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 48 of 75)
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porters, and horses, and had a. great number of soldiers dangerously
wounded. One of the most important of these was Saint George,
of whom I am going to speak. As this cavalier was crossing a
stream where the troops were attacked, an Indian, concealed behind
a bush, discharged at him an arrow so violently that after having
broken his coat of mail, it pierced his right thigh, passed through
the saddle-bow, and entered into the body of the horse, which,
quite furious, rushed out of the stream, bounded over the plain, and
tried, by kicking, to disengage the arrow, and throw his rider. The
Spaniards who were then engaged near this soldier ran to his
assistance, when they perceived that the arrow had pinned him to
the saddle, and as the troops were camped quite near the stream,
they led him to the quarters. Immediately they adroitly raised
him, and cut the arrow between the saddle and his thigh. They
also unsaddled the liorse, and the Spaniards were surprised that a
cane arrow, armed only with a cane point, had penetrated so far.
Afterwards thej' laid Saint George upon the ground, and left him to
dress his wound himself. Besides the manj' qualities which he pos-
sessed, he had that of curing wounds with oil, raw wool, and words
which his companions called charms. He had actually treated
some wounds with so fnuch success, that it seemed that God espe-
cially favored him in the cures which he made, But when the oil
and the raw wool were consumed by the fire at Mauvila, he would
no longer cure any one, and even persisted a long time in not taking
care of his wounds ; for though afterwards he had received a stroke
from an arrow, which entered under the foot and came out at the
heel, and though by another blow he had been so dangerously struck
in the knee that the point of the arrow had remained there, never-
theless he never undertook to attend to himself but at the last mo-
ment, imagining tliat for the want of oil and raw wool he could not
cure himself. I return to the wound which he had received in his


thigh. As he knew that he was on ill terms with the surgeon, who
had done him much injury in extracting the arrow from his knee,
and as he remembered that he had told him that another time lie
would sooner die than call him, to which the surgeon had replied
that although he should be certain of preserving his life, he should
not do it until he had first sent for him ; I say, as he remembered
that, and as he did not expect any assistance from any one, he
took, instead of oil and wool, hog's fat with the lint of an old In-
dian cloak, and used it very fortunately for his wounds ; for during
four days that our men recruited themselves near the stream, he
was entirely cured, mounted his horse the fifth, wlien they continued
their march ; and in order that they might not doubt of his cure,
he began to spur from one side to the other about the troops, cry-
ing out that he deserved to lose his life, because, for not having
consented to treat the wounded in the belief that he would labor in
vain, there had died more than one hundred and fifty soldiers.

Finally, the Spaniards left the province of Herdsmen, after having
sufiered there many misfortunes. They marched twenty days, by
long journeys, through other countries, the names of which they did
not inquire, and went inclining toward the south. But because they
believed they descended more than they ought, to reach Guachoia,
where they wished to return, they took to the east, taking care to
ascend always a little to the north, and happened to cross a road
through which they had passed in going. However, they did not
recognize it. They were then in the middle of September, and they
had already travelled nearly three months, from the time of their
leaving Guachoia, without having failed a single night or day of
being attacked. The barbarians during, the day placed themselves
in ambush and fell upon those who strayed ; and during the night
they came and alarmed the camp.

It happened also that one time, by favor of the darkness, they
dragged themselves upon all fours as far as the camp, where they
fired upon the horses and slew two sentinels. A few days after-
wards, twelve cavaliers and as many Spanish infantry, who had
need of poiters, put themselves in ambush to capture some Indians
of those who, at the instant the troops decamped, came to carry off
what was left. Tliej' posted themselves behind large, trees, and
upon the highest a sentinel, with orders to give them notice as soon
as he discovered anything, which he successfully did ; for they took
fourteen Indians, whom they divided among themselves. But after-
wards, when they desired1;o rejoin the armj^, one of the company,
who was not satisfied with having only two Indians, besought his


