Narrative of Le Moyne

After, however, some of us had actually perished of hunger, and all the rest were starved until our skin cleaved to our bones, M. de Laudonnidre at last gave up hopes of receiving re-enforcements from France, for which he had now been waiting eighteen months, and called a general council to deliberate on the means of returning to France. It was herein finally concluded to refit as well as possible the third of our ships, and to raise her sides with plank so as to enlarge her capacity ; and, while the artificers were employed on this work, the soldiers were set to collect provisions along the coast.

While we were busily employed in this matter, however, a certain English commander named Hawkins, who was returning home from a long voyage, came up to our fort in his boat ; and, on observing our miserable condition, offered’ us any assistance in his power, and proceeded at once to make his offers good ; for he sold to M. de Laudonniere one of his ships at a very moderate price, together with some casks of flour which we baked into biscuits. He also gave us several casks of beans and peas, and accepted as part payment in advance some of our brass cannon, and then proceeded on his voyage.

We were rejoiced enough at thus getting possession of another vessel besides our own, which was being repaired, and of sufficient provisions for our return ; and on consultation it was decided that before our departure the fort should be destroyed : in the first place, to prevent its being made serviceable against the French, in case of their ever returning into those parts, by the Spaniards, who as we knew were desirous of establishing themselves there; and, secondly, to prevent Saturioua from occupying it. So we destroyed the works.

After, however, we were quite ready for the voyage, and when we had been for three weeks only waiting for a fair wind to depart from the province, there unexpectedly arrived a fleet of seven ships, commanded by the famous Jean de Ribaud, well known for his great merits, and who was sent out to succeed M. de Laudonniere, and for the carrying-on of the king’s designs. This arrival, so wholly unexpected, filled us all with joy. M. de Ribault landed with a number of his officers and many gentlemen and others. They all thanked God, while they were administering to our necessities, that they found us alive, for they had been informed that we had all perished ; and so, after the long affliction which we had endured, God sent us happiness. All the newcomers individually were liberal in imparting food and whatever else they had brought, and tried in every way to be serviceable each to such friends or kinsmen or fellow-countrymen as he met with among us : so all the place was filled with happiness. But this joy was brief, as we quickly found.

M. de Ribault desiring to land his treasure, provisions, and military supplies, had the mouth of the river sounded ; but, finding too little water for his larger vessels, he ordered the three smaller ones only into the river. One of these, ” The Pearl,” was commanded by his son Jacques de Ribaud, to whom Capt. Vallard of Dieppe acted as lieutenant ; Capt. Maillard, also of Dieppe, commanded the second ; and the captain of the third was a gentleman named Machonville. The four larger ships remained at anchor a mile from the shore, as the water was shallow there, and were unloaded by canoes and boats.

Seven or eight days after Riband’s arrival, while all the gentlemen, soldiers, and sailors, except a few men left in charge of the four larger ships, were on shore, and occupied about putting up houses, and rebuilding the fort, about four o’clock in the afternoon some soldiers who were walking on the seashore saw six ships steering towards our four which were at anchor. They instantly

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3 thoughts on “Narrative of Le Moyne

  1. […] Narrative of Le Moyne (1859 English translation of Le Moyne’s writings about Florida) Learn more about the ancient Native American civilizations of Florida at our sister site, Learn more about Le Moyne and the French explorations in the southeastern U.S. with the following books & videos: […]

  2. […] 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 […]

  3. […] “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 […]