Tagged ‘aquavitae’

Colonial Militia Marches on …

November 11th, 2012 by KM Wall

Willem de Poorter - Armour

Thursday, the 16th of November….1620
Cape Cod.
“…but we marched through boughs and bushes, and under hills and valleys, which tour our very armor in pieces, and yet could meet with none of them [Native people] , nor in their houses, nor find any fresh water, which we greatly desired, and stood in need of, for we brought neither beer nor water with us, and our victuals was only biscuit and Holland cheese, and a little bottle of aquavitae, so we were sore athirst,….”
1622. Mourt’s Relation, Johnson ed, pp. 451-2.

Under the conduct of Captain Myles Standish, sixteen men, every man with his his musket, sword and corslet, set out to explore Cape Cod on the 15th of November. They saw some Native people, and marched after them. The Native people ran away – really, the only sensible course of action while being chased in the woods by sixteen armed and armored men.

The next day the English militia continues, marching, as it were, up the hill and down the hill. Obviously Captain Standish seems to have forgotten that an army – or in this case, a militia, marches on it’s stomach. Really, Captain, my Captain – cheese and crackers? and a little bottle of aqua-vitae?

Fortunately, the soon find water… and they keep mentioned fat geese, and deer tracks, and all the possibilities of the country.


Bartholomeus van der Helst - Banquet of the Amsterdam Civic Guard in Celebration of the Peace of Munster

Except perhaps for the drum and a few sashes of office, the militia in Plimoth Colony probably never looked this prosperous.






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