Title Page
 Preliminary historical notes
 Part I
 Part II: The romance of it
 Back Matter

Group Title: Story of the Huguenots : a sixteenth century narrative wherein the French, Spaniards, and Indians were the actors
Title: Story of the Huguenots
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00055129/00001
 Material Information
Title: Story of the Huguenots a sixteenth century narrative wherein the French, Spaniards, and Indians were the actors
Alternate Title: Florida historical tales
Story of the Huguenots a Florida historical tale of the sixteenth century
Physical Description: 198 p. : ; 18 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Mann, Florian Alexander
Publisher: W. A. Kistler Co.
Place of Publication: Los Angeles Cal
Publication Date: 1912
Edition: Author's rev. ed.
Subject: History -- Fiction -- Florida -- Huguenot colony, 1562-1565   ( lcsh )
Genre: fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by F. A. Mann.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00055129
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000118577
oclc - 04450074
notis - AAN4432

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Preliminary historical notes
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Part I
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Founding of La Caroline
            Page 13
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Page 16
            Page 17
            Page 18
        Famine comes - Battle with the Indians
            Page 19
            Page 20
            Page 21
            Page 22
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 25
            Page 26
            Page 27
        Arrival of Sir John Hawkins and return of Ribault
            Page 28
            Page 29
            Page 30
            Page 31
            Page 32
            Page 33
            Page 34
        Pedro Melendez De Avila appears
            Page 35
            Page 36
            Page 37
            Page 38
            Page 39
        Ribault's attack on St. Augustine - The strom
            Page 40
            Page 41
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
            Page 45
            Page 46
        The destruction of La Caroline decreed by Melendez
            Page 47
            Page 48
            Page 49
            Page 50
            Page 51
            Page 52
        The fall of La Caroline
            Page 53
            Page 54
            Page 55
            Page 56
            Page 57
            Page 58
        The prisoners executed
            Page 59
            Page 60
            Page 61
            Page 62
        How it fared with Ribault and his fleet
            Page 63
            Page 64
            Page 65
            Page 66
            Page 67
        The fate of the Sieur De La Grange and the first detachment at Matanzas Inlet
            Page 68
            Page 69
            Page 70
            Page 71
            Page 72
            Page 73
        Ribault at Matanzas
            Page 74
            Page 75
            Page 76
            Page 77
        D'Erlach's warning to Ribault - Negotiations for surrender
            Page 78
            Page 79
            Page 80
            Page 81
            Page 82
            Page 83
            Page 84
            Page 85
            Page 86
            Page 87
            Page 88
            Page 89
        The second slaughter at Matanzas - Death of Ribault
            Page 90
            Page 91
            Page 92
            Page 93
            Page 94
            Page 95
            Page 96
            Page 97
            Page 98
            Page 99
            Page 100
            Page 101
    Part II: The romance of it
        Page 102
        The daring exploit of Chevalier D'Ottigny, Le Bearnois and their companions
            Page 103
            Page 104
            Page 105
            Page 106
            Page 107
            Page 108
        The retreat - Camp below Matanzas and the requiem at sea
            Page 109
            Page 110
            Page 111
            Page 112
            Page 113
        Chevalier D'Ottigny and his companion gain the camp
            Page 114
            Page 115
            Page 116
            Page 117
            Page 118
        "Le camp reconte felice" - The voyage down the Halifax River
            Page 119
            Page 120
            Page 121
            Page 122
            Page 123
        The Spaniards return to St. Augustine
            Page 124
            Page 125
            Page 126
            Page 127
        D'Erlach's voyage down the Halifax River to Ostinola's town
            Page 128
            Page 129
            Page 130
            Page 131
            Page 132
        Ostinola's welcome - They smoke the pipe of peace
            Page 133
            Page 134
            Page 135
            Page 136
            Page 137
            Page 138
        Ostinola and his people - What manner of folks they were
            Page 139
            Page 140
            Page 141
            Page 142
            Page 143
            Page 144
        Toronita, the land of sunshine and good will
            Page 145
            Page 146
            Page 147
            Page 148
            Page 149
        The arrival of the main body of the Huguenots and what followed
            Page 150
            Page 151
            Page 152
            Page 153
            Page 154
        How Cacique Ostinola entertained the Huguenots - The battle of Matanzas
            Page 155
            Page 156
            Page 157
            Page 158
            Page 159
        The allies gain a victory - The burial of the warriors
            Page 160
            Page 161
            Page 162
            Page 163
        The return - Ernest and Essena - The story that is old, but ever new
            Page 164
            Page 165
            Page 166
            Page 167
        The Huguenot explorations - A voyage down the coast to Canaveral
            Page 168
            Page 169
            Page 170
            Page 171
            Page 172
        The Canaveral shore - They float the dolphin
            Page 173
            Page 174
            Page 175
            Page 176
            Page 177
        The Spaniards seek to destroy the Huguenots - The battle of Azala
            Page 178
            Page 179
            Page 180
            Page 181
            Page 182
        The lad's desperate plight - Issena's heroism - D'Erlach to the rescue
            Page 183
            Page 184
            Page 185
            Page 186
            Page 187
            Page 188
        The Huguenots gain another victory
            Page 189
            Page 190
            Page 191
            Page 192
            Page 193
            Page 194
            Page 195
            Page 196
            Page 197
        Page 198
    Back Matter
        Page 199
        Page 200
Full Text

Florida Historieal Tales


Story of the Huguenots




Press of Will A. Kistler Company
Los Angeles, Cal.



Dedication for New Edition

He surely can be counted a friend who steps out into
the storm to welcome another to a haven of shelter and
rest, saying "Peace be with you! Make this your home
until God gives you another."
A stranger in a far land, compelled by Providence
or Fate, whichever one may name it, when beyond the
allotted span of human life, to resume a strenuous task
long laid aside, the author dedicates this revised edition
of The Story of The Huguenots to
For that indeed, he was fust such a friend.
Florian A. Mann
Lompoc, California, Sept. 12th, 1911.

Story of the Huguenots


Neither prose, however deftly written by a master of
language; or poetry full of the subtlest, grandest inspir-
ation; or the art of the painter, however well the artist
hand and pencil may respond to ideal conceptions of
scenic beauty; can more than approximate a presenta-
tion of Florida to the mind of one who has not wandered
in its forests, stood by its sea, lake and river shores,
breathed its balmy air and rejoiced in its sunshine.
On all the surface of this great globe, Florida is,
unique and matchless in its peculiarities of climate, soil
and topography.
In the latitude of the great African Sahara, washed
by the same ocean, the climate and scenery of this
peninsular region is at every point the opposite. So with
its soil; its many and varied agricultural productions;
its animal life, indigenous or domesticated; its general
surface and configuration.
More than three centuries ago the first settlement of
Europeans was made upon her shores, yet to-day an
hour's walk or ride from the boundaries of any of her
towns will take one into the primitive wilderness of forest
and savanna, dale, hammock or cypress bay, wherein
Ponce de Leon lost himself nearly four hundred years
Fire swept, war swept, though the land has been
again and again, yet nature ever regains her dominion and

6 Florida Historical Tales

erases the traces of attempted conquest. The hordes of
painted savages, the bannered armies of later days, have
melted into the earth and left no lasting traces behind.
The lofty pines throw down their fragrant needles in soft
carpets over the paths worn by their feet. The flowers
and the grasses hide their camping grounds and their
graves alike from sight.
Changeless, yet ever changing and forever beautiful,
Florida is still the fair temple of nature as erected at the
first, for as yet the hand of man has added or marred
but little.
Still, as in the prehistoric times, the tides lap her
silver beaches along more than a thousand miles of
shore. Her rivers flow with tranquil currents to every
point of the compass untrammeled by man, yet furnish-
ing easy channels for his commerce or weirdly beautiful
ones for his pleasures.' Her great, clear fountains well
up from subterranean reservoirs bounteous and exhaust-
less as ever. Her thousand lakelets and inland seas flash
back like polished silver mirrors the glorious sunshine of
continuous summer days or the jewelling stars of nights
equally as perfect. So too, as always since known to
human beings, wild or half way civilized, the winds of
heaven bring to all its parts, inland or coastland, sweetness,
health and coolness.
Here no sirocco comes with burning breath to
shrivel up flower and leaf, blade of corn or grass. No
blizzard comes from polar zones to bind in fetters of icy
death. No cyclones tear down her palms and pines, her
sturdy, stately oaks and their congeners, mingling
uprooted trunks and mangled limbs with wrecks of
human fabrics.

Story of the Huguenota 7

Nor yet as in other lands that would rival this, does
nature in a mood of anarchy and chaos, hold aloft the
volcano's torch or rock and cleave the earth with earth-
quake horrors. Here she shows her gentlest spirit and
bids love reign, in beauty, peace and comfort.
Here she woos men to come and build their homes,
by stream or lake or ocean shore, with the voices of gentle
waves, the aeolian harps of pine forests or the unriv-
aled minstrelsy of feathered songsters who surely learned
their notes hard by the gates of Eden.
Vain is the attempt to idealize Florida, as master
minds have other lands. She has no Aegean sea, no vale
of Tempe, no Parnassus or Olympian heights; no blue
tideless Mediterranean, no snow crowned Alps or Appe-
nines. Few are her sad stories of human woes and misery,
lurid with war and conflagration, brightened with sun-
bursts of glory and victory, blackened with the despair
of ages.
Yet can she forego all these and still be as fair a land
as any under the sun for this is what she is as God and
nature made her.

Story of the Huguenots 9

Preliminary Historical Notes

In 1512, Juan Ponce de Leon, Spanish governor of
Porto Rico, fitted out three ships at his own expense, for
a voyage of discovery. He was an old soldier, brave and
skillful in the art of war, but ignorant and credulous.
He was lured to Florida by tales of a miraculous fountain
of youth somewhere within its borders.
He sailed from Porto Rico March 13th, 1513, and on
the 6th of April discovered a fair land to which, from the
abundance of flowers found in its forests and the day upon
which he discovered it, Easter Sunday, or as the Span-
iards call it Pascua Florida, he gave the name it still
bears. It is not certain at what place he first landed but
on the 12th of April he landed in the vicinity where St.
Augustine now stands, and taking formal possession of
the country for Spain, proceeded to explore its coast. It
is needless to say that he failed to find both youth and
gold, and that on his second expedition a few years later
his little army was broken up in warring with the natives
and he himself was mortally wounded.
The expeditions of Pamphilo de Narvaez in 1528 and
Ferdinand de Soto in 1539, the latter of which landed at
Tampa, in the end shared the same fate; Narvaez drown-
ing with the bulk of his followers in the Gulf of Mexico
and qe Soto dying on the banks of the Mississippi.
These expeditions were more marauding and plun-
dering ones than anything else, resulting in little good
except to add to geographical knowledge.

Florida Historical Tales

The first attempt at practical, permanent coloni-
zation, was made by Admiral Coligny of France, who
sought to provide a refuge for the French Huguenots in
Florida. In 1562 he sent out under Jean Ribault and
Rene Laudonniere two vessels with colonists and sup-
plies. They first sighted land near Mosquito Inlet and
coasting northward discovered the mouth of the St.
Johns, which they called the River of May. "He was
met on its shores by many of the native men and women.
These received him with gentleness and peace." They
made orations to each other. which neither understood
except their kindly import and exchanged presents. The
genial, kindly Frenchmen were greeted everywhere with
"grace and gentleness by a goodly people of lively wit
and fine stature."
Sometimes when the Huguenots landed first, the
natives fled to their coverts but were soon coaxed back
by them and "persuaded finally to confidence." The
native Floridians "brought forward gifts of maize, palm
baskets of fruit and flowers and dressed skins of bear
and deer."
Laudonniere speaks of the "odorous flowers, the fish
swarming in the streams, the game in the forests, the
gardens and villages of pleasant, peaceable people."
However, this expedition made no attempt at coloni-
zation within the present limits of Florida. This was
not done until 1564, when a settlement was established
on the St. Johns near its mouth and left in charge of
Laudonniere. The bloodly tale of its destruction by
Melendez in 1565 is one of the many black pages of Span-
ish history.


Story of the Huguenots 13

Story of the Huguenots.

The first expedition of Ribault and Laudonniere in
1562 established no colony within the limits of Florida.
It however attempted a settlement at Port Royal in
South Carolina which was abandoned in 1563, the colo-
nists building a rude brigantine in which they attempted
to return to France. They nearly perished by famine
but were picked up by an English vessel and taken home.
In 1564, through the influence of the great Admiral
of France, Coligny, a second expedition was fitted out of
three ships and the new armament was assigned to the
command of Laudonniere, a man of intelligence, a good
seaman rather than a soldier. He found it easy enough
not only to procure sailors for his ships but settlers for
the proposed colony.
He and those with him on the former expedition
were able to testify truly to the "wonderful beauty of
the country, the sweetness of the climate, the richness
and variety of its fruits and flowers, itie game in its
forests, the multitudes of fine fish in its waters." Many
still believed in De Leon's fountain of youth and in the
dreams of rich cities and mines of gold and silver hid-
den somewhere in its boundaries, that animated De Soto.
It did not matter that heretofore death had kept the

14 Florida Historical Tales

portals of the country. They were men who had defied
him in the many battle fields of the civil wars which
had raged in France for years. Not only did many
soldiers volunteer, but workers and artisans in abundance.
The passion for adventure, exploration and conquest
had been raised to the highest pitch in the military class
by the exploits of Cortez, Pizarro, Balboa and those of
De Leon and De Soto, unfortunate as they were; while
to the oppressed artisans and peasantry of Europe the
new fertile lands, unbounded in extent and virgin, with
the promise of a freedom not possible at home had great
attraction. In fact far more volunteers presented them-
selves than could be accommodated and on the 22nd of
April, 1564, the expedition sailed from France in high
hopes and expectations.
A voyage of two months brought them to the shores
of Florida, June 25th, near the same latitude as on the
former expedition. The delight of the voyagers may be
imagined when, on entering the River May, the San
Mateo of the Spaniards, the St. Johns of the present
day, they found themselves warmly welcomed by the
natives, especially those who were recognized as former
visitors with Ribault. It was at a period of the year for
seeing the country in its greatest loveliness. The noble
river, capacious enough for all the French navy to anchor
in, the beautiful wooded shores lined with silvery beaches,
the genial temperature combined with the kindly welcome
given, raised their spirits to the highest pitch.
When they landed, they were conducted by a large
concourse of natives, with great ceremonials, to the spot
where Ribault had set up a stone column carved with
the arms of France "upon a little sandy knappe, not far

Story of the Huguenots 15
from the mouth of said river." With pleased surprise,
Laudonniere found -the pillar encircled and covered with
wreaths of flowers and around its base were set little
baskets of maize, beans and other products brought in
great abundance as gifts to their visitors.
"The Indians kissed the column which they had con-
secrated in memory of former friendship and made the
French do likewise." Their Chief presented Laudon-
niere with a "wedge of silver," a gift that led the French-
men to dream of great riches to be found somewhere in
the land. Naturally they associated gold with silver
and were assured that both were to be found amongst
their enemies, the boundaries of whose territory came to
the River May and extended far northward to a high
mountain region.
It is evident from the narrative that the natives who
were first met by the Frenchmen were the original inhab-
itants of the land; that they were a gentler race than
those living to the northward and that the latter in time
being more warlike eventually drove them southward,
finally either exterminating them or absorbing the
broken fragments into their own body.
Laudonniere sailed up the river and was everywhere
received with kindness. They mutually called each
other "friends and brothers." He then coasted north-
ward almost to Port Royal or Fort Charles.
Laudonniere returned with his vessels from this cruise
to the River May the latter part of June, 1564, having
abandoned the idea of re-establishing the settlement at
Fort Charles, of the fate of which the Indians had informed
him, with the determination to found his Huguenot
colony in the neighborhood of the beautiful river with

