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[49] fought with desperate courage; and, but for the flames,
Chap II.} 1540
which consumed their light and dense settlements, they would have effectually repulsed the invaders ‘Of the Christians, eighteen died;’ one hundred and fifty were wounded with arrows; twelve horses were slain, and seventy hurt. The flames had not spared the baggage of the Spaniards; it was within the town, and was entirely consumed.1

Meanwhile, ships from Cuba had arrived at Ochus, now Pensacola. Soto was too proud to confess his failure. He had made no important discoveries; he had gathered no stores of silver and gold, which he might send to tempt new adventurers; the fires of Mobile had consumed the curious collections which he had made. It marks the resolute cupidity and stubborn pride with which the expedition was conducted, that he determined to send no news of himself, until, like Cortes, he had found some rich country.2

But the region above the mouth of the Mobile was populous and hostile, and yet too poor to promise plunder. Soto retreated towards the north; his troops

Nov 18.
already reduced, by sickness and warfare, to five hundred men. A month passed away, before he reached winter-quarters at Chicaca, a small town in the country
Dec 17.
of the Chickasas, in the upper part of the state of Mississippi; probably on the western bank of the Yazoo. The weather was severe, and snow fell; but maize was yet standing in the open fields. The Spaniards were able to gather a supply of food, and the
deserted town, with such rude cabins as they added, afforded them shelter through the winter. Yet no

1 Port. Rel. c. XVII.-XIX. 508—512. Vega is very extravagant in his account of the battle. L. III. c. XXVII.—XXXI. On localities, compare Belknap, i. 189, 190; McCulloh, 525; and T. Irving's Florida, II. 37.

2 Portuguese Relation, c. XIX.

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