The Dangerous Voyage And Bold Assaults of Captain Bartholomew Sharp and Others

CHAP. XIV. The Bucaniers depart from the Port of Hilo, and sail unto that of Coquimbo. They are descryed before their arrival. Notwithstanding they land: are encountred by the Spaniards, and put them to flight. They take, plunder, and fire the City of la Serena. A description thereof. A Stratagem of the Spaniards in endeavouring to fire their ship, discovered and prevented. They are deceived again by the Spaniards, and forced to retire from Coquimbo, without any Ransom for the City, or considerable pillage. They release several of their chiefest Prisoners. ......

On December the second, very early in the morning, we espied Land, the which appeared to be very high About noon this day we were at six leagues distance from it. All the preceding night we had so much wind, that we were forced to make use only of a pair of courses. By an observation made this day, we found Lat. 30. d. 35. South. We went away largely, driving better than nine leagues every watch. With this wind we made all the Sail we possibly could, designing by this means to get intoCoquimbo, upon which Coast we now were before night. But the wind was so high, that sometimes we were forced to lower all our sail, it blowing now a meer fret of wind. Towards the evening it abated by degrees; insomuch, that at midnight it was stark calme ag[...]. At that time we hoisted out our Lanch and Canoas, and putting into them one hundred men, we rowed away from the ship, with design to take by surprizal a considerable City, situated nigh unto the Coast, called by the Spaniards, la Ciudad de la Serena.

Friday December the third, 1680. when we departed from the ship, we had above two leagues, more or less, to row unto the shoar. But as it hapned, the Lanch (wherein I was) rowed so heavy, in comparison to the Canoas, that we could not keep pace with the said Boats. For this reason· and no other, it was broad day before we got unto a certain Store-house, situate upon the shoar; the which we found our men had passed by in the dark of the night, without perceiving it. They being landed, immediately marched away from their Canoas, towards the City aforementioned of la Serena. But they had not proceeded far on their march, when they found, to the great sorrow and chagrin of us all, that we were timely discovered here also, as we had been at the other two places before, to wit, Arica and Hilo. For as they marched in a body together, being but thirty five men in all, who were all those that were landed out of the Canoas, they were suddainly encountred and engaged by a whole Troop of an hundred Spanish horse. We that were behind hearing the noise of the dispute, followed them at their heels, and made all the hast we possibly could to come up to their relief. But before we could reach the place of the Battle, they had already routed the Spaniards, and forced them to fly away towards the Town.

Notwithstanding this rout given unto the horse, they rallyed again, at the distance of about a mile from that place, and seemed as if they did wait for us, and would engage us anew. But as soon as all our Forces were come together, whereof we could make but fourscore and eight men in all, the rest being left behind to guard the Boats, we marched towards them and offered them Battle. As we came nigh unto them we clearly found they designed no such thing; for they instantly retired and rid away before us, keeping out of the reach of our guns. We followed them as they rid, being led by them designedly clear out of the road that went unto the Town, that we might not reach nor find it so soon. In this engagement with the horse, our company had killed three of their chiefest men, and wounded four more; killing also four of their horses. When we found that we had been led by this stratagem of the enemy, out of the way of the Town, we left the Bay, and crossed over the green fields to find it; wading oftentimes over several branches of water, which there serve to enclose each plot of ground. Upon this march we came unto several houses, but found them all empty, and swept clean both of inhabitants and provisions. We saw likewise several horses and other heads of cattel in the fields, as we went along towards the City. This place of la Serena, our Pilot had reported unto us to be but a small Town; but being arrived there, we found in it no fewer than seven great Churches and one Chappel belonging thereunto. Four of these Churches were Monasteries or Convents, and each Church had its Organs for the performance of Divine Service. Several of the houses had their Orchards of Fruit, and Gardens, belonging unto them; both Houses and Gardens being as well and as neatly furnished, as those inEngland. In these Gardens we found Strawberries as big as Walnuts, and those verg delicious to the taste. In a word, every thing in this City of la Serena, was most excellent and delicate, and far beyond what we could expect in so remote a place. The Town was inhabited by all sorts of Tradesmen, and besides them, had its Merchants, some of which were accounted to be very rich.

The Inhabitants of la Serena, upon our approach and discovery, were all fled, carrying with them whatsoever was most precious of their goods and jewels, or less cumbersome unto them. Much of their valuable things they had likewise concealed or buryed, as having had time since we were first discovered, so to do. Besides that they had had forewarning enough how to beware of us, sent them over land from Arica, and several other places where we had landed or been descryed at Sea. Notwithstanding, we took in the Town one Fryer, and two Chileno's, or Spaniards natives of the Kingdom of Chile, which adjoyneth unto that of Peru, towards the Streight of Magallanes. These Prisoners related unto us, that the Spaniards, when they heard of our coming, had killed most of their Chilean slaves, fearing lest they should run or revolt from them unto us. Moreover, that we had been descryed from their Coasts four days before our arrival, or descent upon land; all the which time they had employed in carrying away their Plate and Goods. Unto this information they added, that for their defence they had received a supply of sixty men from Arica. Having taken possession of the Town, that evening there came a Negro unto us, running away from the Spaniards. He likewise informed us, that when we were beforePanama, we had taken a Negro, who was esteemed to be the best Pilot in all the South-sea; but more especially for this place, and all the Coasts of Coquimbo. Moreover, that if the Spaniards had not sent all the Negro's belonging unto this City farther up into the Country, out of our reach and communication, they would all undoubtedly have revolted unto us.

