

Or gladden mine eye!

I'll not keep thee, thou lone one,

To mock at my wo;
Since the rest are at Gorham's,

There, too, shalt thou go.

Ah, then would I perish,

My purse growing lean,
And the ghosts of old term-bills

All haunting my dream!
When friends will not trust one,

And duns only come,
Oh! who would then live here

With sixpence alone ?



Euclidius, Newtonius, multique pariter insignes, olim foruêre : qui omnes, addendo et deducendo quædam mira faciebant. Opera quorum ingenii, Novunculos herbaceos, nuper a mammá disjunctos, aut nunc, (ut verius dicamus,) anxiis matribus desideratos, in lacrymas solvunt. Sophomoros verô, inani labore fatigatos, exacerbant, penitus obfuscant, cruentêque laniunt. Juniores etiam, quamvis alicui diras imprecari foedum sit, illos scriptores antiquos et venerabiles, conviciis contumeliisque blasphemiter lacessunt.

Seniores autem, his morosis adstantes, incedunt per ora inagnifice, et, naso ita pollice adjuncto, ut iis stomachus moveatur, benigne arrident, auremque praebent mal. itiosam. Accedit etiam ironice blandiloquentia multa.

Hoc quidem est gravius, quam ut tolerari potest. Sed tamen sunt, quos miseret illorum. Igitur, quidam artium fanatici mathematicarum, artificia permulta excogitavere; quibus omnes, etiam stolidissimi, loca in his libris obscura, perspicere possent: unumque librum (Euclidium) illuminare et perforare solent. Sed frustrâ. Haec nihil valent. Inanum est perforare; nam cæco, solidum est foramen. Ridiculum est illuminare, atque supervacaneum. Profecto nocte oppressis, nihil sole oriente jucundius; at vero, quibus Dies perpetuus ante oculos versetur, üi quomodo lucis egeant? De quibus praeter Novos et Sophomoros hoc mirum dicere possumus? Medio Die, in mediâ nocte sunt; et media nocte, in medio Die sunt. Hoc tamen est tam verum, ut nihil sit verius. Ex hoc Die nocturno fiunt, oculi humore fluentes, cordis palpitatio, cani, rugao, tabes cadavera, horrendus Ephialtes, atque functa stupendissima!

Sed ne longus sim, pauca nunc de me ipso dicam. Non cupio famam: pecuniæ non mihi opus est ; nec animî cruciatu afficere volo. Quamobrem Anglicê problemata mea scripta sunt. Tamen sunt (proh pudor !) qui, quas ne attingere quidem debebant, in his rebus maximè occupantur. Tales ita de me dicent ; "aliquem se putat;" “suum cuique pulchrum est ;" * laudis gratia scribit;" " deficit illum pecunia." Quicunque haec verba in medium proferet, aheneus mendax et impudentissimus. Curaeque est etiam diabolo, et si mihi usquam aut unquam occurrat, hanc vocem “peccavi!" naso colliso exhalabit. At veró, Latinè scribendo, colligere pecuniam! Ha! ha! ha! Ehem! Eheu! Mihi pretio, erunt duæ Yalenses Magazine! Sed meo patre vivente, flumen est argentî perenne. Pauci forte dicant, (et non malo animo) “ Newtonium aemulari studet.” Mortui nomen illius mathematici

, non maledictis increpabo. Hoc tamen (si fas est dictu) piissimè dicitur et reverentissime ; Newtonius felix fuit scientiâ, qualis si mihi esset, in vaporem, paucis diebus, evanescerem. Quæ me causa quidem impulerit, ut has quæstiones ederem ? Hoc meum responsum est ; " Tra

« PreviousContinue »