• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Cover
 Title Page
 Bicentennial commission of...
 Preface
 Introduction
 Title Page
 Introduction
 Table of Contents
 Main
 Index






Group Title: Bicentennial Floridiana facsimile series
Title: Letters from the frontiers /
Publisher: University Press of Florida
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
External Link: http://www.upf.com
 Material Information
Title: Letters from the frontiers /
Series Title: Bicentennial Floridiana facsimile series
Physical Description: xxxiii, 539, 17 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.
Language: English
Creator: McCall, George A ( George Archibald ), 1802-1868
Publisher: University Presses of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Gainesville
Publication Date: c1974, c1975
Copyright Date: 1974
 Subjects
Subject: Seminole War, 2nd, 1835-1842 -- Personal narratives   ( lcsh )
History -- Sources -- Florida -- 1821-1865   ( lcsh )
History -- Personal narratives -- United States -- War with Mexico, 1845-1848   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
autobiography   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and index.
General Note: "A University of Florida book."
General Note: Photoreprint ed. of the ed. published by Lippincott, Philadelphia.
Statement of Responsibility: by George A. McCall ; a facsim. reproduction of the 1868 ed. with an introd. and index by John K. Mahon.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00100326
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University Press of Florida
Holding Location: University Press of Florida
Rights Management: A facsimile reproduction of the 1868 edition with prefatory material, introduction, and index added. New material copyright 1975 by the Board of Regents of the State of Florida. This work is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/. You are free to electronically copy, distribute, and transmit this work if you attribute authorship. However, all printing rights are reserved by the University Press of Florida (http://www.upf.com). Please contact UPF for information about how to obtain copies of the work for print distribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the University Press of Florida. Nothing in this license impairs or restricts the author's moral rights.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01085707
lccn - 74022038
isbn - 0813003741
alephbibnum - 000220966
oclc - 1085707

Table of Contents
    Cover
        Page A-i
        Page A-ii
    Title Page
        Page A-iii
        Page A-iv
    Bicentennial commission of Florida
        Page A-v
        Page A-vi
    Preface
        Page A-vii
        Page A-viii
        Page A-ix
        Page A-x
    Introduction
        Page A-xi
        Page A-xii
        Page A-xiii
        Page A-xiv
        Page A-xv
        Page A-xvi
        Page A-xvii
        Page A-xviii
        Page A-xix
        Page A-xx
        Page A-xxi
        Page A-xxii
        Page A-xxiii
        Page A-xxiv
        Page A-xxv
        Page A-xxvi
        Page A-xxvii
        Page A-xxviii
        Page A-xxix
        Page A-xxx
        Page A-xxxi
        Page A-xxxii
        Page A-xxxiii
        Page A-xxxiv
    Title Page
        Page B-i
        Page B-ii
    Introduction
        Page B-iii
        Page B-iv
        Page B-v
        Page B-vi
    Table of Contents
        Page B-vii
        Page B-viii
        Page B-ix
        Page B-x
    Main
        Page B-11
        Page B-12
        Page B-13
        Page B-14
        Page B-15
        Page B-16
        Page B-17
        Page B-18
        Page B-19
        Page B-20
        Page B-21
        Page B-22
        Page B-23
        Page B-24
        Page B-25
        Page B-26
        Page B-27
        Page B-28
        Page B-29
        Page B-30
        Page B-31
        Page B-32
        Page B-33
        Page B-34
        Page B-35
        Page B-36
        Page B-37
        Page B-38
        Page B-39
        Page B-40
        Page B-41
        Page B-42
        Page B-43
        Page B-44
        Page B-45
        Page B-46
        Page B-47
        Page B-48
        Page B-49
        Page B-50
        Page B-51
        Page B-52
        Page B-53
        Page B-54
        Page B-55
        Page B-56
        Page B-57
        Page B-58
        Page B-59
        Page B-60
        Page B-61
        Page B-62
        Page B-63
        Page B-64
        Page B-65
        Page B-66
        Page B-67
        Page B-68
        Page B-69
        Page B-70
        Page B-71
        Page B-72
        Page B-73
        Page B-74
        Page B-75
        Page B-76
        Page B-77
        Page B-78
        Page B-79
        Page B-80
        Page B-81
        Page B-82
        Page B-83
        Page B-84
        Page B-85
        Page B-86
        Page B-87
        Page B-88
        Page B-89
        Page B-90
        Page B-91
        Page B-92
        Page B-93
        Page B-94
        Page B-95
        Page B-96
        Page B-97
        Page B-98
        Page B-99
        Page B-100
        Page B-101
        Page B-102
        Page B-103
        Page B-104
        Page B-105
        Page B-106
        Page B-107
        Page B-108
        Page B-109
        Page B-110
        Page B-111
        Page B-112
        Page B-113
        Page B-114
        Page B-115
        Page B-116
        Page B-117
        Page B-118
        Page B-119
        Page B-120
        Page B-121
        Page B-122
        Page B-123
        Page B-124
        Page B-125
        Page B-126
        Page B-127
        Page B-128
        Page B-129
        Page B-130
        Page B-131
        Page B-132
        Page B-133
        Page B-134
        Page B-135
        Page B-136
        Page B-137
        Page B-138
        Page B-139
        Page B-140
        Page B-141
        Page B-142
        Page B-143
        Page B-144
        Page B-145
        Page B-146
        Page B-147
        Page B-148
        Page B-149
        Page B-150
        Page B-151
        Page B-152
        Page B-153
        Page B-154
        Page B-155
        Page B-156
        Page B-157
        Page B-158
        Page B-159
        Page B-160
        Page B-161
        Page B-162
        Page B-163
        Page B-164
        Page B-165
        Page B-166
        Page B-167
        Page B-168
        Page B-169
        Page B-170
        Page B-171
        Page B-172
        Page B-173
        Page B-174
        Page B-175
        Page B-176
        Page B-177
        Page B-178
        Page B-179
        Page B-180
        Page B-181
        Page B-182
        Page B-183
        Page B-184
        Page B-185
        Page B-186
        Page B-187
        Page B-188
        Page B-189
        Page B-190
        Page B-191
        Page B-192
        Page B-193
        Page B-194
        Page B-195
        Page B-196
        Page B-197
        Page B-198
        Page B-199
        Page B-200
        Page B-201
        Page B-202
        Page B-203
        Page B-204
        Page B-205
        Page B-206
        Page B-207
        Page B-208
        Page B-209
        Page B-210
        Page B-211
        Page B-212
        Page B-213
        Page B-214
        Page B-215
        Page B-216
        Page B-217
        Page B-218
        Page B-219
        Page B-220
        Page B-221
        Page B-222
        Page B-223
        Page B-224
        Page B-225
        Page B-226
        Page B-227
        Page B-228
        Page B-229
        Page B-230
        Page B-231
        Page B-232
        Page B-233
        Page B-234
        Page B-235
        Page B-236
        Page B-237
        Page B-238
        Page B-239
        Page B-240
        Page B-241
        Page B-242
        Page B-243
        Page B-244
        Page B-245
        Page B-246
        Page B-247
        Page B-248
        Page B-249
        Page B-250
        Page B-251
        Page B-252
        Page B-253
        Page B-254
        Page B-255
        Page B-256
        Page B-257
        Page B-258
        Page B-259
        Page B-260
        Page B-261
        Page B-262
        Page B-263
        Page B-264
        Page B-265
        Page B-266
        Page B-267
        Page B-268
        Page B-269
        Page B-270
        Page B-271
        Page B-272
        Page B-273
        Page B-274
        Page B-275
        Page B-276
        Page B-277
        Page B-278
        Page B-279
        Page B-280
        Page B-281
        Page B-282
        Page B-283
        Page B-284
        Page B-285
        Page B-286
        Page B-287
        Page B-288
        Page B-289
        Page B-290
        Page B-291
        Page B-292
        Page B-293
        Page B-294
        Page B-295
        Page B-296
        Page B-297
        Page B-298
        Page B-299
        Page B-300
        Page B-301
        Page B-302
        Page B-303
        Page B-304
        Page B-305
        Page B-306
        Page B-307
        Page B-308
        Page B-309
        Page B-310
        Page B-311
        Page B-312
        Page B-313
        Page B-314
        Page B-315
        Page B-316
        Page B-317
        Page B-318
        Page B-319
        Page B-320
        Page B-321
        Page B-322
        Page B-323
        Page B-324
        Page B-325
        Page B-326
        Page B-327
        Page B-328
        Page B-329
        Page B-330
        Page B-331
        Page B-332
        Page B-333
        Page B-334
        Page B-335
        Page B-336
        Page B-337
        Page B-338
        Page B-339
        Page B-340
        Page B-341
        Page B-342
        Page B-343
        Page B-344
        Page B-345
        Page B-346
        Page B-347
        Page B-348
        Page B-349
        Page B-350
        Page B-351
        Page B-352
        Page B-353
        Page B-354
        Page B-355
        Page B-356
        Page B-357
        Page B-358
        Page B-359
        Page B-360
        Page B-361
        Page B-362
        Page B-363
        Page B-364
        Page B-365
        Page B-366
        Page B-367
        Page B-368
        Page B-369
        Page B-370
        Page B-371
        Page B-372
        Page B-373
        Page B-374
        Page B-375
        Page B-376
        Page B-377
        Page B-378
        Page B-379
        Page B-380
        Page B-381
        Page B-382
        Page B-383
        Page B-384
        Page B-385
        Page B-386
        Page B-387
        Page B-388
        Page B-389
        Page B-390
        Page B-391
        Page B-392
        Page B-393
        Page B-394
        Page B-395
        Page B-396
        Page B-397
        Page B-398
        Page B-399
        Page B-400
        Page B-401
        Page B-402
        Page B-403
        Page B-404
        Page B-405
        Page B-406
        Page B-407
        Page B-408
        Page B-409
        Page B-410
        Page B-411
        Page B-412
        Page B-413
        Page B-414
        Page B-415
        Page B-416
        Page B-417
        Page B-418
        Page B-419
        Page B-420
        Page B-421
        Page B-422
        Page B-423
        Page B-424
        Page B-425
        Page B-426
        Page B-427
        Page B-428
        Page B-429
        Page B-430
        Page B-431
        Page B-432
        Page B-433
        Page B-434
        Page B-435
        Page B-436
        Page B-437
        Page B-438
        Page B-439
        Page B-440
        Page B-441
        Page B-442
        Page B-443
        Page B-444
        Page B-445
        Page B-446
        Page B-447
        Page B-448
        Page B-449
        Page B-450
        Page B-451
        Page B-452
        Page B-453
        Page B-454
        Page B-455
        Page B-456
        Page B-457
        Page B-458
        Page B-459
        Page B-460
        Page B-461
        Page B-462
        Page B-463
        Page B-464
        Page B-465
        Page B-466
        Page B-467
        Page B-468
        Page B-469
        Page B-470
        Page B-471
        Page B-472
        Page B-473
        Page B-474
        Page B-475
        Page B-476
        Page B-477
        Page B-478
        Page B-479
        Page B-480
        Page B-481
        Page B-482
        Page B-483
        Page B-484
        Page B-485
        Page B-486
        Page B-487
        Page B-488
        Page B-489
        Page B-490
        Page B-491
        Page B-492
        Page B-493
        Page B-494
        Page B-495
        Page B-496
        Page B-497
        Page B-498
        Page B-499
        Page B-500
        Page B-501
        Page B-502
        Page B-503
        Page B-504
        Page B-505
        Page B-506
        Page B-507
        Page B-508
        Page B-509
        Page B-510
        Page B-511
        Page B-512
        Page B-513
        Page B-514
        Page B-515
        Page B-516
        Page B-517
        Page B-518
        Page B-519
        Page B-520
        Page B-521
        Page B-522
        Page B-523
        Page B-524
        Page B-525
        Page B-526
        Page B-527
        Page B-528
        Page B-529
        Page B-530
        Page B-531
        Page B-532
        Page B-533
        Page B-534
        Page B-535
        Page B-536
        Page B-537
        Page B-538
        Page B-539
        Page B-540
    Index
        Index 1
        Index 2
        Index 3
        Index 4
        Index 5
        Index 6
        Index 7
        Index 8
        Index 9
        Index 10
        Index 11
        Index 12
        Index 13
        Index 14
        Index 15
        Index 16
        Index 17
        Index 18
Full Text





LETTERS
FROM THE FRONTIERS.


U.S. Signal Corps
Portrait of Major General George A. McCall






LETTERS



FROM THE FRONTIERS,




BY
MAJOR GENERAL GEORGE A. MCALL,
LATE COMMANDER OF THE PENN8TLVANIA REEBTVE CORPS.


A FACSIMILE REPRODUCTION
OF THE 1868 EDITION
WITH AN
INTRODUCTION AND INDEX
BY JOHN K. MAHON.


BICENTENNIAL FLORIDIANA
FACSIMILE SERIES.


A UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA BOOK.

THE UNIVERSITY PRESSES OF FLORIDA.
GAINESVILLE, 1974.








BICENTENNIAL FLORIDIANA
FACSIMILE SERIES
published under the sponsorship of the
BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION OF FLORIDA
SAMUEL PROCTOR, General Editor.

A
FACSIMILE REPRODUCTION
OF THE 1868 EDITION
WITH PREFATORY MATERIAL, INTRODUCTION,
AND INDEX ADDED.

N1v MATERIAL COPYRIGHT @ 1975
f BY THE BOARD OF REGENTS
*" OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA.


PRINTED IN FLORIDA.





Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

McCall, George Archibald, 1802-1868.
Letters from the frontiers.

(Bicentennial Floridiana facsimile series)
"A University of Florida book."
Photoreprint ed. of the ed. published by Lippincott,
Philadelphia.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Florida-History-1821-1865-Sources.
2. Seminole War, 2d, 1835-1842-Personal narratives.
3. United States-History-Mexican War, 1845-1848-
Personal narratives. 4. McCall, George Archibald,
1802-1868. I. Title. II. Series.
F315.M22 1974 917.59'03'40924 74-22038
ISBN 0-8130-0374-1










BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION
OF FLORIDA.



Governor Reubin O'D. Askew, Honorary Chairman
Lieutenant Governor Tom Adams, Chairman
Pat Dodson, Vice Chairman
Shelton Kemp, Executive Director

George I. Baumgartner, North Miami Beach
Wyon D. Childers, Pensacola
Johnnie Ruth Clarke, St. Petersburg
A. H. Craig, St. Augustine
Dorothy Glisson, Tallahassee
James A. Glisson, Tavares
Jack D. Gordon, Miami Beach
Richard S. Hodes, Tampa
Joe Lang Kershaw, Miami
Ney C. Landrum, Tallahassee
Mrs. Raymond Mason, Jacksonville
Mrs. E. D. Pearce, Coral Gables
Charles E. Perry, Miami
W. E. Potter, Orlando
Samuel Proctor, Gainesville
Ted Randell, Fort Myers
F. Blair Reeves, Gainesville






















vi BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION.

George E. Saunders, Winter Park
Don Shoemaker, Miami
Don L. Spicer, Tallahassee
Harold W. Stayman, Jr., Tampa
Alan Trask, Fort Meade
Ralph Turlington, Tallahassee
W. Robert Williams, Tallahassee
Lori Wilson, Merritt Island











GENERAL EDITOR'S PREFACE.



THE Indian fighter has always been a popular folk
hero in American literature-hardy, courageous, daunt-
less, and fearless. A myriad of writers have described
him as a man who risked his life to secure the safety of
intrepid settlers against the savage Indian on the Amer-
ican frontier. George Archibald McCall fits this stereo-
type well. He was indeed hardy, courageous, dauntless,
and fearless. He dedicated himself as an army officer to
securing the western frontier, the Illinois and Iowa ter-
ritories, from the Sac and the Fox Indians who refused
to conform to the government's removal program. He
proved his worth in Florida at the beginning of the
Second Seminole War and again in 1842 when the final
attack was being made against the Seminoles.
McCall had all of the proper credentials. His family
was distinguished; he was a graduate of West Point;
and he enjoyed his service in the army, at least until
his health became so fragile that duty in the field and
on the campaign trail became a chore beyond his en-
durance. General McCall wrote rapturously of Florida.
He was enthralled with its climate and people, the food
he ate there, and particularly with the beautiful en-
vii






PREFACE.


vironment. His letters described in great and loving de-
tail the flowers, trees, and other vegetation. It is a
highly romanticized Florida that he described in his
letters, but one can see through his writings how really
lovely was the untouched wilderness of nineteenth-
century Florida. McCall is not uncritical of every area;
he found South Florida so harsh that it seemed to him
that it would be difficult for a white man to stay alive
there. But North Florida was another matter. As he
described it, it was a "fairyland of gorgeous vegetation
. adorned with all that is exquisite in climate, all that
is beautiful in scenery."
Much of McCall's book deals with his service in Flor-
ida, although there is also correspondence covering the
time he served in the Mexican and Civil Wars. Letters
from the Frontiers has long been out-of-print, and it has
been much sought by scholars working in the pre-
statehood period of Florida history. It is being repub-
lished now as one of the facsimiles in the Bicentennial
Floridiana Facsimile Series, published for the Florida
Bicentennial Commission by the University of Florida
Press. Professor John K. Mahon of the University of
Florida, an authority on the Second Seminole War, has
written the introduction for this edition.
When the Florida Bicentennial Commission was cre-
ated by the state legislature in 1971 to plan Florida's
role in the national Bicentennial, it was agreed that a
major responsibility would be to make the story of
Florida's rich and colorful past available to students, to
scholars, and to all citizens interested in a state whose
history reached back to its discovery by Ponce de Le6n
in 1513. Florida was the first of the United States to be






PREFACE.


touched by the European explorer. Under the direction
of the commission's committee on publications and re-
search, twenty-five rare, out-of-print books on all phases
of Florida history were selected to be republished as
facsimiles. An outstanding scholar was invited to write
an introduction for each volume and to compile an index.
The Florida Bicentennial Commission is a twenty-
seven member board, with Governor Reubin O'D. Askew
serving as honorary chairman. It is composed of ten
representatives from the state legislature, seven state
officials, and ten public members appointed by the gov-
ernor. Besides the facsimiles, the commission is publish-
ing a series of monographs, pamphlets, and books on
Florida. A variety of other programs, including a trav-
eling museum, a Bicentennial Heritage Trail, archae-
ological excavations, and active programs on the county
level, are underway.
Professor Mahon, editor of the facsimile of Letters
from the Frontiers, is a noted military historian, past
trustee of the American Military Institute, and former
civilian military historian in the office of the Chief of
Military History, Department of the Army. He taught
at Colorado State University and the University of Cali-
fornia at Los Angeles before coming to the University
of Florida. His articles on military history have been
published in professional and scholarly journals, includ-
ing the Florida Historical Quarterly. He is on the edi-
torial board of the Quarterly, and is a member of the
Board of Directors of the Florida Historical Society. He
serves as co-director of the Center for the Study of
Southeastern Indians at the University of Florida. He
is the author of The American Militia: Decade of De-
















x PREFACE.

cision, 1789-1800; History of the Second Seminole War,
which received an Award of Merit from the American
Association for State and Local History; and The War
of 1812, which was selected in 1974 by Phi Alpha Theta
as the best book published that year by one of its mem-
bers. Professor Mahon is also the editor of Reminis-
cences of the Second Seminole War, by John Bemrose,
and he wrote the introduction to the Floridiana Fac-
simile & Reprint series edition of Sprague, The Origin,
Progress, and Conclusion of the Florida War. He is a
native of Iowa, and was educated at Swarthmore Col-
lege and the University of California.

