Continuation of the Transactions of Ferdinand de Soto in Florida.
[Footnote 151: Herrera, V. 507.—541.]
We have already mentioned that Soto, having determined to spend the winter 1539 at Apalache, sent a detachment back to Harrihiagua on the bay of the Holy Ghost, to bring away Captain Calderon and the men who had been left there. This detachment consisted of thirty horse under the command of Juan de Anasco. On coming to the ford of the river Ocali, Anasco was obliged to pass it by means of rafts, as the river was flooded; and though they used the utmost diligence, the Indians were up in arms on both sides of the river to oppose him, so that the Spaniards had to fight both to the front and rear while their baggage, horses, and selves were wafted over. Having got safely over, they found it necessary to go to the town, as one of their comrades was quite benumbed in passing the river. Believing the Spaniards more numerous than they really were, the Indians only defended their town till their wives and children were got away to a place of safety, and then abandoned the place, of which Anasco took possession. The Spaniards made four large fires in the marketplace, on purpose to restore their benumbed comrade, to whom likewise they gave the only clean shirt they had among them. They likewise dried their clothes and saddles, which had been all wetted in passing the river, and furnished their wallets with provisions from the stores of the Indians. In the mean time, ten horses at once were allowed to feed, while all the rest stood ready bridled in case of attack. About midnight an alarm was given by the centinels of the approach of a numerous body of Indians; on which the whole party mounted, tying the benumbed man who was now somewhat recovered, fast upon his horse which was led by another soldier, and set off on their march with so much expedition that they were five leagues from the town by day-break next morning. In this manner they continued their journey with as little delay as possible, going on at a round trot wherever they found the country inhabited, and walking their horses in passing through the wilderness.