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some ships to take position before St. Augustine, or south of it, so as to intercept all communication with, or supplies from Cuba. · If this had been done, the six galleys and the additional forces, which accompanied them, would have been intercepted or captured.
He gave his right wing, that marched by land, two days the start of him ; and moving as they did with a cloud of Indians around them, he had just reason to suppose they would have been at the Cow-ford, a point nearer to St. Augustine, the day before he reached St. John's bluff; that, crossing over at this point, the whole peninsula between St. Augustine and the river St. John's would have been swept before his Indian allies and his light troops, by the time he had landed his men and munitions at the mouth of the river. This movement, by separate columns, and collapsing upon the point of attack, is now familiar to every military man ; for it was the plan of Bonaparte at Ulm, at Madrid, and elsewhere. And such was the tactic of General Oglethorpe in his advance upon St. Augustine, and it only failed because there was a want of coöperation in the several parts. One object, however, was obtained by this display of his means; the meditated attack upon Frederica was postponed for two years. The Spaniards felt that, although his Indian allies had been of no value to him in the investment of an embattled castle and an entrenched town, they would be efficient in the defence of a country covered with wood, and giving field for stratagem, ambuscade and surprise ; and they waited therefore in the hope that time might lessen or destroy this union.
General Oglethorpe thus had a short space allowed him to turn his attention to the internal government and improvement of his colony; and many a monument yet remains to show the ability and zeal with which he did so.
War had called off his attention from Savannah, and he had fixed his residence at Frederica, the extreme southern point of his government. Yet all that he did there, still shows the science that enlightened his mind, and the taste that presided over it. At Frederica, General Oglethorpe's object was different. He was establishing a military post, and had to compact his means. There were no extended squares, and no broad streets, but his esplanade and parade ground. To the south of the fort the streets I think were about forty feet. There were no trees in them; trees would have been in the way of military
movements. The houses were all either of brick or tabby, * the best and cheapest material that has ever been employed by man, for the erection of permanent or even beautiful buildings, with moderate means. For being soft and plastic when first mixed, he fashions it to his will, and it hardens to the form he stamps upon it.
St. Simon's was then covered with a thick and ponderous oak wood. None of this wood was cut away except around his fort, at the south end of the island, which was laid off into five acre lots for the troops who occupied it, and some small space around the works at Frederica at unexposed points north east of the town. It may be remembered, in describing the road executed immediately after the General's arrival with his troops, it was stated that the road entered a beautiful prairie of a mile over. Upon the shore of that prairie, just where the road entered the wood, General Oglethorpe established his own humble homestead. It consisted of a cottage, a garden, and an orchard for oranges, figs and grapes. The house was overshadowed by oaks of every variety. It looked to the westward across the prairie (which
*Tabby (not tappy, as soine have named it) is a mixture of lime, sand, and shells, or lime, sand and gravel, or lime, sand and stones, in equal proportions, with an equal proportion of water to mix the mass. This mass, well mixed together, is placed between two boards, kept apart by wooden plugs, with double heads, of a length proportionate to the thickness of the intended wall. These planks or
may run all around your building, rising about one foot at a time. When your tabby mass, being placed between these planks, and settled down with a spade or rainmer, has two or three days to harden, the planks are taken away by drawing out the plugs. You may generally with safety go with this wall two rounds or feet a week in the summer, covering over your work in stormy or rainy weather
. The task I have required in this work is thirty cubic feet per day, to mix the material, fill in, and settle down, within the plank moulds. This is about equal, in quantity of wall, to six hundred common bricks, the laying of which alone, exclusive of the cost of the bricks, would be quite equal to the mixing and placing the tabby wall, moving the boxes, &c &c. Nor is there any comparison in beauty or durability between a brick wall and a tabby wall so constructed, after time has been given for cementing the matter. The whole becomes a mass of stone almost imperishable under the operations of time, and only to be re-dissolved by fire. It is supposed from Roman story, that the walls of Saguntum, around which Hannibal and the Scipios battled, were built of tabby. It is known that there are many walls of this material in Spain, which have resisted the elements for many centuries. John Gray Jackson, the late Consul General in Morocco, speaks of a tower at Mogadore, which is known to be eleven hundred years old, and which is now as firm and beautiful as when first erected. This was the material which General Oglethorpe employed in all his civil and military works; and why men coming after him did not continue to do so, I know not.
* This cottage, and fifty acres of land attached to it, was all the landed domain General Oglethorpe reserved to himself, and after the General went to England, it became the property of my father ; so that I am only describing a scene, travelled over by infant footsteps, and stamped upon my earliest recollections. After the Revolutionary war, the buildings being destroyed, my father sold this little property. But the oaks were only cut down within four or five years past, and the elder people of St. Simon's yet feel as if it were sacrilege, and mourn their fall.
was the common pasturage of the herds of the town), upon the entrenched town and fort, and upon the beautiful white houses, which had risen up as by the enchanter's will. Can imagination go back, and recall a hero and a statesman, reposing under the shades of these oaks, in the twilight of a summer evening, and not feel that if pleasurable sensations belong to humanity, they might be enjoyed by such a man, at such an hour ? And what though in time the spoiler came? The hand of unjust power first tore the soldier from his embattled hall; fire fell upon his dwelling, when there was none to arrest its force; and the smouldering ruin and the ivyed wall are all that now remain to tell where General Oglethorpe lived, or how he labored. Happily, he was far away, and did not see the ruin ; and memory in age delights to recall, not the dark, not the gloomy, but the bright hours of
At General Oglethorp's cottage, a road diverged due east, passing in about half a mile to the seat of Captain Raymond Demeré, one of the oldest officers of the regiment. This gentleman was a French Huguenot of considerable fortune, much of which he expended in ornamenting a country seat, rather in the French taste than the English, or rather the taste of that day. At Harrington Hall, the seat of Captain Demeré, the enclosures were entirely of orange or cassina, a species of Ilex, but the most beautiful of the family, with small fleshy leaves intensely green. The plant is covered during winter with berries of vermilion red, of a waxen softness, and almost transparent. For fifty years after the death of Captain Demeré these hedges, in much of their beauty, continued to prompt experiment, and to invite others to improvement. If the cassina hedges are even now all gone, they must have perished by the rude axe, in the hands of ruder men, and not by time.