SAMUEL PROCTOR
General Editor of the
BICENTENNIAL FLORIDIANA
University of Florida FACSIMILE SERIES











INTRODUCTION.



OCCUPYING a conspicuous position on a wall in the
Union League building in Philadelphia is a large por-
trait of General George Archibald McCall. It hangs
there because McCall was one of the founders of the
club. Had certain events in his life arranged themselves
differently, the portrait might have held its post of honor
because its subject had risen to a position of pre-eminent
leadership in the Union Army during the Civil War.
George McCall was born March 16, 1802. His earliest
American forebear was George McCall, who migrated
from Scotland around 1700. The father of fourteen
children, the first George had accumulated a substantial
fortune before his death in 1740. His son, Archibald
McCall, increased the family's fortune and also the size
of the family; he was the father of eighteen children.
Archibald's son, also named Archibald, enhanced the
prestige of the family by marrying a daughter of Gen-
eral John Cadwalader, a person of eminence and pres-
tige. This union produced four sons and five daugh-
ters.' One of the sons was George Archibald, who
received an appointment in 1818 to the United States
Military Academy. The notice, signed by Secretary






INTRODUCTION.


of War John C. Calhoun, read: "Each cadet previous to
his being admitted . must be able to read distinctly
and pronounce correctly; to write a fair legible hand,
and to perform with facility and accuracy the various
operations of the ground rules of arithmetic, both
simple and compound; of the rules of reduction of
simple and compound proportion; and also vulgar and
decimal fractions."2
Little is known of his activities at West Point. In
1822 he was graduated from the academy, twenty-sixth
in a class of forty, and was assigned to the Fourth In-
fantry Regiment as a second lieutenant. The Fourth
Infantry was on duty in Pensacola, Florida. Only the
year before, July 1821, the Adams-Onis Treaty had been
ratified after prolonged negotiations, and Florida had
passed from Spanish to American control. Andrew Jack-
son had served as governor of Florida, but by the time
McCall arrived on the scene, Jackson had resigned, and
his family and staff had left Pensacola. William P.
DuVal was named governor of the territory in 1822.
Pensacola was at the time an isolated frontier settle-
ment. It had been under Spanish control since 1781, and
its people and their way of life very much reflected this
Spanish heritage. It is obvious from his letters that
McCall liked Pensacola very much. He was a prolific and
detailed letter writer whose discerning eye caught not
not only the beauty of the wild landscape of Florida, but
also the look of the people, the houses they lived in,
their places of work, and their entertainment. His
descriptive letters home became a treasure-house of in-
formation about nineteenth-century Florida and the
other places that McCall's army duty took him.






INTRODUCTION.


The first 127 pages of Letters from the Frontiers are
relatively less significant than most of the others. These
letters are addressed to H, who may have been McCall's
sister Harriet. Whoever H was, he or she liked to hear
about high society, so McCall filled page after page with
the details of the social pleasures of the upper class of
Pensacola. In the small society of that town, the few
prosperous families-whom McCall also described as
the most intelligent-"resolutely maintained an aristo-
cratic superiority" (p. 46). They left to the working
class all manual labor, and thus were able to devote
much time to amusing themselves with a constant round
of balls, charivaris, and picnics. United States army offi-
cers were invited to their affairs, and they and the
Pensacola elite occupied front seats "by common con-
sent conceded to the better classes" (p. 80).
In writing to H, McCall did not focus on the hybrid
culture of the Spanish Gulf coast, but rather he de-
scribed the strong men and beautiful women, and
dwelled on the picaresque, the romantic, and the bizarre.
He had shifted rather suddenly from the regimented life
at West Point into a social stratum whose chief pursuit
was its own pleasure, and it is not surprising that
he enjoyed the new medium without attempting to
analyze it very deeply. Perhaps had he done so, he
would have seen that Pensacola was a small provincial
community and that the class consciousness which he de-
scribed was integral to it. McCall described the Creoles,
people of Spanish and French descent, as being gener-
ally indolent and self-indulgent, but he did not fault
them for it. Some of them were obviously wealthy, and
many had slaves to aid them in their pursuit of pleasure.






INTRODUCTION.


Since military duty was light (p. 207), and because the
officers had enlisted men to labor for them, McCall and
his peers had the opportunity of becoming a part of the
society of upper-class Pensacola.
McCall spent most of the next eight years in Florida,
though not all that time in Pensacola. He left the ter-
ritory in 1830, then returned for a few weeks in 1836,
and in the fall of 1838 he was reassigned to Florida,
remaining this time four years. Approximately one-
third of his thirty-six-year active military career was
spent in Florida.3 He came to love the place so much
that his letters could as well have been written by
some latter-day Chamber of Commerce or tourist agency.
Florida, he said, is "that country whose climate in mild-
ness and salubrity yields to that of no other portion of
our national domain; a land where the atmosphere is so
pure and bright that the mere sense of existence is ab-
solutely a physical as well as a moral pleasure" (p. iv).
Like William Bartram, the famed eighteenth-century
naturalist and Florida traveler, he was delighted with
the majestic forest trees, brilliant flowers, and numerous
Florida curiosities, such as alligators and cypress knees.4
He relished "delicious evenings peculiar to the climate
of Florida" (p. 53), and the persistent lightness and
elasticity of the air (p. 77). He was continuously grati-
fied by the excellent native foods: fine fish and oysters,
abundant green vegetables, and wild turkey and venison.
Those who did not want to hunt the wild game them-
selves could easily procure for twenty-five cents a turkey
or a haunch of venison from an Indian. In addition,
there were new dishes to try, like whooping crane and
"gopher" (tortoise).






INTRODUCTION.


The Florida that he had praised in his correspondence
was North Florida. To him, Orange Lake, in Marion and
Alachua counties, was a "fairyland of gorgeous vegeta-
tion." Of this beautiful lake, which was then rimmed
with a broad belt of orange trees, he wrote: "nature
seems almost to have exhausted invention in preparing
herself an abode where peace, adorned with all that is ex-
quisite in climate, all that is beautiful in scenery, might
love to dwell" (p. 194). On his third tour of duty, McCall
penetrated the southern part of Florida. There the land-
scape was greatly different from that of the Pensacola
area. There he found wilderness so harsh as to tax the
human system to stay alive.
George McCall drew part of his love of Florida from
a passion for hunting. The peninsula abounded in game.
He became a crack shot, using a rifle fired with a flint
and steel mechanism. He informed his uncle, Thomas
Cadwalader, that he could cut off the head of a partridge
at eighty yards with one ball, and that he had killed
twenty single birds with twenty-one successive shots
(p. 258).5 Wherever he served, in the Middle West, In-
dian Territory, Texas, or the far Southwest, he contin-
ued to gratify his passion for hunting. Naturally, dogs
and horses were important to him, so he devoted many
pages to the exploits of three of his hounds-Blue,
Grouse, and Sport-and to his horses, Redbird and
Champion. Military officers had in those days an abun-
dance of leisure time, and McCall used much of his to
hunt. He frequently took enlisted men with him to beat
the bushes and to do manual labor (p. 211). During a
big hunt in Texas, in January 1845, he and three other
officers were accompanied by a five-mule team and






INTRODUCTION.


wagon, provisions and tents, and four soldiers (p. 432).
McCall's advance in rank was standard for the time.
After seven years he was promoted to first lieutenant,
and it took him seven more to become captain in 1846.
From April 1, 1831, to September 30, 1836, he was
detached from his regiment to serve as aide to brevet
Major General Edmund Pendleton Gaines.6 This is when
he first became involved in carrying out the govern-
mental policy of removing the eastern Indians to lands
west of the Mississippi River where they would be out
of the white man's way. The Sac and Fox Indians would
not conform to the policy, and in 1831 McCall was pres-
ent at the opening negotiations and skirmishes of the
Black Hawk War in the Illinois and Iowa Territories.
He had also witnessed the governmental policy of Indian
removal in action when in 1838 he watched a column of
Cherokees being marched forcibly from their ancestral
home in the Carolina mountains to Indian territory in
the West. Nowhere in his letters, published or unpub-
lished, did McCall ever criticize the official policy nor did
he express any special pity for its victims.
In 1835, the animosity between the Florida Sem-
inoles and the Americans, which had been building up
since the First Seminole War in 1818, finally erupted
into full-scale conflict. The Florida Indians were unal-
terably opposed to the removal policy, and the War De-
partment called on brevet Major General Winfield Scott
to pacify them. Gaines did not know of Scott's appoint-
ment, so early in 1836 he assembled a small army in
New Orleans and moved with it to Florida. McCall ac-
companied him, and thus was involved once again in his
career with the Indian removal policy. Scott felt that






INTRODUCTION.


Gaines' intrusion into Florida had obstructed his own
campaign, and he complained to Washington. The two
major generals had been enemies since the War of 1812.
A court of inquiry resulted, and it intensified the ill-will
between Scott and Gaines. McCall always believed that
Scott's animosity extended even to members of Gaines'
military staff, including himself.7
General Scott's mood bore heavily upon McCall in
1842, the year that he returned to Florida to participate
in the final campaign against the Seminoles. One of the
last of the red bands at large in Florida in 1842 was led
by Halleck Tustenuggee, and McCall succeeded in cap-
turing twenty of its members. In a communication to
Brigadier General William J. Worth describing this
action, Colonel John Garland described McCall as
"among the brightest ornaments of the military pro-
fession." Worth wrote that he would "not fail to notice
McCall's clever conduct," and that "it was exactly what
I looked for." He sent to the General-in-Chief of the
army a list of persons whom he was recommending for
brevet promotions, and McCall's name was on it. At
least McCall always believed that it had been part of
the original list, and that it was the General-in-Chief,
now none other than Winfield Scott, who deleted his
name. This caused McCall to redouble his own efforts to
secure the desired brevet. But, "without powerful
friends on the spot," he wrote to his father, "it is diffi-
cult to gain the reward of merit . the want of a
staunch friend in the Senate . .may give others, who
will not fail to push their claims, an undue advantage
over me." When, in spite of all his efforts, the promo-
tion did not come, he said, "I am not the only one who






INTRODUCTION.


has felt the unequal action which has been brought
about by indulging feelings of personal friendship and
vilely bought favoritism."8
Between the Second Seminole War and the Civil War,
McCall's most strenuous combat experience came in the
war with Mexico, 1846-48. For gallantry in its open-
ing battles in May 1846, he was awarded a brevet for
major and another for lieutenant colonel, both to date
from May 9, 1846, the date of the Battle of Resaca de la
Palma. But when his regiment was ordered to march
toward the city of Monterrey, he was transferred to
other duty. So he was not present when Monterrey fell
to the American forces on September 23, 1846.
In keeping with the mood of the time, he saw more
beauty and honor than blood and guts in war, and this
attitude is reflected in his letters. Ruefully he said of
his comrades, who were present with Zachary Taylor
at the capture of Monterrey, "They have gained im-
perishable fame" (p. 460). A letter to one of his male
cousins during the Mexican War illustrated his ro-
mantic view of war. "The next instant," he wrote, "the
head of the soldier on the right of the division was
carried away and his brains were dashed into the faces
of those around me. I do not know that I am right in
opening to your view such scenes . but they are
nevertheless the frequent contrasts to the sublime and
beautiful of a battle" (pp. 453-54). "The sublime and
beautiful" were conspicuously visible to him. Upon his
return to Philadelphia in the summer of 1847, he re-
ceived a richly ornamented sword from a group of prom-
inent citizens who had obviously approved of the war
and of his part in it.9


Xviii






INTRODUCTION.


Exposure and recurrent malaria, probably contracted
in Florida, belatedly produced in McCall severe hemor-
rhoids and virulent neuralgia. Because of his loyalty to
Florida, and because he knew that he could have con-
tracted worse than malaria in his home town of Phila-
delphia, where there were recurrent plagues of yellow
fever, he never blamed the Florida environment for his
steadily deteriorating physical condition. Nevertheless,
these ailments had caused him to become an invalid by
1847, and obliged him to be off duty for the next three
years. When he was somewhat recuperated, his doctors
advised him to travel to Europe and to put himself
under the care of specialists there. He did so, and he
did not return to the United States until 1850. Although
by that time he was able to do duty, he was ever after-
wards in precarious health. He was sick and unable to
serve during four and one-half of his thirty-six years
of military duty.10 But with McCall the army followed
its general policy of attempting whenever possible to re-
tain its career officers; high civil officials realized that
prestigious and lucrative opportunities outside the serv-
ice constantly tempted their best men. Thus, when an
officer like McCall requested leave, he usually received it.
Once back in active service in 1850, McCall was ap-
pointed inspector general for the territories acquired
from Mexico two years earlier. Via the Isthmus of
Panama, he reached New Mexico and began inspect-
ing the army forts there. By October 1850 he had re-
turned to Washington, D.C., and had reported to the war
office. During the next several months he worked with
the inspector general in Washington. In that same period
his personal life radically changed. On August 30, 1851,






INTRODUCTION.


at the age of forty-nine, he married Elizabeth McMur-
trie. Little of her background is known, and there is no
known description of her. McCall's letters to her reveal a
deep attachment and affection, which lasted throughout
their lives.11
Six months after his marriage, McCall was ordered
back to the Pacific Coast to inspect the military posts
in California and Oregon. Unhappy about this separa-
tion from his wife, he considered resigning, but in the
end he decided to obey the order. This assignment
proved arduous, particularly for a man in McCall's con-
dition, but he completed it and had returned to Wash-
ington by the spring of 1853. There, to his surprise,
General-in-Chief Winfield Scott, welcomed him courte-
ously and even warmly. Soon, however, he received an
order returning him back to the West Coast, and this
time he decided finally to terminate his long army career.
From his home in Philadelphia on April 22, 1853, he
regretfully resigned his commission, pointing out that
his health would not endure another journey across the
continent. His resignation was accepted.12
While in the military service, McCall had used every
kind of transportation except the railroad. He was,
however, present with General Edmund Pendleton
Gaines at the ceremony opening the Tuscumbia and
Cortland Railroad of Alabama. Gaines was a director
of the company. McCall traveled extensively on steam-
boats, but neither steamboats nor railroad locomotives
seem to have stimulated him very much. Rather, in the
dawning of the age of steam in America, he re-
mained devoted to horsepower. He was a consummate
handler of horses. On some occasions he covered more






INTRODUCTION.


than fifty-five miles a day on horseback (p. 279). He
could do almost as well with horse and buggy. When the
operator of the stagecoach at Louisville, Kentucky,
would not allow his dog Sport into the crowded coach,
he purchased a horse and rig and drove the 360 miles
to Calhoun, Tennessee, averaging forty-five miles a day.
His horse looked like a circus animal. Later, he sold him
to Zachary Taylor, and as "Old Whitey," the horse car-
ried the future President through the battles of the
Mexican War (pp. 343-45). When McCall traveled to the
Southwest as inspector general, he used a mule team and
wagon from San Antonio, Texas, to Santa Fe, New Mex-
ico, a distance of 1,053 miles, and he moved at the rate
of twenty miles per day (p. 488). He crossed the desert
to Yuma, Californa, with horses and mules in June
1852, when daytime temperatures reached 150 degrees.
Even though his party moved only at night, the men
suffered from constant thirst, and felt as if the very
blood in their veins was boiling.13
McCall, like his fellow officers, accepted the idea of a
class society within the military; he and his peers were
in the upper class, and the enlisted men in a lower cate-
gory. Of the recruits he received in 1836 he wrote:
"They were almost without exception . the unsophis-
ticated, untutored and intractable sons of Erin . It
had become too plain that the ranks of our army could
not be filled with men whose intelligence and industry
enabled them to fill higher places in the walks of life"
(p. 134). Thus the officers, who regarded themselves as
gentlemen, considered it only natural, in fact their right,
to use the enlisted men, who were not gentlemen, as
servants. McCall never regarded Blacks other than as






INTRODUCTION.


slaves and servants. He refers to "my Negro boy" in his
letters, but he never makes it clear whether he owned
the black as a slave or only hired him. Nowhere in any
of his letters did he speak out critically against slavery.
When he encountered Mexicans during the 1840s, he re-
garded them also as lower class, primarily because of
what he described as their indolence. According to Mc-
Call, after Mexicans had earned a few dollars, they
would stop work, and could not be induced to return
until faced with absolute want (p. 499).
Of all the non-whites that he had dealings with, he
was most closely associated with Indians. The Florida
Indians, with whom he had most of his experiences, he
considered in many respects up to white standards. He
rated them more proficient than white men in perception,
but poorer in matters that called for judgment (p. 140).
"I see many traits among these Indians," he said, "that
do not belong to what we have been taught to regard as
those of savages" (p. 159). He was present when Tuckose
Emathla, whom white men called John Hicks, was in-
stalled as head chief of the Florida Indians. He de-
scribed Hicks as "one of nature's noblemen. He is nearly
six feet two inches in height . his figure [combines]
strength with gracefulness" (p. 149). After listening to
Hicks give his speech of acceptance, even though he
could not understand it except through an interpreter,
he said, "I felt as if I had been listening to an enlight-
ened, and indeed, to a great man" (p. 156).
When McCall encountered the Plains Indians of the
West, he divided them into two categories: Pueblos,
who could readily adapt to white ways; and the "wild"
ones, who were virtually untouched by contact with


xxii






INTRODUCTION.


white civilization. Before New Mexico could be of value
to the United States, he wrote, the wild Indians would
have to be subdued. Only then could the white men's
large herds of cattle be safe from rustling and their
owners secure from massacre.
In McCall's scale of values, a white skin did not of
itself make a man a superior being. He had little use
for people of Celtic stock. The Irish were "intractable,"
yet they ranked higher than the Highland Scots. While
traveling for his health in Europe, he had visited the
Highlands of Scotland in 1848, and in a letter to his
sisters he described his feelings: "Never did I in my
travels among the aborigines of the western continent
. . witness such filthy habits, such an utter want of
decency and dignity which raise the human species
above the brute."14 He also found the sounds of the
Gaelic speech harsher by far than any Indian tongue
he had ever heard. Romantic that he was, he failed to
inform his sisters specifically which habits of the Scots
seemed to him so filthy. He believed that women should
be spared exposure to the vulgar and disgusting, as well
as shielded from physical danger. When he wrote to his
sisters, he ascribed to them "delicate and tender
natures."15 And this was the way he referred to all
well-bred women; to McCall, all were fair ladies. He
expressed passion in the following strophe: "It was
the hour in which the fairest visions of the, lover rise
and unfold to his enraptured mind a glowing picture
of those ecstatic joys which are destined to reward the
purity and constancy of his passion" (p. 104).
After his resignation in 1853, McCall continued to
reside in Pennsylvania, leading, as far as is known, a






INTRODUCTION.


quiet, almost sedentary life for the next eight years.
At least two sons and one daughter were born to him
and Elizabeth. In February 1855 he took the necessary
legal steps to obtain a land bounty allowed to veterans
under the terms of an act of February 28, 1850. Scarcely
a month later, on March 15, 1855, a warrant was issued
which authorized him to locate 160 acres somewhere in
the public domain. On August 23, 1855, he assigned the
warrant to Martha R. Little of Fort Gibson, Cherokee
Nation, "and to her heirs and assigns forever." No
valuable consideration is mentioned.16
When the Civil War broke out in 1861, McCall was
nearly fifty-nine years old, almost elderly by the stan-
dards of that conflict. Robert E. Lee, who was himself
older than most of the general officers, was five years
younger than McCall. Ulysses S. Grant, who had served
for a time during the Mexican War in a company com-
manded by McCall, was twenty years younger than
McCall. Age had made McCall one of the best-known
military men in Pennsylvania, so when the legislature
created "The Reserve Volunteer Corps of the Common-
wealth of Pennsylvania," Governor Andrew G. Curtin
appointed McCall a major general in the state service,
and placed him in command of the new organization.
Soon the United States War Department accepted the
Pennsylvania Reserves into the Army of the Potomac,
but insisted that it must be commanded by a brigadier.
McCall held out for the rank of major general until
Secretary of War Simon Cameron, also from Pennsyl-
vania, stated flatly that no man from his state could
attain the rank of major general in the volunteer serv-
ice unless by means of distinguished service. Late in


xxiv






INTRODUCTION.