comrades not to return nntil they should have taken one more of
thera for him. His companions, who were not of this sentiment,
told him he must defer that to another time, and they each offered
him the Indian they had in the division. Nevertheless, seeing
that tliey could not prevail upon him, they stopped again. In
the mean while, the sentinel gave notice that he saw an Indian,
and Paez, whom misfortune ought to have made wise, immediately
spurred directly toward the barbarian, who, seeing himself dis-
covered, fled under a tree. Paez approached and gave a vigorous
thrust at him with his lance, but did not strike him. The Indian,
who held his arrow readj", fired, and wounded in the flank the horse
of this cavalier ; so that, after having staggered about twenty paces,
he fell dead. Bolanios, who followed Paez, at the same time charged
upon the barbarian, and was as unfortunate as his companion.
Juan de Vega, who came next at a slow pace, surprised to see his
comrades dismounted, spurred towards the Indian; his companions,
lance in hand, also ran at the barbarian, who boldly advanced
straight at Vega to slay his horse and escape at the same time.
But the cavalier, who was wise, had beforehand taken precautions
that tliere should not happen to him a misfortune like that of
Paez. He had put upon the breast of his horse a cowhide in three
folds ; and it was thus that most of the cavaliers who took care of
their horses made use of it. Some covered the breast of theirs in
this manner with deer- or bearskins. When the Indian was within
arrow-range, he fired upon the horse of Vega and pierced the cow-
skin, so that the arrow entered about three inches into the breast.
Immediately, Vega rushed with, fury upon the barbarian and slew
him. Then the party turned back again, cursing him who had
obliged them to remain, and admiring the courage of the Indian,
whose appearance did not correspond with the deed he had done.
As soon as they had arrived, the general marched to the province
of Guachoia, and our men had during their route quite favorable
weather, until the end of October. But then, because of the rains
it became so wretched that most times they camped soaking wet;'
and without provisions to such a degree that they were compelled
to hazard themselves to seek them. In addition, their labors in-
creased in proportion as the winter advanced. The snows and rains
which fell raised the rivers extraordinarily, and caused the streams
to increase to such a degree that they could not cross without rafts.
Moreover, it was necessary to stop seven or eight days to cross
some of them ; for, besides not finding wood proper for rafts, they
always had their enemies on their hands, and suffered extreme
hardships, because the country being nearly inundated, they often


saw themselves forced to camp in the water, covered only with a
wretched buckskin dress, always' wet, which served them for shirt
and cape ; for which reason many Spaniards, overcome with cold
and sleep, fell sick ; and there passed not a day that there did not
die two or three of them. They also lost every day horses and
Indian porters. However, without allowing themselves to be de-
jected by misfortunes, our men continued their journey. But they
were fatigued to such a degree that they lacked even strength to
bury those who died upon the road; so that they were pitiable.
Besides, the most of their horses were sick, the cavaliers dismounted^
the infantry so feeble that they could scarcely stand up. Never-
thelessj all being resolved either to die or return to the Chucagna,
the most vigorous mounted the horses that were yet serviceable,
and resisted the enemies who harassed the troops upon their march.
Afterwards, when they were camped, they posted guards and senti-
nels, and the next day they advanced in the same order, which
lasted from the month of September until the last day of November,
of the year 1542, when they arrived upon the banks of the Chu-
cagna. Then, as the Spaniards believed that their misfortunes
were ended, they all gave to each other little presents to testify
their joy. Their journey, counting the route which they made in
returning, was more than three hundred and fifty leagues. When
they were returning they met with a sow which they had lost in
going, and which had brought forth thirteen pigs, all differently
marked in the ears. Hence, we may believe that the Indians had
divided these animals among themselves, and that they are now
reared in Florida.



