Barnard Shipp.

The history of Hernando de Soto and Florida; or, Record of the events of fifty-six years, from 1512 to 1568 online

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Online LibraryBarnard ShippThe history of Hernando de Soto and Florida; or, Record of the events of fifty-six years, from 1512 to 1568 → online text (page 35 of 75)
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the swamp, they camped quite near in a plain ; they made great
fires, for they were exceedingly cold ; they recovered by degrees
rtheir strength, and rejoiced that thence to Hirriga they had no
smore bad roads.

When night came they reposed, and before day they continued
4heir journey, upon which, having met five Indians, they slew tliem
with their lances, for fear of being exposed by them. They made
this day thirteen leagues, and stopped at night in a beautiful plain.
But the next day, before the sun had risen, thej'' decamped, and
passed, while it was morning, near Urribaracuxi, which, for fear of
the inhabitants, they would not enter. They marched fifteen leagues
this day, which was the tenth of their journey, and reposed a part
of the night at three leagues from MUC090. About midnight they
j-ecommenced their march, and at the end of two leagues they saw
(fire in a wood on the side of their road. Moron, who had scented


this fire, had given them notice of it before, and even after having
again spolten to them of it, they perceived it almost immediatelj-.

The Spaniards, surprised at a thing so extraordinary, went di-
rectly to this fire, and found around it several Indians with their
wives and children, who were roasting fish. They were the subjects
of Mucogo ; nevertheless they took them, to know if their lord had
kept the peace ; for it was resolved that if there were found any
complaints against him, they would send his subjects to Havana.
They therefore rushed upon them at full speed, and captured nine-
teen of them. The others went into tlie thickest of the forest and
escaped by favor of the darkness. The prisoners cried out Ortis,
and endeavored to make the Spaniards remember the good services
they had done them in his person, but it was to no purpose. In
the mean time the cavaliers, seeing that they could talte no more
Indians, began to breakfast upon the fish that were there, and
which the hunger with which they were pressed made them find
excellent, although thej' had been covered with the dust which the
horses had thrown upon them. Afterward, taking a bj'^-road, they
went away from Muco¬Іo, and at the end of five leagues Cacho had
recovered his strength. Tlie alarm which the enemy had given
when they were at Ocaly, had made such an impression upon liis
mind, that, aided by the vigor of his age, he found himself cured of
the sickness which the cold and fatigue had caused him, and he
served as vigorously as the others. But his horse could go no fur-
ther, and they left him in a meadow, after having taken from him
the saddle and bridle, which they placed upon a tree, in order tliat
if any Indian wished to use them, he might have everything that
was necessary to do so.

Afterwards they continued to travel ; but when they approached
within a league of Hirriga, where there were forty horse and eighty
foot soldiers, fear seized the cavaliers at seeing that thej- met with
no traces of either men or horses. They could not imagine that
Calderon, who was at this place, had not made excursions in the
neighborhood. They therefore believed that either the garrison
had been massacred, or that they had retired upon the ships which
they had left with him. In this belief, they were both afraid and
sad ; considering themselves so far from the army, deprived of pro-
visions, and of vessels to retire by sea. They reflected upon the
evils they had suffered on their journey, and despaired of ever re-
turning to Apalache. However, in the midst of such sorrowful
uneasiness, they resolved that if they did not find their people at
Hirriga, they would camp at a place in the forest, nearest to where
they might have grass. That whilst they should rest, they would


kill the horses least useful, and after having cut them in pieces for
food upon the route, they would attempt to return. Thej' flattered
themselves that if they -were killed, they would have, in dying, at
least the consolation of having put themselves in a condition for
doing their duty ; and that if fortune should favor them they would
have satisfaction and honor. Thereupon they boldly continued
tiieir route, and went to Hirriga.



The cavaliers, arrived at a little marsh half a league from Hirriga,
found some horse tracks, at which they were exceedingly rejoiced.
Even their horses, which could hardly sustain themselves, recovered
courage ; they scented the tracks which they met, and went caper-
ing as though they had just come out of the stable ; so that the
Spaniards travelled with speed, and arrived at sunset within sight
of Hirriga. Some cavaliers of the garrison were then going out on
horseback to scour the environs of the place, marching two and
two, witli lance in hand.

