The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999 Page: 20
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
20,000 pounds of powder for muskets
100oo,ooo pounds of hunting powder
30,000 pounds of bullets, musket-size
150 swords and the same number of sabres
12 pieces of ordinance for the two fortresses, namely, eight firing balls of io to
12 pounds, which might be iron guns, and four bronze ones, of four pounds2
200 cannonballs for each gun [about 2400 total]
powder in proportion
six petards of the smallest size
25 partisans, and the same number of halberds
100oo pairs of pistolss
Thus we know that iron cannons were a critical part of the ordinance
that would accompany the colonists into an unknown land filled with
hostile natives and unfriendly Spanish.
For want of adequate exploration and maps of the inner continent,
and lacking the ability to take longitude, La Salle based his navigation on
the assumption that the mouth of the Mississippi River was at the western
end of the Gulf, and the expedition landed at Matagorda Bay, called Bay
St. Louis by the French. The story of La Salle's colony on the Texas coast
is one of arrogance, ignorance, misjudgment, and treachery on the part
of expedition leaders. From the viewpoint of all the colonists, who num-
bered about 180, it is a story of struggle, suffering, deprivation, and
death. In spite of the extensive arms and supplies, only a handful of peo-
ple in the colony survived the ordeal on the Texas coast. A firsthand ac-
count is provided by one of La Salle's captains, Henri Joutel, in his
2 It is uncertain exactly how the cannons granted to La Salle by the king relate to the ones
found on Garcitas Creek. The grant mentions eight iron guns of ten to twelve pounds, while the
eight guns found at Fort St. Louis are three- to six-pounders. We know from documents in the
Archives of Rochefort that the Aimable was armed with ten iron cannons and loaded eight more
iron guns intended for La Salle's colony. La Salle's report on the wreck of the Azmable states that
four twelve-pound cannons were lost with the ship. ("Official report of Sieur de La Salle on the
wreck of the store-ship Aimable, Ist of March, 1685," MS, English translation in Memoires et docu-
ments pour servir a l'histoire des origines Franases des pays d'outer-mer. Dicouvertes et itablissements des
Franais dans l'ouest et dans le sud de l'Amirique Septentrionale, r614-1 754, ed. Pierre Margry (Paris:
Imprimerie D.Jouaust, 1876), printout of Microfilm BHC No. 43, P. 533 [Burton Historical Col-
lection, Detroit Public Library; cited hereafter as Margry, English translation]. La Salle also men-
tioned that the Joly returned to France with four cannons intended for the colony (La Salle to
Marquis de Seignelay, Mar. 4, 1685, in Margry, English translation, 537).Joutel said that eight
iron cannons of about six-pound shot were gotten off the storeship before it ran aground, and
were subsequently moved to the fort (Henri Joutel, "Narrative of Henri Joutel," in Margry, Eng-
lish translation, 154; cited hereafter as Joutel, "Narrative"). Since three- to six-pound iron guns
weigh from 800o to 20oo pounds, and ten- and twelve-pounders weigh from 16oo to 2200
pounds, perhaps La Salle elected to take some lighter-weight guns for use at Fort St. Louis, away
from the heavy lifting gear found on ships.
s "Memorandum of what has been granted to Sieur de La Salle by King Louis XIV at Versailles
on the 23rd of March, 1684," in Margry, English translation, 35.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999, periodical, 1999; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/m1/45/: accessed May 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.