St. Simon's, then, in its better day, was peopled with a thousand men. There was civilization and the arts; and above, below, and all around, nature was fresh and free, and in her wildest mood. There was health too as well as enjoyment here, and the soldiers of General Oglethorpe, while at St Simon's, were exempt from sickness. Even at Darien, upon the Alatamaha, the Highlanders posted there, did not know a fever for many years.
But the time of repose for General Oglethorpe was passing away. The Spaniards had taken two years to prepare their means, and were coming, as they believed, with overwhelming force, to seek him in his strong hold. In the beginning of May, 1742, he was informed by Capt. Hamer, of the Flamborough sloop of war, that, cruising south, he had discovered a considerable Spanish fleet, filled with troops, that he had kept them in view until he had discovered their destination to be St. Augustine. General Oglethorpe, knowing that so large a force could only be intended for an attack upon Frederica, communicated with Governor Glen, and requested every aid that could be afforded from South Carolina. He despatched a vessel to the West Indies to notify Admiral Vernon of the expected invasion. From neither of these did he receive any assistance, and he was basely left alone to meet the unequal contest.
We have had published two recitals of the operations of the Spaniards against General Oglethorpe and his forces; Major McCall amplifying the details of Dr. Hewatt. But believing every one prefers the narrative of the day, and the reflections of the time, we will give two letters, which contain something like a journal of General Oglethorpe's operations during the Spanish invasion of Frederica, and for a few days after their retreat.
Extract from a letter from Mr. J. Smith, on board the Success
Frigate; dated the 14th of July, 1742. “On June the 20th, three days after our arrival in Georgia, we were alarmed by some small vessels being seen off the harbor of St. Simon's, which we took to be Spaniards. The next day, we were informed that the enemy, with eleven galleys, were in Cumberland sound, about twenty miles south of St. Simon's, where we lay; upon which the General, with two companies of soldiers in three boats, went to the relief of Fort William upon Cumberland island, so that crossing Cumberland sound, the galleys, full of men, bore down upon him. He began the engagement with his own boat's crew, and exchanged several volleys. In the mean time, two galleys engaged one of the General's boats, with fifty men, commanded by Lieutenant Folson, who bore away, and left the General, with the other two boats, engaged. But they bravely fought their way through, and got to Fort William. On the 24th, the General returned with a company of soldiers, leaving all well at Fort William, when he arrested Lieutenant Folson for sailing away from him when engaged with the enemy.
“Soon after thirty-two sail of vessels, large and small, came to anchor off the bar, hoisting Spanish colors; where they lay five days, but sent their small vessels to sound the bar. Fourth of July, they came too in the right way of the channel, so that we expected to be attacked the next day. The General came on board of us, and made a speech to the seamen, calling upon them to stand by their liberties and our country. For himself
, he was prepared for all dangers. He knew the enemy were more numerous far; but he relied upon the valor of his men, and he did not doubt, with the aid of God, they would be victorious. Fifth; the Spanish vessels stood in. They were warmly received by the fort and vessels; but passed on to Gascoin's bluff, where they landed five thousand men.
When General Oglethorpe found that his batteries could produce no effect upon the Spanish ships, from the distance at which they kept from his fort, he signalled his ships to run up to Frederica for security, deliberately spiked his guns, blew up part of the fort, but left some light troops and Indians posted in the woods where the road commenced, and retired to Frederica ; from whence we will again take up the journal of the day.
“ Frederica, July 9th, 1742. " General Oglethorpe arrived here on the 6th, at day, break, without the loss of a man.
The same day the Creek * Gascoin's bluff could not be defended, as well from its extent, being more than a mile in length, as because a broad river approached it from the south ; while another river of still greater magnitude, going round an island of marsh in front of it, came down in an opposite direction. General Oglethorpe had wisely, therefore, not looked to it in his defences; but left all the obstacles that intervened between that position and Frederica in their
natural state ; and these were many. This bluff was in truth a peninsula, separated by a creek, bordered by miry marshes, and leading in an intense scrub and wood, which obtruded between the bluff and the body of the island, and which only left free approach to it by open ground, leading to the southern beach where General Oglethorpe's southern position was.
The Spaniards, then, upon landing at Gascoin's bluff, moved down in force upon the batteries ; which had been
abandoned, the guns spiked, and the garrison drawn back into the wood, a mile in the rear of the open fields attached to the fort. The Spanish
camp was at the fort, and around it; the ships stretched along from the fort to Gascoin's bluff, which 'was only four miles by water from Frederica. But happily these four miles afforded good means upon which military stratagem might repose. The last great bend in approaching Frederica was so complex
as to have been named the Devil's Elbow, and just at the point of this elbow an abrupt oyster bank rises up in the midst of the channel. No wind will bring a vessel through this bend, without making a tack at this point ; and at this point she would be under fire from both his lower batteries, and the oblique fire of his town batteries.