16 Florida Historical Tales

which he had become acquainted on the previous voyage.
The reasons for this preference are given in his own
language, abbreviating and modernizing somewhat:
"If we passed farther to the north to seek out Port
Royal it would be neither profitable nor convenient,
although that haven is one of the fairest of the West
Indies. In this case the question is not so much the
beauty of the place as of the things necessary to sustain
life. For our inhabitation it is much more needful for
us to plant in places plentiful of victual than goodly
havens, fair, deep and pleasant to the view. In consid-
eration whereof I am of opinion, if it seems good to the
company, to seat ourselves about the River of May, see-
ing that in our first voyage we found the same only to
abound in maize and other corn." The wedge of silver
presented to him on his former visit and a few orna-
ments of gold doubtless were the conclusive suggestions.
Anchoring at the mouth of the river, which, from
the scanty description left in the old chronicles, although
contended by some to be the St. Mary's conforms more
to the St. Johns, Laudonniere took his pinnace and a
number of the proposed colonists and sailed into it in
search of a place for settlement. The result was the
selection of a bluff on the south side of the river, evi-
dently not far from its mouth, covered with a thick and
high wood and close to what he calls "a great vale. In
form flat, wherein were the finest meadows of the world
and grass to feed cattle, with brooks of fresh water and
high woods which made the vale delectable to the eyes."
This he called the vale of Laudonniere.
On this bluff at the break of day on the 30th of June,
1564, the trumpets were sounded and the Huguenots

,r ory of the iuea wtsf
were called to prayer, and so, long prior to the ladiag
of the Pilgrim Fathers at Plymouth was celebrated the
Protestant worship within the present limits of Florida.
After this they applied themselves diligently to the
erection of a fortress, triangular in shape, the landward
side built of fagots, sand and turf, with a ditch, and the
river aide a palisade of planks or heavy timbers. Within
it were built barracks, a house for the commandant, an
arsenal, presumably of logs from the adjacent forests
and thatched with palmetto leaves.
In the neighborhood of the fort there were rich spots
which afforded facilities for gardening, but so eager was
Laudonniere to find gold and silver-an eagerness that
was shared by all the company-that leaving only a few
to guard the fort he commenced the exploration of the
country, leading or sending out expeditions in various
directions in search of the precious metals, some of which
covered a large portion of Florida, Georgia and evn
South Carolina. If the narrative is to be credited, plates
of gold and silver were secured from the native tribes to
the northward in sufficient quantities to keep the colo-
nists employed in this pursuit to the neglect of every
other. For many months he and his lieutenants, Ottigny,
D'Erlach, LeGenre and Captain Vasseur, pushed their
gold and silver seeking expeditions, frequently involving
conflicts with the Indians, more especially with the war-
like confederacy, whose territories stretched from the
Appalachian mountains southward to the borders of the
River May, whom they called *Thimogoans.
According to the tales of River May Indians the
Thimogoan warriors covered their breasts and foreheads
with plates of gold and silver, and it is probable that

Florida Historical Tales

inhabitating a country in which both metals have since
been found, there was some foundation for these state-
ments which were, however, much exaggerated. It is
said that Chevalier D'Erlach returned from one of the
most successful of these expeditions with no inconsider-
able spoils of gold, silver, painted skins and other Indian
These expeditions, however, by no means compen-
sated in their results for the evils the Huguenots were
bringing on themselves in neglecting their settlement at
La Caroline, the cultivation of the natural resources of
the country, and were preparing the way for the terrible
calamity which fell upon it.
(*Query-Was this not the name from which Tomoka is de-
rived, for in the wars which were prosecuted after this date these
northern Indians succeeded in driving still farther southward the
weaker and more peaceable coast tribe, until they occupied the
neighborhood of the Tomoka and were long known by that name,
to the time when they too were finally driven out by the Spaniards
and English and plantations established where once were their
populous villages.)

Story of the Huguerwi 19

During many months but little improvement was
made by the colonists of La Caroline in the way of util-
izing the fertility of the soil in the production of food or
even in strengthening the defences. As the winter
passed away in constant expeditions after precious metals
their stores rapidly decreased. They expected a renewal
of supplies and an increase to their numbers through
the arrival of Ribault from France with a fleet of vessels
which, through Admiral Coligny's aid he was to fit
out. But they watched long in vain. The expedi-
tion was delayed by troubles in France and in the men--
time a famine came upon the Huguenots, greatly as a
result of their own recklessness.
In May, Laudonniere himself describes their straits
as very desperate:
"We were constrained to eat roots, which the most
part of our men pounded in the mortars which I had
brought with me to beat gunpowder in, and the grain
which came from other places. Some took the wood of
esquine (probably cabbage palmetto) beat it and made
meal thereof which they boiled and ate. Others went
with their arquebuses to kill fowl," and so on with a
pathetic description of the weakness and sickness brought
on by famine, finishing with reciting how the colonists
not being able to work "did nothing but goe one after
another, as centinals, unto the cliffe of a hill very near

.20 Florida Hisorical Tales

unto the fort, to see if they might discover any French
Finally their hopes deferred making them heart sick
they pressed their commander to attempt the building of
a vessel which, with the small one they had, would
enable them to sail back to France.
There were good shipwrights among them and to
these Laudonniere deputed the task of building the new
vessel while he undertook to scour the coast for provis-
ions of any kind that might be found, but the expedi-
tions which had traversed the neighboring territory had
weakened the friendship and confidence of the natives
with whom also at that time of the year there was no
superfluous stock of provisions left.
Laudonniere returned unsuccessful from a coastwise
voyage of forty to fifty leagues and the colonists, now
desperate with hunger, riotously insisted that the only
way to extort food from the savages was to seise upon
the person of one of their kings and secure it as ransom.
To this'at first their commander would not consent. He
proposed a trial of the friendship of the natives and sent
messages to open up traffic for food with the surrounding
tribes. But the Indians knew the urgency of the case
and proposed to turn it to account. They came to the
garrison with small amounts of food for which they
asked enormous prices. When Laudonniere remon-
strated, they tauntingly answered:
"If thou make such great account of thy merchan-
dise, let it stay thy hunger. Eat it and we will eat our
In the end and goaded beyond endurance Laudoa-
niere resolved on doing as his people counseled.

Sorry of te Huguesets fIt
Two of his barks and a body of fifty men were chosen
for an expedition to the capital town of the ehief, who
ruled a large contiguous territory. This was forty or
fifty leagues up the river and six or more leagues inland.
One of his officers, IVErlach, had been there beforehand
knew the way.
They made the voyage successfully to the point of
debarkation; left a guard in their vessels and marching
inland succeeded in taking the Indian village by sBr-
prise. They, however, made no hostile demonstration
on entering the village, Laudonniere still hoping to
obtain peacefully what he needed, and so parleyed with
the chief. But while the chief did not hesitate to supply
the immediate wants of the Frenchmen, he declined'to
furnish any considerable amount of provisions. In fact
he argued that they were in a great measure responsible
themselves for their destitute condition. He said:
"Hath the Great Spirit commanded that the red man
shall gather food in the proper season that the white man
may sleep like the drowsy deer in the palmetto thicket'
It was true, but it was also true that their wants
admitted of no denial; and after a vain attempt to barter
for food Laudonniere gave the signal to eise the chief
which was promptly done.
Then a war conch was sounded to rally the Indian
warriors which was answered by D'Erlach's bugler call-
ing in the stragglers scattered through the village in
quest of food and the retreat to the riverside began.
The capture of the Chief Olata Utina was so unex-
pected and the retreat to the river so rapidly and skill-
fully executed that no chance was given the Indians to
rally in uffiieint force to prevent it.

22 Florida Historical Tales

It was, however, Laudonniere's intent to treat with
them for food and not to engage in any hostile contest
if it could be avoided, and so he opened a parley with the
savages assembled on the banks of the river, proposing
to release the chief upon their delivering a certain quan-
tity of maize, beans, dried venison, etc. But the Indians
were suspicious, believing the Frenchmen, after
obtaining what they desired would not release him; and
after fruitless attempts to obtain provisions with but a
small quantity that had been obtained in the village, the
expedition returned to La Caroline, taking also the chief,
who was treated kindly but kept in confinement, which
was very irksome to him.
SBy dint of plundering the villages of some Indian
tribes that had been guilty of unfriendly and hostile acts,
fishing and hunting, the people of La Caroline managed
to maintain life in a meagre fashion. Finally the old
chief proposed that they take him back to his people and
permit him to use his influence with them, telling his
captors the maize was then about ripe and promising to
use his best efforts in behalf of the Frenchmen. So the
two little barks again sailed up the river.
Long before they came to anchor at the landing,
Olata Utina's people gathered in great numbers, hardly
knowing what to expect. Negotiations were opened by
Laudonniere, who informed them that he was willing to
release their chief to them for a quantity of provisions
which to the Frenchmen seemed small, but to the Indians
was a heavy ransom. It would sweep their little fields
and granaries bare, even taking the very seed neces-
sary for future harvests. Their love for their chief was
not small, but it was of the last importance to free him

Story of the Huguenots 28

without subjecting themselves to risk of famine. So they
exercised all their arts of stratagem and diplomacy to
secure that end without paying too dearly. They brought
considerable supplies of food which they gave to the
Frenchmen, but no definite end was reached for several
days during which many hundreds of warriors gathered
in the vicinity. But Laudonniere was vigilant and find-
ing that attempts to rescue the chief or to capture Lr
donniere himself so that they might exchange chief for
chief, could not be made successful, an agreement was
finally entered into by which Olata Utina was to be
freed, two chiefs agreeing to become hostages for the
delivery of the ransom, which the Indians were to gather
in from all the tribal villages within a certain time.
The chronicle gives a brief description of the scene at
the restoration of the chief to his people: "The two war-
rior hostages came on board the bark and as they ap-
proached their chief broke their bows and arrows in
token of surrender. Then as they beheld his bonds, they
knelt at his feet, lifted up his chains and kissed them,
nor did they show any repugnance to assuming the fet-
ters as they were loosened from Olata Utina, looking
upon him with delight as he. was being freed."
The chief arose from his place and shook himself like
a lion rousing from sleep. Never was head held more erect
or form more stately. He waved his hand to the shore
where his people were gathered. The signal was evi-
dently understood for one of his sons came out in a canoe
bringing a mantle of fringed and gorgeously dyed grass
cloth, his macana or war club, and a mighty bow with
arrows five feet long.

24 Flrida Hisorical Tales

Throwing the mantle over his shoulders, he took the
bow and, before he left the vessel fitted an arrow to it,
letting it fly out of sight into the air as a signal that he
was once more free. 'A cloud of arrows from the shao
followed that of their sovereign and wild shouts echoed
far across the broad river.
The liberated chief had agreed to the terms of the
Frenchmea, but stipulated that he should have a certain
number of days in which to gather the supplies. Lan-
donniere left his lieutenants with a strong detachment of
soldiers, one of the barks and the two hostages to await
the issue while he returned to La Caroline.
The upshot of the whole business was that after two
or three days of waiting, word was sent to them that they
must bring their hostages to the village and there receive
the ransom. Olata had found it impossible to compel his
people to promptly comply with the stipulations. They
absolutely refused to bring any supplies down to the
river. He, however, was honorably disposed to keep his
word and thought their presence in the capital town
would have the effect to make the people act more
So they marched on the town, keeping their arque-
buses loaded with the matches burning ready to repel
any attack that might be made upon them. They reached
the village in safety although the woods swarmed with
warriors who were apparently only kept at bay by fear
of the deadly fire arms and the vigilance of the Frenchmmn.
The dwelling house and council chamber of Olat
Ut~in was on an" artifiial eminence," probably a mornt
such as are still to be found in all parts of Florida. l s
they found assembled all the chiefs of the nation except

&wBry of the Hkeuguntd
ireformer priamer. To a certain extent hi authority
Street with the Frenchmen was umrped by these uhit
ho were evidently determined to del with the invaders
melves, uig craft and dissimulation to throw them
their guard and then seise the first opportunity to;
overpower them. But lDErlaoh and Ottigy wereaep.
enced in save habits and were not to be deceived by
apparently friendly reception given them.
The Indians pointed to the sacks of meal and beam
pied up on the edunoil floor and showed the Frenehmen
others being newly brought in. Then eommenbed a pUl
aver designed to allay suspicions, but which had the
contrary eect. At nightfall a private conference was
held with Olata Utina. He informed them that um
anxiety to comply with his engagements had impaired his
authority; that thb ohief warriors had resolved to dto
the pale faces s ivaders, consumers of their substance
and destroyers of\ their peace. He advised them to
retreat to their vessel and La Caroline with all hate, for
from all quarter w gathering the warriors and there
were only preteens ade to carry out the reaty.
The deepondency the chief was without hypocrisy.
His warnings were sinere. But the necemity of eeur-
ing all the supplies they could prompted the Frenchmen
to tarry the full period ef four days and in the meantime
they urged on the accumulation.
Finally, seeing that a more was being bMreaht in
they released their hostages and on the morning of July
27th prepared for the reiat to their bark. auh
esklier was required to load himself with as rak pr.
iviu. aw he could carry, the abife having flatly reed

20 Florida Historical Tales

to furnish any carriers and for the last time in this region
the French bugles blew the signal of marching.
Not far did they go, however, before the battle they
anticipated began. The woods swarmed with warriors
armed with stone hatchets, war clubs and bows. But
they had learned a wholesome respect for the arquebusee
or matchlocks of the French and so their volleys of
arrows were delivered at too great a distance to do much
damage. However, as the road lay through hammock
belts where the timber was thick it was soon found neo-
essary to send out flanking parties to drive the Indians
from their coverts and to disencumber themselves of
their burdens of provisions so that they could more effect-
ively handle their weapons. Seeing their enemies halt
for this purpose, and mistaking it for a sign of fear, the
Indians advanced closer, filling the woods with their
yells, and delivered a volley of arrows that fell among
the little squadron. Their steel caps and leather doub-
lets, however, proved excellent defences against the flint
and bone headed shafts and iD'Erlsch said to his men:
"Do not answer them yet, but stoop ye every man and
break as many arrows as ye can. Blow your matches as
ye do so and when they come close let the first rank
deliver fire." He had observed that the enemy gathered
up the arrows as they passed and used them again.
The command was obeyed with coolness by the
arquebusiers and the result was when the savages made
a concerted rush they were met with a volley of bullets
which killed many and momentarily scattered the rest.
New bands of savages, however, constantly appeared to
harass the retreat and the whole day long the battle

Story of the Huguenoa

waged. The Frenchmen were compelled to economics
their ammunition and forebore to shoot except when it
was absolutely necessary. But the courage of the red
men increased as the battle spirit warmed up and they
bravely contested every foot of the way, even though
their weapons and military skill were deficient. Great
havoc was made among them, but never men fought
more bravely than they did. It is written of them, in
Laudonniere's quaint record, "All the while they had
their eye and foot so quick and redie, that as soon as
ever they saw the harquebuse raised to the cheek, so
soon were they on the ground, eftsoone to answer with
their bowes and to flie away when we were about to take
The conflict ceased at nightfall when weary and ex-
hausted the Frenchmen, of whom twenty-four were killed
and wounded, chiefly the latter, reached their boats. The
Floridians had shown themselves warriors of spirit and
capacity. They had driven out the invaders, recovered
the booty, rescued the hostages and if they had lost seri-
ously so had their enemies. Reading the chronicle one
is reminded that for more than two centuries they with
the same indomitable spirit kept Spain and England at
bay and finally only yielded after a heroic struggle, to
soldiers forest born, like themselves, the best riflemen of
the south led by Jackson, Taylor and Harney.

