A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 756 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03.
Alaminos said he knew the place, having been here before with Ponce de Leon, and advised them to be on their guard against the natives, and they accordingly posted centinels to give the alarm.  They dug pits along an open shore, where they found good water, with which they quenched their thirst; and while employed in washing some linen for the wounded men, and almost ready to reimbark, one of their centinels came running towards them, calling out to put to sea without delay, as warlike Indians were coming towards them.  Soon after they saw many canoes with Indians coming down the creek.  The Indians were armed with long bows and arrows, and spears and swords after their manner, and being large men clothed in deer skins, they had a very formidable appearance.  At the first discharge of their arrows, the Indians wounded six of the Spaniards; but finding the effects of the Spanish arms, they drew off again to their canoes, and seized the Spanish boat.  On this the Spaniards closed with them, being obliged to wade up to their middles in the water, but succeeded in rescuing the boat and putting the Indians to flight, Alaminos being wounded in the throat during the fight.  When the Indians retreated and the Spaniards were all ready to embark, the centinel who gave the alarm was asked what had become of his companion?  He answered, that he had stepped aside towards the creek by which the Indians came down, on purpose to cut down a palmito; and that hearing him soon afterwards cry out, he had run away to give the alarm.  A party was sent in search of him, following the track of the Indians, who found the palmito he had begun to cut down, and near it the grass was much trodden down, which made them conclude he had been carried away alive, as they could not find him after an hours search.  That unfortunate soldier was the only one who had escaped unwounded from Pontonchan.

The boat now returned to the ship with the water which they had procured; and many of the people on board were so eager to drink, that one of the soldiers leaped into the boat immediately on its getting along-side, and drank so greedily that he swelled and died in two days after.  Leaving this place, they came in two days sail to the Martyres, where the greatest depth of water is only two fathoms, interspersed with many rocks, on one of which the ships touched and became very leaky.  Yet it pleased God, after so many sufferings, that they arrived at the port of Carenas, now called the Havanna; whence Hernandez de Cordova sent an account of his voyage to James Velasquez, the governor of Cuba, and died in ten days after.  Three of his soldiers died also at the Havanna, making fifty-six in all lost during the expedition out of an hundred and ten men.  The rest of the soldiers dispersed themselves over the island of Cuba, and the ships returned to the city of St Jago, by which the fame of this voyage spread over the whole island.

[1] We shall afterwards have occasion to give an account of this and other
    Spanish Expeditions of Discovery and Conquest, written by Bernal Diaz
    del Castillo, who was actually engaged in all those which he

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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