Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter IV >> Page 38

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Page 38

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
the minds, and embittered the hearts of these stern ad-venturers. The massacre of the French as heretics, had. been long before deliberately resolved upon, Solemnly, on bended knee in prayer to the Almighty, did they pre-pare themselves for this unhallowed sacrifice. From prayer they rushed to slaughter ; the feeble garrison was surprized, and dreadful was the carnage that ensued. The old, the sick, women and children, were alike massacred. The humanity of Melendez, after the havoc had raged for some time, tardily interposed to save such of the women, and the children under fifteen years, that still survived. But many of the garrison were preserved for a more terrible sacrifice. As if a distinct testimony were needed to show that this atrocious consummation of their crime was an act of faith, and a tribute to that gentle and benignant God who came only to propitiate and save the living and the dying, after the fury of the fight was over, were hung together upon the boughs of a tree, and left to shrivel in the sun. An inscription upon a stone beneath, declared the motive of this meritorious deed. "We do this," wrote the fanatic, "not to Frenchman, but to heretics."
Nearly two hundred persons were massacred. A few, leaping from the parapet when all was lost, escaped into the woods ; among them were Laudonniere, Challus, and Le Moyne, a painter who had been sent out with the colony, with an especial regard to the exercise of his art. From these we gather the horrors of the scene, which was not yet finished. But whither should the fugitives. turn ? Death was every where around them ; the forests had no refuge, the sea no hiding place. " Shall we sur-