' The Spaniards, on their return from their journey, arrived within
sixteen leagues of the town of Guachoia, and met with two villages,
one near the other, which were called Aminoia from the name of
their province. These villages consisted of two hundred houses,
and were each surrounded with a ditch, the water of which came
from the Chucagua, which made an island of each of these two
villages. Moscoso, who had still, besides seventy horse, about
three hundred footmen, resolved to take possession of it, and to
pass all the rest of the winter there. He therefore put his troops
in order of battle, and attacked so courageously the two' towns, one


after the other, that the Indians, astonished at the valorof our men,
abandoned them without resistance, so that the Spaniards made
themselves masters of them ; and in order not to be separated in
case of alarm, they some time after destroyed one of them, and
carried into the other the provisions and things they required.
Afterwards they fortified this post and were twenty days in putting
it in a state of defence ; because being greatly harassed, they could
not work but with great difficulty.

Whilst the Spaniards were in this town, an old Indian woman,
who had not been able to escape, asked them where they were going ;
and being answered " into winter quarters," she told them that
every fourteen years the river overflowed so much that the inhab-
itants were compelled to take to the tops of their houses, and that
the current year was the fourteenth, in which the town ought to be
inundated. Our men, who knew the design of the old woman,
laughed at her reveries. Carmona, who relates this circumstance,
adds that the Spaniards found in the town of Aminoia, eighteen
thousand measures of corn, with a great quantity of nuts, dried
plums, and some other fruit unknown in Spain. Therefore they
restored themselves by degrees, for besides these provisions they
were very conveniently lodged, and even the barbarians did not
come either by day or night to trouble them, which contributed
greatly to restoring them to health. When Moscoso saw that his
men had nearly recovered their strength and that the month of
January, of the year 1543, had passed, he ordered wood to be cut to
make the brigantines, and cordage, sails, and other things necessary
for his design, to be collected. Finally, while the Spaniards re-
mained in Aminoia, there died about sixty of them. Of this number
were Ortis, Touar, and Vasconcello. But during the whole journey
there perished more than one hundred and fifty of them, which was
found so much the more grievous as the death of so many brave
soldiers had happened through the imprudence of the captains who
had enlisted the troops in the journey.



As SOON as the report was spread that the Spaniards had returned
from their journey and that they were passing the winter at Aminoia,
Anilco, fearing lest by their assistance the subjects of Guachoia
might come again to invade his lands and-commit there their cruelties.


sent an envoy to Moscoco with orders to offer him peace and his
friendship, and to assure him of his obedience ; that there was no
kind of service which he might not expect from the people of his
country; and that for proofs of it he had but to order it. He
whom Anilco had charged to say this was his lieutenant-general.
He had, in his suite, beside two hundred Indians in service, twenty
of the most active and important of the province, followed by twenty
others with fruits and venison. This captain acquitted himself very
well of his duty, and neglected nothing to gain the favor of Moscoso,
who received, very obligingly, him and all the principal persons of
his suite, and requested him to assure Anilco that he thanked him
for the honor of his friendship, and that he would hold it in particu-
lar esteem during the remainder of his life. They immediately com-
municated this reply to the cacique, and in the mean time, the envoy
and those who accompanied him remained with the Spaniards, to
whom they showed their friendship by the fidelity of their services.

The subjects of Anilco had been two days at the quarters when
Guachoia, followed by many of his vassals loaded with fruit and
fish, arrived there to confirm his alliance with the troops. The
general received him very well. But the presence of the captain of
Anilco, his enemy, and the honor which they paid him, gave him a
mortal offence. Nevertheless, he concealed his displeasure, resolved
to show it only upon an opportunity.

During the wintering of the Spaniards at Aminoia, the two ca-
ciques rendered them all sorts of good services, and made them,
every eight days, new presents. In the mean while, Moscoso and
his ofiScers, who thought only of leaving Florida, ordered the
superintendent of the vessels to see how many brigantines were
necessary for the embarking of the troops, and when he replied
seven, he commanded that everything necessary for that number
should be prepared. They .first made four sheds under which they
worked for fear of being incommoded by the rains. Some sawed
planks, others planed them ; several nlade nails and iron works ;
some, charcoal ; and others, oars and cordage. Thus they all applied
themselves bravely to the things they did the best, and were em-
ployed three months at that.