July, McCall accepted the reduction in rank and con-
tinued with the command.17
On July 28, 1861, McCall wrote his sister Lizzie that
Major General George B. McClellan wanted him to be
promoted to major general in the service of the United
States and made vice commander under him of the
Army of the Potomac.18 He reconnoitered much of the
time with McClellan, and from all indications he seems
to have been held in high regard. Adding to his pres-
tige was the action of E. O. C. Ord's brigade of his
division at Dranesville on December 20, 1861. This unit,
backed by the rest of the division, marched twenty-five
miles, fought for one and one-half hours, and drew off
in perfect order. McCall described this action as the
first important success of the Army of the Potomac;
McClellan called it one of the most brilliant of the skir-
mishes by means of which his army was learning to
fight.19
McCall's military position began to deteriorate in the
spring of 1862. Governor Curtin continued to denigrate
him with the secretary of war. McCall's explanation of
this was that Curtin was piqued because McCall had
rejected as unqualified many of the men he had recom-
mended for commissions.20 The general considered re-
signing, but decided against it upon the advice of some
of his subordinates. Colonel George J. Harp, command-
ing the Eighth Regiment of the Pennsylvania Reserves,
wrote: "I laid my life with yours cheerfully upon.the
altar of my country. [Let us] return to our homes as
we came with you at our head."21
The Pennsylvania Reserves had been assigned to
Irvin McDowell's Department of the Rappahannock,


XXV






INTRODUCTION.


but in June 1862 were detached and sent to McClellan
for use in his Peninsular Campaign. At this time two
of McCall's brigadiers-John F. Reynolds and George
Gordon Meade-were among the most promising in the
service. The Pennsylvania Reserves fought with dis-
tinction at Beaver Dam Creek and at Gaines Mill on
June 26-27, 1862, but the costs in men and equipment
were heavy. Whereas they had mustered 11,500 present
for duty in May, at the end of June the force num-
bered only 6,000.22
As McClellan shifted his base from the York to the
James River, he had to fight continuous rear-guard
actions to save his army. General Robert E. Lee be-
lieved that his Confederate force could destroy the
Army of the Potomac, but when McClellan's advance
units began to reach the security of Malvern Hill, he
saw his chance for victory slipping away. Accordingly,
although two divisions were not enough for the task,
Lee ordered Generals James Longstreet and A. P. Hill
to try to break through the defensive line before it
became impregnable. On June 30, 1862, with about
18,000 men, Longstreet and Hill moved into the attack.
They centered it where the Long Bridge, Charles City,
and Willis Church roads intersected. McCall's thin line
of 6,000 men stood there. For an hour the fighting was
violent, then the Pennsylvania Reserves began to retreat,
leaving a dangerous gap in the Union line. McCall in-
sisted that his men had done all that could be expected
when they were outnumbered three to one, and that
they had retreated at a walk, not running in flight.
Joseph Hooker, who was on McCall's left, contradicted
this. He reported that McCall's Reserves came tumbling


xxvi






INTRODUCTION.


through his position, breaking it up, and in their panic
even firing on and killing some of Hooker's men.23
Whatever the nature of the retreat, McCall tried
desperately to stem it. In the course of doing so, he rode
among Confederate troops and was captured. So was
Brigadier General Reynolds. The two Union officers
were taken to Longstreet, who recognized McCall from
their earlier army days together. He advanced to proffer
his hand, but when he saw that he would be rebuffed,
he gave the order to send McCall to the rear with all
the courtesies due a general officer.24
While McCall was held a prisoner of war by the Con-
federates, all the brigadiers who commanded volunteers
in the Peninsular Campaign were recommended for
promotion to major general.25 All, that is, except McCall.
As soon as he was free to make a formal report, he
protested Hooker's criticism, and affirmed his right to
promotion. But the evidence was strong against him.
Of the twenty-five cannon which the Confederates
captured during the campaign, twenty-one of them had
been taken because the Pennsylvania Reserves gave
way. The high command knew this, and had also
Hooker's report, but had no way of knowing that Long-
street had told a Union surgeon: "If McCall's division
had not offered the stubborn resistance it did . we
would have captured your whole army.26
McCall was formally exchanged for Simon B. Buckner
on August 27, 1862. He now would have a chance to
secure his deserved promotion to major general, if he
could only keep up the fight. McClellan had apparently
become convinced that McCall's Reserves had done as
well as was possible. General Hooker, although he would


xxvii






INTRODUCTION.


not admit that he had been wrong, stated that he
would not block McCall's promotion. But then instead
of continuing the demand for higher rank, McCall an-
nounced that he was planning to resign his commis-
sion. He had been seized once more by a recurrent
malaria and neuralgia and was at low ebb. He in-
formed his wife that he was not physically fit for
another campaign, but he told her also that it was not
sensible for him to remain in an army which was per-
meated with boasting, humbug, jealousy, and bicker-
ing.27 He did not indicate his bitterness or disappoint-
ment in his letter of resignation, listing only his de-
teriorated health as the reason for his decision.28 His
resignation was accepted, effective March 31, 1863.
From then until his death, February 25, 1868, he lived
the life of a gentleman farmer at Belair, near West
Chester, Pennsylvania. He died there at the age of
sixty-five.29
Letters from the Frontiers was published the year of
his death, probably too late for him to have seen a
finished copy. It was a J. B. Lippincott publication, and
it sold for $2.50. The quantity of the printing and the
volume of the sales probably cannot now be known. A
disastrous fire in the early years of this century com-
pletely destroyed the library, stock, and records of the
publishing house, which covered its more than one hun-
dred years of publishing history.30 There was never a
second printing. A systematic search of the periodicals
and newspapers for the two-year period 1868-70 after
it appeared has failed to reveal any contemporary com-
ment on McCall's book. Presumably it was not reviewed.
There seems to be little way to measure the impact of


xxviii






INTRODUCTION.


Letters from the Frontiers upon its own time, if in-
deed it had any. Neither is there any means of deter-
mining whether General McCall's heirs received any
royalties from this work.
During the five years following the Civil War, 1866-
70, some 150 books were published in five general cate-
gories; Letters from the Frontiers could properly fit
into each of them.3l The first, "Reminiscences of Mili-
tary and Naval Officers and their Wives," included ten
titles. The most conspicuous were Winfield Scott's
Memoirs .. (actually published in 1864), Randolph B.
Marcy's Thirty Years of Army Life on the Border, and
Henry Lee's memoirs of the War in the Southern
Department of the United States, which dealt with the
American Revolution. As a contribution to narrative
writing, to sociology, to travel literature, and to history,
General McCall's work compares favorably with all of
these and with the other volumes in this category.
In the second category, "The Frontiers, Especially
the West," twenty-three volumes were published in the
five-year period. In quality and in usefulness to present-
day scholars, McCall's book is superior. There are
eighty books in the third category, "Civil War," but it
is impossible to compare McCall's work with these other
studies. In the category "Indians," eight books were
published, and McCall's was one of the very best. The
fifth category, "Military Biography and Autobiog-
raphy," produced twenty-one books. Most of these were
biographies of individuals whose activities and lives
were widely publicized. Grant was the subject of nine
of these volumes, and Robert E. Lee, three. The lives of
Lewis Cass, Admiral Farragut, Nathan Bedford For-


xxix






INTRODUCTION.


rest, Jubal A. Early, Raphael Semmes, John S. Mosby,
and William Tecumseh Sherman were the basis for the
other studies.
There is still another useful way to group some of the
publications of the period covered by McCall's book.
Through the year 1950, fifty men who became generals
of one grade or another in the United States service
wrote their autobiographies.32 Among these, McCall's
Letters from the Frontiers rates as an excellent con-
tribution to narrative writing, sociology, travel litera-
ture, and history. If a similar analysis is made of studies
beginning with the period of the American Revolution
and ending with 1878, McCall was one of only fifteen
generals who wrote autobiographies. In this elite group,
his Letters rates well.
McCall's own explanation for writing his book ap-
pears in his introduction. He drew some of his letters
together, he said, "In compliance with the expressed
desire of those valued friends for whose eyes alone they
were originally intended" (iii). A few of the letters are
preserved in their manuscript original in the McCall
Collection at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
There is no record of others, and it is not known if
they are extant. The Historical Society has many letters
to and from McCall which were never published. There
is a sheaf to his wife, none of which was printed. Some
have historical value and should be made available to
the scholar in published form. Particularly valuable are
those relating to his second trip of inspection to the
Far West.
Letters from the Frontiers has value as a document
in the history of the Indians, in historical geography, in


XXX







INTRODUCTION.


sociology, and in the history of transportation. It also
provides insights into the cultural mood of America dur-
ing the decades from 1820 to 1860. It is a particularly
significant document in the history of Florida. Indeed,
296 of its 539 pages, almost 55 percent of the study, re-
late to Florida. George A. McCall loved the territory of
Florida, and he honored it in his Letters from the
Frontiers.




NOTES.

1. Frank Willing Leach, "Old Families of Philadelphia."
This work is a compilation of newspaper articles, and the
article relating to the McCall family was printed in The
(Philadelphia) North American, August 11, 1907.
2. G. A. McCall Military Papers, box 1, Historical Society
of Pennsylvania Collections, Philadelphia, Pa. Hereinafter
referred to as McCall Papers.
3. George W. Cullum, Biographical Register of the Ofi-
cers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy,
1802-1890, 3 vols. (Boston, 1891), 1: 293; Francis B. Heit-
man, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United
States Army, 2 vols. (GPO, Washington, D.C., 1903), 1:
653; G. A. McCall ACP file, National Archives.
4. Reference is to William Bartram, Travels Through
North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Flor-
ida . first published in Philadelphia in 1791. The best
edition is edited by Francis Harper, Yale University Press,
1958.
5. G. A. McCall to Thomas Cadwalader, July 24, 1823,
Cadwalader, box 14T, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
6. Brevet rank was honorary. When McCall became major
by brevet, he was not listed as major in the seniority list of
the U.S. Army. Another promotion would be necessary for
that. A brevet officer was known by his brevet rank, and
sometimes he received the pay of the brevet rank, but more
often he did not.
7. McCall to father, September 1, 1836, McCall Papers,
box 3.


xxxi








8. Garland to Worth, May 6, 1842; Worth to Garland,
May 6, 1842; McCall to father, July 16, 1842, and January
10, 1843, G. A. McCall Military Papers, box 1, McCall
Papers box 3.
9. This sword appears in the photograph taken by Mat-
thew Brady at the time of the Civil War, and is reproduced
in this volume.
10. For the nature of his illness, Dr. T. G. Mower to Ad-
jutant General, November 1, 1847, M 1066, Adjutant Gen-
eral Letters Received, National Archives.
11. Leach, "Old Families"; letters to his wife, McCall
Papers, box 3.
12. McCall to Adjutant General, April 22, 1853, McCall
Papers, box 3.
13. McCall to wife, June 13, 1852, McCall Papers, box 8.
14. McCall to sisters, n.d., 1848, McCall Papers, box 3.
15. McCall to Margaret and Elizabeth McCall, June 20,
1825, McCall Papers, box 8.
16. Photostats of bounty land warrant No. 27119 and
related papers transferring the warrant to other persons,
procured from branch of National Archives, Suitland,
Maryland.
17. Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, 2
vols. (New York, 1895), 1: 54, 60, 61, 70, 151; Samuel P.
Bates, History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865,
5 vols. (Harrisburg, 1869), 1: 540 ff.; McCall to wife, July
22, 1861, McCall Papers, box 3.
18. G. A. McCall to Elizabeth McCall, July 28, 1861; to
wife, December 20, 1861, McCall Papers, box 3.
19. George B. McClellan, Report on the Organization and
Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac (New York, 1864),
p. 150.
20. G. A. McCall to E. M. Stanton, May 7, 1862, G. A.
McCall Military Papers, box 1.
21. George J. Harp to McCall, May 8, 1862, G. A. McCall
Military Papers, box 1.
22. War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official
Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 130 vols.
(Washington, D.C., 1880-1901), series 1, vol. 12, part 8,
p. 309 ff.; vol. 12, part 2, pp. 384-92; Douglas S. Freeman,
Robert E. Lee, 4 vols. (New York, 1937), 2: 192.
23. Report . of the Army of the Potomac, pp 266-67;
Joseph Hooker to Assistant Adjutant General, Third Army
Corps, July 15, 1862, War of the Rebellion, series 1, vol. 11,
part 2, p. 111.


xxXii


INTRODUCTION.
















INTRODUCTION.


24. Freeman, Lee, 2: 191.
25. George B. McClellan to Lincoln, July 4, 1862, Report
... of the Army of the Potomac, p. 277.
26. Longstreet to Dr. Marsh, quoted in Freeman, Lee, 2:
201.
27. McCall to wife, n.d. (Tues. 20th), McCall Papers,
box 3.
28. McCall to Brigadier General S. Williams, Assistant
Adjutant General, December 10, 1862; McCall to John
Covode, n,d. (Friday morning); S. Williams to McCall,
November 8, 1862; McCall to Williams, October 15, 1862;
War of the Rebellion, series 1, vol. 11, part 2, pp. 113-14.
29. G. A. McCall ACP file, National Archives; Cullum,
Biographical Register, 1: 293.
30. Ralph C. Glisson, J. B. Lippincott Co., to John K.
Mahon, March 20, 1974.
31. This is based on an examination of the American
Catalog of Books [original and reprinted] Published in the
United States from January 1866 to January 1871, compiled
and arranged by James Kelly in 1871, and reprinted by
Peter Smith, New York, 1938.
32. Based on a typed list by Edwin H. Carpenter, Jr.,
"Autobiographies of American Generals . ." dated at
University of Southern California at Los Angeles, May
1950.


Xsiii







LETTERS






FROM THE FRONTIERS.





WRITTEN DURING A PERIOD OF THIRTY YEARS SERVICE
IN THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES.





BY
MAJOR GENERAL GEORGE A. MCCALL,
LATE COMMANDER OF THE PENNSYLVANIA RESERVE CORPS




PL- -


PHILADELPHIA:
J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.
1868.



































Bhtered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by

J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.

In the Clerk's Office of the Distiect Court of the United States for the Estern
District of Pennsylvania.








LIPPINCOTT'S PRESS,
PHILADELPHIA.










INTRODUCTION.



THE following Letters, published in compliance with the
expressed desire of those valued friends for whose eyes alone
they were originally intended, are taken, chiefly, either from
copies retained by the writer at the time, or from the origi-
nals which have recently been placed in his hands by those to
whom they were addressed. Many of them, embracing per-
haps the longest and those written with most care, have been
copied verbatim under his own eye. Some have been docked
of their redundance, trimmed into shape, and redressed so
far as was requisite in preparing for the press letters written
current calamo, and comprising subjects of various descrip-
tions, as well personal as of a general character. Others may
be said to have been re-written, always, however, preserving
strictly the outline and main features of the subject, and the
facts and incidents by which it was sought to be illustrated.
One or two were written for publication, and appeared in the
journals of the day; they are here introduced unaltered.
Many are mere extracts. Two or three incidents only are
related which did not pass under the writer's own eye; these
were communicated directly by officers of character, who
were themselves eye-witnesses, and they are so noticed where
introduced. Nothing has been exaggerated, nor is there
iii





INTRODUCTION.


much that is even highly colored. The reader may therefore
rely upon the Letters, taken collectively, as a fair and just
delineation of the peoples, the countries, the incidents and
adventures into which the writer was led in the course of a
long military service. They commenced with the commence-
ment of his military career; for a few weeks only had passed
from the day on which he was graduated at the Military
Academy at West Point,-while in the full enjoyment of
emancipation from the rigid though wholesome discipline of
a military school, and proud of the elevation from a Cadetship
to a Lieutenancy,-when he received orders to join a detachment
of one hundred and twenty recruits destined for his regiment,
and a company of the 2d Artillery stationed at Pensacola.
Here he encountered and mingled with a people strangely
differing in manners and habits from those of his native
State; but who nevertheless possessed traits of amiability
and gentleness in the women, and a love of pleasure in the
men, which rendered them commonly unobtrusive, but some-
times fiery and vehement where they thought their rights
were invaded.
Here, and at other military posts in Florida, he passed
several years; at times amid the wild scenery of that coun-
try whose climate, in mildness and salubrity, yields to that
of no other portion of our national domain; a land where
the atmosphere is so pure and bright that the mere sense of
existence is absolutely a physical as well as a moral pleasure,
not appreciable by one who has not experienced it. Here he
rode through her silent woods, and sat by her magnificent
springs, at an age when impressions are readily received, but
firmly stamped upon the mind and feelings. It was such
scenes, and the feelings with which they were associated, that
he endeavored to sketch in the language of one for whom




















INTRODUCTION. v

"Nature in her wildest hour of infancy" has always pos-
sessed unrivalled charms. His service in the course of
years carried him over the whole of the southern and west-
ern territory to the Rocky Mountains; and these Letters are
his efforts to portray the accidents by flood and field, "all of
which he saw, and part of which he was;" and they are sub-
mitted, with their original imperfections scarcely amended,
to the clemency of the reader.

BBELAI, November, 1867.

1*










CONTENTS.


