Theodor De Bry Outina’s Order of March


Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues.  [Outina’s Order Of March ]  From volume II of the ‘Grand Voyages,’  Brevis Narratio Eorum quae in Florida Americae provincic Gallis acciderunt.  Frankfort: Johann Theodor De Bry, 1603.  Second German edition.  Engraving on folio sheet with German text.  Very good condition.

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In 1562, Jean Ribaut led a French expedition of reconnaissance to ‘la Florida.’  Ribaut left thirty volunteers behind when he went back to France, and they established a fort at “Charlesfort,” near Beaufort, South Carolina.  Ribaut promised to return in six months, but he was unable to because of the religious civil war then raging in France.  The men of Charlesfort eventually abandoned the settlement, built a ship and set off for home, finally being picked up by an English ship in the Atlantic.  In the meantime the Spanish had heard of this attempted settlement, and they set off to destroy it.  By the time they arrived, the French were gone so the Spanish satisfied themselves by burning Charlesfort and destroying one of the columns that Ribaut had erected.

Ironically, at this very time a second French expedition was under sail for Florida.  This group, under the command of René de Laudonnière, landed south of Charlesfort where they built a new fort named Caroline.  Things did not go well, and the French were again about to sail off when Ribaut, who had previously been held in prison by the Dutch, arrived to take over command.  By the time Ribaut had arrived, the Spanish got wind of this second French settlement and so they sent a force under the command of Pedro Menendez de Avilez to wipe out the French.  The Spanish landed south of Fort Caroline, where they constructed a fort named St. Augustine, and so founded the longest continuously inhabited settlement in the United States.  The Spanish marched north and massacred the French, with only Laudonnière and an artist named Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues escaping back to France.  It is to these two survivors that we owe this record of these French expeditions.  The text was written by Laudonnière and the illustrations were copied by De Bry from water colors by Le Moyne, who had been sent specifically to draw images of the New World.  We are lucky that not only Le Moyne but also his paintings survived to be recorded so wonderfully by De Bry.  As Michael Alexander said, De Bry’s work “brought to the European public the first realistic visualization of the exotic world opened up across the Atlantic by the explorers, conquerors and settlers.”  (Discovering the New World, p. 7)

This print shows Chief Outina leading his troops on a march in the background. The soldiers form a phalanx around Outina, who marches in splendid isolation in the middle.  Scouts are shown around the troops.  In the foreground are close-up images of Outina and two other soldiers.