Aniasco arid his companions, perceiving them, put themselves in
the same order, and, as if it had been to race at the public rejoic-
ings, they spurred at a canter to meet one another, which was very
agreeable. At the noise which they made, Calderon and the rest
of the garrison left the town. They were pleased to see the races
of Aniasco and his men, and received them with every mark of a
sincere affection. Aniasco and his companions also manifested to
them their joy, and on both sides they remained a long time em-
bracing each other. Afterwards the garrison, without inquiring
after the health of Soto or the state of the army, only asked if there
was much gold found in the province of Apalache ; so greatly had
the love of this metal prevailed over the minds of the men, and
made them easily forget their duty.

The journey of Aniasco and those who accompanied him lasted
eleven daj's. Tiiey passed two of them in crossing the Ocaly and
the great marsh ; so that in nine days they made more than one
hundred and fifty leagues, which there are from Apalache to the
town of Hirriga. But by the hardships which these cavaliers suf-
fered, we can easily judge of the difficulties of the other Spaniards
who have conquered the rest of the New World, so vast in its extent,
and so redoubtable for the valor of its inhabitants. However, there


are persons who enjoy the fruits of the labors of those who have ac-
quired for the crown of Spain so many rich kingdoms, and who
laugh at the labors which they have had to subjugate them. As
they possess the wealth without the trouble, they think that they
themselves have won them, and stupidly deceive themselves.

Aniasco, arrived at Hirriga, inquired if the Indians of the province
of MUC050 and of that where thej^ were had not broken the peace.
And at the same time that he learned that they were satisfied with
their conduct, he sent back the prisoners with, orders to the cacique
to come to the quarters, and to bring with him people to carry away
the provisions and the other things of which they wished to make
him a present. He also charged them to take care of the horse
which they had left in their country: and, thereupon, they set out
for their country, full of joy at recovering their liberty. Three days
after Mucogo arrived with the horse; the bridle and saddle of which
some Indians carried, because they had not been able to put them
on him. He affectionately embraced Aniasco' and those of his suite;
he politely inquired after the health of the general,' and asked them
to relate to him the success of their conquest, the circumstances of
their journey, the battles they had been compelled to fight, the
adventures they had had, and the hunger and hardships they had
suffered. That it would be fortunate if he could compel the caciques
of the country to render obedience to the Spaniards; because they
could never live under a government milder or more illustrious than
that of so warlike a nation.

Aniasco, having contrasted this courteous manner in which Mu-
cogo had received them with that of his compamons who at first
had inquired only concerning the wealth they had discovered,
thanked him, in the name of all, for the affection which he bore. the
Spaniards, and complimented him upon the subject of the peace
which he had preserved. But the cacique replied to these civilities
with so much intelligence that he acquired the esteem, friendship,
and admiration of everybody. Mucogo possessed also very excellent
qualities ; for, without speaking of his physical advantages, he had
prudence, generosity, and a particular manner which charmed the
Spaniards. Therefore he was tenderly beloved by them ; and, in
my opinion, they should have adroitly induced him to be baptized.
According to the natural intelligence which he had, it would not
have been very difficult to have converted him to the Faith, and
this had been a. happy commencement. But the Christians wished
not to preach the Gospel to the inhabitants of Florida until they had
first conquered the whole.

After that, and during four days that Mucogo was with the


Spaniards, he sent away more than Ave hundred quintals of cassava,
which is the bread that is made in Cuba of the root of the manioc,
many cloaks, sacks, drawers, pantaloons, hempen shoes and other
things, with coats of mail, lances ; in one word, all sorts of arms.
They gave him, moreover, sails, cordage, anchors, cables, and other
things of the vessels. Our people had all these in abundance, and
they were very glad to leave some of them to Mucogo and his sub-