29 Phlri~d HiMiWricui Tel.

After all the toil and sacrifice of several brave men,
it was found to be impossible to supply the colonists of
La Caroline sufficiently to put them in good condition or
good heart. Indeed the home sickness under which they
labored had reached such a height as to admit of no
appeal or argument. Cruel as France had been to the
Huguenots, she was yet France and the memory of her
green vales and vine clad hills was not to be replaced by
the glorious beauty, even in its savagery, of the shores of
the River May.
Their discontents grew into a passionate longing for
return and when it was found that the building of the
vessel which had been commenced for that purpose
would be delayed by the death in battle of two of the
carpenters, they mutinously set upon Jean De Hais, the
master carpenter, because he had declared it would be
impossible to complete it by the specified time and it
was with difficulty he was saved from the mob.
There was still left of the original vessels which
brought them an old brigantine and Laudonniere finding
he was compelled to give up the original design of build-
ing a new vessel addressed all of his energies to its repair.
Determined to leave nothing behind when they were
ready to depart his men tore down the houses which had
been erected outside of the fort to make coal for the forge
and also the palisades leading from the fort to the river,

Bay of ts Hugue nots
thus greatly weakening their defenses, in spite of their
governor's objections.
Laudonniere was indeed very loath to give up the
colony he had done so much to establish. It distrmsed
him greatly that the promise of succor from Frasee
expected with the return of Ribault was delayed so long.
On the afternoon of the third of August, Laudonnere
took a walk as was his daily custom, to the top of little
eminence, near the fort, which offered a prospect of the
sea. Looking forth to the eastward over the vast watery
waste, he was greatly excited to see the sails of four ap-
proaching vessels. The joy of the garrison was great
for they naturally supposed Ribault was coming. Lau-
donniere writes quaintly: "8oe great was their glad-
nees at this that one would have believed them to be oat
of their wittes, to see them laugh and leap."
But the ships, instead of sailing boldly in as Ribault
should have done, approached cautiously. Finally they
cast anchor and sent out a boat toward the shore. A
prudent fear of the Spaniasds prompted Laudoaniere to
call the garrison to arms and send a detachment to meet
the visitors at the river side. They hailed in French and
in the same language came the reply, stating that the
ships were those of the famous Admiral Hawkins on an
exploring expedition. With him was Martin Atines of
Dieppe, one of the former colonists of deserted Port
Charles, picked up at sea and carried to Europe, who had
piloted the squadron.
The object of the British Admiral was pacific, nor
was it long before his generous and noble conduct won
the hearts of the Huguenots. He saw their distrserl
plight and gave them liberal supplies of wire aad prois-

30 Florida Historical Tales
ions. With even greater liberality and a wise policy,
seeing their discontent, he offered to transport the whole
colony to France. But Laudonniere was still hoping for
the return of Ribault and a surer foundation for the
colony, so declined the proposition which had been made
to him only as a commanding officer. However, to make
sure of the means to return if pressed to it, he bargained
with Hawkins for one of his vessels. The consideration
given by Laudonniere was a portion of the military fur-
niture of the fort, particularly described as" Two bastards,
two mynions, one thousand iron balls and one thousand
pounds of powder, etc."
Moved with pity for the wretched condition of the
Frenchmen, the generous Englishman offered supplies
for which he accepted Laudonniere's bills, which the
letter's subsequent misfortunes never permitted him to
cancel. These supplies included "twenty barrels of meal,
six pipes of beanes, one hogshead of salt and a hundred
(cwt.) of waxe to make candles. Moreover, forasmuch
as he saw my soldiers goe barefoot he offered me
besides fifty pairee of shoes which I accepted. He did
more than this: he bestowed upon myself a great jar of
oil, a jar of vinegar, a barrel of olives, a great quantity of
rice and a barrel of white biscuits. Besides he gave
divers presents to the principal officers of my company
according to their quality; so that I may say we received
as many courtesies of the General as was possible to expect
of any man."
This visit of Hawkins is the brightest episode in the
history of the ill fated colony. Doubtless had it been a
little later or had he tarried longer the cruel Spanish
wolf never would have bathed his jaws in Hugenuotgor

Story of the Huguendts 81
and certainly with amity between the English and French
Florida might have' been a prosperous country long
years ago and have been spared generations of tyranny
and degradation such as curse all lands overshadowed
by the flag of Spain. But it was not to be. The
folly of men, then as now, was thrown athwart the wis-
dom of God and for a time turned this Eden of the new
world into a hell of murder and rapine.
Sir John Hawkins, whose arrival at La Caroline and
the noble manner in which he treated the Huguenots
has thus been described, left on record many particu-
lars interesting in themselves and also as showing the
primary causes of the colony's fatal weakness. At
the close of the war mentioned as resulting from the for-
aging expedition to the Indian villages, he relates that
Laudonniere had not forty soldiers left unhurt. After
detailing the supplies accorded to the colonists from his
stores he adds: "Notwithstanding the great want the
Frenchmen had, the ground doth yield victuals suf-
ficient, if they had taken the pains to get the same; but
they being soldiers desired to live by the sweat of other
men's brows." Here speaks the jealous scorn of the
sailor. "The ground yieldeth naturally great store of
grapes, for in the time the Frenchmen were there they
made twenty hogsheads of wine, also," says Hawkins,
"the land yieldeth roots passing good, deere marvelous
store, with divers other beasts and fruits serviceable to
man. These be things wherewith a man may live hav-
ing cdrn or maize wherewith to make bread, and this
maize was the greatest lack they had because they had
no laborers to sow the same. Had they done so," he con-
tinues, "they having victuals of their own, whereby they

32 Flra Hisuorial Tdle

neither spoil nor rob the inhabitants, may live not only
quietly with them who naturally are more desirous of
peace than warren, but also shall have abundance of
victuals proffered them for nothing," etc.
The testimony of the Admiral is conclusive as to the
originally gentle and peaceful character of the oboriginal
Floridians. He speaks of the country as abounding in
natural resources, equal to those of any region in the
The account which Hawkins gives of the abundance
of fish in the neighborhood is no exaggeration. It adds
to the surprise of the reader at the wretched indolence or
incapacity of the colonists, who, with'this resource at
"their doors, depended for their supply upon the Iadi-
ans." He left the Huguenots on the 28th of August, 1666,
making preparations to follow him. The biscuit was
made, the goods and chattels were taken on board and
most of the water;-nothing delayed their sailing but
head winds. Laudonniere was prepared to depart when
the voyage was arrested by the appearance of Ribault
with the long expected supplies from France.
The approach of Ribault's vessels was exceedingly
cautious; so much so that the heavier guns of the fort
still left mounted were turned to bear upon them when
up went the Fleur-de-Lis of France.
The relief to Laudonniere was great, for he feared
they might be Spaniards, and in the present weak condi-
tion of the fort, defence was hopeless. The reasons for
Ribault's action arose from certain false reports which
had reached France, of the conduct of Laudonniere, let-
ters sent secretly by malcontents when Ribmalt had
returned to France, and fabricated reports, amusing him

StPry o the B&gupengs
f preparing to shake off the sovereignty of the mother
country and designing'to set himself up as the sovereign
ord of Florida. Poor Laudonniere, living on raakes,
rude berries and bitter roots, mocked by savages on one
and, flouted by rebels defying his authority, the target
or the curses of the discontented and home sick, surely
as in no mood to affect royalty on the banks of the
ver May.
He was vain and ostentatious, perhaps; he had his
sauts and absurdities like other men, but he was genial
heated and brave. He had been too bitterly schooled
y his adversities to dream of such idle affectations or
desires. Yet, of all this the King of France nor Admiral
Coligny, the projector of the colony, could know anything.
Composed of Huguenots only, a people of whose fidelity
the former might reasonably doubt, the Catholic King
might be readily supposed to give ear to the charges,
false as they were However, Coligny, kept his promise
and sent Ribault's seven vessels with a military force
To the great relief of Ribault his old comrade re-
ceived him with submission and soon succeeded in con-
vincing him that he had been greatly slandered; that
he was innocent of any assumption of royalty or of
unauthorized state of any kind; that however unfortunate
he might have been, he was not guilty of the follies,
presumption and cruelty which constituted the several
points in the indictment against him.
Ribkult strove to persuade him to remain in the
colony and to leave his justification to himself; but this
Laudonniere declined to do, resolving to return to France,
a resolution which we shall see hereafter was only delayed

34 Florida Historical Tales

too long, to the further increase of the misfortunes of
our captain.
Shortly after the arrival of Jean Ribault, Laudonniere
fell sick with fever, and the former assumed command.
Crowds of friendly Indians came to the fort, curious
as to the new arrivals. They soon recognized Ribault
as the chief who had raised the stone pillar at the mouth
of the river. The recognition was easy by reason of
the massy beard he wore. They welcomed him with
the greatest cordiality and a number of the neighbor-
ing chiefs recalled the ties of former friendship with
mystic ceremonies and made fresh pledges of amity.
They brought to him several pieces of what in their lan-
guage they called "sierra pira" or "yellow metal" which,
upon being tested by the refiners, proved to be "perfect
They offered to conduct Ribault to the mountains of
Apalachia where it was to be found, they reported, in
abundance. He was contemplating a visit to the moun-
tains when events of the greatest importance, supersed-
ing the hopes of gain, obliged the colonists to contend
for their lives. The Spaniards, of whom they had been
long apprehensive, appeared upon the coast.

Story of the Huguenov s 35

Spain and France at this time were by treaty at peace
with each other, but Spain claimed Florida by right of
discovery and her jealousy had been roused by the
reported attempted founding of the French colonies.
Philip the Second, a cold blooded, malignant and jealous
despot, freed by amnesty from the cares of war at home
was now at liberty to push his conquests abroad. His
great plea was his desire to spread the Catholic faith,
but in reality he was moved only by a cruel and insatiable
ambition and was in religion a fanatical hypocrite and
Pedro Melendez de Avila, an officer who had previ-
ously distinguished himself in other expeditions to the
new world, sought and obtained the appointment of
Adelantado with the hereditary government of all the
Floridas, then comprising as claimed, an immense terri-
tory stretching northward to the Carolinas and along the
gulf coast to the Mississippi. Under the stimulus of the
news that the French were attempting to take possession
of a portion of this territory, Philip increased the fleet of
the expedition to twenty vessels and its force to three
thousand men. It became a crusade and the eager impe-
tus of ambition was set on fire by the usual argument of
a holy war. To extirpate heresy was in accordance with
the cruel bigotry of both Charles of France and Philip.
It is said that Charles, in the same spirit which after-

Florida Historical Tale.

wards prompted the horrible massacre of St. Bartholo-
mew, had secretly surrendered the colony of Coligny to
the remorseless, conscienceless monarch of Spain. Co-
ligny well knew how little dependence could be placed
upon his king in all matters pertaining to the Huguenots
and as Ribault was about to depart fro France on his
last voyage wrote a hasty postscript t his letter of
instructions as follows: "As I was closing this letter I
received certain advices that Don Pedro. Melendes
departeth from Spain to go to the coast of New France
(Florida); see that you suffer him not to encroach upon
you, no more than you will suffer yourself to encroach
upon him."
On the voyage out the fleet of Melendes was scattered
by tempests, many vessels being lost, until on his arrival
at Porto Rico he could muster but seven or eight ships.
The fleet of Ribault consisted of seven vessels, the three
smallest of which ascended the river to the fort. The
four larger, which were men-of-war, remained in the
open roadstead at the mouth of the river. Ribault, be-
fore he left the roadstead, charged his subalterns to be
on guard against any vessels that might arrive, especially
It was well he did so for one September day they
described approaching the River May six large vessels.
In the absence of Ribault the squadron was inferior in
force to that of Melendez. It was evening when they
stood in and too late for effective action. They lowered
sail, cast anchor and forbore all offensive operations;
there was even communication by boat under flag of
truce between the squadrons. The Ave Maria echoed
musically from the one squadron in the language of Spain,

Story of the Huguenots 87
the evening songs of the French from the other. The
night zephyrs blew soft and fragrant from the forest lined
shores. All seemed peaceful and secure. But on every
vessel were alert and wakeful sentinels gazing with keen
eyes through the starlight to detect the first warlike
movement. It was the summer night before the storm.
In the parley that took place in the evening between
the two squadrons, the Spaniards inquired by name after
the chief captains and leaders of the French, betraying
an intimate knowledge of facts which had been kept as
secret as possible by the originators of the expedition.
This was sufficient in itself to arouse thle suspicions of
the latter and that night the French captains held a con-
sultation together. They decided that they were in
danger of assault and prepared themselves accordingly.
The men were notified to be in readiness to take their
stations at a moment's notice. Arms were overhauled
and in readiness; sheets and halliards made ready for
hoisting sail, for, being inferior in strength but faster
sailors than their foes, it was decided at the first hostile
movement to out their cables, spread their sails and
make for the open sea. The Spanish vessels occupied
such a position as to make any attempt to move up to
Fort Caroline dangerous.
Before daylight the creaking of windlasses notified
the French that the Spanish vessels were heaving home
their anchors, and without delaying to do the same, by
dawn their own sails were hoisted and cutting their
cables they stood out to sea just as the Spanish squadron
headed for them.
The six Spanish vessels pitted against the four French
ones, opened fire upon them, but the range of cannon

Florida Historical Tales

in those days was not so great as now and their shot
fell short. The French wasted no shot upon their pur-
suers and paid more attention to showing their enemies
a clean pair of heels.
The chase continued the most of the day. Finding
pursuit useless the Spanish tacked towards evening and
stood in for the entrance of the Selooe, called by the
French the River of Dolphins, but now known as the
Matansas River and St. Augustine Inlet.
The test having shown that they were the speedier,
the French vessels came about and saucily followed them
to make what discoveries they could. Coming as close as
they dared they found "The Trinity," the seventh and
largest of the Spanish vessels, anchored off the bar.
Three of their late pursuers remained just inside while
the other three, regarding the rest as more than a match
for the French, sailed to the landing where an encamp-
ment had already been made. Having noted these
things the French returned to the River May and reported
to Ribault.
In corroboration of these facts a neighboring friendly
chief had sent information to Ribault, that the Spaniards
had gone ashore in great numbers at Selooe, or as Melen-
dez christened it, St. Augustine, distant across the land
but eight or ten leagues from La Caroline; that they had
dispossessed the natives of their houses and were busy
in entrenching a regular encampment for which purpose
he had disembarked his superfluous men and remained
with the great ship called The Trinity, before sending
the rest n search of the French.
Ribault did not have the slightest doubt as to the
intention of Melendez to attack La Caroline from this

8tory of the Huguenots

point as soon as possible. Brave as a lion he resolved to
take the initiative. He needed no stronger justification
than the pursuit and firing on his vessels by the Spanish
fleet. The royal banner of France had been hostilely
assailed although the two nations were nominally at
peace with each other.

40 Florida Historical Tales

Ribault called a council with all his officers in Lau-
donniere's chamber at La Caroline, that captain still
being ill with fever. There he arrayed the arguments
in favor of attacking the Spaniards at St. Augustine
before they could complete their defensive arrangements.
His plan was to fall upon them with all his forces by sea,
boldly attacking The Trinity at anchor when the rest
were in no condition to support her, and the troops of the
Adelantado were partly on shore and partly on the other
vessels busily engaged in the removal of material for the
Laudonniere, however, objected to Ribault's plan.
La Caroline was in almost a defenceless condition; it
was the season of the year as he had found by experi-
ence when sudden storms might be expected. Some of
the other captains sided with him but Ribault, old sailor
and gallant soldier, was eager for the fray. He did not
give Laudonniere the credit he deserved for skill and
He took his own course and ordered all of his own
men on board his seven vessels. But not satisfied with
this he took also from the fort nearly all the able bodied
men and on the eighth of September parted with Lau-
donniere for the last time.
Scarcely had he crossed the roadstead when his ves-
sels met squally weather, the precursor of the violent
storm which followed. Ribault held on, however, to the

Story of the Huguenots 41
southward and in a few hours his squadron was off St.
Augustine Inlet.
Had he been well acquainted with the channel and
sailed boldly in, scarcely anything could have prevented
a complete victory over the Spaniards. The two heavier
vessels, relieved of their armament and troops, which
had been transferred to the land, had been dispatched to
Hispaniola. The remaining five vessels were unequal in
strength to Ribault's.
Three of the latter's lighter vessels were sent in to
take soundings and lead the way while the others worked
after them slowly. The hours lost in this decided the
fate of the Huguenots. Had they passed straight in
upon their foes, the latter could have made no effective
Two only of Melendez' vessels, on board one of
which the Adelantado himself embarked, were ready for
battle when the French were sighted. Their armament
was inferior, but Melendes hoped to delay the entrance
of Ribault until all the forces at his command could be
Melendes was as brave as Ribault. Both were stim-
ulated by a fierce hatred on the score of religion. The
Huguenot hated the Spaniards as Catholics, and they
hated him and his followers as heretics. Each in his
own estimation would be doing God service by ridding
the world of the other.
Melendes exhorted his men, who were fearful of the
odds against them, to be brave and prophesied a miracle
would occur to deliver them from their enemies.
In the very moment when the hands of Ribault were
stretched out to grasp the prize of victory which shaild

42 Florida Historical Tales

annihilate Spanish power in Florida, the squalls sud-
denly changed to a north-east gale that broke upon the
French squadron with the roar of a thousand lions.
The waves arose and mad foam capped billows broke
clear across the channel. With a groan of rage and
disappointment, Ribault was compelled to abandon the
assualt and turn his attention to the safety of his vesels.
Like the froth of the waves they flew southward before
the mighty power of the hurricane, speeding along the
white sand belted coast with no harbor of refuge for them.
Whatever their faults, their virtues, their heroism,
the aroused forces of nature cared naught for them,
seeming only desirous to doom them to pitiless de..
Darkness and storm engulfed them and through it all
they could only see the phosphorescent glare of the
breakers upon the shore and hear naught but their thun-
The hollow concave of the heavens was filled with
spray and darkness, save when the lightning flashes
threw a ghastly glare upon the tumultuous waters.
In the meantime the Spaniards from the depths of
their previous abandonment to despair, were exalted to
the highest pitch of enthusiasm and rejoicing. Melen-
dez had promised that God should work a miracle to
save them. He shrewdly turned the storm to advantage
in stimulating the faith and devotion of his people.
"See," said he, "what wonders God has done for
you this day. Call you this the cause of our king only?
It is the cause of the King of Kings! We are few, we are
feeble, in a wilderness swarming with savages, but He
will overcome them for us as He has already driven to

Story of the Huguenots 43
destruction those heretics, the spawn of Satan! The
cause in which we stiive is holy. The God of storms
and battles has ranged himself upon our side."
Cries of exultation answered him. A thousand voices
renewed their vows of fidelity and swore to follow where
he should lead. He commanded a solemn mass should
be celebrated in the morning and that all the army should
be present.
He knew it would be long, if ever, before the French
vessels returned and already planned the utter destruc-
tion of La Caroline before succor should come.
Don Pedro Melendes de Avila was a man of rare
energy, extraordinary foresight and indomitable will.
His religious fanaticism, if real, gave the sanction of
religion to his relentless cruelty, a savage trait of the
Spanish character then as now. But the history of the
whole matter shows that, after all, it was not so much
the difference of creeds that made Melendez resolute for
the utter destruction of the heretics of La Carolina but
because he believed it absolutely essential for the con-
tinued existence of the Spanish colony that the French
should be destroyed. He but played upon the ignorant
fanaticism of his followers to stimulate them to work
to that end with all their energies.
This design, however, the continued succession of
stormy weather and the unsettled condition of affairs in
his"new colony of St. Augustine, compelled him to port-
pone for some days while he was busily engaged in erect-
ing fortifications and dwellings for his people, during
which the temporary enthusiasm created by the late
apparently providential deliverance from their enemies
died away in a great measure.

