Narrative of Le Moyne

force there. Then parties searched the soldiers quarters, killing all whom they found, so that awful outcries and groans arose from those who were being slaughtered. For my own part, whenever I call to mind the great wonder that God, to whom truly nothing is impossible, brought to pass in my case, I cannot be enough astonished at it, and am, as it were, stunned with the recollection. On coming in from my watch, I laid down my arquebuse ; and, all wet through as I was, I threw myself into a hammock which I had slung up after the Brazilian fashion, hoping to get a little sleep. But on hearing the outcries, the noise of weapons, and the sound of blows, I jumped up again, and was going out of the house to see what was the matter, when I met in the very doorway two Spaniards with their swords drawn, who passed on into the house without accosting me, although I brushed against them.

When, however, I saw that nothing was visible except slaughter, and that the place of arms itself was held by the Spaniards, I turned back at once, and made for one of the embrasures, where I knew I could get out. At the very place I found five or six of my fellow-soldiers lying dead, among whom were two that I recognized, La Gaule and Jean du Den. I leaped down into the ditch, crossed it, and went on alone for some distance over rising ground into a piece of woods, until, having reached a higher part of the hill, it was as if God gave me back my consciousness ; for it is certain that the things that had happened since my leaving the house were as though I had been out of my wits.

I now prayed God for his guidance in my actions, in this so extreme danger ; and, at a suggestion from his Spirit, went forward into the woods, whose paths, by frequent use of them, I well knew. I had gone but a little way when, to my great joy, I came upon four other Frenchmen ; and, after condoling with each other, we consulted on what to do next. Part of us advised to stay where we were until next day, when perhaps the fury of the Spaniards would be appeased ; and then to return, and surrender ourselves to them, rather than risk being devoured by wild beasts where we were, or perishing by hunger of which we had already endured so much. Some of the rest, not liking these suggestions, thought it a better plan to make our way to some distant Indian settlement, where we might live until God should open some way for us. But I said, ” Brothers, I like neither of these suggestions. If you will be guided by me, we will make for tha seashore through the woods, and try if we cannot discover something of the two small vessels which Ribault sent into the river to be used in disembarking the provisions he brought from France.” But, this appearing to them perfectly impracticable, they set off to find the Indians, leaving me alone. But God, taking pity on my distress, sent me another companion, being Grandchemin, that very soldier whom M. d’Ottigny sent back with me to the fort to work on some clothes for him. I suggested to him the same as to the others, that is, to endeavor to find the two small craft at the seashore. He thought well of this, and we were all that day on the road before we got through the woods. Before we could reach the shore, however, we had extensive swamps to pass, all thickly grown with large reeds, very hard to get through.

With all this toil we were pretty well exhausted when night fell, and a steady rain began also to come down upon us. The tide likewise rose in the swamp until the water there among the reeds was over our waists ; and we spent the whole night in working our way onward under these difficulties. When the daylight came, and we could see nothing in the direction of the sea, the soldier, losing his patience, said it would be better to surrender ourselves to the enemy, and that we might as well return to them ; that, when they found that we were artificers, they would spare our lives ; and, even if they should not, was it not better to let them kill us than to remain any longer in such a miserable condition. I sought to dissuade him, but in vain ; and, as I saw that he was about to leave me, I finally

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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 […]