William Bradford – of Plymouth Plantation Essay
On November 11, 1620 the pilgrims, aboard the Mayflower ship, dropped anchor at Cape Cod. They wanted to explore the new land with a shallop they brought with them from England, but it suffered damages during the voyage and needed mending. In this situation, while the shallop was being repaired, 16 well armed men, leaded by Captain Standish, were allowed to seek what seemed to be a nearby river. This was unknown land, so they took every precaution available to them. On the 15th of November they had already marched 1 mile along the seaside and encountered some native inhabitants.
The Indians ran towards the woods as soon as they saw the pilgrims, but the English followed them to see where they were going or if they could speak to them. But nightfall came and they had to set camp and continue their pursuit the next day. Following their tracks the next day, they came across a river from which they drank water, “the first New-England water they drunk of”. They continued their search for the Indians and found, over a pond, what seemed to be a former Indian establishment, the remains of a house, baskets filled with corn and, for them, other exotic food, hidden in the sand, graves and also a field of corn.
Near this place they found the river they were seeking, a salt creek separated by a cliff of sand. The English set for the ship, taking part of the fruits they found with them, considering that their shallop could manage exploring the river from there after it had been repaired. When the shallop was ready, they continued to explore the new land and found two more houses, more corn and beans, but no actual Indians. On the 6th of December, facing harsh weather, they set about in their shallop for further discoveries, going in the deep bay of Cape Cod.
At the bottom of the bay, as they approached shore, they saw 10 or 12 Indians. They set ashore near them and as night fell, they had to barricade themselves in case of an attack. In the morning, some of them explored the island along the shore onboard the shallop and the others set on foot into the woods. They went to the place where the saw the Indians the night before and found some uncommon large fish in the sand. Later they met up with the men on the shallop and set camp once again on the island, barricading themselves as usual.
Around midnight they heard an unusual cry and called to arm, and then shooted some muskets. The noise stopped. At 5 o’clock in the morning they woke up and prepared for another day of exploring, they moved their arms near the ship and sat down for breakfast. Suddenly they heard the same cries they had heard during the night and saw one of their men running towards them shouting that the Indians had come. Arrows came flying and the English ran to recover their arms. They fired their muskets at the Indians who screamed terribly, managing to hit most of them, but some had the chance to run.
The pilgrims followed the fleeing Indians, shooting their muskets and showing them that they were not afraid. No English man was hurt after the First Encounter, as they would lately name this event. They departed from that part of the land aboard the Mayflower and sailed in seek of another harbor, a harbor suggested by Mr. Coppin who had been there before. The weather got bad, it began to rain and snow, by the middle of the afternoon a storm started and broke their rudder and mast, forcing them to set ashore near another harbor that was unknown to them.
Nightfall came and they found an island where they camped, not knowing this was an island until morning when they saw this was secure from the Indians. They thanked God and prepared there for Sabbath. On Monday they explored the harbor and found it fit for sailing and returned to the Mayflower to announce they had found a good place for anchoring. On the 15th of December they took off towards the new found harbor but encountered some bad weather and it wasn’t until the 16th of December they sat anchor on the land. On the 25th of December the construction of the first common house started.