Narrative of Le Moyne

time to time come on suddenly, and inflict terrible damage on the coast. For this reason he favored the former of the proposed plans ; the rest, for the same and other reasons, have already been described as of the like mind. Ribault alone, however, condemning all their reasons, persisted in his own determination, which was no doubt the will of God, who chose this means of punishing his own children, and destroying the wicked. Not satisfied with his own force, M. de Ribaud asked for Laudonniere’s captains and his ensign, whom the latter could not well refuse to send with him ; and all Laudonnifere’s men, when they saw their standard-bearer going, insisted on going with him. I myself, seeing them all going, went on board with the rest, though lame- in one leg, and not yet recovered from a wound I had received in the campaign against Outina.

All the troops being now on board, a fair wind for an hour or two was all that was needed to bring us up with the enemy ; but just as the anchors were about to be weighed the wind changed, and blew directly against us, exactly from the point where the enemy were, for two whole days and nights, while we waited for it to become fair. On the third day, as signs of a change appeared, Ribault ordered all the officers to inspect their men ; and M. d’Ottigny finding in his examination of Laudonniere’s force, that I was not yet quite cured, had me put into a boat along with another soldier, a tailor by trade, who was at work on some clothes for him against the proposed return to France, and sent us, against our wills, back to the fort. But just as they had weighed anchor, and set sail, there came up all at once so terrible a tempest that the ships had to put out to sea as quickly as possible for their own safety ; and, the storm continuing, they were driven to the northward some fifty miles from the fort, where they were all wrecked on some rocks, and destroyed. All the ships’ companies were, however, saved except Capt. La Grange, a gentleman of the house of the Admiral dc Chitillon, a man of much experience and many excellencies, who was drowned. The Spanish ships were also wrecked and destroyed in the same gale.

As the storm continued, the Spaniards, who were informed of the embarkation of the French forces, suspected, what was not so very far from the truth, that the troops had been cast away and destroyed in it, and fancied that they could easily take our fort. Although the rains continued as constant and heavy as if the world was to be again overwhelmed with a flood, they set out, and marched all night towards us. On our part, those few who were able to bear arms were that same night on guard ; for, out of about a hundred and fifty persons remaining in the fort, there were scarcely twenty in a serviceable condition, since Ribault, as before mentioned, had carried off with him all the able soldiers except fourteen or fifteen who were sick or mutilated, or wounded in the campaign against Outina. All the rest were either servants or mechanics who had never even heard a gun fired, or king’s commissaries better able to handle a pen than a sword ; and, besides, there were some women, whose husbands, most of them, had gone on board the ships. M. de Laudonnifere himself was sick in bed.

When the day broke, nobody being seen about the fort, M. de la Vigne, who was the officer of the guard, pitying the drenched and exhausted condition of the men, who were worn out with long watching, permitted them to take a little rest ; but they had scarcely had time to go to their quarters, and lay aside their arms, when the Spaniards, guided by a Frenchman named Francois Jean, who had seduced some of his messmates along with him, attacked the fort at the double quick in three places at once, penetrated the works without resistance, and, getting possession of the place of arms, drew up their

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2 thoughts on “Narrative of Le Moyne

  1. […] likelihood that Fontaneda actually visited Fort Caroline. Le Moyne includes in his accounts an episode where he has two Spanish castaways living among the Indians brought to the fort. They stated they […]

  2. […] “All the troops being now on board, a fair wind for an hour or two was all that was needed to bring us up with the enemy ; but just as the anchors were about to be weighed the wind changed, and blew directly against us, exactly from the point where the enemy were, for two whole days and nights, while we waited for it to become fair.” Narrative of Le Moyne […]