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marshes that intervened between Frederica and St. John's Bluff, three miles above the sea-mouth of the river, with his galleys and his loaded boats. Who is there, that is familiar with this intricate and perplexed navigation, that will not wonder at his expedition ? But the Carolina troops, as he learned from his Indian runners, had not arrived at the Cowford; and it was upon this force, accompanied by his Highlanders, and his Indians, that he had rested for a rapid movement upon St. Augustine, sweeping away and destroying whatever of provisions, or other supplies, they might find in their way, and cutting off the retreat of the garrison at Fort Diego, a post about equidistant from St. Augustine and the river St. John's. Disappointed in this expectation, and knowing his plans were now developed to the enemy, he had reluctantly to move forward to Fort Diego, that he might save every hour, precious to him for many reasons, -as well because the enemy had time to collect his means, and strengthen bis defences, as because the ninth of May had arrived ; when the sun in the latitude of twenty-nine, was pouring the strength of his rays upon them. On the tenth of May, he invested Fort Diego, which immediately surrendered, and was garrisoned with sixty men under Lieutenant Dunbar. This
post was important, not only as considerably in advance, but because Diego is directly on the way to St. Augustine, and because it communicates safely and easily with the river St. John's by a fine navigable water, called Poplar creek; and it was in this water that his boats were to be sheltered, and by this creek much of his provisions and materiel for offensive war was to be conveyed.
Having occupied Fort Diego, he returned to the St. John's and passed up to the Cow-ford, where the Carolina regiment, and Captain McIntosh's Highlanders, that accompanied them, had at last arrived. Without an intimate knowledge of localities, men with the best information, and the best intentions, are liable to fall into errors in the recital of the operations of war; and it is this circumstance that gives such a precious value to the memoranda of men, who, like Xenophon, or Cæsar, or Frederick, only write what they themselves have done. There are many accounts of the operations of General Oglethorpe against St. Augustine ; none of them, to the word, correct. But we believe Doctor Hewatt's by far the best. Any errors he has fallen into, have arisen
from a want of knowledge of the localities, for the peculiarity of these have rendered Florida one of the most defensible countries in America. The Florida then held by the Spanish forces, was girdled by the river St. John's, (called by the Spaniards the Lagunas of St. Juan.) Between this girdle of lakes, and the sea, all was sterile. No cultivated fields gave nourishment to man; no flocks wandered through the wilds, to minister to his wants. Even the buffalo was not within this peninsula, or had been driven away by the sound of Spanish cannon, which had been heard for more than a century around St. Augustine.*
But we will take up the narrative of Dr. Hewatt, claiming to correct the little we believe to be wrong, from the narrative of one who was himself an actor in the scene.
“ On the 9th of May, 1740, the General passed over to Florida with four hundred select men of his regiment and a considerable party of Indians, and on the day following invested Diego, a small fort about twenty-five miles from St. Augustine; which after a short resistance surrendered by capitulation. In this fort he left a garrison of sixty men, under the command of Lieutenant Dunbar, and returned to the place of rendezvous, where he was joined by Colonel Vanderdussen with the Carolina regiment, and a company of Highlanders under Captain McIntosh. But by this time six Spanish half-galleys, with long, brass nine-pounders, and two sloops loaded with provisions, had got into harbor at St. Augustine. A few days afterwards the General marched with his whole force, consisting of above two thousand men, (nine hundred soldiers and eleven hundred Indians) regulars, provincials, and Indians, to fort Moosa, situated within two miles of St. Augustine; which on his approach, the Spanish garrison evacuated, and retired into the town. He immediately ordered the gates of this fort to be burnt, three breaches to be made in its walls, and then proceeded to reconnoitre the town and castle.
* Major Long, and other writers, have made it a question whether the buffalo existed in the Atlantic States south of North Carolina. But at the first settlement of Georgia they were as abundant in this country as they afterwards were in Kentucky, or any where west. Colonel William McIntosh, the brother of General Lachland McIntosh, my grandfather, has often told me he has seen ten thousand buffaloes in a herd, between Darien and Sapelo river. Governor Troup's grandfather had two tame buffaloes at Marlo, on Sapelo river. My father, whose Indian establishments (as Bartram's book shews) extended from St. Jlla river to St. Marks, was constantly supplied with buffalo tongues, until as late as 1774, as my mother has often stated to me.
