Within the forts, all was carnage and confusion: dismounted cannon, surrounded by the dead bodies of the gunners, heaps of shells, and fragments of woodwork, were piled about the parade-ground and in the trenches. The story of the terrific bombardment was graphically told by those horrible evidences of death and destruction. And well might the scene be a horrible one.
They divided themselves into several parties, making incessant attacks upon the forts, and prowling around to shoot every white man who could be found within reach of their bullets. They avoided all open warfare, and fought only when they could spring from an ambush, or when protected by a stump, a rock, or a tree.
Roldan, having had his long fling too powerful still to hang or to chain in some one of our forts Roldan wrote and received permission, and came to San Domingo, and was reconciled. Suddenly, after long time of turmoil, wild adventure and uncertainty, peace descended. Over all Hispaniola the Indians submitted. Henceforth they were our subjects; let us say our victims and our slaves!
There are ruins of palaces and forts here dating to one hundred years before Christ, and for eighteen hundred years we have the ruins of the structures of the kings of Delhi and their most noted subordinates, comprising prime ministers, favorite slaves, barbers, architects, etc.
And thus before eight of the clocke that night were these two most noble Lords General, Masters of the market place, the forts, and the whole Towne and all, onely the Castle as yet holding out, and from time to time as they could, still annoying them, with seuen battering pieces.
When they had passed the forts, they entered the river, the whole line of whose banks were covered with the country seats of the nobility and hidalgos splendid buildings embosomed in groves of orange-trees, whose perfume scented the air. "There, signora, is the country palace of the viceroy," said the captain, pointing to a building which covered nearly three acres of ground.
Sometimes the crack-a-rac-a-rack would die down to a slow fire of dropping shots, and the forts seemed sleeping; and patter, patter, patter on the veteran canvas we heard the rain, rain, rain, not unlike the roll of steady musketry very far away.
In the hollow of the ridges the mist lay like broad lakes of water, and on one side of the plain stood the walls of the old town. On the other rose hills covered with royal palms that showed white in the moonlight, like hundreds of marble columns. A line of tiny camp fires that the sentries had built during the night stretched between the forts at regular intervals and burned brightly.
Along the shores, on both sides of the harbour, are two lines of fortifications; so that even should a hostile fleet manage to get by the cheese-like forts, they would still find it a hard matter to set fire to the dockyard or blow up the Victory. That noble old ship met our sight as, passing between Point Battery and Block House Fort, we entered the harbour.
There was a road from Johnson's plantation directly to Vicksburg, but it crossed numerous bayous and deep swamps by bridges, which had been destroyed; and this road debouched on level ground at the foot of the Vicksburg bluff, opposite strong forts, well prepared and defended by heavy artillery.