During this time the captain of Anilco showed his zeal for our
men, who on their part also esteemed him much ; who besides having
a noble aspect and being capable of winning affiection, possessed rare
qualities. He was correct, faithful, obliging, gracefully anticipating
all wants, and even giving more than thej- would have dared de-
mand of him ; for without mentioning many cables and other cord-
age proper for the brigantines, he furnished the Spaniards more old

452 HISTORY or Florida.

and new cloaks than they could have reasonably expected, because
they found scarcely anj^ of them in the province. The new cloaks
served to make sails, and the old to calk the vessels. These mantles
are made of a certain herb resembling mallow. This plant has as
small fibres as the flax, so that the Indians make thread of it, and
they give to tliese cloaks whatever color they please, but generally
a gay and brilliant one.



Whilst the Spaniards labored at these brigantines, Quigaltanqui
believed that they prepared for their return only to go .ind relate
in their country, the excellence of the regions which they had dis-
covered, and afterwards to return in greater numbers and conquer it.
That then they would drive away the true lords of the province,
and establish themselves there independently, so. that, in this belief
Quigaltanqui resolved to anticipate such a misfortune, and to exter-
minate all the Spaniards who were in Florida. He therefore assem-
bled the chiefs of the country, to whom he expressed .himself upon
that subject, and all assured him that his design was glorious, and
that they would die to serve him in so noble an enterprise. He im-
mediately dispatched messengers on both sides of the Chucagua, to
ten of his neighboring caciques, and sent them word to engage them
in his favor, that they must stifle the animosity that existed be-
tween them, and all unite for the destruction of their common enemy ;
that if they neglected the opportunity for it which fortune presented
them, they would deplore the misery with which they would be over-
whelmed ; that the Spaniards were going home only to return to the
country with greater forces, and that after having cruelly seized
upon it, they would hold them all in a wretched sliavery. The
caciques received with joy, the envoys of Quigaltanqui. They ap-
proved his design because they found it worthy of a great captain,
and praised his courage, the extent of which was already known to
them. Therefore they agreed that each lord should raise troops in
his province, and prepare boats to attack their enemies by water as
well as by land ; that in the mean time, the better to surprise them
and deprive them of every suspicion, each one in particular should
feign to seek their friendship, and should send to them deputies with
presents. Quigaltanqui, as chief of the conspiracy, sent the first to
Moscoso, and all the others followed his example. Moscoso re-


ceived them with all the more pleasure and kindness as the few
troops that remained to him desired only peace. In the mean time,
Anilco, who had refused to enter into the league because of the
fidelity which he had sworn to the Spaniards, believed that he was
bound by his honor to inform- them of the conspiracy of the caciques.
Therefore he ordered his lieutenant to disclose the treachery to the
general, and to assure him that nothing should happen of which he
would not inform him. Moscoso took care to thank the cacique for
Jbis good advice and the continuation of his friendship, and after-
ward he had an especial esteem for him and his lieutenant ; never-
theless Anilco would never come to the camp, and always excused
himself on the plea of indisposition, but really it was because he
would not trust himself to the Spaniards.

It is not positively known whether Guachoia, who manifested
friendship for our men, entered into the league, but they suspected
that he was in correspondence with it ; piqued solely by the esteem
which they showed the lieutenant of Anilco. In fact he was offended
because the Spaniards rendered more honor to this captain who
served them promptly, than to him who worked very slowly for them
and also endeavored to discredit him in the opinion of Moscoso.
But they believed that Guachoia, knowing that Anilco had not con-
sented to league himself with the others, acted in this manner in
order that if, by chance, this lieutenant should happen to discover
the conspiracy, they would not give faith to what he should say.



