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[Illustration: BATTLE OF ANTIETAM.]




Édition d'Élite


Historical Tales
The Romance of Reality

By
CHARLES MORRIS

_Author of "Half-Hours with the Best American Authors," "Tales from the
Dramatists," etc._


IN FIFTEEN VOLUMES
Volume II


American
2


J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY
PHILADELPHIA AND LONDON




Copyright, 1904, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.

Copyright, 1908, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.




_CONTENTS._

PAGE

PONCE DE LEON AND THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH 7

DE SOTO AND THE FATHER OF WATERS 13

THE LOST COLONY OF ROANOKE 23

THE THRILLING ADVENTURE OF CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH 29

THE INDIAN MASSACRE IN VIRGINIA 40

THE GREAT REBELLION IN THE OLD DOMINION 49

CHEVALIER LA SALLE THE EXPLORER OF THE MISSISSIPPI 62

THE FRENCH OF LOUISIANA AND THE NATCHEZ INDIANS 76

THE KNIGHTS OF THE GOLDEN HORSESHOE 88

HOW OGLETHORPE SAVED GEORGIA FROM SPAIN 95

A BOY'S WORKING HOLIDAY IN THE WILDWOOD 104

PATRICK HENRY, THE HERALD OF THE REVOLUTION 113

GOVERNOR TRYON AND THE CAROLINA REGULATORS 124

LORD DUNMORE AND THE GUNPOWDER 135

THE FATAL EXPEDITION OF COLONEL ROGERS 145

HOW COLONEL CLARK WON THE NORTHWEST 153

KING'S MOUNTAIN AND THE PATRIOTS OF TENNESSEE 166

GENERAL GREENE'S FAMOUS RETREAT 171

ELI WHITNEY, THE INVENTOR OF THE COTTON-GIN 185

HOW OLD HICKORY FOUGHT THE CREEKS 193

THE PIRATES OF BARATARIA BAY 206

THE HEROES OF THE ALAMO 217

HOW HOUSTON WON FREEDOM FOR TEXAS 225

CAPTAIN ROBERT E. LEE AND THE LAVA-BEDS 231

A CHRISTMAS DAY ON THE PLANTATION 241

CAPTAIN GORDON AND THE RACCOON ROUGHS 252

STUART'S FAMOUS CHAMBERSBURG RAID 261

FORREST'S CHASE OF THE RAIDERS 277

EXPLOITS OF A BLOCKADE-RUNNER 291

FONTAIN, THE SCOUT, AND THE BESIEGERS OF VICKSBURG 302

GORDON AND THE BAYONET CHARGE AT ANTIETAM 311

THE LAST TRIUMPH OF STONEWALL JACKSON 319

JOHN MORGAN'S FAMOUS RAID 331

HOME-COMING OF GENERAL LEE AND HIS VETERANS 347




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

AMERICAN. VOLUME II.


PAGE

BATTLE OF ANTIETAM _Frontispiece._

ALONG THE COAST OF FLORIDA 9

DE SOTO DISCOVERING THE MISSISSIPPI 19

POCAHONTAS 32

JAMESTOWN RUIN 54

COALING A MOVING BOAT ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER 73

OLD SPANISH FORT, ST. AUGUSTINE 98

HOME OF MARY WASHINGTON, FREDERICKSBURG, VA 108

HOME OF PATRICK HENRY DURING HIS LAST TWO
TERMS AS GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA 114

ST. JOHN'S CHURCH 122

OLD MAGAZINE AT WILLIAMSBURG 138

VIEW IN THE NORTHWESTERN MOUNTAINS 155

COTTON-GIN 186

JACKSON'S BIRTHPLACE 198

THE ALAMO 218

COTTON FIELD ON SOUTHERN PLANTATION 242

COLONIAL MANSION 262

GORDON HOUSE 316

TRIUMPH OF STONEWALL JACKSON 323

LEE'S HOUSE AT RICHMOND 348




_PONCE DE LEON AND THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH._


A golden Easter day was that of the far-away year 1513, when a small
fleet of Spanish ships, sailing westward from the green Bahamas, first
came in sight of a flower-lined shore, rising above the blue Atlantic
waves, and seeming to smile a welcome as the mariners gazed with eyes of
joy and hope on the inviting arcades of its verdant forest depths. Never
had the eyes of white men beheld this land of beauty before. English
ships had sailed along the coast to the north, finding much of it bleak
and uninviting. The caravels of Columbus had threaded the glowing line
of tropic isles, and later ships had borne settlers to these lands of
promise. But the rich southlands of the continent had never before been
seen, and well was this unknown realm of beauty named Florida by the
Spanish chief, whether by this name he meant to call it the "land of
flowers" or referred to the Spanish name for Easter, Pascua Florida.
However that be, he was the first of the discoverers to set foot on the
soil of the great coming republic of the United States, and it is of
interest that this was done within the domain of the sunny South.