That night about midnight our Boatswain, being accompanied by forty men, and having a Chilean for their guide, went out of the Town some miles within the Country, with design to find out the places where the Spaniards lay concealed, and had hid their goods and plate. But before they came, the Spaniards had received intelligence thereof from some secret spies they had in the Town, and both the men and their women were all fled to places that were more occult and remote. So that by this search, they only found an old Indian woman and three children; but no gold nor plate, nor yet any other prisoners. This morning our ship came to an anchor, by the Store-house above-mentioned, named Tortuga, at the distance of a furlong from shoar, in the depth of seven fathom water. Mean while we were quartered in the Town, I took this follow[...]g ground-plat thereof.  [

The City of Serena. Altitude 30. d. 00. South

The next morning, being Saturday, December the 4th, came into the Town a flag of Truce from the Enemy. Their message was to proffer a ransom for the Town to preserve it from burning; for now they began to fear we would set fire unto it, as having found no considerable booty nor pillage therein. The Captains, or chief Commanders of both sides, met about this point, and agreed betwixt them for the sum of 95000 pieces of eight to be the price of the whole ransom. In the afternoon of this day, I was sent down unto the Bay of Coquimbo, with a party of twenty men, to carry thither both goods taken in the Town, and provisions for the ship. It is two leagues and a half from the Town unto the Port; one league on the Bay, the rest being a very great road, which leadeth from the Bay unto the City. The Spaniards promised that the Ransom should be collected and paid in by the next day. This day also there dyed one of our Negro slaves on board the ship.

The following day in the morning, I returned back unto the Town, with the men I had brought down the day before. Onely six of them I left behind, to look after our Canoa's at the end of the Bay. When I came up into the City, I found that the Spaniards had broken their promise, and had not brought in the Ransom they had agreed for; but had begged more time until to morrow at eight in the forenoon. This evening another party of our men went down unto the ship, to carry goods, such as we had pillaged in the Town. Moreover, that night about nine of the clock, hapned an Earthquake, the which we were very sensible of, as we were all together in the Church ofSan Juan, where our chief rendezvous and Corps du garde was kept. In the night the Spaniards opened a sluyce, and let the water run in streams about the Town, with intent either to overflow it, and thereby force us out of the place, or at least that they might the easier quench the flame, in case we should fire the Town.

On the next morning we set fire to the Town, perceiving it to be overflown, and that the Spaniards had not performed, or rather that they never designed to perform their promise. We fired, as nigh as we could, every house in the whole Town, to the intent it might be totally reduced into ashes. Thus we departed from la Serena, carrying with us what plunder we could find, having sent two parties before loaded with goods unto the ship, as was mentioned above. As we marched down unto the Bay, we beat up an Ambuscade of two hundred and fifty horse, which lay by the way in private, with an intent to fall on our men, in case we had sent down any other party again with goods unto the ship. When we came to the Sea-side, being half way unto our ship, we received advice that the Spaniards had endeavoured, by an unusual stratagem, to burn our ship, and by these means destroy us all. They acted thus: They up blew a horses hide like unto a bladder, and upon this float a man ventured to swim from shoar, and come under the stern of our ship. Being arrived there, he crammed Okeham and Brimstone, and other combustible matter, between the Rudder and the Stern-post. Having done this, he fired it with a match, so that in a small time our Rudder was on fire, and all the ship in a smoak. Our men both alarmed and amazed with this smoak, ran up and down the ship, suspecting the prisoners to have fired the vessel, thereby to get their liberty and seek our destruction. At last they found it out where the fire was, and had the good fortune to quench it, before its going too far. Assoon as they had put it out, they sent the boat ashoar, and found both the hide afore-mentioned, and the match burning at both ends, whereby they came acquainted with the whole matter. When we came unto the Store-house on the shoar-side, we set at liberty the Fryar our prisoner, and another Gentleman who was become our Hostage for the performance of the Ransom. Moreover, when we came aboard, we sent away and set at liberty Captain Peralta, Don Thomas de Argandona, Don Baltazar, Don Christoval,

Captain Juan, the Pilots Mate, the old Moor, and several others of our chiefest prisoners. Unto this releasment of our prisoners we were moved, partly because we knew not well what to do with them, and partly because we feared lest by the example of this stratagem· they should plot our destruction in earnest, and by the help of so many men, especially persons of Quality, be able to go through it.

CHAP. XV. The Bucaniers depart from Coquimbo for the Isle of Juan Fernandez. Anexact account of this Voyage. Misery they endure, and great dangers they escape very narrowly there. They mutiny among themselves, and choose Watling to be their chief Commander. Description of the Island. Three Spanish Men of War meet with the Bucaniers, at the said Island; but these outbrave them on the one side, and give them the slip on the other.

BEing all embarked again, as was mentioned in the precedent Chapter, the next morning, which was Tuesday, December the 7th, twenty of us were sent ashoar to observe the motion of the Enemy. We went unto the look-out, or watch-hill, but from thence could learn nothing. Hereupon· about noon we returned on board the ship, and at two in the afternoon, we weighed anchor, and set sail, diSingle illegible letterecting our course for the Isle of Juan Fernandez, not far distant from the Coast of Coquimbo. At night we were five distant from thence at N. W. by N. The Souther[...] Island of those which are called de los Paxaros, or the Islands of Birds, was then N. N. W. from us. Before our departure, I took this following draught of the Bay of Coquimbo, and City of la Serena.


The Bucaniers depart from the Port of Hilo, and sail unto that of Coquimbo. They are descryed before their arrival. Notwithstanding they land: are encountred by the Spaniards, and put them to flight. They take, plunder, and fire the City of la Serena.