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bled the detachment, and after stating the necessity of a tender of further service, proposed that the men should volunteer for three weeks longer; when 84 men, including officers, stepped out and were enrolled, which, with the addition of 23 volunteer militia sent to my aid by colonel Smith, and nine patriots under the command of captain Cone, made my whole force amount to 117. With this small body, provided with four days' provisions and 12 horses, I was determined to proceed to the nation and give those merciless savages at least one battle ; and I was emboldened in this determination by the strong expectation of being succoured by a body of cavalry from St. Mary's, and which it has since appeared did assemble at Colerain, but proceeded no farther. On the evening of the 24th of September, we left the St. John's, marching in Indian file, captain Humphrey's company of riflemen in front, captain Fort's company, under the command of lieutenant Fannin, in the centre, and captain Coleman's company, with Cone's detachment, under the command of lieutenant Broadnax, in the rear. A small party marched in front of the main body, and another in the rear; the openness of the country (except in particular places) rendered it unnecessary to employ men upon the right and left. Our encampment of nights (there being three companies) was in the form of a triangle, with the baggage in the centre, the men with their clothes on, lying with their feet pointing outwards, and their firelocks in their arms. In case of an attack, the officers were instructed to bring up their companies upon the right and left of the company fronting the enemy, and attend to the Indian mode of fighting until ordered to charge. In case of meeting the enemy upon our march, Humphrey's company was instructed to file off to the right, Fort's company to advance and form to the front in single rank, and Cole. man's company to file off to the left ; the whole then to advance in the form of a crescent, and endeavour to encircle the enemy. On the morning of the 4th day of our march, when within six or seven miles of the Lotchaway towns, our advance party discovered a body of Indians marching along the path meeting us, and at the same moment they appeared to have discovered us. As soon as I was informed of it, I lost no time in giving the necessary directions for the companies to advance, and obey the instructions which had been previously given to them, and which appeared exactly suited to the situation in which we found the enemy. As soon as Fort's company (at the head of which I had placed myself) had advanced to its proper ground, I discovered the Indians, falling back and making every preparation for battle, by unslinging their packs, trimming their rifles, and each man taking his place. We continued to advance, taking advantage of the trees in our progress, until we were within 130 yards of the Indians, when many of them fired, and I instantly ordered the charge, which drove them from behind the trees, and caused them to retire with the greatest precipitation; our men all the while firing at them, slew several, and by repeated charges drove them half a mile, when, they took shelter in the swamp. It unfortunately happened (I presume through inadvertence), that Humphreys' company in filing to the right took too great a circuit, got a small swamp between them and the enemy, and thereby rendered the victory less decisive than it would have been, had the whole charged together, and before the Indians had dispersed themselves, and extended their force (which they soon did) near half a mile up and down the swamp.
The company, however, was of service afterwards in preventing the enemy, after their dispersion, from entering our camp, retaking their baggage and provision (all of which fell into our hands), or falling upon the wounded, that had been sent to the rear. The action, including the skirmishing upon the flanks, lasted two hours and a half, the Indians frequently attempting to outflank us and get in our rear, but were repulsed by the companies extending to the right and left. We had one man killed and nine wounded, two of which have since died of their wounds. The loss of the enemy must have been considerable. I saw seven fall to the ground with my own eyes, among whom was their king, Payne ; two of them fell near the swamp, the rest our men had the curiosity to scalp. The rifle company on the right, and Broadnax's on the left, speak of killing several near the swamp, who were borne off by their comrades, it being a principle among the savages to carry off their dead at the risk of their lives. We remained on the battle ground watching the movements of the Indians, who were near the swamp painting themselves, and appeared to be in consultation, all of which indicated an intention to renew the combat. Accordingly, at half an hour before sunset, having obtained a considerable reinforcement of negroes and Indians from their towns, they commenced the most horrid yells imaginable, in imitating the cries and noise of almost every animal of the forest, their chiefs advancing in front in a stooping serpentine manner, and making the most wild and frantic gestures, until they approached within two hundred yards of us, when they halted and commenced VOL. II.