The weight of half a century of years lay upon the shoulders of Juan
Ponce de Leon, the discoverer, but warm hope burned in his heart, that
of winning renewed boyhood and youthful strength, for it was a magic
vision that drew him to these new shores, in whose depths he felt sure
the realm of enchantment lay. Somewhere amid those green copses or along
those liquid streams, he had been told, a living fountain sprang up
clear and sparkling from the earth, its waters of such a marvellous
quality that whoever should bathe in them would feel new life coursing
through his veins and the vigor of youth bounding along his limbs. It
was the Fountain of Youth he sought, that fabled fountain of which men
had dreamed for centuries, and which was thought to lie somewhere in
eastern Asia. Might not its waters upspring in this new land, whose
discovery was the great marvel of the age, and which men looked upon as
the unknown east of Asia? Such was the new-comer's dream.

Ponce de Leon was a soldier and cavalier of Spain in those days when
Spain stood first among the nations of Europe, first in strength and
enterprise and daring. Brave as the bravest, he had fought with
distinguished courage against the Moors of Granada at the time when
Columbus was setting out on his famous voyage over the unknown seas of
the West. Drawn by the fame of the discovery of the New World, De Leon
sailed with Columbus in his second voyage, and proved himself a gallant
soldier in the wars for the conquest of Hispaniola, of whose eastern
half he was made governor.

To the eastward lay another island, the fair tropic land ever since
known as Porto Rico. De Leon could see from the high hills of Hispaniola
the far green shores of this island, which he invaded and finally
subdued in 1509, making himself its governor. A stern oppressor of the
natives, he won great wealth from his possessions here and in
Hispaniola. But, like many men in his position, his heart was sore from
the loss of the youthful vigor which would have enabled him to enjoy to
the full his new-found wealth.

[Illustration: ALONG THE COAST OF FLORIDA.]

Could he but discover the wondrous fountain of youth and plunge in its
life-giving waters! Was not this the region in which it was said to lie?
He eagerly questioned the Indians about it, and was told by them that
they had often heard of such a fountain somewhere not far to the north.
It is probable enough that the Indians were ready to tell anything,
false or true, that would rid them of the unwelcome Spaniards; but it
may be that among their many fables they believed that such a fountain
existed. However that may be, De Leon gladly heard their story, and lost
no time in going forth like a knight errant in quest of the magic fount.
On March 3, 1513, he sailed with three ships from Porto Rico, and, after
threading the fair Bahama Islands, landing on those of rarest tropic
charm, he came on Easter Sunday, March 27, in sight of the beautiful
land to which he gave the name of Florida.

Bad weather kept him for a time from the shore, and it was not until
April 9 that he was able to land. It was near the mouth of the St. John
River, not far from where St. Augustine now stands, that he set foot on
shore, the first white man's foot to tread the soil of the coming United
States since the days of the Northmen, five centuries before. He called
his place of landing the Bay of the Cross, and took possession of the
land for the king of Spain, setting up a stone cross as a sign of
Spain's jurisdiction.

And now the eager cavalier began the search for that famous fount which
was to give him perpetual youth. It is not likely he was alone in this,
probably most of his followers being as eager as he, for in those days
magic was firmly believed in by half of mankind, and many wild fancies
were current which no one now accepts. Deep into the dense woodland they
plunged, wandering through verdant miles, bathing in every spring and
stream they met, led on and on by the hope that some one of these might
hold the waters of youth. Doubtless they fancied that the fountain
sought would have some special marks, something to distinguish it from
the host of common springs. But this might not be the case. The most
precious things may lie concealed under the plainest aspect, like the
fabled jewel in the toad's forehead, and it was certainly wisest to let
no waters pass untried.

Months passed on. Southward along the coast they sailed, landing here
and there and penetrating inland, still hopeful of finding the enchanted
spring. But wherever it might lie hidden, they found it not, for the
marks of age which nature had brought clung to them still, and a
bitterly disappointed man was Juan Ponce de Leon when he turned the
prows of his ships away from the new-found shores and sailed back to
Porto Rico.

The Will-o'-the-wisp he sought had baffled him, yet something of worth
remained, for he had made a discovery of importance, the "Island of
Florida," as he called it and thought it to be.



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