PAGE
LETTER I.-Voyage and Arrival at Pensacola 1
II.-Joins his Regiment 12
III.-The Patgo 20
IV.-A Deer Hunt 31
V.-The Bouquet Ball 44
VI.-Incident at an Indian Hunting Camp .
VII.-Revisit the same with Captain Bell 6
VIII.-Bal Masqu6 66
IX.-Amateur Theatricals 77
X.-The Diversions of the Carnival terminate 83
XI.-History of the Cuban Pirate 85
XII.- do. do. Continued 103
XIII.- do. do. Continued 106
XIV.-The Charivari 108
XV.-Sapper at Surgeon Coburn's 119
XVI.-History of the Cuban Pirate Concluded 123
XVII.-Ordered to Tampa Bay 127
XVIII.-Arrive at the Mouth of Hillsborough River at the
head of the Bay of the same Name 128
XIX.-The Mirage.-General Scott supposed to be
coming up the Bay with a Fleet of Five Small
Vessels 133
XX.-The Burned Chief and his Family 138
XXI.-March to the Seminole Agency, and Visit to the
Silver Spring 145
XXII.-The Inauguration of Tucoseemathla (Ant Chief)
as Principal Chief of the Seminole Nation 152
XXIII.-Dull Life at the Agency 157
XXIV.-Return March to Fort Brooke 160
XXV.-Gopher John.-Death of Old Rock 163
XXVI.-Feat in Horsemanship 166
XXVII.-Set out on a Hunting and Fishing Expedition
to Anclote Keys with Colonel Brooke 169
XXVIII.-Same Continued 174
vii






CONTENTS.


LETTER PAGI
XXIX.-Same Concluded 183
XXX.-Opening a Military Road to Alachua.-Visit to
Orange Lake.-Singular Aquatic Plant 185
XXXI.-Return to Fort Brooke.-Organization of the
Alligator; Its Habits 199
XXXII.-The Indian's Knowledge of Astronomy and Me-
teorology 207
XXXIII.-The Rattlesnake and the Scorpion.-Effect of
Climate on the Common American Deer.-
Tornado 216
XXXIV.-General Gaines to Lieutenant McCall, appoint-
ing him Aide-de-Camp and Assistant Adju-
tant-General 228
XXXV.-General Gaines repairs to Rock Island 227
XXXVI.-Sac and Fox Indians.-Black Hawk .237
XXXVII.-Same Continued.-Council 240
XXXVIII.-Arrival of Governor Reynolds, of Illinois, &c. 241
XXXIX.-Treaty Signed Confirming the Cession of their
Lands east of the Mississippi.-The General
goes on a Tour to the South . 242
XL., XLI.-Aide-de-Camp McCall to General Gaines 243
XLII.- do do. do. do. Meeting
of Major Biddle and Major Pettis 244
XLIII.-Aide-de-Camp McCall to General Gaines 247
XLIV.-Same to Same 248
XLV.-General Gaines to Aide-de-Camp McCall.-
Changes his Headquarters to Memphis 249
XLVI.-G. A. McCall to B., late Judge-Advocate Western
Department 260
XLVII.-G. A. McCall to John C. McCall, Philadelphia.
Scene at Memphis 252
XLVIII.-General Gaines to Aide-de-Camp McCall 268
XLIX.-G. A. McCall to M. 268
L.- do. to John C. McCall.-Grouse's Dis-
tinguished Services . 260
LL-General Gaines to Aide-de-Camp McCall 261
LII.-G. A. McCall to M.-Character of Horse Red-
bird 262
LIII.-General Gaines to Aide-de-Camp McCall 262
LIV.-History of a Wild Goose .267
LV.-General Gaines to G. A. McCall 268
LVL-Pursuit of a Stolen Morse.-Recovery of the
Horse 269






CONTENTS.


LETTER PAoG
LVII.-General Gaines to Aide-de-Camp McCall 272
LVIII.-Ride with General Gaines to Courtland, Alabama 273
LIX.-Grouse Shooting in Arkansas 278
LX.-General Gaines to Aide-de-Camp McCall 288
LXI.-Adventure on Bridge over the Bayou Guyoso 288
LXII.-News Received of the Massacre of Major Dade's
Command by Seminole Indians 293
LXIII.-Arrive at Tampa Bay, Florida 294
LXIV.-General Gaines leaves Florida for the Texas
Frontier 295
LXV.-Account of the Battle of San Jacinto 296
LXVI.-Particulars of the Account of Dade's Massacre 299
LXVII.-Particular Account of General Gaines' Campaign
in Florida 316
Note to the Reader.-Court of Inquiry at Fred-
erick, Maryland.-Recruiting Service in Phil-
adelphia.-Adventures with Setter-Dog Sport" 332
LXVIII.-Regiment marches from Fort Cass to North
Carolina Mountains, with Orders to Capture
and Execute Indian Murderers, and march
by steam to Fort Gibson 347
LXIX.-Account of Campaign in Big Cypress Swamp,
Florida 380
LXX.-Saine Continued 385
LXXI.-Same Continued 391
LXXII.-Same Concluded 394
LXXIII.-Halleck.-Gopher John's Dog 398
LXXIV.-Halleck, &c., &c. 401
LXXV.--Capture of Halleck's Band 404
LXXVI.-Halleck called into Council, &c., &c. 407
LXXVII.-The War Closed by Proclamation.--Sam Jones 411
LXXVIII.-The 4th Regiment leaves Florida.-Arrives at
Jefferson Barracks 414
LXXIX.-Hunting Scenes at Fort Scott, Cherokee
Country r . 416
LXXX.-A Deer (a three year old buck) killed with the
Hunting-Knife 427
LXXXI.-General Taylor at Corpus Christi.-Description
of 'Northers." 429
LXXXII.-Wild Horses brought in by Mexicans, and broken
to Harness by the Army Teamsters 438
LXXXIII.-General Taylor's Army on the Rio Grande oppo-
site Matamoras . 441
















x CONTENTS.

LETTER PAOI
LXXXIV.-Position of our Army and that of the Mexicans. 443
LXXXV.-Mexicans open their Batteries on Fort Brown
opposite Matamoras 446
LXXXVI.-Description of the Battles of Palo Alto and
Resaca de la Palma 449
LXXXVII.-Still at Matamoras 458
UXXXVIII.-Arrive at Camargo 459
LXXXIX.-News reaches there of the Battle of Monterey 460
XC.-Visited at his Office by a Captain of Cavalry 462
XCI.-Visits Monterey.-Wonderful View in the Sierra
Madre 468
XCII.-Letter from Major Bliss 471
XCIII.-Off Vera Cruz 476
XCIV.-Investment of the Town Commenced 478
XCV.-Commander of the Town Summoned.--Bom-
bardment Commences 480
XCVI.-Ordered to Santa F6, New Mexico 485
XCVII.-The Journey 490
XCVIII.-The Climate 492
XCIX.-The Climate, &c. 493
C.-Report to the Secretary of War 495
CI.-Letter from Colonel Bliss . 523
CII.-Colonel McCall is Commissioned Inspector-
General by President Taylor 623
CIII.-Report to Adjutant-General at Washington 525
CIV.-Colonel McCall Resigns his Commission 626
CV.-Letter from Aide-de-Camp of Major-General Scott 526









LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS.




CANTONMENT CLINCH, November I, 1821.
MY DEAR H- : We arrived (with recruits for the
4th Regiment of Infantry and a company of artillery) in
the harbor of Pensacola on the 28th ult., after a voyage
of fifteen days from Philadelphia, in the brig William
Henry. The weather was what a sailor, I suppose, would
call favorable; for though we had some stiff breezes, they
were from the right quarter, and allowed our vessel to
keep her course; but the passage to a novice in sea-service
was rather too rough to be agreeable, and I suffered from
sea-sickness for the first week, in common with some ladies
and gentlemen of New Orleans, who had taken berths in the
fine brig. The only occurrence worthy of note was in pass-
ing through the northeast channel of the Bahama Islands.
In the night the current had carried us to the southward of
the channel. Fortunately the captain was on deck; he put
the helm hard down and let go the anchor, when the brig
swung round and lay in good water not a stone's throw
from the island of New Providence. This happened just
before day, and not a word was said to any of the passen-
gers; so that when I went on deck, I was not a little sur-
prised to find myself in still water and alongside of land.
By eight o'clock we discovered a large sail-boat coming
round a point of the island about a mile distant. This
11





12 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,

was soon followed by another and another, until at last
we counted no less than thirty-two sail or oar boats
steering for our vessel. As several piracies had been
committed in these waters within a few months, Captain
Sands, who was in command of the recruits, thought it
prudent to arm a few of the men. Accordingly a box of
muskets and one of ball cartridges were opened and issued.
The men, with the exception of the squad that had been
armed, were ordered below, and the latter were concealed
behind the gunwale. The leading boat was an eight-
oared barge, with nine as ill-looking fellows on board
as you might wish to see. When within twenty or
thirty feet of the side of the brig, they were ordered to
come-to, and the armed men rose. At this there was
some alarm manifest among the wreckers from the town
of Nassau, for such they proved to be, and they formed in
line off our side. The cockswain of the eight-oared barge
wished to come on board and pilot the brig out; but one
of the men in another boat called out, Don't trust him!"
Much disappointment, hereupon, was expressed, either
openly or covertly, on finding that we were not aground.
And although several offers were made to pilot us out,
the Captain wisely declined them; and a breeze springing
up at the time, he got under weigh and brought us safely
through the channel.



CANTONMENT CLINCH, November 8, I822.
MY DEAR H- : A week has rolled quietly and
pleasantly by, since I informed you of my arrival at
Pensacola. The first thing that greeted my raw, unprac-
tised eye, within a few yards of the landing, at the foot
of Palafox Street, was the corpse of a man who had died
of the yellow fever, laid out in front of the open window





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


of the first floor of a house fronting on this street. Here
was proof sufficient of the truth of the report we heard
before leaving Philadelphia, that "Yellow Jack" had
already, in August, made his appearance in these wa-
ters; first at the village of Barrancas, in front of which
a schooner from Boston with a cargo of codfish had
anchored to examine a leak, and finding her entire cargo
spoiled, had thrown it overboard in shoal water and pro-
ceeded on her voyage to New Orleans without saying as
much as with your leave, or by your leave." The conse-
quence was, the breaking out of the fever in the village;
next in the garrison of the Fort, and at last in the town
of Pensacola itself, where it raged with great fury, driving
the regiment away to the Bayou, two miles to the west-
ward. Here I found the regiment in two battalions, in
sheds about a quarter of a mile apart, and the greater part
of the men on "daily duty," cutting logs and drivingg
clapboards" for new barracks, to be erected at the head-
waters of this bayou or inlet. The name of the Post is
to be Cantonment Clinch," in honor of our distinguished
and highly respected Colonel. I have been assigned to
company (C), at present commanded by 1st Lieut. Jos. B.
Shaw, a most amiable gentleman, and I have no doubt a
true soldier, although we have absolutely no military
duty to perform,- all our men being on the details in
the woods. The consequence is, that the officers, with
the exception of two or three who have charge of the
working parties, are gentlemen of leisure; cards, hunting,
or making love to the pretty Creoles of the town, being
their almost sole occupation. My penchant has led me
to join the hunters; though I have time also to culti-
vate the acquaintance of les belles demoiselles of Pensa-
cola; and I have ample opportunity to see daily, and
study hourly, the strange commixture of manners and
habits of these descendants of the Spaniard, the French-
2





14 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS.

man, and the Englishman, who make up the population
of the town. Florida, as you know, before it came under
the protection or sovereignty, and the ameliorating influ-
ence, of the stars and stripes, had successively passed
under the dominion of Spain, France, and England.
There is consequently a great diversity, and at the same
time a strange similarity in the appearance of individuals,
and their habits and manners, the natural result of a min-
gling of races; and although climate has had its effect, in
many respects, on the original settlers, yet the present
generation, in a degree more or less striking, bear the
stamp of ancestral origin and character not to be mis-
taken. In the Spaniard, it is least perceptible; in the
French, whose natural conviviality soon assimilates them
to the people with whom they are associated, it is less;
and in the English, more conspicuous. The three lan-
guages are spoken respectively by the representatives of
the three nations. But if I except the English, the
Spanish is probably more spoken in society, and is more
or less understood by all. The Spanish, French, and
English having intermarried, their descendants, who are
termed Creoles," begin to form something like a distinct
provincial character; their prominent traits wearing a
coloring peculiarly their own, the effect of climate, mode
of life, and other decidedly local causes. Although their
excessive indolence and aversion to exertion, either phys-
ical or mental, which is commonly apparent, would lead
one to the conclusion that they are listless and effeminate,
yet they are not without a good deal of excitability, and
frequently I have noticed that their passions are, at the
same time, sudden, violent, and lasting.
Their morality, I must confess, is not always of the
strictest character; yet they appear to be affectionate and
friendly in their intercourse with each other; hospitable
to strangers, and not unkind to their slaves. They have





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


no love for knowledge; and their habitual indifference to
everything but pleasure leads them to take little part in
politics, either national or local. As I have already
remarked, they have no solicitude in perfecting the facul-
ties of the mind; yet they bestow no small care and atten-
tion in training those of the body, and in improving the
natural ease and grace of carriage for which the females
are almost always remarkable. The men have little love
of glory and less of enterprise. The French Creoles are
less animated and vivacious than their European ances-
tors; the Spanish, while they possess something of the
gravity of the Spaniard, are without his pride; and,
though in disposition rather inclined to be serious, they
are commonly frivolous and childish in their amusements.
They are temperate at table, but profligates in love. Their
persons are well formed, and their features regular,--those
of the women possess much beauty and are expressive
of gentleness, if not of cheerfulness. Want is a stranger
in their simple abodes; and the turmoil of ambition being
unknown, they enjoy that negative state of happiness in
which the moments unheeded pass by with a soft and airy
tread. Owing to their gentle and easy life, their manners
assume a mildness, and their speech a softness that are
peculiarly fascinating. In conversation, their enunciation
is slow, but not drawling; in the females particularly, this
languid mode of utterance, accompanied by the luring
sweetness of expression natural to their soft, dark eyes, is
well calculated to wake the tender passion.
These characteristics of the Creoles" must be under-
stood as representing the mass of the native-born inhab-
itants of the town, and not as portraying the wealthy and
educated class; which, however, is so small in numbers as
to make it necessary that we should consider them rather
as individual families, forming exceptions to the general
character of the population, than as constituting in them-
selves a distinct class.





16 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,

The predominant creed is still the Catholic, and the sole
edifice consecrated to the worship of the Deity is a chapel
of antique stamp and rusty exterior, on the south side of
the "Plaza," as the public square here is called. At this
shrine the inhabitants of Pensacola of all denominations
are accustomed to assemble to offer up their prayers, and
to receive the godly admonitions and the spiritual consola-
tion of the venerable Father Pierre.
On a bright Sabbath morning, standing at the corner
of the Plaza, it is interesting to watch the motley multi-
tude of grave and gay, aged and young, wending their
way towards the house of worship. There is the elderly
Spanish lady, whose thick veil descends in ample folds
about her person, followed at a respectful distance by the
neatly-dressed slave, carrying her chair and cushion; the
first of these articles being inverted in such a way that
the bottom rests on the gay cotton handkerchief with
which the girl's head is decorated, and the back descend-
ing behind, leaves one hand free for salutation, while the
other clasps the cushion. Then come a group of young
men, loitering indolently along; these are followed by an
old Frenchman, all complaisance, bowing to all he meets.
Last of all appears the feminine, black-eyed, naive young
Creole, whose air and carriage are as striking and attractive
as her dress is simple and modest.
I mingle with the crowd now gathering from all quar-
ters, and slowly converging toward the place of worship;
with them I enter the building. The lofty, ill-lighted
dome displays little of architectural symmetry; the rough
floor of large rugged flag-stones, and the dark walls, alto-
gether give the place an antiquated and gloomy air. It is
evidently the product of Spanish art and labor of years
long passed.
The service commences. The music of the choir is full
and harmonious, and as the solemn strains swell upon the





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


ear, one cannot but feel that the chant of praise, though
not embellished by the vigor and efficacy of science, is well
suited to rouse the soul to a consciousness of its own high
attributes, and to raise the mind to that elevation of
thought that fits one for devotion. Who is there that has
not experienced at such times a feeling of more than usual
seriousness, without being able to say whence it actually
comes?--a moment when the heart is opened, and the
mind is expanded by an unknown, subtile, and incompre-
hensible agency; when the veil of self-sufficiency, which
commonly conceals our imperfections from our own view,
is removed, sensibility is awakened, and so vividly are we
impressed with the lowness and helplessness of our nature,
that the proud and ambitious spirit, which lately directed
and governed our selfish course, is softened into a feeling
of universal benevolence; when we unconsciously sink
upon our knees and offer up a prayer, the offspring of a
contrite heart, for forgiveness and guidance hereafter.
The solemnities proceeded,.but my eyes wandered over
the congregation, and at last I became thoughtful and
abstracted; Father Pierre's sermon, which was as long
and lucid as usual, was quite thrown away upon me; and
the final service was nearly concluded before I was aroused
from my reverie of home and friends. However, I moved
out with the crowd, and, near the door, meeting with Cap-
tain Hinds, he introduced me to a young Creole with
whom he was walking. Fernando, or Ferdinand Oreo, is
the son of a French Creole, a widow, whose husband was
of Spanish extraction: a man of two-and-twenty summers,
and of perfect form and feature. His is one of the few
families of wealth and education, of which I have hitherto
spoken.
The day was lovely, and we strolled across the public
square to the billiard saloon, which we entered. The
tables were all occupied, and the calls of dos por me,"





18 LETTERS FROM TEE FRONTIERS,

" tree mas," &c., resounded through the rooms, accompanied
with the click of the balls as the "cannon" was made, or
the jingle of the little bell when a ball was held." Such
here, my dear H-, is the easy transit from the church
to the billiard-table. The Captain and Ferdinand took
possession of the table first released, and commenced their
game with a perfect nonchalance that would to you have
been, perhaps, a little surprising. When the "rubber"
was finished, we were invited by Ferdinand to accom-
pany him home, with the promise of a glass of light wine
and a cigar. His house is a large, double frame building,
with wide piazzas, and looks out upon the calm waters of
the bay at the foot of Palafox Street. A few minutes'
walk brought us to his door. We found his mother, a
tall, stately person, and her daughter, a charming girl of
eighteen, in the parlor. Wine was brought by a pretty
quadroon girl; and the silver waiter holding it was placed
on the table.
After we had taken wine,'our host said, "Now, let me
offer you a cigar, a true specimen, fabric de tabacos de
la vuelta de abajo."
While sitting here, enjoying the fragrance of the tobacco
from the "lower district," I noticed upon the table the
rattle of a large rattlesnake, and taking it into my hand to
examine it, Ferdinand remarked that he had killed the
monster a day or two before, just without the limits of the
town. I expressed a desire to see so formidable a reptile,
and to hear the sound of his challenge.
"It is a startling sound," said Ferdinand; "and I can
give you some idea of it," continued he, taking the rattle.
He fastened it to a string, and giving it a peculiar, rapid,
and continuous shake, he produced a whirring sound that
had indeed a startling effect. The thrilling challenge had
scarcely rung through the room, when a pet fawn, that
was lying near the young lady's chair, suddenly sprang to