44 Florida Hi4prical Tales

The mass-of the Spanish colonists were not veteran
soldiers, for to that class which in that marvelous age of
Spanish conquest and glory abounded in Spain, the rich
fields of Mexico, Central and South America offered far
greater inducements, but were new recruits, or peasantry
undisciplined and inexperiepeed in such hardships as
they were now compelled t endure. There was soon
consequently much murmuring and discontent.
But if the Spaniards at St. Augustine felt their hard-
ships so greatly and their state was disheartening, much
more so was the condition of affairs at La Caroline.
Weakened by the departure of Ribault, of whose fate
they could only conjecture; knowing only through the
agency of Indian friends that the squadron had failed
to accomplish its purpose and had been driven off by the
gale, which had been followed by heavy rains and vio-
lent winds, the Huguenots at La Caroline were in a more
deplorable state than ever. The supplies brought out by
Ribault for them had been chiefly appropriated for the
use of the fleet. A survey made immediately after his
departure led to the stinting of the daily allowance for
the garrison reduced as it was. Laudonniere was still
sick; the men were spiritless, hopeless and consequently
the work of repairing the defences went on but slowly,
and even its watch was maintained with doubtful vigi-
lance. Themselves much averse to exposure, they
thought the Spaniards would not undertake any attempt
upon the fort during the equinoctial storms, when march-
ing through the rains and wading morasses would be
likely to bring upon them malarial fevers and other sick-
ness, and were neglectful of their duties. Languid with
the fever of half healed wounds, or full of malarial poi-

Story of the Huguenots 454

son, enfeebled with sant food, even the bravest vet-
rans among them had lost heart and had sunk into a
state of apathy from which it was impossible to arouse
Not even Laudonniere could blame them, although
he had reason to believe that at some unexpected moment
his cruel and wily enemy would aim his heaviest blows
upon their heads.
Leaving the unfortunate Huguenots of La Carolina,
let us turn again to the Spaniards at St. Augustine.
The energy of Melendes knew no sleep; in spite of
storms and torrents of rain which deluged the land; the
murmurs and discontents of his people; he kept at work
trenching and fortifying the point of land between the
San Sebastian and the inlet which he had selected as the
site of his settlement, from which he dispossessed the
Indians, converting their dwellings to the use of his sol-
diery. While he had reason to hope that the French
fleet might have come to grief in the storm that had so
opportunely arisen, he was too well versed in the viaisi-
tudes of war to neglect providing every defence possible
should it have escaped injury. If it did so, he knew it
would return to renew the attack upon him.
Whatever his fanaticism might whisper to him of
divine interposition in his behalf, reason taught him to
see to it that every available means at hand should be
used for the protection of his settlement first and every
possible preparation be made to secure success when he
should take the initiative against his foes.
He evidently studied over the situation closely.
While he preached the cause of Catholicism as an incite-
ment to his followers against the heretic Huguenots, it is

46 Florida Historical Tales

plainly evident that motives of policy, or as he viewed it,
absolute necessity, called for the destruction of Coligny's
colony. While Ribault and Laudonniere were able to
dispute the Spanish claim to possession of the Floridas
his title of Adelantado amounted to nothing.
It might any day end in his being driven ignomini-
ously from the land over which he was expected to estab-
lish sovereignty. As Scipio decreed the destruction of
Carthage, because unless Carthage was destroyed Rome
would be, so Melendes decreed the destruction of La
Had they been a kindred people, with possibilities of
amalgamation or absorption, it isnot likely that a mere
creedal difference would have prompted him to the ter-
rible atrocity which marked the downfall of French
power in Florida. But trained in the cruel hypocrisy of
the age, which threw over its greatest crimes the cloak
of religious sanction, he did not hesitate a moment in
assuming the same disguise, and in the name of God he
served the devil Ambition.

Story of the Huguenots 47

It has been noted that Melendez had decreed the
destruction of the Huguenots of La Caroline.
It was on the 8th of September Ribault made his
attempts on MeleAdez at St. Augustine. The reader is
apprised of the disastrous result of that expedition. A
week was passed by Melendez in finishing his defensive
preparations and then he called a council of war. Tor-
rents of rain were still falling. The low flat pine lands
of the interior were afloat, but Melendez' indomitable
will knew no check from natural causes. More than any
other member of his little army, he was as dauntless as
he was ferocious in his determination.
The council of war was held in the old council house
of the Indian tribe occupying this vicinity at the time of
his arrival, a round fabric made of logs and earth, thatched
with palmetto leaves. It was not a comfortable place
with its rude log seats and its central pitch pine fire
casting a weird gleam over the armor of his captains.
But their leader recked nothing of these discomforts.
He knew the people he had to deal with thoroughly;
their weaknesses and discontents, the base natures
of many of them and their utter incapacity to realize
the scope of his ideas and plans.
He could scorn their imbecility and cowardice, but
he must use them. There were no other instruments
attainable and they must be aroused from their apathetic
state to the work before them.

48 Florida Hisorical Tales

As he stood in their midst the air was filled with the
muffled roar of the surf and the rush of the rain. He
looked around the circle and saw no enthusiasm in their
eyes. They were down-cast and moody. Already had
they realized that Florida was not offering them the
booty of rich cities as Peru and Mexico did to Pizarro
and Cortes. Even the priests were discouraged.
Nothing daunted, he clearly placed before them the
proposition to march overland to La Caroline "To de-
stroy those arch heretics in the very fortress of their
strength-in the very place which they have-built as
their refuge. Even the tempest, if it continues, will aid
in the achievement of success!"
Murmurs broke out among the listeners. "What is it
that ye fear?" asked Melendez. One arose and answered:
"Shall we, left here on this savage shore, not yet en-
trenched, divide our strength to attack La Caroline and
give Ribault a chance to fall upon our camp here, destroy
it and place us between two hostile forces? Surely this
would not be wise or prudent?"
Then Melendez, orator as well as soldier and fanatic,
spoke forcibly and with eloquence which stirred all their
hearts. He claimed to see with prophetic vision that
Ribault would not trouble the camp; nay, could not,
because the tempest was still carrying him before it
or had engulfed him in the seas. Should he escape all
the dangers of the storm and the keys which lined the
coast to the southward, weeks must pass before he could
possibly return to St. Augustine. In that time they
would have accomplished their purpose. They would be
able to turn his own cannon against him. He deOlred
it was war to the uttermost between them. If the French

Story of the Huguenots 40

were not destroyed they themselves would be destroyed.
They would give no quarter; they should have none.
The French were heretics and pirates, invaders of the
territories of Spain and as true Spaniards it was not only
a patriotic duty to extirpate them but a religious one also.
He chided them for being afraid of exposure to the
elements: for being fearful of receiving a few hard knocks
and loath to march against an enemy inferior in every
way to themselves, because there was no royal road for
them to march over.
All reasonable objections and arguments in opposi-
tion were patiently listened to and controverted with
such skill that the objectors were reduced to a minority
and silenced.
It was decided the next morning to prepare for the
expedition which was to consist of five hundred men.
Provisions were to be carried for eight days. The
force was divided into six companies, each with its flag
and captain. A picked company of pioneers with axes
was chosen to clear the way.
One writer says that at this point in the council
arrangements, Father Salvandi, a priest, brought in a
strange man partly in the costume of a sailor whom he
introduced as "Francis Jean, a Frenchman, once a here-
tic but now recanting and desirous of becoming a Catho-
lic, who will report what he knows touching the condi-
tion of La Caroline and will act as a guide."
The statement was made that he had fled because he
had been beaten by Laudonniere. If the incident is true
he was probably some thief or insubordinate who had
been thus punished, for Laudonniere, as we have seen,
was never 4 cruel man or severe in his rule.
With these conclusions arrived at and arrangements
made the council adjourned. It is true that apon the
next day in the midst of preparations for the mareh,

50 Florida Historical Tales

under the discouragements of the continued bad weather.
a mutinous spirit was manifested by some, even of the
officers, but to this Melendes wisely gave but little atten-
tion,except to allow no delay in the preparations. Fran-
cis Recaldo, Diego de Maya and St. Vincent boldly
remonstrated with the Adelantado, but his answer was
an invitation to dine with him and all the rest of his
officers that day. He played the part of host as well as
he had done that of leader at the council, and silenced
all opposition. By the morning of the 15th the army was
ready to march.
They had made much of the imaginary and real diffi-
culties and dangers of the expedition, but at La Caroline
there were less than a hundred men, besides women and
children, to defend a half dismantled, poorly constructed
fortress, whose commandant was still too ill to take
charge of affairs and was compelled to trust to careless
The Adelantado, having thoroughly organized his
little army, placed himself at its head and in spite of the
rainfall which still continued daily, marched toward La
Boats from his vessels carried the force up the San
Sebastian to a point where the marshes ceased and they
could reach the solid land.
Here the vanguard composed of Biscayans and Astur-
ians, expert with the ax, were sent forward to cut a way
through the tangled hammock under the command of
Senor Martin de Ochoa. With it went the traitor Francis
Jean, who had abandoned both his religion and his loy-
alty, closely watched.
Not many miles did they make on the first day,
retarded as they were by the difficulty of cutting a path
through the dense thickets which lined the shores of the
San Sebastian, and the rain storm which broke upon

Story of the Huguenots 1
them. But their camp was pitched at last in the open
pine woods. Even on .that night, around the bivouac
fires which gleamed upon steel cuirass and morion, there
were murmuring of discontent at what was deemed an
unnecessary and ill timed expedition which could have
neither glory or riches in it.
Melendes, however, did not suffer the least abatement
in his ardor to fall upon and surprise the French strong-
hold, and wrapped in his cloak slumbered by his fire of
pine knots as calmly as if in a palace.
As usual in this region the rains fell chiefly at a
certain time of the day, coming down with sch force and
intensity as seemingly to exhaust the clouds for the time
being, leaving the levels of the pine woods flooded, uil
the waters could drain off into the cypress swamps and
find their exit thence to the sea by winding tortuous
creeks, whose presence could be detected, as they ad-
vanced, by heavy fringes of cypress and by their closing
the forward view.
The second and third days were like the first, dreary
marches through flooded lands, while the rains soaked
their garments and made it extremely difficult for the
soldiers to protect their ammunition and provisions.
On the fourth day they were within a few miles of
La Caroline, but before them lay a broad marsh in which
the water was up to their middles.
It was here that the hearts of the common soldiers
sank because of their toil and suffering and more than a
hundred slunk away, retracing their steps to St. Augus-
tine, where their reports of disaster to the expedition
made a temporary excuse for their desertion.
But Melendes' indomitable courage, his unbending
will, his presence and voice of command, still prevailed
to push the greater proportion of his troops forward, in

52 Florida Historical Tales

spite of the fact that many muttered curses upon his
One Fernan Perez, an ensign of St. Vincent's com-
pany, was bold enough to say "He could not comprehend
how so many gentlemen could let themselves be led by
an Asturian mountaineer who knew no more about carry-
ing on war on land than a horse."
Even then, when so close to the goal he aimed at,
Melendes was compelled to use all his skill, craft and
dissimulation, enforced by claims of inspiration or
Urging them on with fiery zeal he succeeded in pass-
ing .the marshes and reaching the more solid land be-
yond, which his guide, the renegade, assured him ex-
tended to the very gates of the French fortress.
At sunset they halted for their supper within striking
distance of La Caroline, without having given the alarm.
Their temporary camp was out of sight from the fortress,
and as the day had been a stormy one not a Frenchman
had been landward, nor had a single friendly native been
stirred to bring tidings to the garrison.

Story of the Htsguenota 83

Under the guidance of the renegade, Melendes and
his captains made a reconnaissance of the fort. Dark as
the night was he soon found that it was not only careles-
ly watched but that breaches in its rude walls afforded
easy means of entrance. Rains were falling and gusty
winds were blowing. De La Vigne, one of Laudonniere's
lieutenants, was captain of the watch that night, but
through pity for the sentinels exposed to such weather
allowed them to shelter themselves as best they could,
and not dreaming that an enemy could be abroad on such
a night, himself retired to his quarters, satisfied that
everything was secure.
Little did he know that just beyond the range of his
vision the arch-enemy of the Huguenots of La Caroline
was praying that he might be enabled to change their
slumbers by dawn into the eternal sleep. And so passed
the night of the nineteenth of September-the last one
for the Frenchmen in La Caroline.
Before dawn, with his forces divided into commands
under Martin de Ochoa, Francis Recaldo, Andres Lopez
Patino and himself, the landward sides of the fortress
were invested. While waiting impatiently for daylight,
Ochoa and the master of the camp, Patino, silently pene-
trated one of the breaches. They came across a drowsy
sentinel who exclaimed "Qui vivel" Ochoa answered
promptly "France!" but the sentinel not satisfied ap-
proached to inspect more closely, thinking they were
possibly stragglers from the brigantine lying in the
harbor, only to receive a stunning blow from a partisan.

