The Pinnis Arrives at Chesapeake Bay

A True Relation Of Such Occurrences, and accidents of note, as has happened in Virginia, since the first planting of that colony, which is now resident in the south part there of, until he has returned.

Indeed Sir 1, commendations remembered. You shall understand that after many crosses in the downs by tempests, we arrived safely upon the southwest part of the Great Canaries, within course of five days after we set sail for Dominica, the 26 of April, the first land we made, we fell with Cape Henry, the very mouth of the bay of Chiffiapiacke 2 , which at that present we little expected. Having by a cruel storm been put to the northward, anchoring in this bay, twenty or thirty went ashore with the Captain, and in coming aboard they were assaulted by Indians 3, which charged them within pistol range, in which conflict Captain Archer and Mathew Morton were shot. Where upon Captain Newport seconding them, which the Indians little respected. But having spent their arrows retreated with out harm, and in that the day opened. Wherein the Counsel for Virginia was nominated 4 and arriving at the place where we are now, feasted. The Counsel was sworn in and president elected, which for that year was Master Edm. Marie Wingfield. 5 Where was made the choice for our situation and a fit place for the erecting of a great city about which some contention passed between Captain Wingfield and Captain Gosnold not withstanding all our provisions was brought ashore. And with as much speed as might be, we went about our fortification. 6

The two and twenty day of April, Captain Newport and myself with several others, to the number of twenty two persons, set forward to discover the river. Some forty or fifty miles, finding it in some places broader and in some narrower. The country for the most part on each side of the river, plains high ground with many fresh springs. The people in all places were kindly in treating us, entertaining and feeding us with strawberries, mulberries, bread, fish, and other of their countries provisions whereof we had plenty. For which Captain Newport kindly required their least favors. With bells, fine needles, beads or glasses, which so contented them that his liberality made them follow us from place to place and ever kindly to respect us. In the midway staying to refresh ourselves in a little island 7 four or five savages came unto us which described unto us the course of the River, and after in our journey, they often met us, trading with us for such provision as we had, and arriving at Arsatecke 8 , he whom we supposed to be the chief rising above all the rest, most kindly entertained us. Giving us a guide to go with us, to go up the river to Powhatan, of which place their great emperor took his name, where he that they honor as king welcome us kindly. But to finish this journey we passed on further. Where within a while we were interrupted with great craggy stones in the midst of the river, where the water falls with such violence, as not any boat can possibly pass 9, and so broad beside the stream, that there is not room to pass in four or five feet at low water. And to those scarce passage with a barge, the water flows four feet, and the freshness by reason of the rocks have left water marks of 8 or 9 feet. The fourth side is plain low ground and the north side high mountains, the rocks being of a gravely nature, interlace with many veins of glittering spangles. That night we returned to Powhatan and the next day being Wednesday 10, after dinner we returned to the falls, leaving a mariner in trade with the Indians for a guide of theirs, he that they honor as King followed us by the river. That afternoon we drifted in looking upon the rocks and the river, further he would not go so there we erected a cross 11, and that night taking our man at Powhatan, Captain Newport congratulated his kindness with a gown and a hatchet, then returning to Arsetecke 12, we stayed there the next day 13 to observe the height there of, and so with many signs of love we departed. The next day the Queen of Agamatack kindly treated us 14, her people being no less contented then the rest, and from there we went to another place, ( the name I do not remember ) where the people showed us the manor of their diving for mussels in which they found pearls. 15

That night passing up Weanock some twenty miles from our fort, they according to their former childish condition, seemed little to affect us, but as we departed and lodged at the point of Weanock 16. The people the next morning seems kindly to content us, yet we might perceive many signs of a more jealous in them then before, and also the dinner that the king of Aristech had given us 17, he altered his resolution in going to our fort, and with many kind circumstances left us there. This gave us some occasion to doubt some mischief at the fort, yet Captain Newport intended to have visited Paspahegh and Tappahanocke 18, but the instance change of the wind being fair for our return, we returned the fort with all speed 19, where the first we heard was that 400 Indians the day before had assaulted the fort and surprised it, had not God ( beyond all there expectations ) by means of the ships at whom they with their ordinances and muskets caused them to retreat, they had entered the fort with our own men, which were then busy setting corn, their arms being then in dryfat 20 and few ready but certain gentleman of their own, in which conflict most of the counsel was hurt, a boy slain while on the Pinnis, and thirteen or fourteen more hurt. With all speed we hurried to the fort , each and every other day, five to seven days we had alarms and ambushes, and four or five cruelly wounded aboard, the Indian losses we know not, but as they report three were slain and others hurt.