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


its feet, and, at a single bound, leaped to a considerable
distance, in a direction opposite to that from which the
sound had proceeded; then, turning about, the timid
creature erected its beautiful head and neck, and striking
violently on the floor with its forefeet, exhibited the
extreme excitement of mingled fear and rage.
"My poor E-cho!" said Carlota, "how he has terrified
you."
"It is not a pleasing signal to my ear," replied her
brother; "but mark you the agency of instinct in the
brute creation there manifested. Your favorite E-cho
was captured when but a few days' old, and, in all proba-
bility, I might almost say certainty, never saw a rattle-
snake, or heard that threatening signal sounded before
this minute; yet you have seen how instantly nature
warns her of impending danger. And look, too, how her
bright eye flashes with anger. I do believe that little E-cho
is sufficiently roused to do battle with her natural enemy."
"I have heard," remarked Captain Hinds, "that fierce
encounters are not unfrequent between the deer and rattle-
snake."
"It is a truth that I can vouch for," returned Ferdi-
nand, "for I once had the fortune to witness the combat.
I was passing through a dense hummock, when, as I
reached the edge of an open space, I came suddenly upon
a full-grown buck, whose attention was so engrossed by
some object on the ground near him, that he was not
aware of my approach. I drew up my rifle, but at that
moment I heard the quick, angry warning of the rattle-
snake, and at the same instant the deer sprang upwards,
and drawing all its feet together as it were to a point,
dashed them fiercely upon the ground, while, before the
eye could follow the motion, he rebounded to a distance.
The rattle was repeated, but more faintly; it was fol-
lowed by several similar attacks on the part of the deer





20 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,

in quick succession. Then for a moment all was still;
and the noble buck, throwing back his head and raising
his nose to the wind, discovered that he was in the
presence of another enemy, even more to be dreaded than
the one he had just conquered. Tossing back his heavy
antlers, he wheeled, and bounded majestically into the
thicket. You will readily conclude that I allowed him to
depart in peace. On going to the spot where the combat
had taken place, I found a large rattle-snake stretched
upon the ground, with his head positively cut and battered
to pieces." *
We passed an hour with my new friend, and then re-
turned to our quarters at the Cantonment



PINSACOLA, November o2, I8i2.
MY AR H----: Since my last letter to you, we
have had a grand "Patgo." "A grand Patgo!" you
will ask, "and pray, what is a Patgo, great or small?" I
must tell you: it is an entertainment resembling in some
measure the old Scottish "Popinjay shooting." It is an
amusement of ancient origin, and even at the present
time seems to be held in high esteem at Pensacola. The
preliminaries are conducted in this way: a few days be-
fore the entertainment is to take place, the Host, having
procured the figure of a fine chicken cock, of large size,
fashioned out of a tough knotty block of wood, through
which passes vertically an iron rod, whereupon the figure
lightly whirls about like a weathercock. He sends this
emblem of the gallant bird, mounted upon a staff, by a
gayly dressed servant to the houses of the invited fair
ones; and each lady presenting a bunch of ribbons or a
Some years after the above was penned, the writer witnessed,
near Tampa Bay, a similar combat, fought precisely as above described.





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


feather for his toilet, soon his varied honors floating from
his sides clothe him with a plumage of the brightest
dyes.
Not less admired, in his own estimation, is the highly
costumed negro, who bears aloft his brilliant banner
through the streets, with the air of a hero leading his
followers into battle. This amusement, I am told, is not
by any means so common as it was some years ago, since
the families of the older inhabitants have become merged
into the mass of the American population. On the day
appointed for the fete, the Patgo or Game Bird, is
mounted on a high flag-staff, and the gentlemen who ire
to contend for prizes, are assembled with their lady-loves
under a spacious arbor erected for the occasion. This is
at the distance of about sixty yards from the mark, at
which the gallants are to try their skill with their rifles.
Whenever a ribbon is cut down, the fortunate marksman
brings it into the bower, where it is acknowledged as her
offering by the lady who had placed it on the bird; the
gentleman thereupon claims her as his partner for the
first dance to succeed the final destruction of the Patgo;
he is likewise entitled to wear the trophy of his skill at
his button-hole during the day.
Having now put you in possession of the main features
of the Patgo, I will proceed to describe in detail the ad-
ventures of the day as they passed before my eyes on this
occasion.
Mr. De La Rue, a French Creole, the gentleman at whose
house we were invited to a ddje4ner & la fourchette, and to
take part in the amusements of the day, is possessed of a
fine farm some seven miles up the Bay of Pensacola.
His house, situated on a high bluff overlooking the calm
waters of the Escambia, the right arm of the former Bay,
is accessible from Pensacola either by land or by water.
On the day before that named in the invitation to the





22 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,

officers of the 4th Regiment, I went under the wing of
old Captain Riddle, a retired officer of the war of 1812,
to call upon Madame La Broche, for the double purpose
of making the acquaintance of her two daughters and
offering them seats in my boat to Madame La Rue's; for
being without a horse, I had decided on making the trip
by water; and Lt.-Col. Brooke commanding the post, had
politely granted my request to be allowed to take his six-
oared barge for the voyage. We found Madame and her
daughters Josephine and Isabel at home. The mother
graciously thanked me for the honor, saying that Isabel,
thle prettiest of the two, had promised to go on horseback
with Mr. Pinder the Russian Consul, but that Josephine
and her Aunt (a single lady of a certain age) would be
happy to accept my offer. I cast my eye at the old Dra-
goon, as I expressed our gratification, and assurance that
WE would take good care of the ladies, and saw by the
curl of his long proboscis that he did not like the qualifi-
cation of Madame in accepting the invitation; for Riddle,
although an old cock, was still a devoted admirer of
the sex.
I must.now tell you somewhat about the fair one I had
engaged to take charge of for the day. Her father was a
Frenchman, her mother of Spanish blood. Josephine,
the elder, was of about twenty summers; Isabel, about
eighteen. The former, a fine Spanish brunette: the latter,
fair as the fairest of Castile's daughters in the time of
Ferdinand and Isabella: a transparent skin, large soft
blue eyes, and a profusion of fair hair which hung in close
clusters about a neck like marble, had won the admiration
of the consul, as well they might. I was, however, satis-
fied with my own good fortune, and returned to evening
parade, anticipating a pleasant voyage on the morrow.
The morning wished for by many light hearts came. The
Captain and I were abroad long before sunrise; and es-





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


corted the ladies to the beach. There, among half a dozen
others, was my boat in waiting. I had selected six good
oarsmen from my company, whose clean white jackets
and trousers gave them quite a nautical look. A gay
company was already assembling, and all were being
merrily stowed away in the boats. Bright Phoebus had
just risen, and he came bounding over a world of waters,
peering into more pretty faces than here usually graced
his rising. We soon, however, got under weigh, and then
the white canvas awning shielded the fair voyagers from
his more direct rays, and cast a cool and agreeable shade
around, softening the glow of both sky and water, and
promoting that serenity of mind which all those who
have been much upon the water have experienced under
similar circumstances.
I will not inflict upon you an account of the anxious
attempts of my friend the bold Dragoon, who understood
little of French, and nothing of Spanish, at gallant
speeches. With regard to myself, thanks to my old
teacher Claud Berard, at the Military Academy, I made
out rather better.
My crew had been well selected; the boat sprang for-
ward under the efforts of their well-timed oars and my
skill at the helm with the spirit of a courser. The oars
bend at every vigorous stroke, .nd soon we take the lead
of the little fleet. As we advance, 1h rge flocks of water-
fowl rise in dark clouds, with a noise like that of an ap-
proaching tornado, and wheeling across the bay, seek safer
retreats in the deep coves of Santa Rosa. Shoals of por-
poises ride past, sporting in the sunshine on the gentle
surface of the wave, and all nature seems to partake of
the spirit of this joyous hour. What a magnificent sheet
of water! One would almost imagine that peace and con-
tentment might forever reign in yon quiet and secluded
nook! It is, however, but the home of the timid and





24 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,

innocent deer. But cast your eyes to the left as we turn
that point. Some two miles beyond, you observe a high
red wall, that seems to rise from the water's edge, increas-
ing in altitude as you follow it along It looks at this
distance like a huge terrace, and the live-oaks that crown
its summit, like a mass of shrubbery. That is the com-
mencement of "Red Bluff," upon the highest point of
which is the mansion of M. De La Rue. As we move
swiftly and smoothly along and approach nearer and nearer
to our destination, you may perceive to the right of what
seems to be a single large bush, a white speck, which even
at this distance reflects the rays of the sun. That speck
is the house to which we are bound, and the bush is a
magnificent grove of live-oaks. At length, as we draw
more near, we can distinguish many persons on the edge
of the bluff watching our approach.
Meanwhile my boat had kept the lead of the little fleet
with which we left the town; two other boats, however,
were close upon us; and we had scarcely landed on a long
slip which ran out from the beach to deep water, when the
others arrived; and together we moved on to the shore.
A level margin of some thirty yards of yellow or reddish
sand was to be crossed before we reached the bluff. And
there, by winding flights of stairs, we began the ascent of a
perpendicular gravel-bluff of sixty feet in height. Having
gained the top, we were met by Monsieur and Madame De
La Rue with friendly greetings. We accompanied our host
and hostess to the mansion, where we mingled with those
of the guests who had already arrived by land.
The building, though large, was simple. In front was a
Venetian piazza, extending the whole width of the house.
The view here was fine. Orange, fig, and pomegranate-
trees of great size were growing on either side of the
entrance; and two gigantic live oaks, the growth of cen-
turies, cast their shade on the east and west of the build-





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


ing, which fronted the water. A grove of the same noble
trees was at a short distance, on the west of the house;
while on the east was the garden, where the most exqui-
site collection of fruits and flowers were mingling their
beauties and their sweets in soft and delicious harmony.
The natural broad terrace in front commanded a view of
the sweeping expanse of water, and the long, low line of
the opposite shore of Santa Rosa. Altogether, a more
delightful abode the listless languor of the Creole could
not have pictured to his fertile imagination.
When all the guests had arrived, the doors of the break-
fast-room were thrown open, and the disclosure of a plen-
tiful and rich repast regaled the senses of the company, on
whom the fresh air of morning had not failed to exercise
its appetizing influence. A joyous hour was passed at the
breakfast-table; and in the course of another hour the
sound of a bugle called together the scattered groups,
some of whom were wandering in the garden in quest of
bouquets, while others were strolling under the oak-trees,
or seated on the terrace in contemplation of the scenery in
front. This was the signal to repair to the field of action.
All parties speedily collected at the house; here our host
and hostess, followed by a large bevy of gallants and belles,
led the way to the grounds, where a long arbor, composed
of magnolia-branches, open on the north side, had been
erected. Here a band of music was playing a martial air;
seats were placed for the accommodation of the ladies,
affording them a view of the Patgo, which was already
elevated on its tall staff, sixty yards in front.
Immediately in front of the centre of the arbor was a
little projection, which shaded a post, into the sides of
which wooden pins had been drive for the purpose of
affording a "rest" to those of the aspirants for distinction
as marksmen who chose to avail themselves of such
adventitious aid; though, to the credit of the hunters of





26 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,

Florida, it must be acknowledged that but very few of
them deigned to ask the aid of a "rest,"-" of-hand" shoot-
ing being the common practice amongst those whose mar-
tial tastes led them to prefer the rifle.
Custom, or the law of the Patgo, requires the "King,"
as the master of the entertainment is designated, to open
the game by firing the first shot. M. De La Rue now
advanced to the "rack" in which the arms stood, (both
those brought by visitors, as well as those belonging to
the house,) and selecting a beautiful, light, silver-mounted
rifle, his favorite piece, stepped out from the post, and,
raising it quickly to his shoulder, fired.
At the crack of the rifle a red ribbon separated itself
from the side of the bird, which at the moment stood
facing the company, and floated gracefully to the ground.
A murmur of approbation was heard, and a little negro boy
brought the ribbon to his master. Several of the guests
successively advanced, and in turn, taking their own or
other rifles from the rack, blazed away at the mark: not a
ribbon fell. The aim had been too central, and the bul-
lets were heard plainly to clink upon the hard body of the
bird. M. De La Rue then came up to me, and, as a compli-
ment to a stranger, requested me to try my hand. Thus
prompted, I could not decline the honor. I accordingly
walked up to the "rack," and, taking from it at hazard a
rifle, I delivered my fire; a fine, broad party-colored rib-
bon was launched into the air, and glided smoothly to the
ground. The little darkey brought it to me, and, as he
delivered it, our host came smiling forward, congratulated
me on my skill, and said: As you are the first of the
guests that has gained a trophy, you are entitled to salute
the Queen." He accompanied, or rather half led me to
where his cara sposa was seated. She at once rose, smiled,
and presented her cheek, upon which I absolutely impressed
a kiss before I well knew exactly what I was about; for I





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


had not heard of the existence of a law of the Patgo so
stringent, until the moment I was required to comply
with it.
I believe, from what I heard afterwards, that I acquitted
myself with perfect propriety. The lady, after receiving
the tribute I had paid, still smiling, told me I must now
find the owner of the ribbon, and claim her for the first
dance. I had now to go the rounds, with the trophy held
up in my hand before me, until I came to a demoiselle
who acknowledged it to have been presented by herself.
I finished by obtaining the promise of her hand for the
first contra-dance; and having placed the streamer in my
button-hole, Miss Clara Teresa humorously told me she
should know me again by my badge.
Several gallants following in succession, tried their skill,
with more or less success, when our Surgeon Coburn was
called upon to display his knowledge of the science of pro-
jectiles. The doctor is a fussy person of five feet six,
rather rotund for his perpendicular extension, with a full
animated face, expressive of high intellectual faculties,
mingled with good-natured complaisance, and a full
share of self-approbation. He is withal a general
favorite with the officers of the regiment, as he is not
without a quaint drollery, which, seasoned with a spice
of wit, gives force to his repartee. The doctor marched,
head erect, to the stand, and selected with apparent care a
rifle of great length and weight from a number of different
sizes. Satisfied with his choice, he faced towards the
assembly, and bowing, said: Fair ladies, I rely on this
good weapon and your favor to do my devoir before this
goodly company; aid me, then, with a little invocation to
your favorite saints." Having received by acclamation
the best wishes of the fair ones, expressed in tones of
approval and general merriment, he placed his rifle upon
a pin which his ambition rather than his judgment had





28 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,

induced him to select. He perceived at once his error.
but too proud to retract his assumption, the little gentle-
man raised himself on tiptoe, and brought into play every
inch of extension he was master of before he could bring
the barrel of his piece to bear upon the object. After a
long and breathless aim, during which all present partook
more or less of his anxiety, the rifle's flash was seen, and
a bright ribbon that came sailing down from the neck of
the bird was greeted with a shout of approbation that
concealed some effort to suppress a smile, and proclaimed
the success of the gallant surgeon. Several attendants
ran to secure the silken streamer, which was brought in
triumph to the stand. M. De La Rue came forward, and
complimented the doctor on his skill, and conducted him
to the presence of the assemblage of ladies, where the for-
tunate possessor of the fine streamer presented his token
for a claimant. It was at length acknowledged by a
blooming widow, and the little man's happiness was "au
comble" by the possession of her hand for the first dance.
The youth, who followed the surgeon, cut down his
ribbon, and was made happy by the allotment of a pretty-
faced damsel as his partner. A young Spaniard now
came up, and, as he took a rifle in hand, declared his
intention to bring down the white ostrich plume which
adorned the head of the bird; he made a snap-shot, and his
ball struck the cock's bill, within half an inch of the stem
of the feather. The shock sent the bird whirling round upon
the iron rod, until, losing its velocity, it stopped directly
facing the company. The dark brow of the young man was
contracted, and a shade of disappointment passed over his
face as he turned from the mark and brought the butt of
his rifle down with a vigorous arm unintentionally upon
the toes of one of the black attendants, who acknowledged
the favor with a cry that resounded through the arbor.
The young Spaniard felt the regards of all present turned





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


upon him, and galled by the scrutiny, moved off haughtily
into the centre of the crowd.
Immediately after this, Ferdinand Oreo, who was
standing in front of a very lovely girl, Rose Vermiel,
whose favor, it was understood, he had for some time
assiduously sought, was called to the stand. He bowed,
as he left his lady-love with a fixedness of purpose on his
countenance that seemed to indicate the feeling that on his
coolness and dexterity depended his obtaining for the
contra-dance the hand of the sweet girl who had given the
plume. Now, Ferdinand, my friend, hand and eye, nerve
and temper, must work together!-no little dexterity is
necessary to cut the shaft of an ostrich feather at sixty
yards, and more particularly as the feather now stands with
its broad face to the front, making the shot more difficult
owing to the wide surface presented, and the indistinct-
ness of the stem it was necessary to cut to bring the feather
to the ground. Choosing a smooth, level spot for his feet,
he examined the priming, and set the trigger of his piece.
His right shoulder was thrown little back, and his straight,
slender figure and well-rounded limbs showed to advantage
in the attitude he assumed. He brought the breech of the
rifle to his shoulder, and the muzzle rose quickly from the
foot of the flag-staff to the object on its summit; then,
without an instant's pause, the red flame burst forth, the
.sharp crack rang through the bower, and the white plume,
darting up from its resting-place, descended with a quick,
spiral motion to the ground; the bullet grazing the comb
of the warrior-bird, had cut the very thread that bound to
his head this much-envied ornament. A general shout of
delight signified the satisfaction of the spectators. The
son of our hostess, a boy of eight years, darted forward and
brought the plume. Ferdinand received it hurriedly, and,
hastening past the admiring eyes of a host of damsels,
presented his claim which was at once acceded to.





30 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS.

The sport went on, with more or less mirth and spirit,
as the aspirants for fame were successful or disappointed
in obtaining partners to their liking. Indeed, by the
time each gallant had fired his shot, the naked and bat-
tered body of the Patgo was all that remained on the staff.
The object now was to knock down the shapeless block,
which entitled the one who accomplished this feat to the
title of King" elect, and host of the next Patgo.
Antonio Collin, the father of two of the loveliest girls
present, was the aspirant to this dignity. He enlisted a
number of young men in his cause, and the discharge of
fire-arms, as the party approached nearer and nearer to the
mark, became incessant; till, drawing quite close, the fire
ceased, and Antonio Collin, advancing almost to the foot
of the staff, by the discharge of a single shot brought the
mangled object to the earth. He was at once declared
King elect.
The first act of the Patgo being now ended, the party
returned to the house. Dinner was now announced; and
soon after the party rose from the table, the band on
the piazza playing a lively air, invited the lovers of the
dance to lead out their partners. It was not long before
couple after couple joined in the most easy and graceful of
all dances. The amusement was kept up with little inter-
mission until the sun was disappearing below the western
horizon, when the entertainment terminated with a gen-
eral waltz. The day of the Patgo was past; the guests
prepared to depart. Saddle-horses and vehicles of all
descriptions were soon brought forth.
The boats were manned, and ladies fair, and gallant gen-
tlemen, took leave of their kind host and his charming wife,
and turned their faces towards home. The full moon, for
whose welcome approach the day had been selected, rose
as the sun went down. Not a cloud was in the clear
atmosphere, and as we "shoved off" from the wharf, the





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


ladies of several boats united their voices in a Spanish
chant, which swelled over the water with a soothing soft-
ness that lent a charm to the hour.
Song after song enlivened the voyage, and having safely
landed in front of Pensacola, many expressions of the
pleasures of the day were interchanged with the ladies as
we left them at home.