StwN~ of Wh Huguenobs


4 Florida Historical Tale

The sentinel recovered his footing and drew his
sword but was struck down again, disarmed and at the
sword's point forbidden to make a sound. He was con-
ducted to Melendez who commanded him to be slain,
and as the dawn was breaking the order was given for
the assault.
Two more of the sentinels at the outer posts were
slain, while scarcely roused from their sleep. A third
however, on the ramparts, saw the Spaniards rushing to
the assault and cried "To arms" Shouting the alarm he
fled before them and Laudonniere was aroused but the
warning came too late.
The Spaniards were in the fort. The feeble garrison
could not rally on a single point. Laudonniere seized his
arms and weak although he was from his late sickness,
rushed into the central court and called upon his soldiers
to rally to him. Some did, others were butchered as they
endeavored to do so. The wild shouts of battle, the cries
of women and children, rang out over the waters of the
River May.
At the southwest portion of the fort some of the
bravest of the garrison rallied and made a desperate stand.
These Laudonniere joined and by the most headlong
valor endeavored to expel the invaders. But it was
utterly in vain. The Spaniards had won too secure a
footing and were in too great numbers to be dispossessed.
Melendez shouting his fanatical war cry "God is with us,
my comrades" led them on.
They mocked the tardy valor of the Huguenots, their
feeble force, and as one by one they fell, derided them
with taunts and curses while hacking and stabbing the
poor unfortunates mercilessly, until no life was left in
their mangled bodies.
Pressing forward through the melee, Melendes soon
confronted Laudonniere but did not know him as they

Story of the Huguesota 65

had never met before. The renegade, Francis Jean,
pointed out his old leader saying "That is hel Laudon-
niere, the captain of the heretical"
"Is it thou? traitor Let me but live to slay thee and
I care nothing for the rest" shouted Laudonniere, mak-
ing at him.
But Melendes thrust back the traitor and interposed
his Toledo blade and mailed form to prevent Laudon-
niere's just venpance.
As the Spaniards pressed on, the few Frenchmen fell
back until only one brave, stout man, Bartholomew
Prevatt, stood with Laudonniere trying to beat back the
assailants with a heavy partisan. Melendes, a stalwart
warrior, clad in mail, sprang eagerly forward hoping to
slay Laudonniere, who, in his condition no match for
him, was just as eager for the fray. At that moment he
preferred to die in the battle, for so might his honor be
saved. But this was denied him. A rush of fugitives
bore him back towards a breach accompanied by the
faithful Bartholomew. He yielded only foot by foot,-
parrying with sword and buckler like an accomplished
cavalier, the sword thrusts of Melendes and the assaults
of the long pikes of the Spaniards, his one faithful fol-
lower keeping by his side yet urging him to retreat.
Falling back, still facing the foe, through a narrow
alley way, they reached the yard in which was Laudon-
niere's lodging. Here a tent happened to be standing
around which they passed but in the melee the Spaniards
thought they had gone into it and so rushed in.
"Hither, now; Monsieur Renel" cried Bartholomew,
grasping him by the wrist, "follow me and we shall surely
For a moment Laudonniere stood thrusting the point
of his sword into the wet earth, in vexation and despair,

56 Plorida Historical Tales

while the tears stood in his eyes and groans were on his
'Seel we have not a moment to lose, the tent falls,
the Spaniards will be on us in a moment They will
catch us at the breach!" cried the soldier with impatience.
'Surely, there is where they should have found me
at the first-but now!-lead on! I will follow, as thou
A heavy mist had come up from the sea and in its
obscurity the two gained the breach in safety and from
thence to the dense hammock was only a short step.
Here therelwas temporary safety but they were so near
that they could hear the dreadful work of death and
horror going on inside the fortress and the fierce shouts of
Melendez crying out "Slay, slay and spare not!" rising
above the groans of dying men and the frenzied shrieks
of women and children.
The panting fugitives traversed in safety under cover
of the mist the open ground between the fort and the
dense hammock. For a few moments they halted to
recover breath, still within hearing of the shrieks and
shouts of those who could not escape. Even then Lau-
donniere felt impelled to turn back and strike one more
brave blow for La Caroline. But Bartholomew shook
his head, saying "It is useless, my captain! The Spanish
devils have the fort. God only can save our comrades."
So shutting his ears with his hands he stumbled on with
his companion, deeper into the forest.
Here they found other fugitives, some wounded, all
terror stricken.
Laudonniere could command no longer, but his
advice was to work their way through the marshes to the
river shore, from whence they might signal their vessels
at the river mouth and so yet make their escape while
the Spaniards were engaged in the fort. A portion of

Story of the Huguenots 57

them fearing they would be caught on the naked shore
preferred to push on td the nearest Indian village, which
had hitherto been friendly. Laudonniere knew, however,
that this point would be one of the first visited by the
pursuers and that it could afford no ultimate rescue or
defence, so with a few followers he entered the marshes
and hidden by the hammock from the fort pushed on
through the tall grass towards the shore. The ground
was soft and many muddy little creeks intervened.
Weakened by his recent sickness, into one of these
the captain fell and up to his neck in water and mud he
felt as if he must yield to his fate. But Jean Ressegui de
Chemin and the faithful Bartholomew extricated him
and stayed by him the rest of the day and through the
,long dreary night which followed.
Meanwhile two of the soldiers in advance reached
the shore and swam off towards the vessels, still a mile
Fortunately for them, those on board had been
apprised of the taking of the fort by Jean de Hais, the
master carpenter, who had slept that night in the shallop
and when he saw the fort was captured dropped down
the river to the vessels, which sent out boats to pick up
the swimmers. The work of picking up the stragglers
was continued and Laudonniere with his faithful com-
panions were at last found and rescued. In all eighteen
or twenty were thus saved, among whom was the cele-
brated painter Jacques le Moyne de Morgues, some of
whose illustrations of Florida scenery and native life are
still preserved in the old chronicles.
They dared not go near to La Caroline, as the brigan-
tine which they had repaired before Ribault's arrival
and the bark purchased from Admiral Hawkins, were
neither well enough armed nor manned to face any
assault from the Spaniards and finding at last that no more

58 Florida Historical Tales

fugitives were left to rescue, as those who had taken
refuge with the Indians had been pursued and slain by
the remorseless foe, the shallop was scuttled and on the
25th of September, 1565, Laudonniere sailed, abandoning
forever the last colony of France in Florida.
After many perils by sea they arrived in England
where they received generous hospitality and humane
It will be noted Laudonniere did not desert the
vicinity of La Caroline until the last moment, for while
Melendez had attacked the fort only with ai land expedi-
tion the enemy might order up vessels by messengers to
St. Augustine to cut off their flight and they dared not
tarry longer, but they learned the most of the particulars
which marked the fate of the Huguenot colony as the
most deplorable and atrocious in the annals of American

Story of the Huguenots 59

There are pages in history which are penned with
trembling, reluctant hand, so full of atrocity and horror
are they. Yet they must be written, if for naught else
than for warning to the generations of men to keep
chains upon the brutal instincts which, let loose without
restraint, do turn the loveliest spots of earth into fit types
of hell.
It was a cruel sanguinary age, when blood flowed
like water, not only in the new world but in the old. An
age which prated much of Christianity, yet knew not
what mercy or justice or charity meant when reasons of
state intervened.
It was "vae victims" to the conquered, especially if
they were alien in both religious creed and race.
La Caroline was captured as written in the preceding
section. By the time the sun had dispersed the morning
mist the last of its Huguenot defenders was either si-
lenced in death or bound and awaiting the will of< the
conqueror, save those who were being speedily hunted
down and slain in the adjacent forests.
The Fleur de Lis of France was replaced with the
standard of Spain and the name of the fortress changed
to San Mateo, to commemorate the day on which it was
taken. The arms of France and Coligny which sur-
mounted,its gateway were torn down and a garrison met
apart to take charge of the place under the command of
Gonzalo de Villareal.
Then came the question of what disposition to make
of the prisoners. We have seen that twenty escaped

60 Florida Historical Tales

with Laudonniere; as many more were overtaken and
slaughtered in flight. Many had been killed in the
surprise, but there still remained thirty or forty men to be
disposed of.
Melendez was a man of rapid action. Having made
up his mind he was as cruel and relentless as a tiger in
carrying out his conclusions. He had mentally decided,
even before the fall of La Caroline, to destroy the Hugue-
nots utterly. Short was the shriving he intended for
them and as terrible as it was short.
He ordered the prisoners to be brought into the
central court of the fort. They were all together-men,
women and children. The former bound, the latter wail-
ing and sobbing with fear.
"Separate the women and children from the men,"
was his command.
"The women and children shall be spared." But
they were to be kept as slaves.
"Are there any among ye," said he to the men, "who
profess the faith of the Holy Catholic Church?"
Two of the prisoners answered in the affirmative. He
turned them over to Father Salvandi, ordering their
bonds to be removed. Continuing, he said to the rest,
"Are there any among ye, who, seeing the error of their
ways, will renounce the heresy of Luther and come into
the fold of the only true church?"
A dead silence followed. The captives looked mourn-
fully at each other and at the Adelantado. But in his
set, cruel countenance there was no sign of mercy. "Be
warned To those who recant, the church opens her
arms. To those who will not, death temporal and eternal
is decreed."
Moved with pity, but knowing it was useless to utter
a word of pleading for mercy to the pl)soners on any
other terms, the priest lifted his crucifix.

Story of the Huguenots 61

The silence was still unbroken and the cloud on
Melendes' face. grew still more sinister.
'Hear ye-and now say. Do you not comprehend
that your lives rest upon your speech? Either ye em-
brace the safety that the church offers or ye die by the
Then one sturdy soldier took a step in front of his
fellows and, lifting up his face proudly, said "Pedro de
Melendez, we are in your power. You are master of our
fort and our mortal bodies, but in the face of the death
you threaten, we say we cannot recant our faith in the
true Church of Christ. We have nought to do with
Rome. As we have lived in our Lord's teachings we will
die faithful to them. We ask your mercy on honorable
terms only. We cannot take the terms you offer."
The speaker looked around him at his fellows, and
over their faces gleamed an answering light.
"Speaks this man for the rest of ye also?"
There was a moment's silence and then a sailor,
stepping forward, spoke out: "Ay, ay! Captain, what he
has said we all say. If death's the word we are ready
for the end of the voyage, whatever port our compass
brings us to."
"Be it even as ye say!" said Melendez, coldly,
sternly, without softening of accent or show of passion.
"Two hours hence these men are to be hung without the
fort. Their punishment shall be a warning to heretics
and invaders of the realm of Spain in all ages." Turn-
ing to the newly appointed commander of the fort, he
said: "See to it that halters are provided and that my
order is executed." To the priest: "Reverend father,
you may/talk with them and if any are converted give
them your offices."
Then arose the cries of women and children as the
first embraced their husbands for the last time and the

62 Florida Historical Tales

latter clung to their father's hands. So sad, so pitiful
was the scene it should have moved a heart of stone to
mercy, but it did not.
Neither cries nor tears nor pitiful beseeching, on bent
knees, on their part, swerved Melendes from his purpose
one jot. Nor would he hear one word of expostulation
from the priest who would fain have had more time for
his exhortations, and who was himself shocked at the
Adelantado's wholesale and relentless decree.
Nevertheless, he spared not his exhortations and
pleadings. In his sight the way of escape was easy.
But he preached and promised in vain, and perhaps,
judging from Melendez' deeds afterwards, had the pris-
oners then recanted still they would have not been
spared. As it was, the soldier and sailor had spoken for
the martyrdom of all and at the appointed time the last
separation was made between the men doomed to death
and their companions in so many miseries and misfor-
tunes, and they were marched forth to a huge live oak
tree whose gnarled wide spread arms were dangling with
There they perished and there their bodies were left
hanging until the same tree bore another like ghastly
crop to mark the vengeance of De Gourgues.
Under this tree was planted a hewn board on which
was painted in large characters the following:
"These Do Not Suffer as
Frenchmen but as Heretics
and Enemies to God."

Storm of the Huguenot a 6

Melendes, having completely accomplished his pur-
pose so far as La Caroline was concerned, being anxious
for the safety of his new post at St. Augustine on account
of the possibility that Ribault's fleet might have escaped
the storm and might return to attack it, leaving a strong
garrison to repair and hold the fort, returned to that
place with one hundred men. The country, a low pine
woods region, nearly level, was inundated by the recent
rains which made the march a very disagreeable one, but
the return was accomplished more speedily than the ad-
vance and his appearance at St. Augustine wasunexpected.
The whole colony turned out to hail the conqueror,
with acclamation of joy and a Te Deum of praise.
However, in the midst of their rejoicing the two ves-
eels lying side by side in the harbor caught fire and were
destroyed, leaving them without any sea going craft. The
most of their armament, however, had been transferred
to the land some time before. Attention was turned to
fortifying the position, as Melendez now saw the safety
of his colony would depend altogether upon his ability
to defend himself on land.
The work and privation brought on much discontent
and a mutinous disposition which nothing but fear of his
cruel determination restrained from open revolt.
In the meantime how fared it with Ribault? The
last we'noted of him, his vessels disappeared from in
front of St. Augustine before a north-east gale driving to
the southward. All night long they battled with the
storm. Vainly they tried to beat off from the shore, but

64 Florida Historical Tales

could not secure sea room. The next day found them
nearing the outward curving point of Cape Carnaveral,
upon which or near by, finally, the whole squadron went
ashore. One of the vessels of heavier draught than the
others struck on a shoal some distance out and went to
pieces, all the crew except the captain, De la Grange,
drowning in the breakers. The other vessels were driven
in upon the beach, and as the wind slackened and the
tide receded, their crews disembarked safely.
Some time was passed in securing as much as possi-
ble from the stranded vessels, in waiting for the tempes-
tuous weather to abate and in reconnoitering the vicinity.
Ribault's men were probably the first white men to
view that noted arm of the sea called Indian River.
They found numerous Indian villages whose inhabitants
lived chiefly on fish and oysters and were not disposed to
be hostile. But the country in the main was barren,
except for a few small fertile spots along the river shores.
For awhile Ribault made efforts to re-launch two or
three of his vessels which were not so much injured as
the rest, but was finally compelled to give up that idea
in despair.
Not knowing the fate that had befallen La Caroline,
it was finally decided to march northward and regain
that point. Nowhere could they find the connection of
the long narrow peninsula with the mainland and the
hard, smooth beach offered them an easy road which
they accordingly took.
On the second day afterward the advance guard
reached Mosquito Inlet. Near this was the usual village
of fishing Indians, who ferried them over the inlS in
their dug outs; a process which required considerable
time and resulted in dividing the force into detachments.
Owing to the fate which finally befell the great
majority of these men, few records of their discoveries

Story of he Huguentsw 6W
remain and we are left chiefly to conjecture in what condi-
tion the shores of the .Lagoon, the Hillaboro' and the
Halifax were as to occupancy by the aborigiaes who
were numerous but not warlike.
Ribault's command still numbered over five hundred
men and much of their subsistence had to be obtaied
from the natural resources of the country; sea elams,
fish and game constituting the available supplies.
They suffered most from thirst, as nowhere in this
shore region of sand dunes are there streams, pools or
springs of fresh water; only bear wallows, as they recalled
and shallow wells at the Indian villages.
The latter part of the march was the worst in respect
to food; the upper portion of the Halifax, the creeks and
marshes lying between it and the Matanzas being devoid
of oysters. It was, therefore, worn out with privation
and dispirited by misfortune that the advance division
of two hundred reached Matansas Inlet which barred
their further progress.
It was a weary and forlorn body of men that gath-
ered on the south side of Matanzas Inlet and gazed across
its narrow channel at the south point of Anastasia Island.
Its waters were too deep to wade. Sharks abounded
and the tide currents in and out made it dangerous even
for strong swimmers to assay. There were no boats or
canoes available.
They did not know of the possibility of making their
way across Matansas neck to the mainland, and thence
through the pine woods at the rear of St. Augustine on
to La Caroline.
They were spirit broken, hopeless, except the possi-
bility of rejoining their comrades, of whose fateoitewas
impossible for them to know anything.
Their only chance, they thought, wa to regain the

66 Florida Historical Tales

shelter of the fort and perhaps succeed in devising some
means of escape from this land which, though not inhos-
pitable by nature generally, had, in their case, been singu-
larly full of calamity to them. They little knew that
beyond the hummock lined shores across the strait, be-
yond the smiling waters of the Matanzas, winding in
graceful curves between woods and marshes, a human
tiger was already preparing to bathe himself in their
blood. Surely had they known then, what they were to
know soon, with time to measure their deadly peril and
the merciless cruelty of Melendez, even then with but
one stout hearted leader they might have turned the
scales in their favor and meted out to the Spaniards the
justice they deserved.
But it was not to be. Fate was against them. Prov-
idence had forgotten them and already their hours were
numbered almost to a man.
The vine clad hills of France were never more to
greet their homesick vision, at least as mortal men.
Worn out with marching in the hot September sun over
the beach sands; strangely red as if already stained with
blood, with the glaring sea on one side and high sand
banks covered with an almost impenetrable jungle of
saw palmetto on the other, they made their bivouac fires;
cooked oysters, clams, fish or such other provender as
their scanty stores afforded; cut palmetto leaves for beds
and slept the sleep of exhaustion. That night Melendes
learned from Indians that white men had reached Ma-
tanzas coming from the southward. He knew they were
some of Ribault's men and rightly conjectured their
He did not know, however, whether the whole of
Ribault's force was there or whether they might not be
divided so as to approach his settlement in front and
rear. He did not dare to draw his whole force from St.

Story of the Huguenots 67
Augustine, so chose sixty of his beet armed soldiers and
placing them on board batteaus made his way rapidly
down the Matansas. He was well aware that if the
Huguenots were disposed to fight and could cross the
inlet, he could not oppose his sixty to their five hundred,
but with the advantage of position on his side he et-
pected to employ, if necessary, such arts of craft and
dissimulation, deception and treachery, as would be nqc-
essary to make up for the difference in numbers.
His sagacity and courage as a soldier certainly
almost equalled his brutality and remorseless cruelty as
a man.