"The General now plainly perceived that an attack by land upon
the town, and an attempt to take the castle by storm, would cost him dear before he could reduce the place; and therefore changed his plan of operations. With the assistance of the ships of war, which were now lying at anchor off St. Augustine bar, he resolved to turn the siege into a blockade, and try to shut up every channel by which provisions could be conveyed to the garrison. For this purpose he left Col. Palmer, with ninety-five Highlanders and forty-two Indians, at Fort Moosa, with orders to scour the woods around the town, and intercept all supplies of cattle from the country by land; and for the safety of his men, he at the same time, ordered him to encamp every night in a different place, to keep strict watch around his camp, and by all means to avoid coming to any action. This small party was the whole force the General left for guarding the land side. Then he sent Col. Vanderdussen, with the Carolina regiment, over a small creek, to take possession of a neck of land called Point Quartel, above a mile distant from the castle, with orders to erect a battery upon it; while he himself
, with his regiment and the greater part of the Indians, embarked in boats, and landed on the island of Anastatia. In this island the Spaniards had a small party of men stationed for a guard, who immediately fled to town; and as it lay opposite to the castle from this place, the General resolved to bombard the town. Capt. Pierce stationed one of his ships to guard the passage by way of the Matanzas, and with the others blocked up the mouth of the harbor; so that the Spaniards were cut off from all supplies by sea. On the island of Anastatia batteries were soon erected, and several cannon mounted, by the assistance of the active and enterprising sailors. The opportunity now lost of surprising the place, he had no other secure method left but to attack it at the distance in which he then stood. For this purpose he opened his batteries against the castle, and at the same time threw a number of shells into the town. The fire was returned with equal spirit both from the Spanish fort, and from six balf galleys in the harbor ; but so great was the distance, that
, though they continued the cannonade for several days, little execution was done on either side. Capt. Warren, a brave naval officer, perceiving that all efforts in this way for demolishing the castle were vain and ineffectual, proposed
to destroy the Spanish galleys in harbor, by an attack in the night; and offered to go himself and head the attempt. A council of war was held to consider of, and concert a plan for that service; but upon sounding the bar, it was found it would admit no large ships to the attack, and with small ones it was judged rash and impracticable, the galleys being covered by the cannon of the castle, and therefore that design was dropped. In the mean time the Spanish commander, observing the besiegers embarrassed, and their operations beginning to relax, sent out a detachment of three hundred” (six hundred). “men against Col. Palmer; who surprised him at Fort Moosa, and while most of his party lay asleep, cut them almost entirely to pieces. A few, that accidentally escaped, went over in a small boat to the Carolina regiment at Point Quartel. Some of the Chickasaw Indians, coming from that fort, having met with a Spaniard, cut off his head, agreeably to their savage manner of waging war, and presented it to the General in his camp; but he rejected it with abhorrence, calling them barbarous dogs, and bidding them be gone. At this disdainful behavior, however, the Chickasaws were offended, declaring that if they had carried the head of an Englishman to the French, they would not have treated them so; and perhaps the General discovered more humanity than good policy by it, for those Indians, who knew none of the European customs and refinements in war, soon deserted him. About the same time, the vessels stationed at the Matanzas being ordered off
, some small ships from the Havanna with provisions, and a reinforcement of men, got into St. Augustine
, by that narrow channel, to the relief of the garrison. A party of Creeks, having surprised one of their small boats, brought four Spanish prisoners to the General, who informed him that the garrison had received seven hundred men, and a large supply of provisions. Thus all prospect of starving the enemy being lost, the army began to despair of forcing the place to surrender.
“ The Carolina troops, enfeebled by the heat, dispirited by sickness, and fatigued by fruitless efforts, marched away in large bodies.
“The navy being short of provisions, and the usual season of hurricanes approaching, the commander judged it imprudent to hazard his Majesty's ships by remaining longer on that coast.
"Last of all, the General himself, sick of a fever, and his regiment worn out with fatigue, and rendered unfit for action by a flux, with sorrow and regret followed, and reached Frederica about the 10th of July, 1740.”
This detail is a little complexioned by the men who lost caste in Carolina with their high and gallant countrymen for having fled without fighting from St. Augustine; for the morning after the attack upon fort Moosa, the entire regiment under Col. Vanderdussen fled, the Colonel leading the rout; nor did he arrest his flight until night overtook him, thirty miles from St. Augustine.*
And here we will pause to look back upon what had passed. And now that we are well acquainted with the scene of operations, we must be filled with wonder that General Oglethorpe should have been able, with his four hundred remaining soldiers and a few faithful Indians, to have made good his retreat to Frederica, not only without loss, but without pursuit, before an enemy of three times his number, and flushed with victory over the gallant men who died at Fort Moosa.
When General Oglethorpe left Charleston, he had requested and expected as the ships of war were ready for service) that Captain Price would at once proceed, or send
* See George Cadovan's Letter, published in the Gentleman's Magazine, London, 1740. 1 William McIntosh, the eldest son of John More McIntosh, named after his grand-uncle, Brigadier General William McIntosh, who commanded the Highland. ers in the rising of 1715, was not quite fourteen years of age when his father marched from Darien. "He wished to accompany his father, but was refused. He pursued the moving columns, and overtook them at Barrington. His father sent him back the next day with an armed guard. He then took a small boat and passed up to Clarke's bluff
, on the south side of the Alatamaha. He intended to keep in the rear until the troops had crossed the St. Mary's river. He soon fell in with seven Indians who knew him, (for Darien was then the great rendezvous of the Indians) and he had acquired something of their language. The Indians were greatly attached to the Highlanders, not only as being the soldiers of their beloved man, General Oglethorpe, but because of their wild manners, of their manly sports, of their eastern costume, so much resembling their own. The young soldier was received and caressed by them. They entered into all his views. Following after the advancing troops, they told him every thing that passed in the white man's camp; but carefully concealed his presence among them, until after the passage of the St. Mary's, when, with much triumph they led him to his father, and said, “ that he was a young warrior
, and would fight; that the great Spirit would watch over his life, for he loved Foung warriors.” The ruling passion could no longer be restrained. He followed his father's footsteps until he saw him fall, covered with many wounds, at fort Moosa
. But the great Spirit did watch over him most iniraculously. For when he saw his father fall, he was so transfixed with horror, that not until a Spanish officer laid hold upon his plaid, was he roused to action. Light and elastic as a steel bow, he slipped from under the grasp of this officer, and made his escape with the wreck of the corps. It was from the lips of this gentleman (my aged grandfather) I learned much of what I know respecting General Oglethorpe, and the times and the things
of that day.