PENSACOLA, December I, I822.
MY DEAR H- : I am mounted at last-and splen-
didly I found here a short time past a blooded mare
from Virginia; she was brought hither through Ten-
nessee and Alabama by a Mr. Anderson, a gentleman
who came to look at Florida lands and live-oak tim-
ber. Kate, as I have christened her, is a dark bay,
almost a brown, with the most beautiful head, saucily
set upon a fine neck, which springs proudly from a
deep and well thrown-back shoulder; a short back,
fiddle hips, and a clean set of limbs finish the portrait. She
has a fair share of woman's wilfulness; but that is amply
illuminated or adorned by a light pair of heels and great
powers of endurance. I have ridden her after the hounds
several times. Last week we had a teasing hunt, and by
hard riding ran down and killed a fine buck, although
he crossed the bayou, through swamp and bog, twice.
This of course threw us out, and compelled us to seek
crossing-places at some distance -to recover which and
again come up with the dogs, required hard riding.
It was a party made up by Captain Bell of the 4th; a
gallant fellow, in the prime of early manhood, of a solid
and strong constitution of body, a fearless rider, devoted
to the sports of the field, as it were with him "the day's
reflection and the midnight dream;" a man after my own
heart, being not only a lover of the chase, but an accom-





32 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS.

polished gentleman; but I must give you some description
of the others who composed the party. First, there was
Lieut. Lewis, a thoughtless, rattle-brained youth, but a
good rider; next there was Ferdinand Oreo, to whom I
have already introduced you. He had brought with him
a person who could not well come under the denomination
I have used in reference to those I have already named,
however much he might, from frequent association with
Ferdinand, have aspired to it. Diego Rojo was in fact a
person of very questionable standing; an owner of cattle;
and from his knowledge of the woods and woods' craft a
successful hunter, he was frequently the companion of the
former, who was himself rather fond of the chase. With
your humble servant, these composed the party.
The day appointed for the hunt was an uncommon one
for the time of year, though not the less welcome than
unexpected. The rarefied and vaporous atmosphere so
oppressive during the long and sultry summer of a
southern clime, was cooled and condensed by the first frost
of the season, which spell-like seemed to exercise its magic
influence equally, though with contrary effect, on all ani-
mate and inanimate nature, at once striking the tender
flower drooping to the earth, and instilling new life and
vigor to the languid and weakened frame of man. The
sun was just rising as Ferdinand and his companion rode
up to Capt. Bell's quarters, where the horses were collected,
and where breakfast was prepared for the party.
The duties of the table being despatched, our party
came forth and found old Jupiter, a French negro, Bell's
hostler, mounted and in charge of the horses and dogs;
his copper-colored face glistening with delight in antici-
pation of the sport. In a moment Bell was on the back
of his snow-white mare, a beautiful animal, brought to
Florida by the gentleman who brought also my mare
" Kate;" indeed the two animals are half-sisters.





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


"Fancy" is in truth perfect-as gentle and docile, as
delicate and beautiful, she wheeled with graceful motion
and springy tread at the slightest touch of the single
snaffle rein; her saddle was light and simple, neither
covering up nor reaching to the fine loin and haunch which
distinguish the high-bred courser from the cold-blooded
drudge. Lieut. Lewis rode a strong roan horse of great
bone, and with a bob-tail; as he mounted he said laughing,
" He that rides with me to-day may look for rough riding."
Ferdinand was well mounted on a heavy bay. As I have
already described to you my own gay Kate, it only
remains to give you a pencil sketch of Diego and his
steed to complete the picture of the goodly group. This
man was a thin, shrivelled Spaniard of medium height;
his sallow visage was neatly garnished with a slight jet-
black moustache that curled upwards on either side of his
hooked nose; his eyes were small, black and sunken, and
at times shot out a gleam of fire that roused an involun-
tary feeling of dislike or aversion in the person upon
whom they were suddenly darted and instantly withdrawn,
- eyes that were constantly in motion and restless as the
caged hyena's.
So incessant a smoker was he that his lips were seldom
without the paper cigarretto, from which one would have
been led to imagine he derived his only sustenance from
the noxious weed, had not the dried-up and bloodless
appearance of his face and limbs proclaimed the contrary.
He looked, in fact, to be as thoroughly and essentially
smoke-dried as a red herring, and not altogether unlike
one in appearance. Unsocial in temper, he passed much
of his time, when not upon a fishing expedition, at home
with the quadroon with whom he lived as it were in
wedlock. His dwelling was at the head of a sequestered
cove of the bay, some distance below the town, and shut
off from it by a marsh, through which a spring branch of
C





34 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,

fresh water trickled past his door amidst a thicket of
brambles and vines. At intervals, he would not make
his appearance in Pensacola for months at a time; and
then, if met by accident in the woods, his horse and gun
were his only companions, and the care of his cattle, as he
would say, his only employment; and this was in fact his
only ostensible business. His habits and his retiring
manner did not fail to bring him under suspicion with
some of the people of the town, but nothing could be
adduced to authorize distrust; and Diego disregarded
whatever might have given offence to one of more
susceptibleness than himself. Ferdinand had however,
by a kindly and familiar treatment in the field, gained a
hold upon the Spaniard's affections which no one else
possessed.
Diego, when all were mounted and ready to set out,
appeared to be with much self-complaisance smoothing
and arranging the forelock of his pretty bay pony neatly
under the browband of his bridle. "Amado," as his
master called him, was not stout and scrubby like most
ponies, but rather lightly than heavily made, and of re-
markably fine proportions; a full flowing mane hung on
the right side of his arched and polished neck; but Nature,
so bountiful to Amado in other respects, had sportively or
in derision denied him the ornamental and useful appen-
dage of a full and flowing tail.
The few, long, straggling hairs which that member dis-
ported, gave an odd and rather ludicrous finish to his
otherwise trim appearance. But when, as the party set
out, the deep-mouthed tones of exultation of the hounds
filled the air, Amado curled his rat-tail on high, and
bounding from the earth, stood erect, pawing the air with
his forefeet, and displaying the finest limbs and boldest
action imaginable. "Down, Amado," said his master;
and at the word, the "Darling," with an angry and spite-





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


ful shake of the head, resumed his position, but continued
to bite the bit, and ever and anon to hazard a kick at any
of the dogs that were imprudent enough to come within
his reach. As we moved forward, old Jupiter, with his
long whip and silver-mounted horn, brought up the rear
with his canine troop. Bell's best dogs were, Bluetail,
Bellona, and "Old Enoch," as he was always called. The
latter's name had originally been "Ranger," but having
been emasculated for what reason I know not was one
day on the parade-ground with his master, about to take
the field, when Captain N-, an odd character, coming
by and addressing Bell, said,-
"Why, Captain, that dog's an Enoch,"--meaning a
eunuch.
The thing took, and ever after poor Ranger went by the
name of "Old Enoch."
We mustered to-day eight dogs. They are "fox-hounds;"
faster dogs are not preferred; they run the deer out of
the range in a short time; and the country around being
much cut up with bayous and swamps, it is impossible for
the riders to keep with the dogs; whereas the deer will
play before the slower dogs, and afford opportunities for
the horsemen to gain stands where it is known the deer
will pass, and where the hunter is sure of his shot.
We moved on-through the woods, where the long-leaved
pine, sparsely distributed, towers up among the red and
the white palmetto. As we rode along slowly, the dogs
beating about quietly in front, seeking for the "trail" of
a deer, Captain Bell said to me,-
"As you have not hunted yet in this region, I will point
out to you in the distance the country that is to be the
theatre of your exploits to-day. Look through that almost
open avenue,- there, a little to the right, you see a line
of heavy, dark-green timber resembling a wall, and
stretching away to the northwest as far as the -eye can





36 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,

reach: it is the hummock of Live-oak and Bay-galls that
borders the bayou and conceals it; but, at the same time,
marks its course. Here, to the left, as far as we can see,
the country is flat and open, and towards its mouth the
bayou is nearly a mile wide, and its clear waters are
margined with a beach of the purest white sand, inter-
spersed with conical sand-hills; but, as you ascend the
stream again, the land gradually rises into pine ridges, the
loose, sandy soil of which my little mare has reason to re-
member, for, some days ago, we had a killing race over it;
and, should the deer carry us in that direction to-day, you
will have use for your spurs, I assure you. Or if he
shape his course down-stream, you may again find their
service necessary in the wet lowlands."
Thus chatting, we passed through the patches of knotty
"black-jacks," whose leaves were touched with a thousand
hues of green, red, brown, and yellow, that gave a som-
brous wildness to the scenery, the effect of which was in-
creased by the dull murmur of the breeze sighing through
the pine-tops. The distant sound of our approach drove
the startled fawn from its grassy bed, and it might be seen
afar off at intervals as it bounded above the grass and pal-
mettos.
At length we came upon the hunting-ground, and Ju-
piter was ordered with the pack "to drive" a branch or
arm of the bayou that shot out from the main body of the
hummock. The old black, plying his armed heel against
the flanks of his stout hack, made his way resolutely
through vines, briers, and various impediments that op-
posed his advance, and finally forcing a passage into the
impenetrable-looking underbrush, was lost to sight, though
his progress was still denoted by his shouts of encourage-
ment to the dogs. Jupiter had not advanced far before a
single note, low, deep-toned, and prolonged, brought glad
tidings and true to the ears of his master.





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


Hark to him !" cried the Captain. "Listen to old
Enoch; that was his voice, and it is a voice that never
deceives. He has struck a cold trail,' and carefully and
truly will the old fellow follow it. Hark again! another
note; he will soon track the deer to his lair, and rouse
him from his noon-day repose. We must separate, and be
ready for him when the dogs force him from cover."
Old Enoch continued his course slowly and accurately,
from time to time giving notice of his progress; when all
at once the whole pack, bursting into full cry, proclaimed
that the deer was up. Each horseman concealed himself
and horse as much as possible behind a tree or bush, and
waited in silence and anxious expectancy for the moment
when the deer, on being closely pressed, should leave the
hummock. In a few minutes, however, Bell, having lis-
tened attentively to the cry, put spurs to his mare, and
dashed down the branch to its junction with the bayou,
and throwing the reins on his mare's neck, sat loosely in
the saddle, coolly awaiting the approach of the chase, pre-
pared to deliver his fire at the first bound of the deer from
cover. His judgment proved to be correct: the boisterous
cry of the pack passed, successively, each of- the disap-
pointed hunters stationed above; but as the deer approach-
ed the junction, he caught the wind of his enemy, and
declined to leave the cover; and the cry of the pack soon
proved that he had directed his flight up the main bayou.
As Bell rode back, he called out,-
This fellow is disposed to breathe our horses. We are
entered for a good mile race by this manoeuvre. The
' stand' is the first cove above this branch; if we let him
pass that, he is safe for the day. Come on."
An animated whoop started us at full speed, and in
another moment we were sweeping through the rattling
palmettos with the sound of a hurricane. In order to
gain the "stand" indicated by the Captain, we were





38 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,

obliged to double the branch or arm of the hummock in
which the deer had been started; so that, although we had
the advantage of a more open country, we had to perform
more than double the distance required of the deer to place
him beyond further pursuit. The horses, however, were
fresh, and as, open-mouthed, they drew near the cove, the
pack was coming up in full cry towards us. Stands were
taken as the judgment of the individual dictated, and
scarcely were we disposed of, ere the chase came thunder-
ing on. Again we were disappointed; the deer, having
approached to the very edge of the hummock, again caught
the wind of his pursuers, and doubling back, returned in
the same trail he had advanced upon.
"An old buck, I'11 be sworn," cried Diego; "but we'll
have him yet, in spite of all his cunning."
At this moment, Lieutenant Lewis, who had pulled up
at the first stand on the cove," as the broad, semicircular
recess of the hummock was called, necessarily had the
lead, when we turned to follow the chase on the back
track by at least two or three hundred yards. This ad-
vantage he seemed resolved to maintain; and he was, in
fact, still foremost in the race when we again drew near
the ground where the deer was started; but before he
reached that point, the chase, a noble buck, which since
the last dodge had strained every nerve to elude.his pur-
suers and make good his escape, came bounding and crash-
ing through the dry palmettos at a distance of a few hun-
dred yards in front of the Lieutenant. Diego, who was
next in advance, shouted to him, -
Cut him off, or we lose him! "
Lewis gallantly dashed spurs into his horse's flanks and
bore a little to the left, for the deer was running in a
direction to cross his path in front. Trees, logs, and snags
all vanished from his sight; he saw nothing but the
majestic buck, and he determined to turn him at all





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


hazards. He had already overcome two-thirds of the
distance to the point at which the line of his own desper-
ate course intersected that of the deer, and it was scarcely
doubtful whether he would succeed in his object; for the
buck, whose attention was engrossed by the cry of the
hounds in his rear, and moreover was purblind from hard
running, evidently did not see the Lieutenant, who was
bent on cutting off his retreat. Lewis' eye was on the
deer, and he was just preparing for a tremendous shout to
proclaim his success, when directly in his path lay an
open patch some twenty yards in diameter, devoid of grass,
but beautifully covered with a coat of green mould, which
his horse seemed much inclined to avoid; but the Lieu-
tenant's eyes were riveted on the deer, and spurring
passionately he drove his horse forward, and the next
instant was plunged into a quick-sand bog. At the first
leap the horse sunk to his shoulders, his head was buried
in the mire, and he rolled over on his side. The rider
had at the same time been thrown over the horse's head
and lay stretched upon the moss-covered bog, while his
gun projected beyond himself, and striking on its muzzle,
stood erect and quivering within a few feet of the buck,
which was in the act of passing just beyond the far side of
the bog. The latter, unaccustomed to feats of flying
vaulting, was as completely astounded as if a thunderbolt
had fallen at his feet, nor could that indeed have checked
his course more abruptly. For a moment he stood as if
paralyzed, gazing on the scene, then wheeling with a wild
snort, dashed back to the cover from which he had just
emerged. We came up in time to assist in extricating the
gallant Lieutenant from his awkward predicament.
The pack came dashing out above almost as the buck
went in again to the hummock below: they circled round
where the deer had doubled, and without for a moment
faltering followed him back again. The cry of the pack





40 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,

soon told that the buck as he regained the cover had
dashed through to the banks of the bayou, where plunging
in he swum the stream and hied him off to the northward.
"Gentlemen," said Diego, "the deer has 'taken water,'
and the dogs are pushing him bravely on the other side
of the bayou; we must not sit here idle. The wind is
northerly; he will continue his course up the western
arm of the bayou to its source, and then strike off for the
Perdido; we must take the main ridge between the forks,
and with good riding we shall meet him at the head of the
west branch."-" Forward then," said Capt. Bell; and the
next moment we were dashing on as furiously as before.
We were compelled to descend the stream some distance
to gain a ford, Diego being our guide. On reaching the
ford, the latter led the way across.-" It will be touch and
go with your pony, here," said Ferdinand to Diego:
" head up well, or you may miss the landing."
Never fear for me, Seflor," replied the other; "Amado
has crossed Bayou Grande too often to require assistance at
any point. Nor do I admit that he has a superior on
rough and difficult ground; but when we reach the open
ridge, Sefor Fernando, you must put your horse to the
top of his mettle (for there I admit your superiority), and
if the deer is not killed there, he will bid us adieu."
On gaining the opposite bank, we struck off nearly at
right angles to the direction in which the dogs were heard.
This was necessary to get at once upon the ridge which
would carry us almost in a right line to the head-waters
of the branch above mentioned; while the route pursued
by the deer in following the circuitous course of the stream
would not only be much longer but also prove more diffi-
cult. A gallop of half a mile through the low scrub
brought us to the dividing ridge where the fair trial of the
speed and bottom of the different horses must come off.
We stopped a moment to listen for the dogs, but they





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


were quite out of hearing. Ferdinand was well mounted
and a good rider; and he boldly took the lead. Throw-
ing his gun across his right shoulder, he gave the whoop
and spurred on at a furious speed. Capt. Bell was at his
side in a moment, Lewis and I followed, soon leaving
Diego. The foremost horsemen bravely cleared every
obstacle that met them. Not knowing the country, I was
content to keep within pistol-shot of them, and Lewis'
horse was unable to do more. The distance we had now to
accomplish was nearly three miles; but the undergrowth was
grass and the timber sparse; the riding was therefore much
better, as the land was a dry and firm sand. Ferdinand
maintained his position by the side of the white mare for
the first mile; but then the latter proved the superiority
of her blood, and after a short struggle for the mastery,
took the lead. The Captain apparently felt that he must
put Fancy to her trumps to gain the stand in time to meet
the deer, for we had not come within hearing of the chase
as yet.
And lightly did the noble animal carry her rider over
log and snag, taking the most trying leaps without hesi-
tation. Indeed, the beautiful creature that a little while
before had seemed all gentleness and docility, and to an
unpractised eye would have appeared too slightly formed
for such work, was now all fire and vehemence. Bell
evidently gave her the rein, and with his heel guiding her
among the scattered pines through which she seemed to
fly with an ease and confidence that by one unaccustomed
to such sport would have been regarded with astonishment,
he suffered her to choose her own way as far as possible.
Thus the second mile was passed ; and Kate was now second
in the race, which was continued with unabated ardor;
still no clamor of the pack was heard.
The ridge was soon more thickly clad with the palmetto
and black-jack, and our view was confined to a few yards
4*





42 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,

in front and on either hand. On a sudden, however, I
saw both Fancy and my own Kate raise inquiringly their
ears,-for Kate was not content to remain behind, and had
by this time come up alongside of Fancy,-and in a moment
after lay them back close to their necks, and lunge forward
as if inspired with new spirit. Onward they swept
together mercilessly,* clearing their way through the inter-
locked branches of the tough black-jacks, and soon to our
joy we heard the faint notes of the distant pack, which
was now approaching the head of the bayou, in a direc-
tion converging to that in which we were advancing.
A few hundred yards farther brought us through the
thicket, and we at once came upon a large savannah, or
grassy pond, in which the bayou took its rise. The
country was now perfectly open and admirable for the
horses, and they carried us gayly along the margin of the
savannah, the head of which was half a mile beyond where
we entered upon it; and the "stand," a regular defile
through which the deer invariably passed in crossing over
to the waters of the Perdido, was another half mile beyond
the head of the savannah.
When we entered upon the opening, Bell cast his eye
down the bayou and discovered the buck coming up on
the opposite side of the savannah, steadily pursued by the
dogs, (though at some distance,) whence they sent for-
ward the intelligence of their coming in deep-toned and
eager cries. The poor buck, nearly exhausted with the
long and uninterrupted run, is laboring under the weight
Any one who has ridden at top speed through the black-jacks of
Florida, will comprehend the sense in which I use the word. The
usual result is a pair of lower limbs, black, blue, and red. all over.
Nothing but buckskin will stand it. I once came in at the end of a
deer-chase through the black-jacks, with my corduroys absolutely in
ribbands; and two of my friends had to ride close on each side of me,
in order to get me fairly through the streets of Pensacola to the hotel,
where I procured a refit.