Florida Hiat orical Tale

Melendez, having loaded his batteaus with soldiers
chosen for determined and ferocious character, from all
his garrison, especially for this undertaking-one he had
resolved should be at least equally as terror striking to
all enemies of Spain as the massacre at La Caroline-
left St. Augustine long before daylight.
The boats were propelled by skilled oarsmen and
beside the men, contained the necessary provisions for a
halt at Matansas, which might be more or lees prolonged
by events not to be calculated beforehand.
The weather had at last subsided into gentleness and
cloudlessness, forming a great contrast to its late turbu-
lence and discomfort.
The air was balmy with the odors of flowers and
spicy woods, with just enough of the sea flavor in it to
make it perfection. iThe stars shone upon the winding
waters of the serene river, their reflection rivalled in
brilliancy by the phosphorescent gleams, evoked by
swiftly plied oars an trailing wakes, as they sped on,
bound on an errand of blood and treachery so horrible,
not all these waters nor those of the near-by sea can
wash the stains away in all the ages to come.
Occasionally, in the forepart of the voyage, some boat
crew chanted a rude war song or even hymn, but as the
morning sun began to streak the eastern~sky with red
and gold, silencelfell upongthemfall.
Then sunrise came and with it the full blase of a

Story of the Huguenots 68
beautiful October day. Stealing along the shores of
Anastasia Island, Melende sought a cove behind a'bam-
mock grove close to the inlet and disembarked his men.
Here a repast was served to all and then their leader,
accompanied by a few soldiers, went forward to recon-
noitre. Climbing a live oak tree upon a shell mound
near the verge of the sand point which formed the south
end of Anastasia Island, Melendes concealed, had a full
view of the opposite shore of the narrow strait and saw
the Frenchmen attempting to build a raft with which to
cross, but for which purpose there was little material
suitable to be found. By his count there could not be
more than two hundred of them. But this was too large
a number to permit landing in an armed body, so taking
the initiative, with a diabolical plan prompted by the
evidently disheartened condition of the French, he de-
scended the tree, emerged from the thick underbrush
which concealed his force and advanced boldly alone to
the shore, signaling for a conference.
After a brief consultation among the French, a bold
Gascon, who was a good swimmer, sprang into the water
and swam across the strait, which was not more than an
hundred yards in width.
After the military salute had been exchanged, Me-
lendez demanded: "Who are the people whom I see on
the other side?" "We are Frenchmen who have suffered
"What Frenchmen?"
"The people of M. Ribault, Captain General of Flor-
ida, commiseoned by the King of France."
"Neither France nor Frenchmen have a right to
Florida. I, Pedro Melendes de Avila, am Adelantado of
all Florida and hold it in behalf of Philip, King of Spain.
Go back to your commander and say to him that I am
here with my army to prevent any invasion of this land
and punish the invaders."

70 Florida Historical Tales

The Gascon returned and delivered the words of
Melendez to his disheartened and bewildered companions.
What should they do? It was true that but one man
showed himself to bar their passage of the strait, but
scouts had caught sight of one of the batteaus and even
as they considered, the flag of Spain was displayed and
they believed Melendez' statement.
Wretched with privation and broken in spirit, even
those heretofore the bravest were anxious to obtain any
terms which might give them a chance for their lives
and ultimate return to France; so the Gascon was per-
suaded to return and ask safe conduct for four officers, to
be taken across in the batteau, to negotiate terms.
To this consent was readily given and the Sieur de la
Grange and three others were ferried over under a flag of
truce. Melendes' men were so disposed, under cover of
the forest, that the French officers could not make out
their number when they were brought to the camp at the
cove. Six well armed men only constituted the immedi-
ate guard of the general, while the boatmen attended the
camp fire and preparations for the noonday meal, pur-
posely made as ostentatious as possible.
Their leader told the story of their mishaps, ship-
wreck and sufferings, hoping to arouse a feeling of hu-
manity, and asked assistance to reach La Caroline from
whence they hoped to return to France and leave Florida
to his peaceful possession.
To this Melendes replied: "Senor, I have made my-
self master of your fort; I have slain the garrison, spar-
ing the women, the children and such as were Catholics
or abjured their heresy, and have the fort well garri-
soned. You cannot go there." Had a thunderbolt fallen
at their feet they could not have been more surprised,
and noting a look of doubt after rallying from the first
shock Melendez continued: "If you doubt, or hope it is

Story of the Huguenots 71

not true, I will soon convince you. I have brought hither
two soldiers whom because they claimed to be Catholics
I spared. You will doubtless know them. After you
have dined you shall hear the truth from their lips as
freely as you will."
He then retired, ordering them to be served. They
fell to it like famished men-as, indeed, they were-after
which the two captives were allowed to communicate
with them and freely tell the cruel history of La Caro-
line. Nothing was concealed. Melendez' policy was to
render them abject with fear-and he succeeded.
After an hour's absence he returned. "Are you sat-
isfied," he asked, of the truth of what I told your'
Then the Sieur answered: "We cannot doubt that it
is even so. But this does not lesson our claim upon your
humanity as men who have been deprived of all other
hope. There is peace between France and Spain, alliance
between our sovereigns. We will be glad to leave you in
undisputed possession of this country. Give us but
assistance to leave it and henceforth there will be none to
dispute your claims.
"If you were not heretics and I had the ships it
might be so, but it cannot be," was the stern answer. "I
have sworn to extirpate heresy wherever I find it. As
Catholics you might have claims upon me, but you are
"Nevertheless we are men, human, made equally in
the image of God and, if not at the same altar, serve
Him also. Assist us to leave this country-this is all we
"Demand nothing of me. Yield yourselves at dis-
cretion. Deliver up your arms and ensigns and I will do
with you as God shall inspire me. Consent to these
terms or do what pleases you. I promise you neither

72, Florida Historical Tales

truce nor friendship. Go and report to your companions
and give me their answer."
The four then told him, that if he would assure them
their lives, they would give a ransom of twenty thousand
ducats for the whole company.
The answer was characteristic of this abnormal fan-
atic, the cruel, relentless, unpurchasable human tiger:
"Though but a poor soldier I am not capable of being
bought. If I am moved to do an act of grace it will not
be your money that will move me to it. I tell you as a
soldier and an officer holding a high commission from
my King, though the heavens and the earth mingle I
change no resolution I have made. Unconditional sur-
render, first of your arms and then of yourselves, is what
I demand. Time passes. The boat is waiting, go."
It will scarcely be thought credible that men yet
having arms, power to use them and numbers sufficient
to make at least a respectable resistance, would listen to
such demands.
But they did, even after a full report had been made.
Some were simply reduced to apathy by despair. Others
argued that it was the vigorous resistance made by a
gallant few of La Caroline's garrison that had incensed
him to destroy them so mercilessly. "It is likely," said
they, "that if we surrender peaceably he will give us our
But little time was required to determine their sub-
mission. The returning batteau was loaded with the four
officers, arquebuses, pistols, swords, bucklers, their whole
complement of munitions and a complete surrender was
The Frenchmen thus disarmed were brought over
and with a refinement of cruelty scarcely comprehensible
were given something to eat. After this they were
asked if any among them were Catholics, for the one

Story of the Huguenots 78
thing on earth this man feared was the church, nor that
to any greater extent than to yield to its imperative
demand for protection to its adherents.
It is said there were but eight amongst them who
claimed they were Catholics. These were set apart to
be conveyed to St. Augustine. The rest were then bound
and driven in squads of six to a small glade away from
the camp and as they arrived were set upon their knees
and shot or stabbed, each party not knowing the fate of
the preceding until the last moment.
What horrors occurred can not be imagined. But
neither prayers, entreaties, groans, nor the red tide of
human blood poured out upon the thirsty sands, turned
the monsters from their work. Those who did it stripped
the slain and acquired much booty from the bodies of
the dead, over which was thrown a covering of loose sand
and leaves; and so perished miserably the first detach-
ment of Ribault's men at the place which henceforth
bore the name of Matansas or "the place of slaughter."

74 Florida Hiagorical Talks

Melendez hastened back early the next morning to
St. Augustine with the few wretched men spared from
the massacre.
He was welcomed as a conquering hero, with all the
pomp and display that was possible, even including a Te
Deum and church services, so low had fallen the stand-
ard of Christianity in that dark age of murder and ra-
pine, especially amongst the Spanish people, for while
other nations of Europe had in a measure become inocu-
lated with the spirit of bloodshed, and ware convulsed all
Christendom, there was amongst the rest some humanity
remaining to modify brutality.
Scarcely, however, had his soldiers cleaned their
garments and their weapons from the blood of the slaugh-
tered Frenchmen, when the watchman left at Matanzas
sent word that a large body of Ribault's men had con-
gregated in the same spot on the south side of the inlet,
and were making preparations to cross, or at least were
trying to, by continuing the building of the raft com-
menced by the preceding body.
The news created great excitement amongst the
whole garrison, who were clamorous this time to accom-
pany Melendes, being incited thereto by the display of
the spoils brought home from the late massacre, and their
now confident belief in the invincibility, and power to
secure certain triumph of their leader.
Believing that the main body of Ribault's men were
at last in his toils, Melendez selected one hundred and
fifty men, the flower of his force, and embarked them as

Story of h Huguents 75
before in batteaus and Indian pirogues or large canoes
hewn from logs, and retraced his way to Matanasss.
The preparations and the embarking of this large
body delayed the expedition so that it was nearly night-
fall ere he reached that vicinity.
As they approached this point many sapotes, or
southern vultures, were either wheeling in the sky over-
head or darkened the dead limbs of trees with their ill-
omened plumage. As his eyes rested on them the sombre
face of the Adelantado grew darker and more sinister.
"See, Oehoa, those birds are hungry for more French-
meni By the mass! they shall have another feast!"
It was not Melendes' intention to alarm the French
until the proper moment, so he camped on shore where
his force would not be observed for the night, but before
dawn had them disposed at the edge of the scrubby
growth near the inlet.
With the dawn came the discovery on the part of the
French of the Spaniards, drawn up in order of battle on
the opposite side. Their drums sounded the alarm.
The royal standard of France was unfurled and the
troops gathered in martial array. Ribault, although sick
at heart with the demoralization of his forces from want,
hardship and homesickness, still observed military
Melendes, seeing this display of determination,
ordered his people to breakfast as if it concerned him not,
and while the preparations were going on, promenaded
the shore of the inlet with a few of his officers, as indif-
ferently as if there were no opposing array on the other
Then the commander of the Huguenots displayed a
flag of truce and the trumpets sounded a parley.
By the time breakfast was over the tide had so far
run out that one of the French captives and a soldier of

76 Florida Historical Tales

Ribault could wade out within conversing distance of
eachiother. The latter requested that some one might be
sent over with a boat to carry a herald across the strait
for a conference.
The boat was sent over and carried back one of
Ribault's officers. This man was totally ignorant of what
had befallen the first detachment. He related briefly
the desires of his commander which were to reach the
fortress of La Caroline, praying the assistance of the
Spaniards to enable him to do so, promising peace and
amity and to leave the country as soon as possible.
In answer to questions the envoy told of the wreck of
the squadron, and gave the number of men left as yet
three hundred and fifty, amongst whom were gentlemen
of France well able to reward assistance.
Melendes heard him through without betraying by
his looks any signs of hostility or ill will.
He must first get his enemies into his power.
"I will send over a boat with a surety of safe conduct
to M. Ribault and such officers as he may select to ac-
company ihim, to confer with me as to what may be done
to meet his wishes, with the privilege of returning at his
leisure to his own men."
Ribault crossed the strait accompanied by eight of
his officers. They were courteously received by the
Adelantado and a collation served. Disarmed by this
treatment, the frank sailor-soldier told Melendez all the
recent events and disasters that had befallen them. At
times, he was troubled by noting on the persons of Melen-
dez' companions, ornaments, swords and bucklers, which
he recognized as belonging to some of his late compan-
ions and finally hearing of the capture of La Caroline
and of the advance division, was aghast at these circum-
stances which showed how completely his first hopes
were nullified. Finally he said; "Senor, I cannot be-

Story of the Huguenots 77
lieve that you will serve us evilly. Our kings are friends
and brothers in peace -with each other; we wish only
to return to our own country. We will leave this to
you. Give us the opportunity and we will give our parole
of honor on all that is sacred to all of us, that never again
will any of us serve against you or your followers."
To these words Melendez replied as he had done to
the leaders of the first detachment, with a demand for
their unconditional surrender, but by implication at
least, held out the hope of mercy.
No argument or persuasion could induce him to do
more. It so happened that Alphonse D'Erlach was one
of the officers who accompanied Ribault. It also hap-
pened that one of those spared from the massacre because
he was a Catholic was a soldier from Lorraine and spoke
a dialect that none of the Spaniards understood, but
D'Erlach did. The man had served under him and was
attached to him. In serving the collation, this soldier
had an opportunity to speak to him in the proffering
of victuals and said in his patois, as if he had naturally
dropped into it, "Monsieur, laugh as I hand this bread to
you, as if I joked; but take heed! Trust not this man.
He means blood. There, where the vulture are, lie our
dead comrades." So saying he broke one of the ship
biscuits and out of it a worm fell.
Then D'Erlach slapped him on the shoulder with the
open palm and laughing, said "Thou doest well to serve
bread and meat together."


78 Florida Historical Tales

D'Erlach's keen eye had noted, even more closely
than Ribault, the indications presented by the trophies
of the late massacre, in the hands or on the persons of a
number of those in the Spanish force by which they were
surrounded. With suspicions made still more active by
the Lorrainer's words, he studied closely the dark face of
the Adelantado, and mentally concluded there was un-
limited treachery and ferocity in the soul of the Astur-
ian. For himself he decided that he would not trust to
the mercy of Melendez, at least without a pledge, and
when Ribault asked for his advice he said:
"Before any arrangement is made, looking towards
surrender, let a council of all our force be called."
Ribault then informed Melendez that he had with
him many gentlemen of family and that he could not de-
cide without consulting them. He therefore asked per-
mission to return to his camp for that purpose. Consent
was given to this-the Spanish general adding a word as
to the advisablity of throwing themselves, without un-
necessary trouble or delay, upon his mercy, he being dis-
posed by his conference with M. Ribault to devise some
plan whereby the desires of the French to leave the
country could be accomplished.
With this the general of the French recrossed the
strait accompanied by D'Erlach, Ottigny and the rest.
The buglers sounded the call to the standard, and
with the declining sun pouring the splendor of its rays
upon the surrounding waters and the sand beach on the

Sto'i of. A Huguen8O~

south side of the inlet, the Huguenots gathered in a coun-
cil of war decisive of th6ir own fate, in full view of the
Spanish forces on the opposite side and almost within
Ribault opened the consultation by saying:
"Brothers and comrades all, no matter what the dis-
tinctions of rank may be, you have yourselves seen,
across these narrow waters, how the general of the Span-
iards received us. But you could not know whalpassed
between us nor is it, perhaps, necessary to multiply
words. It all comes to this: he demands our uncondi-
tional surrender, proffering to do what he can to enable
us to leave the country. In what way or when, he says
"I cannot conceal from you that he has captured La
Caroline and slain most of the garrison." (Melendez did
not tell him of the escape of Laudonniere.) "In proof of
which I have seen and conversed with two of your for-
mer comrades who solemnly affirm the truth of his
"He has also captured the advance detachment
which reached this point under the Sieur de la Grange a
week ago, the most of whom, because they resisted, per-
ished. This I am convinced will be our fate, if we do not
placate him."
Then D'Erlach arose from the fragment of coquina
rock upon which he had been sitting and earnestly en-
treated Ribault and all present not to place themselves
in the power of the treacherous Spaniard, without at least,
a solemn surety that they should not be treated as beasts
fit only for slaughter, but as men and soldiers.
He told them of the garments, swords and bucklers
which he had seen among their enemies, evidently taken
From their slaughtered comrades. He could not give his
informant's name for fear it would cost that one's life,

80 Florida Historical Tales

but stated that he had been informed De la Grange and
his detachment had been basely, cruelly slaughtered, as
their comrades at La Caroline had been also.
"Will you trust the mercy of such a man? Look you
at the vultures yonder. They circle above the same
slaughter pen to which this human tiger would lead you
all! Yea, and if he should spare your lives. there is
naught but torture and slavery before you. For one, I
say, better die sword in hand in fair battle than let the
assassin's dagger have an easy, certain mark. True, it
seems there is but little choice. There is no outlet this
way for us save the gate of death. But if we cannot cross
this strait in the face of our enemy neither can he crose
to this side without our consent as long as we have arms
and will to use them.
"My good sword has temper to it yet, and I will not
let it leave my hand without conditions." So spoke the
gallant young Frenchman, once a guardsman at the
court. Such, too, was the resolution quickened in the
hearts of many of his hearers. But others, like Ribault,
were hopeful that Melendez would show them clemency.
and so the camp was divided. Chevalier D'Ottigny
finally proposed a compromise plan. This was to offer
ransom and the cost of transportation to France, or if
Melendes would accept their aid there were many who
would remain with him to help colonize and hold the
country-not knowing that the other detachment had
unavailingly made similar propositions.
To this even D'Erlach consented, with but little idea,
however, that the proposition would be accepted.
Again Ribault crossed to the landing to meet Melen-
Part of my people only are willing to surrender at
discretion, but all will give up their arms and subject
themselves to your order, if you will take ransom for

Story of the Huguenots

them. I am desired to offer you thirty thousand ducats
and the proffer of service on the part of many of them if
you will take them, to hold and colonize this land."
For a moment Melendez' face assumed a cruel, fierce
look and he seemed about to burst out into a blase of
wrath, but, after a momentary pause, a pleasanter ex-
pression took its place. In that moment he determined
to send back Ribault to his camp inspired with false
"Understand me, Senorl I cannot change the cartel,
but this I will say; the ransom will satisfy my soldiers
instead of plunder, and I shall be able to make your
assistance, while awaiting transportation home, of use to
It was arranged at last that in the morning Ribeult
was to make a final report. As the shades of night fell,
the opposing campfires glared at each other from the two
sides of the Inlet. Sentinels were set on each shore.
Both parties made their evening meal, after which an
animated discussion took place in the Huguenot camp as
to the acceptance of the proposition. Ribault, lured on
by the remembrance of the Adelantado's courtesies to
him, held that the proposition to ransom was definitely
accepted and that therefore in the morning Melendez
should be notified of their intention to surrender that he
might direct its manner.
Ribault's argument in favor of trusting Melendes
and surrendering, was supported by Ottigny and others,
but was stoutly contested by D'Erlach, Francis La Caille,
Pierre Rotrou and Robert D'Alembert.
There had been much friction between D'Erlach and
his commander before, the daring and courageous Chev-
alier having time and again urged Ribault to more
decisive and spirited action, willing, as he phrased it, "To
loose all or win all upon one throw;" but as yet he had
not set himself so openly in opposition.

