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sometimes opening into wide spreads of firm land, fit for the display or manœuvring of men. But when it had again approached within two miles of the south end, there was a bend, in crescent form, in which the firm way was not more than twenty yards wide ; on the east or convex-side of the crescent an intense morass, on the concave or western shore of the crescent an extreme thick brush-wood. After passing this strait, the road entered an open wood of oaks and other timber, concealing the movement of troops, but not giving passage to them. This wood continued for about a mile or two before the fort and open grounds and sea expanded to the view. It was in this open wood, General Oglethorpe had, in retiring from Frederica, left a few rangers and some Indians to watch the motions of the Spaniards. And this wood was the scene of action on the morning of the seventh of July. Two companies of Spaniards and some Spanish Indians at the dawn of day issued from the Spanish camp and made an attack upon the rangers and Indians within the wood. They drove the rangers and Indians to the mouth of the defile, but did not attempt to pass it. The first movement of the Spaniards had been communicated, as we see, to the General. He hurried to the scene of action, and with his advance overthrew the Spaniards, and pursued them to the open field in view of the fort. His first impression, after taking this view was that this attack, from the small force employed, was but a feint to draw off his attention from a more serious attack of Frederica by water. He therefore left two companies of his regiment under the command of one of his oldest Captains; the Highland company and the Indians, to guard the wood, and returned to wait any movement the enemy might have made by the river against Frederica. But finding there again all still, and the vessels that were within his observation from his lawn or point battery in their former positions, he was returning to the late scene of action with all the men that were not absolutely necessary to man his batteries, when about half way from Frederica he met his two companies with the great body of his Indians, who said that they had been assailed by the whole Spanish force in the wood ; that they had been broken and had retired before them; that the Spaniards were in pursuit, and would soon be upon them; for they heard the firing and yells of their Indians in pursuit
. He rallied his broken troops, and reproached them for not taking ground upon some of the strong points they had left behind them, there to await his arrival; for he knew he must fight the enemy upon some of those points, or all would be lost.
Frederica could not be defended, if the enemy once reached the prairie in its rear but for a short time; and all his hopes rested upon meeting them with his Indians in the wood, and profiting by the localities. He continued, however, with hurried steps, and with reviving hopes as he met no enemy in advance; until, arriving at the last bend of the marshy way, a scene opened upon him, which his proudest expectations could never have looked for; a scene to himself of glory and security ; to his enemy, of shame and defeat.
The last bend of the marsh was covered by two hundred grenadiers, who lay dead or dying upon the field, while not an enemy was in sight. All was still, save sometimes at intervals a Highland shout or an Indian yell proclaimed that another and another had been found, and dragged from his covert. But how rose that shout, how rang that yell, when the actors stood around their chief to hail him victor of the day. And we have seen the eye glisten, and the voice rise, fifty years afterwards as we fondly listened to the tale by one who had mingled in the strife and been partner in the scene.
But we will detail the little that remains to be told. When the troops were attacked in the wood by the Spanish forces from their camp, they were overwhelmed by superior numbers, and became, as is sometimes the case with even veteran troops, seized with a panic, lest the Spaniards, pushing on, should take possession of the defile, and cut off their retreat. They therefore made a precipitate retreat, the Highlanders following in the rear reluctantly. After passing through the defile Lieut. McKay communicated to his friend Lieut. Southerland, (who commanded the rear guard of the retreating forces, composed also of Highlanders,) the feelings of his corps, and they agreed to drop behind, and as soon as the whole had passed the defile, as there were no Spaniards in view, to return through the brush and take post at the two points of the crescent. Four Indians that were with them, and particularly attached to the corps, remained with them. They had just taken post and concealed themselves in the woods when the Spaniards, having made all their arrangements for an advance, their grenadier regiment, the elite of their troops, advanced into the defile, where, seeing in the foot-prints the rapid retreat of the broken troops, and observing that their right was covered by an open morass, and their left, as they supposed, by an impracticable wall of brush-wood, and a border of dry white sand, they stacked their arms and sat down to take the refreshment that had become necessary after having been under arms many hours, believing as they did, that the contest for the day was over. Just at that moment, a Highland cap was raised at either point, and the scene of death began. All was terror - no resistance was made — sometimes they attempted to fly along the marsh. This pass was too narrow. They were met and slaughtered by the broad-sword. Those that did escape, had at last to make their way to and through the brush-wood, where many wounded perished, and their bodies were only found when all that remained of them were their whitened bones.