When Mucogo had caused to be taken away that which they had
left him, they looked at the orders of the general. They imported
that Aniasco should take the brigantines remaining in the bay of
Espiritu Santo, and coast to the west as far as the Gulf of Aute,
which he himself had discovered. Aniasco therefore inspected the
vessels, put them in order, filled them with all kinds of provisions,
and chose the men to accompany him. He was seven days getting
ready; and when he had given the orders of the general to Calderon
concerning his route, he made his adieux, set sail, and took his route
for the gulf of Aute. But let him sail at the mercy of the winds,
and let us see in what manner Arias executed what he had to do.
He was commanded to take the caravel, and go to Havana to
Isabella de Bovadilla, and inform her of the details of the discover3\
He was also charged to treat of some affairs; but they do not regard
this history, and I shall not speak of them. Arias then, to discharge
that which was enjoined him, had the caravel repaired, equipped it,
put to sea, and, in a few days, arrived at Havana. He was received
with much joy by the wife of Soto and all the inhabitants of the
island, who made great rejoicings because of the news which he
brought them, and of the health of the general, whom they loaded
with benedictions and praises.



During the sojourn of Calderon at Hirriga, his people made
many gardens, where they planted a great many radishes, lettuces,
and other herbs. They collected divers seeds for their need, in case


thej'' should settle in the country. Also, the Indians captured some
of the Spaniards, which happened by the fault of the Spaniards
themselves, in this manner: the barbarians had made, upon the
borders of the bay of Espiritu Santo, large places inclosed with
rude stones, for to fish for rays and other fishes which went into
these places when the tide was high and which, when it retired,
remained there almost aground. This fishing was excellent, and
the soldiers of Calderon enjoyed it with the Indians. Therefore,
Lopes and Galvan one day took a fancy to go a-fishing without the
orders of the captain. They got into a boat and took with them
Mugnos, page of their commander. As they were fishing, there
arrived in small canoes some barbarians, who, approaching them,
said, partly in Indian and partly in Spanish, that the fish should
be in common. Lopes, who was brutal, replied to them that they
should serve for food for the dogs ; that he had nothing to divide
with them ; and immediately he drew his sword and wounded an
Indian who was near. him. The others, exasperated at this inso-
lence, fell upon the three Spaniards, dispatched Lopes with the
oars, left Galvan for dead, and carried off Mugnos, to whom they
did nothing, in consideration of his youth. Some soldiers of the
garrison who were not far from there, attracted by the noise and
suspecting the diflSculty which had happened, came in a boat to
give assistance to Lopes and Galvan ; but they found them sense-
less and Mugnos in the power of the Indians. They immediately
interred Lopes, and as Galvan still breathed, they assisted him so
promptly that they restored him. However, lie was more than
thirty days recovering, and the same time remained stupefied by
the wounds in his head ; for when he recited this misfortune he
said: When the Indians killed us. Lopes and me, we did such
things. His companions, who diverted themselves with his dreams,
replied to him that only Lopes was killed, and that, as for him, he
was not dead. But he persisted with warmth that he was dead and
living at the same time, because God had restored him to life.

Some time afterwards the Indians took another soldier, who was
called Vintimilla, as he was fishing for crabs at low tide, at the end
of a forest between the town of Hirriga and the bay of Espiritu
Santo. The barbarians concealed in the woods, seeing him alone,
approached and said to him mildljr that they should divide tlie fish.
Vintimilla, who thought to frighten them, replied fiercely that he
had no division to make. The Indians, indignant that a single man
should dare, with so much arrogance, to speak to them who were ten
or twelve, carried him off, but, however, did him no injury. Mngnos
aud Vintimilla were ten years among them, with liberty to go where


they pleased. But finally they escaped in this manner: A Chris-
tian ship, pursued by the subjects of Hirriga, was overtaken by a
storm, and to escape its fury it retired to the bay of Espiritu Santo.
The storm ceased, it put into the high sea, and the Indians began
to give it chase. Vintimilla and Mugnos, who accompanied them,
were alone in a boat, and, as they designed to escape, fortune pre-
sented them a fine opportunity for it. A- north wind suddenly
arose; the Indians, fearing lest it might increase and drive them
too far to sea, exerted themselves to gain the land. In the mean
time the two Spanitirds gradually desisted from rowing, and feigned
that they had not strength to go against the violence of the wind.
But when they saw the Indians at a distance, they turned the prow
of their vessel toward the ship, rowed with all "their might, and
called to them to wait for them. The Christians, at their call,
lowered tlie sails and received with joy tlie two Spaniards, to console
themselves for those whom they had lost.