Florida Historical Tales

Now, however, he felt that a decisive hour had come.
He knew, that discouraged with hardships which they
had ill endured; with little chance of relief coming in
any shape; a large portion of the little army was dis-
posed to give up the struggle on almost any terms. For
himself, he could see nothing hopeful in the talk of
Melendez; no definite promises or pledges, only the desire
to get the French completely in his power to do with
them as he pleased. With all due deference to the
unfortunate commander he addressed the council as
"Is it not enough, my comrades, that this man, who
has slaughtered our brethren, will make no promise of
amity? Will give no pledge of safety even to our lives
alone? As for me, I would sooner trust the incarnate
fiend himself than this Melendez. He but aims to get
us in his power and then destroy us utterly.
"The savage has not a heart so utterly stony as that
of this Spaniardl He hath fed on blood until he craves
it. Mark this You go to your deaths when you go to
him. The tiger invites you to a banquet where the guest
brings the repast.
"Surelywe-are yet strong enough, if we use our
weapons, to make him concede by force what he will not
otherwise. We are'three hundred and fifty soldiers-
why even treat with this cut throat? Why cross this
strait at all?
"We still have two courses open to us. We can
select some remote, defensible point for settlement and
remain as long in the land as we desire; or we can retire
to where our grounded vessels are, repair or build one,
and yet get back to France. I for one will not surrender
unless he gives us honorable terms!"
Then Ribault, broken in spirit, utterly exhausted by
his struggle with fate, recapitulated his persuasion that

Stary of the Huguents 88

Melendez would be mewil; that he would deal in good
faith with them, and finally sid:
"Comrades, I command no longer. To-morrow, for
myself and those who have decided to do likewise, I
shall make a surrender upon the terms of the Adelan-
tado; but I absolve ye all from any obligation to follow
me in so doing.
"Monsieur D'Erlach and you who have protested
against surrender, you are at liberty to refuse, and to do
as you may deem fit. Whatever agreement I may con-
sent to, shall not include those who do not accede to it.
But before we part, and it is likely to be forever, so far
as this life is concerned, for it does seem as if in neither
course is there much to hope for that may bring us
together in peace and safety again, let me say, that in
whatsoever I have done or may do, there is no other mo-
tive than for our mutual good and to relieve our common
perils. Circumstances, yea, the very elements, have been
against me, and disaster beyond human power to prevent,
in the will of Providence, has overruled my will."
He paused a moment and looking around the circle
with a lingering glance into each one's face, he placed his
hand upon his bosom and pathetically finished:
"Do you know, my comrades, that the surrender
I am forced to make breaks my heart? For myself, I
expect nothing. I shall never see fair France again. If it
be God's will, so be it! But perhaps for you I may gain
some easing of your difficulties, some chance of final
return. 'Tis late; you are dismissed. God care for us all
tomorrow I"
So saying, he retired to his rude quarters and cast
himself down upon his couch of leaves to catch a fevered
Half to himself D'Erlach murmured as he departed,
in Latin, for he was gentle born and bred, "Quem Deus

Florida Historical Tales

vult perdere prius dementat! Poor man. He goes to the
He then conferred briefly with those of the same
opinion with him, that it were better far to keep out of
the hand of the Spaniard and trust themselves entirely
to fortune and the savages, bidding them to beseech
their followers not to go with Ribault to certain destruc-
tion, but to follow him back to Canaveral, where many
supplies could yet be obtained from the stranded vessels,
through whose proper use they might even yet make
good their escape or hold their own indefinitely.
Heated with the discussion, but little of which have
we here chronicled, D'Erlach, carrying his morion in his
hand, wandered with Pierre Rotrou down the beach
towards the sea, to cool himself and watch the Spaniard
camp upon the other shore.
There were still a few camp fires blazing, from
around which came occasional bursts of laughter, the
oaths of gamblers or snatches of song. The gaiety of the
one camp, and the sullen, despairing somberness of the
other, grated harshly on his spirit, and he moodily con-
versed with his companion as they slowly paced the
sands, smooth and firm with the recent wash of the tide.
A gentle surf broke on the shore in luminous foam;
jelly fish sparkled in the waters; night birds flitted to
and fro with strange shrill cries; small fish sprang like
birds out of the water as with a rush, sharks, porpoises
or other predatory fish dashed in amongst them. After
a little while, red coals only were left of the campfires,
and stars reflected from the smooth bosoms of the coves.
"Truly, Nature cares but little or naught at all for
any man, Rotrou, good or bad, and it doth seem to me,
God scarcely any more. Look youl Over there the
murderers of our comrades sleep like babes without
a feather weight upon their consciences, or a shadow of

Story of the Huguenots 85

stain upon their souls. To-morrow, they will thirst to
redden their arms in blodd to their elbows and if Ribault
changes not his mind they surely will do so." D'Erlach
paused and looked toward the water. A faint splashing
sound caught his ear.
Look, Rotrou, what makes that wake of light in the
water off yonder little point?"
"Quietly, Chevalier! It is not made by any fish, nor
is it yet a boat. A man swims toward this shore."
It was only a few paces off, and with no noise they
traversed the distance. As they approached the point
the splashing, gentle as it was, ceased entirely, and after
a moment almost in a whisper, in French, was heard a
voice saying:
I am a friend, Antoine Uhlrich of Lorraine, and seek
the Chevalier D'Erlach."
"Advance, friend, I am he whom you seek."-to
Rotrou--"This is the man who warned me yesterday"-
"What would you?"
"I, oh my Captainl I come to warn you again. Nay,
more, to cast my lot with you for I am triste with hor-
rorsl I cannot live longer in hell!"
This he said standing on the edge of the beach with
the water dripping from his naked body, and the bundle
of clothes which he had pushed before him in swimming.
D'Erlach immediately saw that the man's arrival
was opportune and on that account as well as meeting
one who sought at the risk of his own life to aid him to
save his, gave the man welcome and bade him put on his
clothes and follow to his tent. Passing the sentinel they
reached their headquarters, a sheet of sail-cloth spread
over poles, and there, in low tones, Antoine Uhlrich told
such a tale of horror as they had never listened to before,
describing faithfully the two massacres, concluding
with, "Mon Dieu, the cries of those poor women and

86 Florida Historical Tales

children at the fort-their pitiful begging and pleading
--still ring in my ears, and will forever. Poor souls,
better they too had died with those for whose lives they
prayed in vain! And then to see the horrors of that
slaughter-pen over therp, where died the Sieur de la
Grange and all his men, save a few who are now Melen-
dez' slaves and know not any day what torture he may
mete to them, should they but make a misstep or speak
one word wrong.
"And seel not because any understood my speech
but you, for none did, a cut throat Biscayan, this very
evening nearly broke my head with the pommel of his
dagger, because I had made sport of their wormy bread
and told me that I, to-morrow, should be killed with all
my French friends, for so had he heard Melendes swear
by the mass. Thou knowest I cared little for either
Luther or the Pope in the old days in France, not know-
ing the difference, and so sought only to save my life- by
abjuring. But sure am I, if they have souls I have none
and I would live and die with men and not such beast!"
There was in the man's manner not only evidence of
intense excitement, as he recited his story, but a fever-
ishness arising from the blow upon his head which, to
D'Erlach's mind, foretold a period of mental disorder
near at hand; so he briefly drew from him information
which confirmed his belief that Melendes did not intend
to show any mercy to those who might surrender, dnd
also, that he was in no condition, as to present force, to
assault or follow them should the French refuse to yield
up their arms.
After having had wet bandages placed on his head,
Uhlrich, in a corer of the tent was told to rest in peace,
for that under no consideration should he be given up to
the Spaniards, and should share with them their future
fortunes and misfortunes.

Story of the Huguenot 87

Rotrou and D'Erlach, it is needless to say, were
much saddened and dispirited by the recalling of the
miserable fates of their late comrades and the almost
hopeless condition in which they themselves were placed;
but they were brave men and resolutely looking the cir-
cumstances in the face, the plan of falling back to Can-
averal, as outlined before, was more strongly endorsed
than ever as the best course to follow.
Rising, D'Erlach said to the Breton: "In the morn-
ing, a few hours hence, Captain, see LaCaille, D'Alem-
bert and the others and tell them all you have heard from
this poor fellow, whose words I believe are truth. Bid
them change not their resolution, nor let Ribault and
those who go with him, surrender aught except what
is upon their persons. Whenever the surrender of any
portion of the force is decided upon, let such exchanges
of arquebuses and other weapons be made as will leave
us the better ones. Bullet pouches and powder flasks
also should be emptied, so that ours may be well sup-
plied, for I foresee we shall need all our munitions in the
future. Find out also how many are determined to go,
forgetting not to especially persuade the best of the sol-
diers if possible to stay with us. My company and yours
I doubt not will not leave us.
"Would to God, we had the means to cross this strait
and that our men could be braced up to make one brave
struggle for victory and vengeance! We could reverse
upon these Spaniards the calamities and cruelties they
have inflicted upon us. We are more than two to one in
numbers and enfeebled although many are and worn out,
were we once on the other shore, arms in hand, Melen-
dez would be lucky indeed to escape the fate of our com-
rades. But go you to rest and I will make the rounds."
As anticipated, by morning, Uhlrich was delirious
with fever and not capable of rational conversation. He

88 Florida Historical Tales

was not violent, but occasionally he would half spring to
his feet, and with a countenance full of horror, speak
brokenly of some incident of the massacre at the fort-
"Hal" he exclaimed in one of these fits, "Well, struck,
Captain De la Vignel You made one of those Asturian
dogs bite the dust! But there! You are down! Your
sword broke on that cursed pike handle-the brutal
wretches-to slay a fallen manl And there goes Lau-
donniere with Bartholomew to the breach-I cannot get
there"--then he would sink back to lie faint and still.
Seeing his condition, D'Erlach gave up his hope of
getting Ribault to interview him so that as a result, it
might change the plan of surrender, and, cooling the
wounded man's head with fresh wet bandages, he ate his
frugal breakfast with Rotrou and hastened to the com-
mander's tent, to repeat to him Uhlrich's story and urge
him not to surrender.
To this Ribault answered: "Monsieur D'Erlach, I
do not doubt that you are prompted by sincere friend-
ship, but I cannot believe every crazy tale that is told.
This man, you tell me, is even now lying in your tent out
of his mind. What he says, therefore, cannot be relied
on. However, I will have the bugler call a parley and
see if better terms may not be obtained from Melendes."
So saying, he called for Ernest D'Erlach, the brother
of the Chevalier, a handsome, gallant youth, not yet
sobered out of boyishness, but a great favorite with the
General, who came quickly into the tent saluting both
"My son, take with you one of the buglers; go down
to the shore and have him blow a call for a parley as
agreed upon. Wait there until you get an answer and
bring it to me."
The youth, with a smile, and a word for his brother,
hastened away and Ribault continued:

Story of the Huguenot 89
"You have younger years, Chevalier, and therefore
stronger hope. There was a time when I could share the
latter but it has passed with the wreck of our squadron and
the destruction of La Caroline. There are left but few
with us who are capable of making a brave defence of
even their lives. I see no other way save to win some
concessions from Melendez for them and end a useless
struggle by surrender, if he grants any."
"Then, General, I have two favors to ask of you; one
is that you will not take my brother with you, but send
him to me at the last, and the other, that the surrender
be deferred at least until to-morrow, with liberty of
action for those who are not willing to trust the Spaniards,
to take steps to save themselves as they may deem best."
"Both are granted freely. And more, Monsieur
D'Erlach, while it scarcely seems possible for you to
ever make your escape to France, it may be so, God
grant it! and if you should, will you do me a favor?"
"Surely!" was the emphatic response.
"There is in Rochelle-ah me! the fairest city of fair
France-with Master Keppel the minister, my daughter,
Jeanne Ribault. Take her this seal ring and this script
that I have written to tell her where she may find the
remnant of her father's fortune, if it should be the will of
God that I meet her not again. I charge you to forget
not, that she is the daughter of your old commander and
comrade in arms, who places trust in your honor as a
gentleman. Say to her, that her father, in his hardest
straits, and if it be to end speedily, as it may, thought of
her last next to his God and in dying prayed that she
might be blessed with peace and happiness."
As he finished, the notes of the bugle rose clear and
sweet above the monotone of the surf, echoing far over
the inner river-repeated three times. Then came the
answer from the Spanish side. In the melodious notes
there were no undertones to indicate cold despair or
black-hearted treachery, but they called to both spirits
of hell and heaven.

Florida Historical Tales

In response to the call for a parley, Melendes sent
the boat over with Martin D'Ochoa under a flag of truce,
as previously agreed upon. He was conducted to Ri-
bault's tent and there informed that if Melendez desired
the surrender of the Huguenots, he must modify his
demands. "Tell him, Senor D'Ochoa, that I ask but little
for myself. Your commander is a soldier and I will not
doubt his disposition to do whatsoever he can in my own
behalf; nor for my men can I expect to gain other favor,
than that which is usually accorded in war between
civilized nations, to prisoners surrendering without resist-
I will not hide the truth from you. There are many,
and perhaps the larger number, who will not give up
their arms without some pledge of security for their lives
and the final hope of return to their native country,
which the majority most earnestly wish. All desire no
more than to leave you in peace. The question of sover-
eignty shall be left to our respective royal masters to be
settled between them as they will. Here is a copy of
Admiral Coligny's instructions. Call your General's
attention to the fact that, in accordance with its directions,
I have authority to make an agreement for complete with-
drawal from this land and leave you in perfect posses-
sion if it is deemed best by me."
D'Ochoa returned to Melendez with Ribault's mes-
sage. Two hours later came the ultimatum of the
"In the name of Philip, by the grace of God, King of

Story of the Huguentwt

Spain and all the Indies, I, Pedro Melendes de Avila,
Adelantado of Florida, deinand the surrender of all the
French now under the command of Jean Ribault, prom-
ising such grace and clemency as are accorded usually
to prisoners. To those who will not surrender, war to
the knifel*
The herald further told Ribault that the truce then
existing would not last longer than until next day noon,
when the whole matter must be concluded, adding that
the sooner all could be settled the better would be the
terms accorded. A safe conduct to and from the Span-
ish camp was extended Ribault and such officers as he
might choose, to dine with the Adelantado. Hoping
that an opportunity might be presented to move Melen-
dez to greater leniency, Ribault selected Ottigny, Ro-
trou and his trumpter, Perrault Le Bearnois, to accom-
pany him, leaving the camp in charge of D'Erlach.
Melendez received the party courteously and made
so great a show of hospitality, that Ribault was thor-
oughly imbued with the idea that he meant better than

*The following is an exact copy of the signature of Melendes
as appended to his ultimatum to the Huguenots. It was obtained
by a lady, Miss A. M. Brooks, while in Seville, Spain, looking over
documents relating to the early Spanish settlements, and electro-
typed for this book. While the Spanish, and therefore the correct
form of the name, is Menendes, the French form is followed in this
story as found in the history of the events, given by those of the
Huguenots who escaped.

