A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels - Volume 05 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 641 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels.
at nine days journey southwards there was a town called Aute near the sea, inhabited by a tribe in amity with him, who had plenty of provisions.  Taking this information into consideration, and especially as the Indians of Apalache did them considerable injury by frequent assaults, and always retreated to their fortresses in the marshes, the Spaniards determined upon returning towards the sea.  On the second day of their retrograde march, they were attacked by the Indians while passing across a morass, and several both men and horses were wounded, without being able to take vengeance on their enemies, as they always fled into the water.  These Indians were of large stature and well made, very nimble, and went entirely naked, being armed with bows as thick as a mans arm and twelve spans long.  They marched in this manner, under continual assaults, for eight days, at the end of which period they came to the town of Aute, where they got Indian corn, pompions, kidney-beans, and other provisions.  From this place the treasurer, Cabeza de Vaca, was sent with a party to endeavour to find the sea; but came back in three days, reporting that the sea was far off, and he had only been able to reach some creeks which penetrated deep into the land.  They had already travelled two hundred and eighty leagues from the place at which they first landed, in all which way they had seen neither mountain nor even any thing which could be called a hill[132].  The men were become much dejected and very sickly, and no longer able to travel so as to endeavour to make their way back to where they left the ships; in which miserable condition it was resolved to build some barks for the purpose of making their way along shore in search of the ships.  They accordingly constructed five barks, each of them twenty cubits long, which they caulked with the husks of palmetoes, making ropes of the manes and tails of their horses, and sails of their shirts; but were hardly able to find enough of stones to serve for ballast and anchors.

[Footnote 132:  Their wandering had probably been in the country of the Creeks, in the western parts of Georgia, and the two rivers they crossed may have been the Catahehe and Mobile; but we have no indications from which to form any conjecture as to the part of the coast on which they built their ill-fated barks.—­E.]

They embarked on the 22d of September, after having eaten all their horses, and having lost above forty of their men from sickness, besides several who were slain by the Indians.  Their barks were hardly able to carry them, and they had no sailors among them to direct their perilous navigation.  After five days painful progress among intricate creeks[133], they came at last to an island, where they found five canoes abandoned by the Indians, and on going into a house they found some dried skates which were a very acceptable though scanty relief to their necessities.  Proceeding onwards with the help of these canoes,

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