It was a romantic adventure descending in the darkness that wild and lonely stream, winding through the dense forest of wonderful exuberance of vegetation. In the early evening he set out. The night proved very dark. The river, swollen by recent rains, overflowed its banks and spread far and wide over the low bottoms. The river was extremely crooked, and it was with great difficulty that they could keep the channel. But the instinct of the Indian guide led them safely along, through overhanging boughs and forest glooms, until, a little before midnight, they reached the camp. There was no time to be lost. Major Russel was anxious to have the supplies that very night dispatched to him, lest the Indians should hear of their danger and should escape.
But Colonel Blue did not approve of the expedition. There was no evidence that the Indian encampment consisted of anything more than half a dozen wigwams, where a few inoffensive savages, with their wives and children, were eking out a half-starved existence by hunting, fishing, and digging up roots from the forest. It did not seem wise to send an army of two hundred and sixteen men to carry desolation and woe to such humble homes. Crockett was ordered to return with this message to the Major. Military discipline, then and there, was not very rigid. He hired another man to carry back the unwelcome answer in his place. In the light canoe the three men rapidly ascended the sluggish stream. Just as the sun was rising over the forest, they reached the camp of Major Russell. The detachment then immediately commenced its march down the River Scambia, and joined the main body at a point called Miller’s Landing. Here learning that some fugitive Indians were on the eastern side of the stream, a mounted party was sent across, swimming their horses, and several Indians were hunted down and shot.
Soon after this, the whole party, numbering nearly twelve hundred in all, commenced a toilsome march of about two or three hundred miles across the State to the Chattahoochee River, which constitutes the boundary-line between Southern Alabama and Georgia. Their route led through pathless wilds. No provisions, of any importance, could be found by the way. They therefore took with them rations for twenty-eight days. But their progress was far more slow and toilsome than they had anticipated. Dense forests were to be threaded, where it was necessary for them to cut their way through almost tropical entanglement of vegetation. Deep and broad marshes were to be waded, where the horses sank almost to their saddle-girths. There were rivers to be crossed, which could only be forded by ascending the banks through weary leagues of wilderness.
Thus, when twenty-eight days had passed, and their provisions were nearly expended, though they had for some time been put on short allowance, they found that they had accomplished but three-quarters of their journey. Actual starvation threatened them. But twice in nineteen days did Crockett Taste of any bread. Despondency spread its gloom over the half-famished army. Still they toiled along, almost hopeless, with tottering footsteps. War may have its excitements and its charms. But such a march as this, of woe-begone, emaciate, skeleton bands, is not to be counted as among war’s pomps and glories.