When Guachoia knew that he labored in vain to ruin his enemy
in the opinion of the Spaniards, he flew quite into a passion, and
told Moscoso, in the presence of several oflBcers, that for a long time
he had suflFered with pain the honor which he and his troops paid to
the lieutenant of Anilco ; that he had always thought that honor
was due to those who had the most credit and distinction of birth,
that nevertheless, the Spaniards acted quite contrary to that, since
they esteemed only the lieutenant of Anilco, who had neither wealth,
power, nor nobility, and who deserved to be considered only in his
condition of vassal; that a^ for him he had subjects who excelled in
every respect him to whom they gave so many marks of esteem ;
that therefore he begged them to reflect upon their conduct, and to
be convinced that the actions of the lieutenant of Anilco were artful


and tended only to deceive them. The lieutenant of Anilco, who
had patiently listened to what was said against him, replied, with-
out appearing enraged, that they wrongfully reproached him with
his birth ; that his ancestors having been caciques, he yielded to no
one in nobility ; that he confessed that his father had not left him
great wealth, but that he had supplied that defect by his courage,
since, in the war which he had made against Guachoia and other
lords, he had gained a support according to his condition; that
therefore he could now place himself among the number of the rich
whom his enemy wished that they should esteem so much, and that a
vassal like himself would always greatly excel a cacique like G-uachoia;
that after all he was not properly a vassal, because Anilco did not
consider him so, but as one of his ne.arest relatives, and that with
this consideration, he had made him lieutenant-general of the prov-
ince ; that afterwards he had gained many battles, defeated the father
of Guachoia, and occasionally his captains ; that ever since Guachoia
had succeeded to his father, he had cut in pieces all his forces and
made prisoners him, his two brothers, and the most distinguished
persons of his state ; that then he had been able to despoil him of
his province and to take possession of it without diflEiculty, there
being no one to resist him, but that very far from undertaking any-
thing', he had taken very particular care of him while he was a priso-
ner ; that he was even his security to set at liberty him, his brothers,
and his vassals. Nevertheless,. as Guachoia had not kept his word,
he awaited only the departure of the troops in order to recapture
him ; that the boldness which he now had to endeavor to make him
pass for a hypocrite would then cost him dearly, and he would
teach him not to again rashly attack his reputation ; that even not
to defer it longer, it remained only with Guachoia whether they
should terminate their differences now ; that they both had but to
enter a boat to fight upon the river; that if Guachoia slew him, he
would satisfy his hate and would be avenged of the injury which
the Spaniards had done him in rendering honor to his. enemy ; that
as for him, if he had the advantage in the fight, he would show that
the merit of men did not consist in the splendor of riches, nor in
the possession of many vassals, but in virtue and the distinction of
courage. Guachoia replied nothing to all that, and showed his con-
fusion in his countenance. Moscoso and the Spaniards were con-
firmed in the confidence which they had in the lieutenant of Anilco,
and every day rendered him more honor.




Moscoso, considering tliat, if the hate of Guachoia and the cap-
tain of Anilco should lead them to make war upon each other, they
would not furnish him anything for his brigantines, told them that,
as they were equally beloved by the Spaniards, they could no longer
see them embroiled ; that, therefore, he entreated them to smother
their resentment, and to live for the future in perfect harmony.
The two Indians replied to Moscoso that they were ready to do
what he wished, and that, for his sake, they would generously forget
everything. Four days after, the quarrel was settled, and upon the
departure of the lieutenant of Anilco to return home to his province,
the general, who did not trust the word of Guachoia, and who
feared that, in order to avenge himself on his eneraj'-, he might lay
some ambuscade in the route, ordered thirty cavaliers to accompany
him until he should be out of danger. The captain at first politely
declined the offer of Moscoso, and informed him that Guachoia was
not much to be feared. Nevertheless, for fear of offending the
general, he took the escort which he offered him. But, afterwards,
he many times came from and returned to his country with only ten
or twelve Indians. In the mean while, Quigaltanqui and the other
caciques of his party dispatched, night and day, persons with
presents to Moscoso, and with orders to their envoys to observe
the conduct of tlie Spaniards, their guards, their skill in handling their

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 48 of 75)