Sun., May 9th. Notice was given to me that Mr. D., Chaplain to the Independent Company, had landed, and walking toward me. His moral character did not recommend him. I had just time to run away into the woods, and so escaped his visit. The next morning Mr. Oglethorpe returned, from whom I had the following account of his expedition.
On Saturday, May 1st, late at night, arrived the "Caroline" scout-boat, with Captain Ferguson, bringing advice that Major Richards and Mr. Horton (who had carried answers to the Spanish Governor's letters) had landed at their look-out, and he believed were made prisoners by the Spaniards; for they had heard no more of them, except by a blind letter, written with a pencil; that the boats, in which were the men under Captain Hermsdorf, had come about thirty miles on this side of St. George's Point, and there waited for orders; that the men were mutinous, and Hermsdorf believed he should be forced to retire to Fort St. Andrews; that he was apprehensive they would either murder their officers, and turn pirates, or be cut off by the Spaniards. Mr. Oglethorpe, on Sunday, went on board the man-of-war, and proceeded from thence with the man-of-war's boat, commanded by the Lieutenant, and the Georgia scout-boat. They arrived that night at Fort St. Andrews. On Monday they came up with the south point of Cumberland, where we met with the boats under the command of Captain Hermsdorf. Mr. Ogiethorpo immediately took them out to sea with him, round Amelia Island. He found, upon examination, that the men did not intend to mutiny; but that the suspicion was occasioned by the lies of one man, who was hereupon sentenced by Mr. Oglethorpe to run the gauntlet.
He went to Point St. George, within sight of the Spanish look-out, and re-settled them on the same place where Mr. Hermsdorf had before taken up his quarters. It had been agreed that the Spaniards should make a signal; and from thence he would repair with his boats, to fetch Major Richards back, who was gone to Augustine, at the request of the Governor, who promised to send horses to conduct him, but did not. It likewise was agreed that the boats should patrol up and down the rivers, to prevent the Indians, our allies, passing over to molest the Spaniards; as they should prevent their Indians passing over to molest us.
Mr. Oglethorpe went that afternoon to the Spanish lookout, with a flag of truce; but not being able to perceive any one, leaving the boat at her grappling, he leaped ashore himself, to see if he could discover anybody there; and going along the beach, at distance from the Sandy hillocks, to prevent surprise, he surrounded the hillocks, where he found two horses hobbled. He went forward to a palmetto hut; but could find no man. After this he sent the flag of truce into a great savannah, to see if that would draw down any people to a conference. Upon this W. Frazer, a Scotch lad, going into the neighbouring woods, and finding a Spaniard, brought him to Mr. Oglethorpe, to whom he delivered two letters; one from Major Richards, the other from Mr. Horton, directed to Mr. Hermsdorf, acquainting him that he should be back with him in two days' time. Mr. Oglethorpe gave the man a bottle of wine, victuals, and tobacco, and a moidore for his trouble in bringing the letters; and inquired where Major Richards and Mr. Horton were. The man said he knew nothing concerning them; that he was a horseman, and sent by the Colonel of the cavalry from the head-quarters, which were about twelve leagues off, with these letters, to wait there till he should see an English boat appear, and deliver it to them; that he had lain four days on the beach, and had not discovered a boat in that time. Mr. Oglethorpe delivered to him letters for the Governor of Augustine; and between ten and eleven on Thursday morning set out with the man-of-war's boat, and Georgia scout-boat, to meet the man again, according to appointment.
He discovered a guard-coast full of men, that lay behind the sand-bank, beyond the breakers, on the English side of the water; and soon after he discovered several men hid in the woods, next to some sand-hills. Two horsemen showed themselves, and beckoned to the boats, which had a flag of truce flying, to come down to a point, beyond which the guard-coast lay concealed: on which Mr. Oglethorpe rowed with the two boats toward the guard-coast, that he might not leave her behind to intercept us and our people at St. George's Point.
There seemed to be about seventy men on board her, and there were in our boats twenty-four. She lay still for some time; but when they found plainly that they were discovered, they rowed away with incredible swiftness, directly out to sea, toward Augustine.
Mr. Oglethorpe returned to the horsemen, who seemed very unwilling to approach the boat; but at last agreed to receive a letter, if Mr. Oglethorpe would send an unarmed man ashore. One of them, seemingly an officer, forbade the boats to land on the King of Spain's ground. Mr. Oglethorpe answered, that as it was the King of Spain's ground, the English would forbear landing on it, since the Spaniards requested it; but that the Spaniards should be very welcome to land on the King of England's ground, which was on the opposite side of the river, and should be welcome to a glass of wine with him there. He asked him for the news of Mr. Horton and Mr. Richards, and whether he could not send anything to them. The man said he knew nothing of them; that he received his orders from the Colonel of horse, who was quartered at twelve leagues' distance; and that he could carry no news but to him. Upon this Mr. Moore, Lieutenant of the "Hawke" man-of-war, wrote a letter to the Colonel of the horse, acquainting him that he was come thither with boats, to conduct back the gentlemen who were sent by Mr. Oglethorpe to treat with the Governor of Augustine; and that, if at any time he would make three fires on the Spanish main, he would take it as a signal that the gentlemen were come, and would come over with a boat and fetch them. The Spanish officer promised to deliver the letter by night to the Colonel of horse. Mr. Oglethorpe stayed till Saturday night, expecting an answer, and sent over to the Spanish side every day; but could find nobody to have conference with. By the look-out within-land they have a vineyard, flocks of turkeys, cattle, and horses; but great care was taken that none of our people should touch any of them, On Saturday night Mr. Oglethorpe set out, leaving Captain Hermsdorf with an armed periague, the Georgia scout-boat, and another boat.