The victory had been gained on the festival of
Chap. II.} 1565. Sept. 21.
St. Matthew; and hence the Spanish
name of the river May
. After the carnage, mass was said; a cross raised; and the site for a church selected, on ground still smoking with the blood of a peaceful colony.
The shipwrecked men were, in their turn, soon discovered.
Melendez invited them to rely on his compassion; in a state of helpless weakness, wasted by their fatigues at sea, half famished, destitute of water and of food, they capitulated, and in successive divisions, were ferried across the intervening river.
As the captives stepped upon the opposite bank, their hands were tied behind them; and in this way they were marched towards St. Augustine
, like sheep to the slaughter-house.
When they approached the fort, a signal was given; and amidst the sound of trumpets and drums, the Spaniards fell upon the unhappy men, who could offer no resistance.
A few Catholics
were spared; some mechanics were reserved as slaves; the rest were massacred, ‘not as Frenchmen, but as Lutherans.’
The whole number of victims here and at the fort, is said, by the French
, to have been about nine hundred; the Spanish
accounts diminish the number of the slain, but not the atrocity of the deed.
In 1566 Melendez attempted to take possession of Chesapeake Bay
, then known as St. Mary's. A vessel was despatched from his squadron with thirty soldiers and two Dominicans, to settle that region and convert its inhabitants; but disheartened by contrary winds and the certain perils of the proposed colonization, they turned about before coming near the bay, and sailed for Seville
, spreading the worst accounts of a country which none of them had seen.
Melendez returned to Spain
, impoverished, but