92 Florida Historical Tales

his words. Neither did the wily Spaniard fail to so dis-
play his little force, show the excellence of their equipment
and their martial discipline, as to enforce the idea of his
power. Indeed, the contrast with the mutinous disposi-
tion of his own men, their disheartened and demoralized
condition, made Ribault feel more than ever the futility
of resistance.
Every proposition of further guarantee, however, was
evaded by Melendes, who fixed in Ribault's mind the
belief that reasonable conditions would be given to the
French upon surrender, and so it was finally decided
that at an early hour the next morning, Melendes' her-
ald, who could speak French, should be sent to proclaim
the terms of surrender, on the acceptance of which the
transfer of the French across the strait should begin.
Returning to his own side, Ribault made known
throughout the camp the Adelantado's proposition, bid-
ding each, however, to decide for himself whether to
accept or reject.
The Breton captain was not satisfied that Melendes
had not plotted to deceive them, and that evening D'Er-
lach and his friends held a consultation in his tent. Uhl-
rich by this time was rid of fever, so that he was in his
right mind, and begged them not to trust the merciless
butcher. "Believe him not, Captain, and you alli He
has neither mercy nor compassion. His army is but a
band of assassins like himself. Should you decide to
trust his promises and surrender to-morrow, I will crawl
this very night into the heart of these thickets and die
of hunger and serpent bites in preference. Have I not seen
and heard? Was ever a hatred deeper than the bottom-
less pit, 'tis his for Frenchmen. Give me a flask of water,
a pouch of biscuit, such arms as I can carry, and ere
sunrise let me go, I care not where nor to what fate; 'tis
better than that slaughter-pen over there."
"Nay, friend Ulrich, we trust Melendes no more

Story atse Huguenots

than you. We believe he does not intend aught but evil
to any of us. But it is true the General and many of the
company are deceived by him, and have resolved to sur-
render. As for us, we will not; for he will give no straight
forward promise of safety to our lives, and we believe
it will be better to fall back to the wrecks and then
plan some method of escape, or die sword in hand. You
are too weak to march on foot now, but to-morrow
shall be carried on a litter. Perhaps next day you may
be able to march with the rest," replied D'Erlach, and
then with Rotrou that evening made the round of the
camp, to strengthen the resolutions of many for the re-
treat, and make his dispositions.
Early in the morning before daylight, those carrying
the litters loaded with baggage and several disabled
soldiers, who begged not to be turned over to the cruel
Spaniards, under LaCaille and ten arqubusiers, were to
proceed down the beach, followed by the main body
under Rotrou, while D'Erlach remained with a rear
guard of picked men until Ribault, and those going with
him to surrender, should depart. Indeed, D'Erlach
hoped to the last that he might persuade the commander
to change his mind, in which, however, he was disap-
pointed. More than that, in the morning he found nearly
one hundred and fifty of the men, including his gallant
friend, Captain Ottigny, had resolved to go with Ribault,
whom surely the evil fates had in their keeping.
Sunrise came with an October blase of glory falling
on the little company gathered on the beach, at the edge
of the inlet, for their final parting. Need it be said that
it was sad? They had often been in peril together; had
faced storm and battle side by side. It was hard to part
so. Ribault was astonished, even grieved that so many
would follow his leadership no longer; were so doubtful of
his true judgement in trusting to the Adelantado's clem-
ency, of which he felt assured. But the trumpets blew the

94 Florida Historical Tales

agreed signal. The large bateau of the Spaniards was
launched-it was dancing under the guidance of skilled
oarsmen over the inlet's billows. They grasped hands
and bid each other adieu.
Then Ribault, with the standards of France and
Coligny and a portion of his guard, entered the boat.
Ernest D'Erlach bade him the last farewell and joined his
brother. And so Ribault was ferried across the Matansas
strait, not seeing the grim ferryman, Death, at the tiller.
He was conducted to the Adelantado's tent, which
stood near the edge of the sand point, where it was
fringed by the dense thickets of saw palmetto and stunted
trees, over which towered sombre live oaks, from whose
gnarled arms hung ragged drapery of funereal moss, and
still taller palms crowned with great shining leaves.
Here he laid at the feet of Melendez his armor, his
casque of steel, beautifully wrought with gold and silver
by Florentine artists, given to him by the citizens of Ro-
chelle; his sword, pistolet and buckler; the Commission
given to him by Coligny as Governor of New France; and
lastly the royal standards.
Then his companions laid down their weapons in like
manner. They stood disarmed, defenseless in the midst
of their enemies, absolutely at their mercy.
Then said Melendez:
"Monsieur, you are no longer a General; you have no
longer the shadow even of authority in this land. My
orders from my royal master are to spare none of the
leaders of French intruders upon his domain-to allow
no heretics to exist here, save such as recant. There is
no option left but to execute those orders. If there be
any among you who are of the true faith, let them step
None stirred. The order was repeated. Not one
moved. All felt then that certain death confronted

Story of the Huguenolt 96

them. Ribault knew the.doom passed upon him and his
followers; but the old warrior felt no fear, only the shame
of it all.
"Is it thus, Senor, that you treat men and soldiers
who have trusted to your clemency and honor?"
With a scowl and a wave of his staff, Melendes said;
"Bind this man and his companions! Take them
Not another word of expostulation-none of useless
pleading-did the veteran address to his murderer,
but, without faltering, and with face turned heaven-
ward, as Melendes finished his orders to the execution-
ers binding the men for slaughter, he uttered, "From the
earth we came; to the earth we must return! Soon or
late, it is the same final end that comes to all."
Then as he was marched to that same spot where
perished the Sieur de la Grange, he chanted clearly and
solemnly, a psalm in Latin, commencing, "Domine, Me-
mento Mei;" well conceiving in that fearful moment
there was left but one source of consolation.
It was a scene, the terrible tragedy of which can
scarcely in human history be paralleled; yet it was set in
a frame work of matchless beauty. There was the great
ocean heaving in blue and silver, its boundless bosom.
The surf broke on the shore as it does now, after the
centuries have passed, chanting the same mysterious
anthem of power and praise and solemnity, the Creator
set the notes for at the first. There were soft skies with
fleecy clouds, light as angel wings; the broad river inside
the green rolling sand dunes of the island and peninsula
barriers. Over all, through all, and doubtless heard in
heaven, swept that one human voice, singing a psalm of
death, a funeral march, until the shadows of the forest
closed upon the party.
There were eight men with bound hands, and to each

96 Florida Historical Tales

one a dagger-armed assassin. They were marched out of
sight and sound of the camp and of their companions,
being brought across the inlet in squads of ten to be dealt
with in like manner, each party not knowing the fate of
the preceding.
As they approached the appointed place the soldier
having Ribault in charge, said to him.
"Senor, you are the general of the French."
"I was," accenting the last word, was the answer.
"You have been accustomed to exact obedience to
your orders?"
"Without doubt?"
"Deem it not strange that I obey mine, then"
Thus speaking, he drove his poignard into the heart
of his victim, who fell upon his face without a groan and
died. So died the others also without further prelim-
inaries, and as with them, a similar scene was enacted,
the same questioning, the same sentence and doom with
each boat load ferried over to execution, till more than a
hundred perished.*

Notes of Later Discoveries
Since the publication of the first edition of this work, as the
result of investigations by the author, made in the vicinity of the
massacres at Matansas Inlet, some new points are worthy of note
as tending to fix the exact locations of the tragic events narrated in
the story.
Heretofore it has generally been deemed that the final slaughter
of the Huguenot victims occurred in the immediate vicinity of Matan-
sas Inlet at the extreme southern end of Anastasia Island.
A short time prior to the author's visit referred to, for the pur-
pose of securing material suitable for the surfacing of avenues and
roads newly opened, contracts were made with George C. Middleton,
the proprietor of extensive shell mounds at Crescent Beach, for
oyster shells in greater quantity than available elsewhere.

Story of the Huguenots 97

These oyster shell mounds occupied the shore of a curving cove
in the western side of the island, immediately on the main chanel
of the salt water sound known as Matansas river, a body of tide water
connecting the inlet of the same name with the one known as St.
Augustine inlet at the northern end of the island. Here at the time
Menendes began his settlement there was located an Inda ia llage
of considerable sie, whose foundation dated from an unknown pat.
The inhabitants, an unwarlike tribe, subsisting chiefly upon
oysters and fish, were incapable of successfully opposing Spanish
domination and eventually were obliterated. This spot was the
nearest one north of Matansas Inlet that afforded wood and fresh
water for camping purposes and with its peculiar topography
and forest lined shores means of concealment from observation.
The distance to the inlet proper is about six miles,
As the work of digging and hauling off the shell progressed,
the workmen uncovered what appeared to have been originally a
shallow trench. In it lying side by aide were twelve skeletons, one
face downward with the skull crushed. Beneath them the shell
deposit contained in addition two skeleton remains evidently of abori-
ginal origin, fragments of Indian pottery, bone arrowheads and
spear points But the twelve first discovered had amongst them
no Indian ornaments, weapons or utensils, whole or fragmentary.
Several of the skull seemed to be of pronounced European type,
especially indicated by decayed teeth uncommon amongst the abori-
gines. Other evidences were presented in the thinness of the skulls
and their facial angles.
Shortly after the discovery of this trench, a violent storm occur-
red producing waves which tore up the shores of the cove, uncovering
a pit in which eighteen skeletons of like character were found.
It should be remembered there were two of these massacres with
several days intervening and that it is hardly probable the same spot
would be used for even the brutal burial, given the victims, when in
this warm climate decomposition is so rapid.
The number of skeletons found in each is fairly indicative of the
leadership of the two detachments of Huguenots under the separate
command of La Grange and Ribault. The new light shed by these
discoveries and additional notes found in old histories prove defi-
nitely that in each case the leaders of the two detachments and

98 Florida Hitorial Taes

"the gentlemen with them" videe the priest Grjale, chaplain to
Menendes, according to Gareelaso de La Vega's Chronicle), were
separated from the rest and marched "with hands bound behind
their backs to Menendes camp" at some distance from the scene of
the slaughter of the main bodies, which occurred nearer to the
The priest, Grajales, was present at the capture of the La
Grange detachment and prompted as he expresses it by his "bowels
of compassion" interceded in behalf of the prisoners to no avail
except in the saving of a few who professed to be Catholics, whom he
carried back with him to St. Augustine. Undoubtedly sickened
by the atrocities he had witnessed he did not return with Menendes
to that of the Ribault division, the account of which outside of the
Adelantado's own report to the King of Spain is briefly given by
Solis de Las Meras, his brother-in-law.
That there were gentlemen of family and fortune in both divi-
sions is evidenced by their offering in the first instance, 20,000 ducats,
ransom and in the second 30,000 ducats or a total amount expressed
in modern terms of $117,000. The proffer, however, of this um
instead of mollifying the crafty and cruel Spaniard served only to
fix his determination to slay them and strip it from their dead bodies.
It is well authenticated that in anticipation of permanent settle-
ment in America, many of the Huguenots who joined the expedition
had realized upon their properties before leaving France, what they
could in money and jewels and doubtless had with them, amounts
in excess of their proffers.
This fact would furnish a cogent reason for separating them
from their followers, the common sailors and soldiers constituting the
divisions, thus preventing his own horde of thieves and robber
drawn from the criminal dregs of Spain, from securing the richest
part of the plunder. It behooved him therefore to keep the princi-
pal Frenchmen under his own eyes until the end.
Grajales says in his account that after the formal surrender
of La Grange, Menendes addressed the leader and his office as
follows: "Gentlemen, I have but a few men and they not well
known to me, and as you are at liberty," (although disarmed,)
"it would be easy for you to revenge yourselves upon me for the
peopleI have put to death; it is therefore necessary that you should

Story of the Huguenrs 99

march with your hands tied behind your bak four leagues to where
I have my camp."
It is not four standard Spanish leagues to Crescent Beach from
the present inlet in a direct line, but as the inner hore of the island
was imipm.b owing to dense thickets of serub oab and saw pal-
metto, the ros~hedntaw up the beaeh on the ocean aide and aerom
the island to the river shore m=g wui be taken to approximate that
distance. Crtainit is the distance to tbhe stl t first established
on the extreme northern end, afterward renowd to the present
site of St. Augustine, to which Meuendes retired after eas event,
like a tiger gtted with daughter, wa much greater.
The ls Mera account of the Ribault Maseae is almost a
repetition of that of Grajale, the sam treacherous taotla so asu-
cessful on that occasion being duplicated.
It is evident, also, that both accounts wre rigidly censoed and
the truth suppressed or falsifed. One single sentence in the Meras
account has an unintentional touch of sublime pathos in it.
"When Ribault, the offer and gentlemen with him at the last,
realized the merciless fate at hand, they arose and chanted or sang
the Huguenot adaptation of the palm 'Domini Memento Mei,'
after which the General ordered their immediate execution."
Another point inditing this locality as the place where the
leaders and principal men of both divisions met their fate is found
in the statement that "on the morning of the 28th of September
(1565) runners from the Indian village informed Menendes at St.
Augustine that a large number of white men had arrived at the inlet
and were seeking to cm it, upon which Meemmdes rightly judging
they were some of Ribalt's men, immediately ordered his lieutenant
Diego Flors de Valdes, with fifty soldiers, to go by boat to that
vicinity, with a warning to keep concealed from the French until he,
Menendes, with other in his party could join them by marching
The camp selected must possess not only the requisites for con-
cealment but also wood and water. This cove was the lat place
along the river hore pomsseing these features, specially a supply
of fresh water sill indicated by the old Indian well now partial
filled with debris.
It is therfoe ahmost certain that the site of the vmnhd Indian

100 Florida Historical Tales

village at what is now known as Crescent Beach is the place where
the leaders of the French Huguenots were remorselessly slain.
Bordering the bare sands of the southern extremity of the
island is a singular basin, surrounded chiefly by high bluffs and dense
thickets except on the inlet side, where it is fenced off by a high
bulwark of sand. Within this area of possibly 100 acres, there are
a number of sand peaks, one of which called Observation Mount,
because chosen by Menendez to observe the French unseen by them,
rises to a height sufficient to overlook the whole vicinity.
Into the hiding recesses of this natural slaughter pen the com-
mon soldiers and sailors were conveyed, disarmed and bound as
they were brought over by boat loads and there slaughtered, their
bones in the course of the elapsing centuries becoming deeply buried
beneath the sands constantly drifting in from the beach.
Exposed as this extreme of Anastasia Island is to the full force
of the southeast trade winds, with a large area of easily shifted sands
contiguous, it is certain that without the pretence of burial
by the Spaniards this would be so thoroughly accomplished by
natural forces as to render it impossible to locate the remains with
any exactitude.
The absence of other relies besides the skeletons, in the shape
of belt buckles, sword hilts, fragments of other weapons, tools or
camp utensils can readily be accounted for by the complete stripping
of the victim's bodies by the Spaniards and Indians of every article
having any value whatever.
It is right and just in concluding this part of the story of the
Huguenots to say that not all the Spanish settlers who came with
Menendez endorsed his conduct for while little can be found in his-
tory to the contrary, oral traditions still extant declare there were
warm protests from both priests and laymen which required severely
repressive action to suppress.
*Here ends the history properly of La Caroline and Ribault, al-
though still later on La Caroline, or rather Fort San Mateo, as the
Spaniards had named it, again became the scene of a most remark-
able event-the sudden and terrible vengeance of the Chevalier de
artII, which follows, describes the romantic adventures of
D'Erlach and his men along the coast south of St. Augustine; their
mishaps and final triumphs; relating also much interesting matter
connected with the Indians of this region, including history and
romance hitherto unpublished.

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