Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter IV >> Page 36

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Page 36

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
Transcription CHAPTER IV.

The language of this reply, the uncompromising hate which it expressed, and the threat which it conveyed, struck terror to the hearts of the Huguenots. Feebler than their foes, and unprepared for battle, such as remained in the ships resolved upon flight.` The approach of evening, while it prevented them from doing so in the first moment of their alarm, saved them also for the night from their enemies. But with the dawn of day they cut their cables, hoisted sail, and stood out to sea. They were closely pursued and fired upon all day, but escaped by superior sailing. Melendez returned to the harbor of St. Augustine, of which he took possession in the name of Philip II. whom he proclaimed monarch of all America, with the most solemn ceremonies of religion ; and under the favoring auspices of partial success, the building of the town, the oldest in the United States, was begun.
While the Spaniards were thus employed, the colonists at Fort Caroline were neither idle nor apprehensive. Ribault resolved upon the most manly alternative. He resolved to anticipate the assaults of the enemy, and seek Melendez at sea. Crowding his main strength into his vessels, he left but a small garrison behind for the protection of his women and children, the sick of the expedition, and the stores. The garrison under Laudonniere, did not exceed eighty men, and not more than twenty of