Pilgrims Before Plymouth

Pilgrims Before Plymouth


  • Pilgrims Before Plymouth

Published Date

  • published 1940


[page 18]
Fort Caroline, renamed San Mateo by the Spaniards, was burned,
probably accidently, eight days after its capture. It was rebuilt by
Menendez, who also ordered the erection of two blockhouses, one on each
side of the River of May near its mouth. The history of these Spanish
establishments repeated in many ways that of the French fortress.
Starvation, successful attacks by hostile Indians and threatened wide-
spread mutiny of the colonists and soldiers were prevented largely by the
timely efforts and orders of Menendez, who, despite charges of
ruthlessness in gaining his objectives, proved himself an able commander.

While Menendez was for a period in Europe, Dominique de
Gourgues, a Frenchman who had once been a captive galley slave of the
Spanish and who was eager to avenge the slain colonists of Fort Caroline,
arrived on the Florida coast. He had three ships, and had fitted out the
expedition at his own expense. Forming an alliance with the Indians, de
Gourgues attacked and captured the two Spanish blockhouses at the
mouth of the River of May, on April 12, 1568, killing most of the
garrisons. On April 15, 1568, he began an assault upon Fort San Mateo, A
vain attempt at a sortie by the Spaniards brought only death to many of
them. De Gourgues and his men forced their way into the fort, and the
inmates, terror-stricken, fled in a body from the stockade, hoping to find
refuge in the forest, as a number of their predecessors, the French of Fort
Caroline, had done. Most of the fleeing Spaniards, however, were slain by
De Gourgues' native allies. Satisfied with the vengeance he had wrought
upon the Spaniards, De Gourgues commanded the destruction of the fort,
and then sailed back to France.