The young soldier of Fort Moosa, just then sixteen years of age, was there. No shout rose higher, no sword waved quicker than his upon that day. But his heart was as soft as it was brave, and there was melancholy in his mood, when standing upon the ground and pointing to where the victor stood, and where the vanquished fell, he told to his daughter's son this tale of other times.*
General Oglethorpe had long been informed, and knew, of the intrigues that Lieut. Col. Cook, and Col, Vanderdussen, and other disgraced and disaffected persons at and from Charleston had been carrying on against him in England. But conscious in his own integrity, and proud in the purity of his own actions, he did not waste one hour of his time in reflections upon these reptiles; awaiting in repose the time, when having discharged his higher duties, he would have leisure to turn upon them and their calumnies. He remained therefore in Georgia until March or April of the year 1743; and would have remained still longer, but the high military
* The tract of land that surrounded this field of action, was afterwards granted to Col. William McIntosh, my grandfather. It was sold subsequently to Mr. Cater and Mr. Page, of St. Simon's island. Mr. Cater's house stands within a hundred yards from the Bloody Bend, as it was named from that day.
Peter Grant, a highland soldier of the rear guard, commanded by Lieut. Southerland, died at St. Simon's island, eighty odd years of age. He too has pointed out to me, on the ground, the position of Lieut, Southerland and his men on that day.
reputation he had acquired in Europe by the result of the Spanish war in Georgia had drawn upon him the eyes of the British ministry, who were beginning to tremble at the rumor of an expected invasion by Charles Edward Stuart, the young Pretender, to be backed by France. The ministry were anxious for his presence in their army, from the consideration he was held in by the high church and Jacobite parties, with whom it was supposed his presence in the army would have an influence. He therefore received positive orders to embark for England. Georgia being no longer in danger, he could no longer postpone obedience to those orders, and General Oglethorpe was compelled, by military duty, reluctantly to take part in a contest, in which his heart did not follow his hand; and, as is ever the case in every such contest, the latent feeling never fails in some hour of opportunity, in a generous mind, to develope itself. The day before his departure from St. Simon's, while at anchor in the sound, the scene between himself and the young McIntoshes, William and Lacklin, (which is related in the life of General Lacklin McIntosh*) occurred. All Georgia lamented his departure, and none more than his regiment, which loved him as a father, and revered him as a friend. But all hoped that this departure, like the many separations that had been before, would be of short duration, and that he would return to them, as he had returned before, with blessings upon his wings.
They little knew that the viper, which had been gathering venom for a long time, was in the way, and that at the first incautious step, it would sting him they so much loved, or still more dark would have been the day, when for the last time his sails were unfurled to the winds of the west.
We will extract from Dr. Hewatt the feelings of Carolina when General Oglethorpe had at length left Georgia, and it will come better from him than from us, for we feel reluctant to speak of his enemies.
“But while the inhabitants of Port Royal were thus addressing General Oglethorpe, reports were circulating in Charleston to his prejudice, insomuch that both his honor and honesty were called in question. Such malicious rumors had even reached London, and occasioned some of his bills
* National Portrait Gallery.
to return to America protested. Lieut. Col. William Cook, who owed his preferment to the General's particular friendship and generosity, and who, on pretence of sickness, had left Georgia before this invasion, had filed no less than nineteen articles of complaint against him, summoning several officers and soldiers from Georgia to prove the charge.
“As the General bad in fact stretched his credit, exhausted his strength and risked his life for the defence of Carolina, in its frontier colony, such a recompense must have been equally provoking, as it was unmerited. We are apt to believe that such injurious treatment could not have arisen from the wiser and better part of the inhabitants, and therefore must be solely ascribed to some envious and malignant spirits who are to be found in all communities. Envy cannot bear the blaze of superior virtue, and malice rejoices in the stains which even falsehood throws on a distinguished character; and such is the extensive freedom of the British form of government, that every one, even the meanest, may step forth as an enemy to great abilities and unblemished reputation."
Soon after his arrival a court martial of General officers was called, who sat two days at the Horse Guards, examining one by one the various articles of complaint lodged against him. After the most mature examination, the board adjudged the charge to be false, malicious and groundless, and reported the same to his Majesty ; in consequence which Lieut. Col. Cook was dismissed from the service, and declared incapable of serving his Majesty in any military capacity whatever.
By this means the character of Gen. Oglethorpe was vindicated, and began to appear to the world in its true and favorable light. Carolina owed this benefactor her friendship and love; Georgia was indebted to him for both her existence and protection. Indeed his generous services for both colonies deserve to be deeply imprinted on the memory every inhabitant, and the benefit resulting from them to be remembered to the latest age with joy and gratitude.
On the return of Gen. Oglethorpe to England the Trustees adopted his views and revised the government of the province.
Up to this period the government of Georgia had been altogether military, executed by Gen. Oglethorpe and such officers as he chose to appoint; but his paternal eye