After Aniasco and Arias had left, the one for the gulf of Ante,
and the other for Havana, Calderon took the route for Apalache,
with fifty foot soldiers and seventy lancers, and arrived the second
day at Mucogo. The cacique came to meet him, and lodged him in
the town, entertained them all well, and accompanied them the next
day out of his territory. And, when he was readj' to leave them,
he told them, with tears in his eyes, that he lost all hopes of ever
seeing the general again ; that, whilst they were at Hirriga, he had
flattered himself that he would return some day to the country,
where he would still have had the honor to offer him his services ;
but that now, as he saw himself condemned to deplore his .absence,
he begged them to make known to him the aflTection which he had
for him ; and with tliese words, embracing them, he returned
home quite dejected. In the mean time the Spaniards continued
their. route, and came as far as the Great Swamp without encounter-
ing anything ; except that it happened one night tiiat, being camped
in a plain near a wood, thei'e came out of it many Indians, who
kept them in continual alarm ; for they had no sooner recognized
them than they all became enraged, especially one among them,
who, showing much boldness, was attacked by Silvestre. The


Indian stood firm at first, but afterwards took to his heels. Tlie
Spaniard pressed him; bat the barbarian, seeing himself about to
be pierced, resisted, and at the moment that the cavalier gave him
a thrust with his lance which brought him to the ground and killed
him, he shot an arrow which pierced and prostrated the horse of
Silvestre, so that the barbarian, the horse, and the rider fell one
upon the other. The Spaniards, surprised that a single shot of an
arrow iired so close had slain a horse so vigorous, had the curiosity
to see, in the morning, the effect of tliis shot. They found that the
arrow had entered the breast, and, after having pierced the heart,
had stopped in the intestines ; with so much force do the Indians
shoot. Also, from their earliest years, they have no other exercise.
When the infants begin to walk, they study to imitate their fathers;
they handle arrows and ask for bows, which, if they refuse them,
they make them themselves of small sticks, and declare war against
the mice of the dwellings ; but not meeting with anything upon wliich
they can fire, they hunt the flies, and out of the house they hunt tiie
lizards, and when these a'nimals are in their holes thej' will wait for
them five or six hours until they come out of them.

Thus, by a continual exercise, they shoot with surprising skill.
But since it has become proper to speak of the extraordinary' shots
of the Indians, I shall relate an instance of them. Moscoso, in one
of the first skirmishes with the Apalaches, received, in his right side,
the shot of an arrow, which pierced his buff and his coat of mail with-
out killing him, because the shot went aslant. The Spanish officers,
astonished that a coat of mail of the value of a hundred and fifty
ducats should be pierced bj' a single shot, wished to prove theirs, in
order to know if they could depend upon them. As they were then in
the town of Apalache, those who wore coats of mail took a cane bas-
ket, strongly woven, and adjusted around it one of the finest coats of
mail. They then unbound one of the Indian prisoners, gave him a
bow and arrow, and commanded him to fire, at the distance of one
hundred and fifty paces, upon this coat of mail. At the same time,
the barbarian, having closed his fist, stretched himself, extended
and bent his arm to awaken his strength, shot through the coat of
mail and basket with so much force that the shot would still easily
have piercedaman. Our people, whosaw that a coat of mail could not
resist an arrow, adjusted two of them to the basket. They gave an
arrow to an Indian whom they ordered to shoot, and he pierced both
of them. Nevertheless, the arrow remained fixed, as much on one side
as on the other, because it had not been fired with sufficient skill.
The barbarian requested that he might be permitted to shoot


another, upon condition tliat if he should not pierce the two coats
of mail with as much force as the first, he would forfeit his life.*

The Spaniards would not grant his request, and afterward they
held their coats of mail of no account, which they, in mockery, called
Holland cloth. Therefore they made, of thick cloth, doublets four
inches thick, which covered the chest and the croup of the horses,
and resisted an arrow better than anything else. But as in this rela-
tion, I shall again speak of some surprising arrow shots, I return
to Calderon.




