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The movement of the army was very slow in consequence of all their supplies being carried on horses, for we did not have a Single wagon. Before we arrived at the french broad, we learned that we were to be attacked while we crossed the river. When we arrived at the river a halt was ordered and a ridge overlooking the ford of the river, at the ford was a small Island within some fifty yards of this side, the water was deep and very rapid, on the other side of the Island the river was much wider though shallow and with a smooth bottom. Between the Island and the other bank we expected an attack from the Indians, the ridge we halted on ran some distance parallel with the river, on this ridge a great many piles of wood were placed at the ordinary distance, these piles of wood were set on fire at night, and 600 men were ordered to march down and cross the river some five miles below and at a certain minute the next day to come up on the opposite side of the river so they should be in the rear of the Indians on their attack on the balance of the army. Early the next morning 600 men were ordered to cross to the opposite of the river, the remainder of the men, 800, were left to protect the baggage, &c. Captain Martin's company was in front, two of his men were quite unwell, these Martin advised not to cross, but they insisted on going over and sharing with their comrades in the expected fight. Martin at last yielded to their wishes, but determined they should not endanger their lives by wading the river. As soon as they arrived at the river, Martin pulled off all his clothes except his shirt and put them in his breeches, put his breeches across his shoulders, took one of the sick men on his back and his gun in one hand and marched gallantly at the head of his Colum to the Island and then he deposited his load and returned for the other sick man. After they had all got over in the Island and they examined their guns they were ordered to march over on the other side of the river in double Colums, and when the bank was touched by the head of the Colum they were to march to the right and left and not to halt even if they should be fired upon until the Colum had crossed. This order was obeyed to the very letter. Capt. Martins Company was in front. Just as the army crossed and was drawn out in Single Colum up and down the river, the 600 men that crossed five miles below were seen coming some 300 yards off Stretched out in Single Column Similar to the other.
At this State of Affairs news was received that the Indians had broken up their camp but could not tell which way they had gone. Colo. Christian not knowing at what moment he might meet with an attack from his treacherous foe, held his men in a position to meet them at any moment. The balance of the army with the baggage was ordered across the river and joined the 1,200 men.
Soon as the baggage train crossed the river the army was expecting every moment to see the Indians make a rush from their place of concealment. A great noise was heard in the direction of a large Canebrake. We were satisfied that it was the noise of a large body of Indians making a charge upon us—the officers were calling out in every direction, men be at your post. The noise was growing more distinct but was still very audable. Again it grew louder and soon appeared to be getting off. The army was kept in a State of suspence for some time, at last Colo. Christian sent some men in that direction to see what the Indians were doing.
The messengers returned and reported that the noise proceeded from a large herd of Bufellow which had been badly frightened and had taken refuge in a canebrake some half mile off or more, some spies came in and reported that the Indians instead of coming to meet us had gone in the direction of their towns. Colo. C. believing that there was not much danger of an immediate attack from the Indians, and his men were very much fatigued gave orders that the army would proceed no father that day. The Captains were ordered to dismiss their companies and were ordered to commence cooking. In a very short time the tents were pitched and almost every man was preparing something to eat.
(To be continued.)
A SOUTHERN SULKY RIDE IN 1837.
THE JOURNAL OF Wm. H. WILLS.
(Continued.) (As noted in the previous issue the journal proper ceased then, but the record of the journey continues in the form of letters from Mr. Wills to his wife, which now follow.)
* I have arrived safely in Tallahassee and in good health but much fatigued as might be expected. I got in a little after 12 oclock and while waiting for my dinner sit down a second time to write to (you).
* The clouds look dark and lowering as if a storm was at hand. If the weather should prove favorable however, I design continuing my journey and hope to get to-night beneath the friendly roof of Genl. Whitaker or some of the kind friends of that neighborhood. I may have to remain here to-night from the inclemency of the weather, if so I hope to proceed in the morning. This is the 18th day since I left Tarboro.
In traveling far I find persons cannot always mark out the courses they will pursue. This has been my case. In my last letter* to you written from Camden, S. C. I informed you that I designed avoiding Augusta, and passing through Milledgeville, But on going farther, I learned that it was better and much nearer for me to go through Augusta and avoid Milledgeville. This course I have pursued and from Augusta came direct via: of Hawkinsville. Thus, in doing so, I deprived myself of getting a letter in Milledgeville (if there was one) and up to this time have not heard one word from you. In Augusta, I wrote to the Post Master of Milledgeville to forward my letter to me to this place and on getting in this morning I went directly to the office, but being Sunday found no person there. I shall go again presently, * * * If I do not find the Post Master when I go again I shall try and get your uncle Ely (Whitaker] to send to town to-morrow for nothing will much interest me till I hear from you. When I wrote you last I requested your second letter to be directed here. If you have not written a second time direct to Marianna; or if you have let your third letter be directed to that place. It is almost impossible for me to look afar enough ahead for your letters to meet me.
*Dated April 11, 1837.
Still I want you to write as I direct and if they do not get to the places directed before I do, I can order them to follow me.
If it was not for the postage,* I could write you every day, but it is useless to write so often. Last Wednesday, while riding on the road, through a barren, lonesome land, I saw three horsemen ahead, ** When we met, one of them was James Baker, and in a few minutes came up his brother, your uncle Smith, Mr. Godwin and Mr. Dixon. and talked for half an hour. They informed me that Dr. Baker and your Father were only awaiting my arrival in Florida to take their departure for N. C. I suppose you may look for your uncle Smith at home about the 5th of May perhaps before.
It is my purpose to spend two or three days in your Uncle Elys neighborhood and then go up to look for your Father.*
Tallahassee, Florida, Sunday 23rd Apl., 1837.
My last letter to you was written from Tallahassee 23rd April. In the afternoon of that day I rode out to Genl. Whitakers eight miles from Tallahassee. It commenced raining just as I left town and rained exceedingly hard, and mostly all the afternoon, but as I had
*The postage paid on this letter was 25 cents **Cf. p. 13, of vol. 7, in entry for “Wednesday morning, 19th.”
started, I would not turn back, and rode nearly all the way in it, but did not get wet.
On Monday evening, your Father came down and we remained together in that neighborhood until Thursday morning 27th, when we left for your Father's residence. It is a delightful neighborhood near Tallahassee, and it would gratify me and I know yourself for us to be situated there, and as regards business I think I could do well there. But I cannot consent to carrying my beloved family to such a sickly place as Tallahassee, and to live in the country would not suit my business. So I did not think seriously of getting there. From Tallahassee we went to Quincy. Here we staid all night and took tea (or rather coffee) at Mr. Armisteads who married Miss Baker. Quincy is a somewhat pleasant place but I presume a poor one for business.
From Quincy we rode on Friday to within 6 miles of Marianna, and stopt at a house near which is the greatest Natural Curiosity in the shape of a Spring which I have yet seen. Of this however, I shall now say nothing, reserving my remarks for our meeting.
On Saturday morning we rode to Marianna and put up at the only Hotel in the place where we found Mr. Nickells of Scotland Neck, already installed into the office of Hotel Keeper to the mutual gratification of himself and of his Halifax County friends. I cannot say that Marianna has anything very prepossessing in its present appearance; tho I presume it is on the eve of being improved. It is situated on a piney woods plain, not far from the Chipola River and is susceptible of much improvement. It is said to be the healthiest part of the County, and if our Halifax and No Ca acquaintances who buy land in the County, intend remaining there, I think it highly probable they will build and reside in town for there can be no doubt of the Sickliness of the Country. What my views of it are in regard to business I can scarcely inform you, for I have by no means