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  1. There is no clue given to the person to whom this narrative is addressed.[]
  2. Chesapeake []
  3. They went ashore at Cape Henry, and “were assaulted by five Salvages” (“Generall Historie,” p. 42) of the Chesapeake or Nansemond tribe. []
  4. “That night was the box opened – Their orders for government were put in a box, not to be opened, nor the governors to know until they arrived in Virginia.’ – General Historie, p. 41. – and the orders read, in which Bartholomew Gosnoll, John Smith, Edward Wingfield, Christopher Newport, John Ratcliffe, John Martin, and George Kendall, were named to be the Council, and to choose a President amongst them for a year, who with the Council should govern. Matters of moment were to be examined by a jury, but determined by the major part of the Council, in which the President had two voices.[]
  5. Until the 13 of May they sought a place to plant in, then the Council was sworn, Mr. Wingfield was chosen President, and an oration made, why Captain Smith was not admitted of the Council as the rest.” – Generall Historie, p. 42. Smith “was not admitted of the counsell” for the reason that he had been suspected for a supposed mutiny, on the voyage over; “though never no such matter.” – Purchas, vol. iv. p. 1685. He was subsequently restored. Although Captain Newport was named of the Council, yet he “was hired only for our transportation,” and “was to return with the ships.” He “was esteemed a Mariner of Ability and Experience on the American Coasts.” – Generall Historie, pp. 42, 43. Stith’s Virginia, pp. 42, 47.[]
  6. Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement within the limits of the present United States, was on a peninsula on the north side of the Powhatan, now James, River, about forty miles from its mouth. — Stith, p. 45. []
  7. Perhaps near the present “Turkey Point.” – Proceedings Am. Antiq. Soc. for Oct., 1864, p. 63, note this was on the second day, May 22, according to the “Relation”. The number of Indians they met here is described as eight. The second night they passed at a place they called “Poore Cottage.” Percy calls it “Port Cotage.” []
  8. Or “Arrohateck,” laid down on Smith’s map as a little above the spot since called ” Farrar’s Island,” or the now famous “Dutch Gap;”, probably near “Cox’s Ferry.” This was on the 23d, Saturday. The chief whom the party here met was not the Emperor, as was at first supposed, but an inferior king, or “Werowance,” who resided at a place called “Powhatan,” one of the “seats” of the Emperor to which the explorers were invited. This place was within a mile of the Falls, now Richmond.[]
  9. This is the fall at the present city of Richmond.[]
  10. The 24th of May.[]
  11. With this inscription, ‘Iacobus Rex, 1607;’ and Percy says they named the River, King’s River, and “proclaimed King James of England to have the most right unto it.” — Purchas, vol. iv. p. 1689; A Relation, Sic, p. 47.[]
  12. Where they spent Sunday night.[]
  13. Monday, the 25th.[]
  14. A minute description of this queen of Appomattox is given in the “Relation” []
  15. It was to one of “King Pomaunche’s houses, some five miles from the queen’s bower,” that they were now directed, and where they were very “kindly saluted.” – Ibid., P. 5.[]
  16. By this it appears that “the point of Weanocke” was a little distance south of the Indian village of that name.[]
  17. His name was “Navirans.” – Ibid., p. 46.[]
  18. Two chiefs or tribes residing on the James river, a few miles above Jamestown. The residence of the former is indicated on Smith’s map as on the north side of the river; and that of the latter, whose name as here spelled is a corruption of “Coiacohanauke ” or “Quiyoughcohanock,” on the south side. Percy calls the chief of the latter tribe “the Werowance of Rapahanna.” The name “Paspahegh” was applied by the Indians to the territory which included Jamestown. — Wingfield’s Discourse of Virginia, in Archœl. Amer. vol. iv. pp. 78, 79; Hamor’s True Discovery, &c, London, 1615, p. 38; Strachey, p. 56; Generall Historie, p. 23.[]
  19. They arrived at the fort on the  27th of May. A Relatyon, &c, p. 54.[]
  20. Dryfat. A basket for dry things.[]

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