firing. Our men were not to be alarmed by ther noise and yells, but, as instructed, remained perfectly still and steady behind logs and trees until the enemy by this forbearance had approached somewhat nearer, when a brisk and well directed fire from our line soon drove them back to their original ground. I would now have ordered the charge, but being under the necessity, from the extension of the enemy's line, of detaching nearly one-half of my force to protect our camp and wounded (the assailing of which is a great object with Indians), I was left to contend with a force three times as numerous as my own. The action lasted until eight o'clock, when the enemy were completely repulsed in every attempt, whether made upon our centre or flanks. We had two men killed and one wounded; the enemy carried off several of their men before it was dark-after which all firing (of course random) was at the spot from whence the flash arose. After fighting and fasting the whole day, we had to work throughout the night, and at day-light had a tolerable breast-work of logs and earth, with port holes, on the ground on which the battle was fought. We were reduced to this necessity, for in despatching captain Whitaker about dark to St. John's for a reinforcement, six more men took the liberty to accompany him, taking with them our best horses : our pilot and surgeon (who was sick) was among the number. The two days succeeding the battle, we neither saw nor heard any thing of the enemy, but on the evening of the third day they commenced firing at our work at a long distance, and renewed it every day for five or six days, but without killing or wounding any of our men.-After killing two or three of them through our port holes, they seldom came within gun-shot. Seven or eight days had now elapsed since our express had left us, hunger was staring us in the face, and we were now reduced to the necessity of eating one of our horses; we had no surgeon to dress the wounded, and apprehensions were entertained that the enemy would receive reinforcements from Augustine or the Makasukie Indians. Expecting relief every hour, I was unwilling to leave our breast-works while we had a horse left to eat, but understood from some of my officers that a certain captain was determined to leave us with his company, and that many of the men, giving up all hopes of relief, talked of deserting in the night rather than perish or fall a sacrifice to the merciless negro :s and Indians, whom they were taught to believe would surround us in great numbers in a few days. In this trying situation, when our few remaining horses were shot down by them, and the number of our sick daily in
creasing, I reluctantly assented to leave our works that night, and directed the litters to be prepared to carry the wounded. About nine o'clock we commenced our distressing march, carrying five wounded men in litters, and supporting two or three more. We had not proceeded more than eight miles, when the men became perfectly exhausted from hunger and fatigue, and were unable to carry the wounded any farther. About two hours after we left our breast-works, 25 horsemen, with provisions, arrived to our relief, on a different road from the one we had taken, but from motives best known to themselves, instead of following us, returned to St. John's, and we were left to encounter new difficulties, two men that I had despatched on the path the horsemen came, by some means or other missing them. We again constructed a place of defence, and I despatched serjeant-major Reese, with one private, to Picolata, to learn what had occasioned the delay of our expected supplies, and told him I should remain where I was until I could hear from him, and endeavour to procure cattle, as we discovered signs of their being near us.
The evil genius of captain again prevailed, and I have since learned from captain Cone, that this person instigated not only him, but many of the privates,
of the privates, to urge a departure from our works even in the day-time, when I was convinced that the Indians, knowing our weak situation, would endeavour to ambuscade. This gentleman, if innocent, will have an opportunity of proving himself so before a court martial. With a burning fever on me, and scarcely able to walk, the march was ordered about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. I had directed the adjutant, captain Hardin, to march in front, to avoid all places where there could be an ambuscade, and the litters should be distributed among the different companies. Being extremely weak, I marched in the rear with captain
(who carried my firelock), lieutenant Fannin, and about 15 or 20 privates. We had scarcely marched five miles before the front of the detachment discovered the heads of several Indians on both sides of the path, from among several pine trees that were laid prostrate by the hurricane; the same instant the enemy fired upon our advanced party, and shot down four of them: one, a Spaniard, died on the spot, and two survived a few days; my negro boy was one of them. The moment I heard the firing I ordered the detachment to charge, and the Indians were completely defeated in 15 minutes, many of them dropping their guns, and the whole running off without ever attempting to rally. Four were left. dead on the field, and I am convinced, from the constant fire
we kept up, that many more must have been slain, but were hid from our view by the thick and high Palmetto bushes. We lay on the battle ground all night, and started next day at ten o'clock, marched five miles, and again threw up breastworks between two ponds, living upon gophers, alligators, and palmetto stocks, until serjeant-major Reese arrived with provisions, and 14 horses, when we were enabled to proceed to St. John's with all our sick and wounded, where a gunboat, by the direction of colonel Smith, was in waiting for us, which conveyed us to his camp, where we met with every attention that humanity and benevolence could bestow. I cannot refrain from here expressing the high sense I have of the care and anxiety which colonel Smith has manifested for the detachment under my command, and his promptitude in affording every aid in his power, when apprized of our situation. My pen can scarcely do justice to the merits of the brave officers and men under my command, their fortitude under all their privations and distresses never forsaking them. Captain Hamilton (who volunteered as a private, his company having left him at the expiration of their term), lieutenant Fannin, ensign Hamilton, and adjutant Harden, distinguished themselves in a particular manner, being always among the first to charge, and first in pursuit; serjeants Holt and Attaway likewise acted very bravely, and Fort's company in general (being always near me, and under my immediate view) advanced to the charge with the steadiness of veterans. Lieutenant Broadnax showed a great deal of courage and presence of mind, and ensign Mann, who was wounded in the first action, fought well. Captain Cone, who was wounded in the head early in the action, behaved well, and lieutenant Williams did himself great honour in every action, but particularly in the bold and manly stand he made in the night engagement. Serjeant Hawkins and corporal Neil of Coleman's company acted like soldiers, and serjeantmajor Reese's activity was only surpassed by his courage ; he was every where, and always brave. Captain Humphreys' company acted bravely, particularly lieutenant Reed, serjeant Fields, serjeant Cowan, serjeant Denmark, and many of the privates. I can only speak of captain Humphreys from the report of some of his men, who say he acted well; it so happening he never met my eye during either of the engagements, while the conduct of every other person that I have mentioned (except one or two) came under iny personal observation. The number of Indians in the first engagement, from every circumstance that appeared, must have been from