BY GEORGE A McCALL.


of his branching antlers; his parched tongue lolls from
his husky throat; his heart is bursting, and with his
ebbing breath
"He curses his conspiring feet, whose scent
Betrays that safety which their swiftness lent."
The Captain, at a glance, perceived his condition, but
did not stop to moralize. He called out to me, -
We can take him as he passes the head of the pond."
Again putting spur to our horses, we gained the head
of the savannah in advance of him. On reaching the
savannah, the buck had been compelled to leave the wind,
the only medium through which he receives warning of
danger in front; for when hotly pursued, his eyesight soon
fails him, and his ears are filled with the fearful cry of the
hounds in his rear. It followed, then, that when we drew
up at the distance of some two hundred yards in his front,
he continued his course, unconscious of our presence. The
Captain whispered,-
The first shot is yours; fire."
I drew up my piece, and fired; but the excitement of
the chase, and the fatigue of my bridle-arm, caused my aim
to be unsteady, and my bullet cut the leaves from the
bushes above his head.
The buck sprang forward at the report, and redoubled
his efforts. The white mare now stood statue-like, with
ears erect and eyes fixed upon the noble deer still advanc-
ing; and before the fated patriarch of the wilds had made
two leaps, the Captain's piece rang forth his death-knell.
The buck made one tremendous leap; staggered forward a
few yards in quick, irregular plunges; recovered himself;
and then, expending the remaining energies of vitality in
one majestic bound, fell lifeless on the plain.
In a short time the wild shout of our friends, now ar-
rived on the ground, was at once the plaudit of the victor
and the requiem of the slain. The dogs too, coming up





44 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS.

upon the trail, but little blown by their long and fatiguing
run, soon caught the scent of blood, and, with erected tails
and bristling hair, rushed forward and crowded upon their
victim. And now, old Jupiter, a notorious hard rider,
who had followed the chase sufficiently to keep always
within hearing of the dogs, came, whipping and spurring,
upon the scene, and springing at once from his horse, took
hold of the deer, and, with a joyous and inimitable burst
of laughter, exclaimed, -
"You make good shot this time, Massa Captain; your
bullet take him here, between the neck and right shoulder,
and come out through the ribs on t'other side!"
We now dismounted to let our horses breathe, while all
present collected around the deer to admire his great length
of body, his broad loin, and his fine limbs. Then, seated
upon the grass, a cigar was soon lighted, and the excite-
ment produced by the chase was soothed and allayed by
the magic power of the Indian weed. By the time we had
finished our cigars, the deer had been bestowed la
croupiere de vieux Jupiter," and we proceeded slowly on our
way homeward.
P. S.- If you, dear H- have not found this long
deer-hunt rather de trop," I may, by-and-by, give you
some other sketches of life in Florida. Adieu.


CANTONMENT CLINCH, December I, 1822.
MY DEAR H----: Thanks for your letter of the 25th.
The favor with which mine are received, as well as the
anticipation of the bright returns they bring, induces me
to continue the sketches of this indolent and pleasure-
loving people amongst whom the initiation of my military
career has fallen. Indeed, the change of life from the dis-
cipline of the Military Academy to the light garrison
duty here required of us, tempered by a moderate indul-





BY GEORGE A. dcCaALL.


gence of fun and frolic to fill up the vacant hours, has
made the past two months a regular holiday. I have much
to tell you; but I think I must begin with a very pleasant
evening party I was at last week. This was an entertain-
ment called a Bouquet Ball." And what is a Bouquet
Ball? you will ask. I will tell you. It is an enter-
tainment given now and then by a single gentleman in
return for the hospitalities in general, and more particu-
larly the dancing parties of the matrons and leaders of
society.
The gentleman at whose expense the ball is given, is,
with the usual consideration still entertained by the old
Spanish and French families for rank and position, entitled
" King;" and the lady who consents to share his honors
on the occasion, is duly invested with the equally gratify-
ing appellation of "Queen." In the course of the even-
ing the Queen presents a bouquet of flowers to some one
of the bachelors present, and then it is that, as she, at a
certain appointed time during the festivities, prepares to
discharge this her privilege and pleasing ceremonial, the
heart of many a youthful aspirant beats high in hope and
expectation, and the diaphragms of certain old bachelors,
whose ruling passion is gradually sliding from ostentation
into avarice, are being agitated by less agreeable sensa-
tions.
The last victim to this arbitrary custom was an Eng-
lishman, who had been long established as a merchant on
Palafox Street, and who had also passed that period when
the tender passion and kindred sympathies of man prompt
to matrimonial alliances. Nevertheless, he had been fairly
entrapped by a coterie of merry Creoles, as I am told, and
being committed to the measure, had boldly challenged
the fairest and gayest young widow of Pensacola to share
his honors on the inevitable occasion.
In their social intercourse, no pleasure presents greater





46 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS.

allurements to the inhabitants of this fair town than a
hearty observance of the rites of Terpsichory. Nor, on
such occasions as this, is there observed a very strict dis-
tinction of classes. In the intercourse of every-day life,
the wealthy and intelligent were, of course, the more im-
portant personages, and some few families of this class
resolutely maintained an aristocratic superiority; but on
the occurrence of a flte like the present, when a general
exhibition of beauty and taste is looked for, they meet on
terms of easy and good-humored familiarity. They, one
and all, dress with simplicity and good taste; and as the
least wealthy are, as well as their superiors, remarkable for
a native grace and dignity of carriage and manner rarely
to be met with elsewhere, except among the educated and
refined classes, it would not be an easy matter for a stranger
in one of these assemblies to distinguish, by their air or
general appearance, the proud patrician from the scarcely
less polished plebeian.
Although to the King, as the host is called, these enter-
tainments are attended with a degree of inconvenience and
trouble not altogether suited to the tastes and habits of
our friend Mr. Norton, yet, being a man somewhat addicted
to pomposity and display, he designed that the divertise-
ment, with which he proposed to regale the good people of
Pensacola, should be distinguished for a magnificence un-
known in the history of "Bouquet Balls." He also con-
templated the delight he should himself experience, and
the envy he should infallibly create, in leading the volup-
tuous Madame La Fleur, in the character of Queen, through
the mazes of the Spanish dances; and in a momentary fit
of liberality, or rather extravagance, gave orders that no
pains or expense should be spared in the preparations.
Invitations were extended to every family where there was
a pretty face. Nor were the dark-eyed Creoles less ex-
cited in anticipation of the display promised them by Mr.





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


Norton, who made no secret of the willingness with which
he submitted to the task of superintending and directing
the arrangements.
The long looked-for evening at length arrived: the
company was assembled in the spacious ball-room of the
"Hotel d'Espagne," which was brilliantly lighted and
gayly decorated. The music had for some time been dis-
coursing its most enticing airs, and the lovers of the dance
were becoming impatient for the appearance of their
majesties, who were, of course, to open the ball. When,
at last, they entered the room, the music sounded a march,
and the company advanced to greet them, while such
expressions as, "See, they come!" "How lovely she
looks! floated round. Mr. Norton moved through the
room with measured step and consequential air, bowing
right and left in the most grave and condescending
manner; while the graceful La Fleur hung languish-
ingly on his arm, and, with the most bewitching smiles,
returned the salutations of her numerous friends and
admirers.
The arrival of the distinguished personages was the
signal for the joyous work upon which the young and gay
were all equally eager to enter; so that the call to the gen-
tlemen to lead out their partners was immediately complied
with. The King and Queen, of course, occupied the most
conspicuous position in the dance, on the right of the
Spanish contra-dance. The music, measured and slow,
commenced; the queen began the figure. She glided
through the intricacies of the dance with a light step, to
which the movements of her matchless figure (full but
not over-grown) conformed with facility and grace. I
could not but concede to her the charm of combining with
feminine dignity the seducing languor of the queen of
love. This dance, uniting the beauties of the minuet with
those of the waltz, is unrivalled in the fine attitudes and





48 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,

chaste movements its peculiar figures are calculated to
exhibit.
These Creoles understand it well: their ear for time is
so good, their movements so perfectly exact, that, as they
seem to float through the dance, their lovely figures might
be likened to the heavenly bodies-moving in circles and
elipses through the solar system, without ever interfering
one with another.
As La Fleur and her partner -for Norton had lived
long enough in Pensacola to be an adept -slowly passed
down the long alley of smiling damsels and gallant men,
lingering in the exchange of partners and interchange of
courtesies with each succeeding couple as they went, her
animated and glowing countenance showed that every
thought was absorbed, and that her ardent soul was revel-
ling in the delight which fine music and the brilliant
scene around was calculated to inspire. I could not but
pay her the homage of my admiration, although I knew
her to be totally without the education of the schools,
which we of the North consider so absolutely essential to
the development of the character and refinement of our
women.
I joined in the next dance with the fair Carlota, the
sister of Ferdinand, a lady-like girl, who had had the
advantage of such book-learning as the reverend and
excellent Father Pierre had been able to communicate to
her. Otherwise, she is gentle, lively, and fond of the
dance. As I accompanied her to a seat, I espied Lieut.
Lewis in conversation with Dr. Coburn. I divined,
as a matter of certainty, that some fun was brewing, and
I joined them as soon as politeness allowed me to leave
Carlota to the care of the gentleman who had asked her
hand for the waltz, at that moment called for.
The wild, laughter-loving Lieutenant had just met the
Surgeon, in whose eccentricities he found an inexhaustible





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


fund of amusement, at the same time that he admired,
respected, and loved the Doctor for his many sterling
qualities.
Why, Doctor," said Lewis, arguing a point with his
friend as I came up, "you carry all before you."
The Doctor was at the moment shaking the folds from
a cambric handkerchief, which he applied to his forehead
to remove the traces of too manifest exertion in the last
dance.
"Why, Doctor, I must inform you the ladies consider
you one of the most active men on the floor "
"I'm your obedient servant," returned the other;
"but, Lieutenant, you must not mistake me. I dance
simply for amusement, and because the exercise produces
a healthful action on my skin. I am regardless of opinion,
and study not the graces which you affect."
"Our success in any undertaking," replied the Lieu-
tenant, bowing low to conceal his countenance, "depends
more or less upon the zeal with which our efforts are made.
But, come,.Doctor," said the Lieutenant, as the music in
measured cadence called the lovers of the waltz to the
floor, "a man of your skill and gallantry must not be
idle. Numbers of languishing black eyes are already
turned upon you. Come, let us take partners; there are
two ladies whose looks seem to challenge us."
So saying, he took the little Doctor by the arm, and
moved in the direction he had indicated. Lewis made
his bow to the ladies, and unceremoniously secured the
prettiest of the two for himself; while the Surgeon, who
had followed doubtingly, or rather had been dragged along
by his friend, found himself under the necessity of offering
his hand to the other, who happened to be a tall, digni-
fied selorita, that stood, when she left her seat, a full
head and shoulders above the Doctor. The room was
already inscribed with a circle of whirling couples in the





50 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,

various attitudes of dggagg," "dos-a-dos," et cetera, but,
at the same time, avoiding, by the skilful ease and regu-
larity of their movements, all collision or interference
with each other.
As I followed with my eye the progress of this ill-sorted
couple, I could not but condemn the conduct of the Lieu-
tenant in forcing the worthy Surgeon into such a scrape;
for, whilst his partner was moving with the stateliness of
a Minerva, the pursy little gentleman was flying round her
at arm's length, and vainly striving, in the rapidity of his
revolutions, to regulate or control his steps. At every turn
one unruly leg would fly out behind like unto a puppet
whose wires were deranged. In fact, the limb was
unmanageable, and it seemed beyond the power of the
Doctor to bring it to the floor. It was evident that the
senorita was not a little annoyed by the consciousness
that the attention of the lookers-on was directed towards
her partner. The latter, however, was too much occupied
to make observations, and, with the spirit of a game
chicken, he persevered until the music ceased.
In a little while, my attention was attracted to a cotillon
in front of me, where Madame La Fleur was executing a
pirouet with surpassing elegance. These women, my dear
H- were created with physical endowments of the
highest order, compensating for, I might almost say, more
than compensating for their want of the mental. Yet, I
will not assert, either, that they are deficient in intellect,
however much it may want development. They are, at
all events, gentle and amiable.
In a short time the band played a march, announcing
supper. The entertainment was profuse. The table was
loaded with every delicacy; the guests in great good-
humor. The thing was, in fact, a perfect success, and did
credit to the liberality of our friend Norton.
The time for the presentation of the bouquet to the fortu-





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


nate gentleman upon whom Mad. La Fleur might decide to
confer that honor, was to be, according to long-established
rule, immediately after the guests returned from the supper-
table to the ball-room. A march was played as the com-
pany filed through the entrance, and dispersed around
within the walls of the long saloon; the question with all
being, "Who is to get the bouquet?" for La Fleur had
been mysteriously silent on the subject.
There is, I must let you know, a Scotch gentleman here,
a merchant, reputed rich, but extremely penurious, who
must be arranged in the class'of old bachelors, Roderick
VicAlpin by name; who, I am told, was never known
to decline an invitation to an evening or a dinner-party,
or to extend an invitation of a similar character to any
one, young or old, in Pensacola. He had been threatened
with the bouquet more than once by the ladies, it is said;
but inevitably vanished between the moment of leaving
the supper-table and that of entering the ball-room,
although the rooms were adjoining, and had but one door
of communication between them. On this occasion, some
of the mischievous seiioritas had plotted to entrap the old
gentleman; and having gained Mad. La Fleur's promise
to present him with the fatal token if they could produce
him bodily, they succeeded in inducing some of their
devoted senors to lock the doors before supper was over.
The consequence was, that after the company had all made
their way into the ball-room, and Mad. La Fleur, leaning
on the arm of the self-satisfied M. Norton, had made the
detour of the room, she espied the hitherto invisible Don
Roderick, as it were, cemented against the wall, being con-
tracted within himself to a degree, that, had there been a
sufficiently large augur-hole convenient, he would doubt-
less have vanished again. The lady passed him without
notice, and moved on; but in another moment she turned
suddenly, and before VicAlpin suspected the design, the








52 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,

dreaded bouquet was presented at his breast. Had it
been a pistol, it would not have caused the stout heart of
the old fellow half the agitation which did this pretty
bunch of flowers. I happened to be standing near at the
time; and it really gave me pain, however ludicrous the
whole scene was, to witness the real agony of that man's
feelings. His long jaw became longer as his under-lip
fell; his long nose looked longer as his cheeks shrunk
from it, and its natural twist to one side became more
apparent as the blood left his face. A kind of hiccough
was the only reply to the neat little speech of the blooming
widow who stood before him. At last, summoning up his
courage to meet a result that was now inevitable, he bowed
low and extended his hand to receive the gift. The good-
natured La Fleur, thereupon, in order to relieve his
embarrassment, made a gracious bow, and with a little
word of congratulation waved her hand and moved on.
A pervading feeling as of satisfaction that the old rogue
was caught at last, seemed to fill the merry hearts of woman-
kind; but a lively air, sounding from the little orchestra
at that moment, called the attention of all the youthful
lads and lasses to the business of the evening, and the
remembrance of the incident was soon lost in the joyous
mirth of the dance.
Somehow or other, Don Roderick soon made his escape
with his bouquet. He made no attempt to secure the
consent of any fair one to share with him the honors in
store, probably from apprehension that he might meet
with a rebuff. However that may be, he will have to pay
the penalty, rest assured.





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


CANTONMENT CLINCH January 6, 1823.
DEAR H- : Since my last to you, I have been fre-
quently at the house of Ferdinand Oreo, and have seen a
good deal of his mother and sister. They are well-
bred; the former, mild but dignified; the latter, lively,
natural, and unaffected. Late in the afternoon of yester-
day, I strolled down the street towards the water, and
seeing Ferdinand and the ladies on the piazza, I joined
them. At that hour the view down the bay is grand.
The bright sun had nearly run his daily course through a
calm, clear sky, in which not a cloud had crossed his
path, and now approached the long, lustrous line of the
western horizon, to plunge, as it seemed, beneath the sea.
The day had been sufficiently warm to make the return
of evening agreeable; and it was one of those delicious
evenings peculiar to the climate of Florida. There was
that serenity in the heavens that lulls the mind, at the
same time that the increasing elasticity of the land breeze
cheers and exhilarates the spirits. The eye, too, worried by
the dazzling glare of noon, found relief in wandering over
the fading prospect. In front, across the broad bay, lay
the Island of Santa Rosa, whose thick clumps of dark-
green Yapon-Bushes, interspersed with snow-white sand-
hills, already began to lose their distinctness in the mellow
shades of twilight. On the left, far away, the Escambia,
the Coldwater, Whitewater, Blackwater, and Yellow-
water Rivers,-verily a rare assemblage of names,- with
their host of tributaries, mingling their streams in two
great estuaries, thence poured their united volume into
the princely bay of Pensacola. As the last ray of the
setting sun glanced over this scene, we observed a heavy,
dingy-looking schooner, of no great burden, cast her
anchor in front of the town. This was a fishing-smack
returning from a cruise. She had doubled the extreme





54 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,
western promontory some hours before, and had slowly
worked her way up the harbor. The sluggish craft was
illy adapted, like others of her class, to contend with
adverse winds; and as the lazy Creole loves best to glide
over the waves with a full sail, it is rarely that any but a
fair breeze fills his soiled canvas. Soon after the vessel
was safely moored, a thin cloud of smoke, that rose in a
spiral form from the caboose, showed that the crew were
already preparing their evening meal. I have preferred,
dear H, describing the scenery around us last evening, to
relating the sallies of wit and lively discussions that
passed between the ladies and myself, or the more edify-
ing narratives of fishing and hunting adventures with
which Ferdinand favored me. Before we parted, however,
a riding party, to consist of Carlota and your humble ser-
vant, under the guidance and patronage of Ferdinand and
Josephine, was arranged. I should have told you that I
have recently participated in the pleasure of such excur-
sions several times in company with ma bonne amie Car-
lota, who is a fearless equestrienne.
Eh bien cela n'importe; but as we met with somewhat
of an adventure in the course of our ride, I will tell you
all about it precisely as it occurred. To begin.
Having called for the ladies, "Captain," said Carlota,
(the ladies always give me that title,) "my brother is
quite unwell to-day, and cannot leave his room; but
Josephine and I are equipped and will accompany you;
and, Captain, as you once promised to go with us to the
mouth of le Bayou Grande, shall we not take that route
to-day ?"
With pleasure," I answered; and at once we mounted
and rode forth from the town in the road to the Barran-
cas, the site of the old Spanish fort. A joyous trio, we
galloped briskly on the road leading through the plain clad
with black-jacks, as the low-scrub-oaks are called, until





