ship of the French fleet on the Florida coast
vessels were dashed against the rocks about fifty leagues south of Fort Carolina
; most of the men escaped with their lives.
The Spanish ships also suffered, but not so severely; and the troops at St. Augustine
were entirely safe They knew that the French
settlement was left in a defenceless state: with a fanatical indifference to toil, Melendez led his men through the lakes, and marshes, and forests, that divided the St. Augustine
from the St. Johns
, and, with a furious onset, surprised the weak garrison, who had looked only towards the sea for the approach of danger.
After a short contest, the Span-
iards were masters of the fort.
A scene of carnage ensued; soldiers, women, children, the aged, the sick, were alike massacred.
The Spanish account asserts, that Melendez ordered women and young children to be spared; yet not till after the havoc had long been raging.
Nearly two hundred persons were killed.
A few escaped into the woods, among them Laudonniere
, Challus, and Le Moyne
, who have related the horrors of the scene.
But whither should they fly?
Death met them in the woods; and the heavens, the earth, the sea, and men, all seemed conspired against them.
Should they surrender, appealing to the sympathy of their conquerors?
‘Let us,’ said Challus, ‘trust in the mercy of God, rather than of these men.’
A few gave themselves up, and were immediately murdered.
The others, after the severest sufferings, found their way to the sea-side, and were received on board two small French vessels which had remained in the harbor.
, angry that any should have escaped, insulted the corpses of the dead with wanton barbarity.