The Indians, seeing one of their men slain, did not return any
more to harass the Spaniards, who arrived the day following, at the
great swamp, where they remained all night. They crossed it the
next day, without being attacked by the enemy ; and travelled, by
long stages, through the province of Acuera. To relieve one another,
the cavaliers dismounted, preferring, through fear of fatiguing their
horses, rather to give them to the foot-soldiers, than to carry these
behind them. They finally arrived at Ocaly, which they found
abandoned, and wiien they had taken provisions there, they crossed,
on rafts, the river which passes near this town. Afterwards, they
entered into Ochile ; from there thej' went into Vitachuco, then to
the river Ossachile and to the town of the same name, from which
the inhabitants had retired. They took tliere provisions, and con-
tinued their journey through an uninhabited country between Ossa-
chile and the swamp of Apalache, without the barbarians attacking
them but a single time; they made more than a hundred and thirty-
leagues, from the commencement of their route to the place where
they were. Having arrived at the wood which borders the swamp,
they camped all the night in a neighboring plain, and at break of
day, when they had marched through the defile, entering the waters,
they advanced as far as the bridge, and mended it. The people on
foot passed over without the enemy opposing them, and those on
horseback safely crossed by swimming the deepest water. Then
Calderon gave orders for crossing the remainder of the swamp. He
commanded ten cavaliers to place behind them five crossbow-men

* See Appendix, note 2.


with as many men armed -with bucklers, and to seize the pass
which was on the other side. They then prepared to cross the
water, and quickly gain the other shore. The Indians in ambush
sallied out at the same time, attacked them with loud cries, enveloped
them with arrows, slew the horse of Alvar, and wounded five others.
The rest, frightened at the noise and the shots of the barbarians,
kicked, reared, retraced their steps, and threw into the water those
whom they carried behind, who were nearly all wounded ; for when
the horses turned back, the Indians, seeing the foot-soldiers down,
picked them out. They even prepared to go and kill them in
the water, calling their companions to aid them and to be witnesses
of their victory. This attack astonished even the Spaniards. Their
horses were disabled, and it was necessary to fight in the marsh.
They saw themselves in disorder, and the enemy rushing upon them ;
all that, made them dread being all cut to pieces. The barbarians,
on the contrary, who noticed the trouble of our men, became more
audacious, and redoubled their efforts against those who were in
the water.

In the mean time, Yillabo and other valiant soldiers advanced
to the assistance of their companions, and checking the Indians,
arrested their fury. In the mean time the other barbarians of the
country, informed that the Christians were routed, hastened to take
part in the victory.

To the left of the Spaniards who were crossing the marsh, there
came a large troop of barbarians, and some paces in front, marched
an Indian with tall plumes upon his head, clothed superbly after the
fashion of the country. This captain, seeing that the Spaniards
were approaching, wished to get possession of a large tree which
was equally distant from them and him, and from whence he would
have greatly incommoded them. As S3'lvestre had discovered his
design, he called Galvan, who hastened to him ; they gained the
tree before the barbarian, who, through rage, shot at them three
arrows. The buckler of Sylvester received them and resisted the
violence of the blows, because it was wet. Galvan, who had orders
to fire only upon that Indian, w^aited until he was within reach of
his crossbow. He took his opportunity in such a manner that he
struck him in the middle of the chest, and pierced him, because he
was covered only with a small skin. However, he was not prostrated
by the blow ; he only made a pirouette, and cried out that these
Christian traitors had killed him. There was immediately heard a
great noise ; there were but cries and howls among the barbarians.
They ran to their captain, took him in their arms, and passing him
from hand to hand, carried him off by the way he had come.


To the right of our men, advanced, all infuriated, a crowd of In-
dians, against whom Manassas, aoeornpanied by ten others, marched
to oppose them. The barbarians briskly charged them and wounded

Online LibraryBarnard ShippThe history of Hernando de Soto and Florida; or, Record of the events of fifty-six years, from 1512 to 1568 → online text (page 35 of 75)