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


we reached the hills covered with the long-leaved pine,
only pausing to dwell for a moment on some wild land-
scape, or to gaze upon the extensive and dreary, or the
more lively prospects that occasionally presented them-
selves to our view. -An hour's canter or easy gallop
brought us to the mouth of the bayou; where a still purer
air than that of the pine-barrens met us on our approach
to the sea. Arrived at this point, we came to a halt to
breathe our horses, whilst the young ladies admired the
brilliant scene to seaward, where the gently curling waves
were glittering beneath a noonday sun: The bright eyes
of my companions soon traced the low line of Santa Rosa
Island to its extreme point, where for a limited space the
Gulf of Mexico was open to view, and where skies and
seas the prospect only bound." After lingering here some
time, we turned our horses' heads towards home; and I
proposed to the ladies to follow the course of the beach
for a mile or two, in order to vary the route before we
turned again into the pine woods. We had not, however,
proceeded more than half a mile, when, on passing round
a high, thick clump of yapon-bushes, which projected
from the 'forest nearly to the water's edge, and concealed
a small plat of coarse, wiry grass, which here took the
place of the almost omnipresent palmetto, we suddenly
found ourselves in front of an Indian camp. A comely
matron was seated upon a bear-skin in front of the tent,
which was constructed of saplings so planted in the
ground and united overhead as to form the figure of the
sixteenth of a sphere, or, in other words, the front of the
tent was open; the sides and back were rounded and
thatched with palmetto-leaves. This temporary dwelling
or hunting camp of a Creek Indian, was built under the
spreading branches of a large live-oak,which towered in soli-
tary grandeur above the surrounding growth of black-jacks
and yapon. At a little distance to the right of the tent





56 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,

was a small scaffold upon which was laid a quantity of
sliced "redfish," which was being cured by a smoulder-
ing fire beneath, aided by the sun's rays.
The Indian woman was still in the spring-time of life;
her features were delicate, and the deep glow of health
shone in -a warm natural blush upon her tawny cheek.
She was employed, at the moment our party rode up, in
the dutiful task of mending a moccasin, which, as from
its size it could never have graced her own little foot, no
doubt appertained to the wardrobe of her lord and master.
Near her, upon the bear-skin, was a child about a year
old, whose only article of attire was a string of gay-colored
glass beads about its neck; it was amusing itself and
mother with the music of a rattle formed of a small gourd
containing sundry dried beans.
The woman had apparently been aware of the approach
of strangers,-of which the tread of our horses upon the
sand had apprised her before we came in open view,--for
when at once our party appeared in front of" her, she
quietly raised her eyes, and seemed at a glance to read
the character of the strangers who stood before her, as
doubtless she had correctly conjectured before she saw
us, and then, with the habitual nonchalance of her race,
she resumed her work. Not a muscle of her classic face
(for' her features were truly classical) had moved; and
the next moment the closest observer could not have
detected from her appearance a consciousness of the pres-
ence of her visitors.
Knowing that the Indians who visit Pensacola to sell
their skins, and procure powder, lead, and other neces-
saries, are better acquainted with the Spanish language
than either the French or English, I addressed her as we
drew up our horses,-
"Buenos dies, Amiga."
She replied, "Stan-tose,"* in a smooth but slightly
"I do not understand."





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


drawling tone, dwelling with a peculiar force upon the
last syllable, at the same time raising her handsome and
now expressive face with an inquiring look. There was
a good-humored smile playing round her lips as she shook
her finger significantly in front of her ear, to signify that
she did not understand.
Perceiving that she did not comprehend me, and having
no knowledge of the Mus-ko-ghe tongue, I was endeav-
oring by signs to propound the various questions which
Carlota and Josephine were urging, when the sharp crack
of a rifle was heard from the interior of a dense thicket,
which, commencing at the distance of a hundred yards
from the tent, stretched along the beach far away to
the eastward. The report was followed by a shrill,
piercing whoop. The woman was smiling and looking
directly at me at the time; but quick as the lightning's
flash, by that cry as by the wand of the powerful en-
chanter, Magrauby, she seemed to have been changed into
a woman of stone. Her under jaw was so far dropped as
just to part her lips; her eyes were fixed, and without
expression; and every power and faculty for an instant
seemed centred and absorbed in intense listening. I heard
no further sound; but the woman evidently did, for at
that moment she uttered a faint, scarcely audible excla-
mation, and springing to her feet with a bound, she turned
her eyes in the direction of the thicket whence the report
of the rifle had come. I turned in that direction, and
beheld an Indian just breaking through the edge of the
thicket.
He was bending forward, and dashed like a madman
over the thick saw-palmettos.
"Fear nothing, ladies!" said I, reining my mare in
front of them. Scarcely had I done so, when the Indian
was at my side; but. without noticing us, the savage
darted into his tent.





58 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,
In another instant he reappeared with his rifle and
hunting-pouch. He spoke not, but with eyes rolling like
the enraged tiger's, he shook the powder from his alliga-
tor-tooth charger into the muzzle of his rifle, and thrust
his hand into the pouch for a ball. I marked the furious
disappointment that darkened his lean visage as he ascer-
tained that his last ball had been expended. As he drew
forth his empty hand, a fearfully bitter exclamation burst
from his compressed lips, and the useless gun dropped
from his relaxed gripe upon the earth. Then a convul-
sive motion shook his athletic frame, and he buried his
forehead in his open palms. His hunting-frock had
fallen back from his shoulders, and as he leaned forward
in the agony of frustrated revenge, I perceived a blue
gunshot wound in the upper part of his shoulder, from
which one large clot of dark coagulated blood hung upon
his tawny skin. All this had passed with the rapidity of
thought, and the Indian's wife had neither moved nor
spoken. She had, however, at once comprehended the
meaning of the war-whoop she had heard; she knew full
well from its tone that the shot had been fired at her
husband; she saw the friend and companion of happy
days rush wounded into her presence; yet she asked no
idle questions, but with the stern though calm self-com-
mand so remarkable in her people, awaited the issue.
She saw her beloved bend forward and dash his burning
forehead into his clasped hands, while the blood oozed
from his wound, and shrunk not; yet the next instant,
with a low, suppressed scream, she sprang in front of her
husband, and clasping him in her arms, covered him with
her own body. With her face turned over her shoulder,
and with horror depicted in her countenance, her startled
eyes were turned toward the thicket. I raised my eyes,
and, to my utter astonishment, beheld a man at the edge of
the thicket deliberately raise his rifle at the defenceless and





BYI GEORGE A. McCALL.


almost naked beings at my side. It was a sight, dear
H-- to thrill a heart of stone. I wish I could only
describe it to you as I saw it; it would have roused all
your manly sympathies. However, you know how rap-
idly our ideas pass through the mind in such a moment;-
my heart had swelled with compassion for the poor chil-
dren of the forest; but intense indignation at the conduct
of the murderous wretch now filled my soul. Following
the impulse of the moment, I dashed the spurs into my
mare, and launched her directly at the fellow, with the
view to ride him down.
"Villain !" I shouted, as he recoiled and sprang aside
to avoid the shock; and the next instant, as I drew up my
mare, who should stand revealed before me but Diego
Rojo. "What! you here, Diego ?" I exclaimed. "What
fiend has prompted this?"
Seflor," replied the fellow, with perfect self-possession,
"the Mus-ko-ghe is a wolf, and he shall die the death of
a wolf!" and he turned again in the direction of the tent.
If you raise your piece again," I added, your life
shall be the forfeit."
Diego started at the words, and turned fiercely towards
me; but probably suspecting that I was armed, he lowered
the breech of his gun, and with a subdued mien, and in
a voice in which the expression of rage was still struggling
with the respectful tone he endeavored to assume, said,-
"Senor, the savage Mus-ko-ghe has injured Diego, and
the spirit of a Spaniard calls for vengeance; but," he con-
tinued, with more calmness, "for your sake, Diego Rojo
foregoes his.revenge and will let the dog live."
With these words, he turned towards the thicket from
which he had emerged, and was about to depart. But I
observed the glare of his eye, in spite of his efforts to
smother his rage; and knowing that forbearance or a for-
giving temper were scarcely to be numbered among the





60 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,

fellow's qualities, I apprehended the grudge would not
easily be forgotten; and desirous withal to know the cause
of the feud, I said in a conciliatory tone, as he turned
away, -
"Allow me to ask you, Diego, who this Indian is, and
how he has injured you?"
"The Mus-ko-ghe dog!" he muttered to himself, and
then replied: "He comes from the Appalachicola, Senor,
and for the last two years has passed the hunting season
in this region. At the close of the season he disposes of
his skins in Pensacola, or exchanges them for blankets and
cloths, with which he loads his pack-horses, and returns
to his own country. During his stay here, not satisfied
with the wild meat of the forest, he must have a dainty
calf whenever he fancies to indulge his wife's appetite.
Not satisfied with this, he, last spring, drove off the fattest
bullock of my herd; and I then swore, that, if we met
again, my rifle should be the first to speak to him."
"But you must admit, Diego," I replied, the possi-
bility of some one else having driven off your bullock, if
you have no proof; and you surely do not mean that the
mere suspicion prompted you to so bloody a vengeance ?"
"Senor," he returned, doggedly, "I found on a rail of
the cattle-pen some of the wool of a new blanket I had
sold him the day before, and which was strapped on his
wife's back; and that was proof enough for me. It rained
during the night, and I was unable to track them; and,
for the first time since then, I saw yesterday his camp here.
He was absent; but to-day I found him digging the
coonta-root, and had he not stooped at the instant I pulled
trigger, his account would have been settled."
Again I offered to plead hunger as the Indian's pali-
ating excuse for the offence.
"No, Senor," he replied; "there are deer and turkeys
in these woods for the killing; there are fish in the bay for





BY GEORGE A. MCCALL.


the spearing; there is 'coonta' to make bread for the dig-
ging; but, were this not the case, there is food everywhere
in Florida on which an Indian may live where a wolf
would starve; and yet I must pen cattle for the lazy
hound. Ha! I believe I am fit to serve the basest Mus-
ko-ghe of them all, since I suffer it." While he spoke,
his eye glared again and his countenance became pale with
passion, but the next moment relapsed into an expression
of dogged sullenness. "I take my leave of you, Seflor,"
he added; and without waiting a reply, uttered his "A
dios, Sefior," and made his way into the thicket from which
he had come.
When Diego thus unceremoniously made his retreat, I
returned to the ladies, whom I had, without ceremony, so
suddenly left on their horses in front of the wounded In-
dian's tent. In the meantime, these young ladies, having
witnessed the stirring scene just described, fainted not!
Whether it was that they had more self-possession and
strength of mind than falls to the share of the generality
of young ladies nowadays; or whether fainting is not in
vogue with the fair Creoles of Pensacola; or whether,
finally, they took into consideration that fainting on horse-
back, with no one to fly to their assistance but a wounded
Indian and his half-distracted wife, might not prove to be
as comfortable as fainting in an arm-chair, with devoted
lovers at their feet and smelling-bottles on the centre-table,
are points we must leave to the solution of the initiated.
All I have to do is to state facts; and this I learned after-
wards from Josephine, that, immediately after I left them,
the Indian, overcome by the hurricane of his passions and
the pain of his wound, fell senseless upon the ground,
while his afflicted wife knelt over him and raised his head,
which she moistened with her tears.
This pitiful sight so enlisted the sympathy of Carlota,
that she quietly slid from her horse, and approaching the





62 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,

weeping female, endeavored to assuage the pangs of grief
which seemed to be tearing her very heart-strings. She
pressed into the young woman's hand her own cambric
handkerchief, and urged her to stanch with it the blood
now ebbing from the fountain of life. In this state I
found affairs on my return. The Indian at length showed
signs of returning animation; and first he turned one
dating look upon his-wife, then regaining his manly dig-
nity, he drew himself up, and, offering me his hand, pro-
nounced the word "Amigo," (friend,) in the Spanish, and
added more in his own tongue which I did not under-
stand.
I now, with the wife's assistance, examined the wound,
and found that the ball had glanced upon the shoulder-
blade, and passing over it to the front, had lodged under
the skin between the neck and the collar-bone. When
the nature of the wound was ascertained, the Indian drew
his hunting-knife from his belt, and feeling for the ball,
which protruded like a dark cherry beneath the skin, with
his left hand he held it firmly between the thumb and
forefinger, then, with the knife in his right hand, he, with
unchanging countenance, made a slight incision at the
proper place, and the ball, pressed forward, fell into his
open hand. In the meantime the woman had gathered
some leaves, which grew at hand, and, having chewed
them, placed the mass on either orifice of the wound, and
bound it up with Carlota's handkerchief, which the latter
proffered for the purpose.
As the affair seemed now to be terminated, and I had,
notwithstanding Diego's promise to me, some misgivings,
I endeavored to communicate to them that their safety
here would be rather precarious, and that I advised them
to change their hunting-grounds. After which we made
some presents to them; and the ladies having regained
their saddles, we returned to Pensacola without further
incident.





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


CANTONMENT CLINCH, January, 1823.
DEAR H- : The day following the date of my last
I was detailed as the Judge Advocate of a General Court
Martial for the trial of Guard House Prisoners, (as we
call the private soldiers who, when charged with serious
offences, are confined under guard until brought to trial,)
and the court has been in session ten days.
During this time I often thought of the Indians
encamped near the Bayou Grande, and their feud with
Diego. I related to my much-esteemed friend, Captain
Bell, who was a member of the court, the circumstances
attending our accidental visit to the Indian camp, and
asked what he knew of this man Diego. Bell, who has
been with the regiment ten years, informed me that Diego
is a native of Havana, though he has been living about
Pensacola for many years; that his ostensible occupation
has been that of a cowherd, and that he is said to possess
a good herd; but that, at times, he would leave the
neighborhood; when his cattle sometimes strayed off their
range, and on his return cost him much trouble to reclaim
them from their wanderings. These vexations the Span-
iard, habitually irascible, usually bears with commendable
composure; but as he commonly keeps much aloof, and
returns general and vague answers when questioned as to
his business while absent, little is really known of him.
"In fine," said the Captain, I half suspect the fellow
of being in some way or other connected with a half
smuggling, half piratical crew."
I could not help feeling an interest in the safety of
the children of the forest, between whom and the ven-
geful Spaniard I knew a feud must continue to exist,
if they remained within striking distance of each other;
and as we were off duty this morning, I proposed to
Bell that we should ride down to the hunting-camp.





64 LETTERS PROM THE FRONTIERS,

On arriving at the ground, we found that the camp had
been abandoned some eight or ten days. The broad pal-
metto-leaves, with which the tent or cabin was thatched,
had been partially thrown off and scattered by the winds;
and now faded and grown yellow, they either hung loosely
on the poles, or lay in disorder upon the ground.
A quantity of fish-bones lay bleaching around the
remains of the extinguished fire; the little scaffold used
for drying fish was thrown down; the slight sapling, rest-
ing on a couple of forked sticks, which had answered the
purpose of a crane upon which to hang the little copper
kettle, had withstood the stress of the storm, but now
thoroughly smoke-dried, was the only memento of the
many wholesome meals that had been prepared through
its agency. Near by lay a half-worn sieve made of split
cane, such as the Indian housewife uses to bolt her flour,
whether of corn or the coonta-root, (a species of arrow-
root,) after it has undergone the process of grinding, or
rather beating in a mortar chopped or sunk into the
body of the nearest log. Everything bore marks of that
wanton thoughtlessness with which the red man abandons
his temporary abode, whenever he finds a clearer spring
or a better hunting-ground; confiding in his own resources,
or trusting to the bountiful providence of nature, to supply
the few things needful for his support and comfort. As
we rode up to the deserted camp, a lonely turkey-buzzard
rose lazily from the mouth of the tent, and settled on a
branch of a stunted pine hard by, where he sat quietly
awaiting the departure of the intruders, to renew his
search for some scraps of dried fish or venison on which
to finish his scanty meal. No living thing was in sight
save the foul carrion-bird we had driven from the desolate
hearth, and silence reigned over the secluded spot lately
the scene of strife and bloodshed. As I looked upon the
altered appearance of all before me, I called to mind the





BY GEORGE A. McCALL.


figure of the Indian, when, under the influence of his
passion, it seemed to dilate to more than mortal size; and
the next moment the same manly figure, as disappoint-
-ment smote his deadly purpose to avenge a dastardly
assault, fall dashed and confounded to the earth. I recalled
with admiration the silent but all-daring devotion of the
wife; and with detestation the malignant and diabolical
conduct and countenance of the Spaniard.
Where now," said I, addressing Bell for the first time
since we had come upon the ground, are they who were
the actors in this scene?-Has the Indian, with whom
revenge is a virtue, sought and found an opportunity to
gratify the longings of his spirit, and requited the other
with the death he himself escaped. Or has the Spaniard,
still vindictive, followed the Mus-ko-ghe in his retreat,
and perpetrated the foul vengeance that rankled in his
bosom?"
Revolving these things in our minds, and exchanging
our surmises, we turned our horses' heads towards the
abode of Diego, in order to ascertain, if possible, the truth,
or gain some clew to it. On reaching the hut, we at first
discovered before a well-filled rack, under an open shed
which occupied one corner of the enclosure, the pretty
pony of the Spaniard, on whom he had bestowed the
endearing appellation of Amado.
"He cannot be far from home," said Bell, "for there is
his pony, his constant companion in the woods." As we
drew rein in front of the door, we were greeted with the
harsh bark of a yellow bulldog of the Cuba breed, one
of the fiercest and most indomitable of dogs; whereupon
the shining face of a comely French quadroon was thrust
out at the half-open door and again withdrawn. Bell
called out, inquiring if Diego were at home. .The quad-
roon again made her appearance, and replied to the
inquiry in a rather ill-humored negative.





66 LETTERS FROM THE FRONTIERS,

"Pray, when shall I find him at home," he asked.
"I cannot say," was the brief reply.
"I am very desirous to see him. Can you tell me
whither he has gone?" he continued, in a bland persua-
sive tone.
"I know not," was the curt answer.
"When did he leave home ?" he asked.
"Some days ago," she replied, evasively.
And you expect him back-"
Mon dieul monsieur, what do you ask me for," she
replied, evidently growing impatient at Bell's persevering
to prolong a conversation and an interview she had no
desire to continue.
"My husband, sir, does not tell me his business !" and
with a very decided "Bon jour, monsieur," the French
Creole closed and bolted the door.
Finding the woman so obdurately uncommunicative,
we rode on, satisfied that any further attempt to draw
from her what she determined to conceal would be fruit-
less. Bell, who had always regarded Diego with a wary
eye, remarked, that the conduct of the woman tended to
increase his doubts as to the occupation of Diego; that
there was something about the man and his wife, which,
if not criminal, at least sought concealment. But if he
left home only two or three days before, the Indians, who
evidently departed some eight days before him, were prob-
ably safe." Discussing such matters, we reached the
barracks in time for dinner.


PrNSACOLA, January, -.
DEAR H-- : We are now in the midst of the Carni-
val Believe me, I have been many days in a constant
whirl of merry-makings with this simple and amiable
people; with whom pranks of all sorts are tolerated




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs