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The palmetto herald. [volume] (Port Royal, S.C.) 1864-1864, August 18, 1864, Image 1

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84027012/1864-08-18/ed-1/seq-1/

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?:v. .. .
The cazadors of Cuba were a very peculiar
and interesting type of men, employed
manv years ago by the Spanish
governors of the colony as a sort of rural
police. Pirates iufesfec. the coast in
those days, making their fastnesses in the
mountains, where they used to store their
booty in secret caverns, and hold their
wild*orgies for weeks together. Thither,
' - - frnirt inctifO fliul
uis<?, iiei^iu jv.. .?
sometimes from injustice?would frequently
resort, and there are many
strange traditions yet to be heard among
the inhabitants of the island with regard
to the doings af these outlaws in past
To pounce upon them in their fastnesses,
when the perpetration of some
great crime demanded prompt measures,
was a service attended with much ditlieulty
and danger, and one to be successfully
performed only with the aid of
dogs. From this originated the organi^
' ' - ? 1 -P 1 1..
z.ition ot me cazauors?:i uaim m uiirttv
and courageous men under the immediate
control of the alcadc provinciale, or chief
magistrate of the colony. The costume
of the eazador was simple, but picturesque.
It consisted of a shirt made of
striped cotton stuff", and loose trowsers of
the same material. His wide-brimmed
lint, with sound top, was plaited kind
of coarse, reedy grass, used also hy the
natives for thatching their houses, and he
always carried a small cross suspended
from bis neck. Tiie boots generally worn
by him were of peculiar make. They
were formed by skinning the hind legs of
a wild hog, and thrusting the feet into
these reeking socks, so as to give them
the proper shape while they were yet
pliant and warm. The superfluous corn ?
.v? 1 i
t rs were then parca ori ana scwcu up,
and the cazador had his boots, which
were complete when they had undergone
a slight curing process with wood ashes
and salt, lie wore a waist-belt with a
large silver buckle, and to this was appended
a broad cutlass, which he kept
exceedingly sliarp. These men were
wonderfully abstemious in their haoits.
With 110 provisions, except a little salt,
they would roam the forests for weeks
together, subsisting upon the fruits and
farinaceous productions that abound
there, sometimes varying their diet with
tlie flesh of a wild hog, when they had
the chance of killing one.
Each of these cazadors was obliged to
maintain three bloodhounds, two of
which only he took with him to the
woods, the third being left at home as a
reserve. These dogs were of a peculiar
breed, with taper heads, and their ears
sharply cropped to prevent laceration by
the prickly thickets through which they
had to pass. In addition to his hounds,
the cazador was provided with a couple
of small dogs having remarkably keen
noses, which were found useful in hitting
nil* the scent when the hounds had overrun
a trail. These were called lialladors,
or tinders.
A hound was not considered (it to be
put upon the trail of a fugitive until thoroughly
trained to refrain from seizing
ills prey, unless in scll-dcfence?his business
being to keep it at bay until joined
- * rri J
. UV 1US raasu.T. I li \ wi'rc uui-uiuiumii)
taick-skinncd do^s, these bloodhounds,
and it is well for them that they were so,
|J a I m c
1 ROYAL, S. C., THU1
f )r the amount of thrashing they had to
undergo to bring them to this state of
self-denial was such that no ordinary dog
could have survived. This discipline was
administered to them either with a knotted
whip, made of the hide of the wild
hog, or with the flat of the heavy sword.
The savage tciiaeity of these dogs,
when provoked, caused them to he regarded
with great terror. When taken
out by their masters, they were kept
closely muzzled, to prevent accidents,
and people were generally warned against
touching or speaking to them. One day,
a cazador had unmuzzled one of his dogs,
lit in fn i-trliilr Wlitln lii? Jltfen
tion was drawn away for a moment, the
animal, attracted by the smell of meat,
ran to where an old woman was cooking
at a tire in the open air. She threatened
him with a stick, to drive him away,
whereupon he seized flier by the throat,
and killed her lieiore assistance came.
So tenacious was his grip that it was
found necessary to sever his head from
his body; nor even then did the rigid
muscles relax their hold, and the ghastly,
head remained lor some time affixed to
the neck of the unfortnnatc victim.
I /?!' tlw.cn nn9o/)nra rvneci?iiCPil fl
Villi V/* lll\OU VIIMIUUI.7 |?WUV^v?. ?
bloodhound of so headstrong and sanguinary
a disposition, that neither the
whip nor anything else had any effect
upon him. lie was a dog of unusual
sue and beauty, on which account his'
owner was unwilling to destroy him: and
yet, unmindtul of the proverb, ''Give a'
dog a had name and hang him," he l>estowed
upon tlie delinquent the appellation
of Bcrgautc, which is the Spanish
for "'scoundrel." The principal objection
to Bergante was, that he would always
kill whatever lie had a chance to hunt}
from a wild pig to a wild pirate, it hav*
ing proved impossible to correct his taste
for blood. Ttie ouly person who had any.
control over him was a negro slave, be
1 longing to a neighboring ecclesiastic, anil
who was noted tor exercising a sort m
magnetic power over animals. One (lay
this negro, having been cruelly beaten
by an overseer lor some trivial misdeI
mcanor, ran away and hid himself hi the
woods. Days elapsed, and the negro
had not returned; and hv and by a rumor
came that he had joined a gang of
Spanish mutineers, who, after killing the
captain and mate of a British brig, on
which they were employed as sailors,
had run the vessel ashore, and taken to
the woods. Dogs were onU-red out to
hunt these criminals, and, as hot work
was expected by the eazndors, Bergante
the bloodhound was one of the ammuls
selected to perform the duty.
T-v ? .1-_ : 1? 4U? I i, ?? ,
L/Cl'p 111 I ill" JUIIglU W1U UWtUIWN liUHLupon
a trail. Their owners called them
all oil; however, except Bergante, who
was let out of the slips, and went off upon
the track with great furv. His loudmouthed
baying was heard for some time,
j until it gradually died away into the dis:
tance, and all wiis still. The huntt^s foli
lowed. and other hounds were slipped
from time to time; hut, after a hunt of
j three days, nothing came of it. The
; hounds came straggling in to their mas!
tcrs, all except Bergante, who was snp!
posed to have met more than his match,
J and to have fallen bv the weapons of
I sotnc of the forest outlaws.
Several weeks had elapsed ; when, as a
j cazador lay concealed one day among
; some rocks in the heart of the forest, with
his hounds crouching by him, he heard
; far away the well-known haying of Bergante
the bloodhound: From the high
l ground where he lay in ambush, the ca:
zador commanded a View of a deep glade
| in the woods, toward which the cry of
i the dog appeared to be tending. The
I glade was but sparsely dotted with
shrubs, and on to it there presently
omAt./Tiwl ?t UMIII 1* \tv tcl\r\ u'oe
tiiui^u n Him IIUW n no iimnii*Q
; for a pond at the other end of the glade,
but was pulled down and throttled by the
| uursuing dog before he could reach it.
I llere was somet hing like a revelation at
tto i)fl
hand, and the eazndor lay very still and !
waited for its development. There was
likely to be a hunter where a hunt was !
joing on, he thought; nor was he mistaken;
ft?r, in a few minutes, a dusky
I figure, all in tattered array, appeared up-;
on the plain, and, having called off the
i.dog, wh&tflRfe croucMrig to him. pfoj
exededto cut up the wild boar. Distant
| as this scene was, the sharp eye of the
cazador detected the fugitive slave in the
dusky form of the hunter, and, as there
was a large reward offered for the capture
of that runaway, lie slipped quietly
from his ambuscade, and. motioning to
his dogs to follow him silently, took a
circuitous route through the bush, and
presently came upon the glade, within
filly paces of the negro, to whom he called
ouf, ordering him to surrender at
once, or stand his chance of beiug killed
by the dogs.
' What can your dogs do?"asked the
negro, with a del islve laugh. "You have
beaten all the spirit out of them, and
i they have not a bite left. But if I only
I (joint my finger at you. mi/ dog here will
?_ ?:. **iunf tlinfit lwf<ui> Vtlll CUU ttlise I
UK J VU* UiiViH, WV?V? V J ?
your cuftaw**'
* The 'cazador, who knew Hint * the redoubtable
lk-rgante was no respecte r of
persons, saw that there was some reason
m this.' Therefore, instead of taking fori
cH>lc Measures, he brought the negro to a
1 parley, and elicited from him the fact- that
I he had not joined a band of pirates, as reported.
but had been living for many
weeks upon the proceeds ot the chase,
assisted by the dog B.-rgaatc, who, instead
of attacking him when let out upon
his trail, had been his faithful friend and
companion ever since. The negro also
stated that the pirates, six in number,
had quarrelled among themselves, and
and that two of them?men of the most
desperate character?were now concealed
in a ravine not far off. They had 110 tire?
- **.wl 1^* ^oc'iltr r-oniitr.ul t1w?
! ."Uliis ami illiciti ib; itiviij ? ??., ...?
negro fttfVitght, By the cazador and himself,
with the assistance of the terrible,
bloodhound, whose appearance now.
covered as he was with dust and brambles,
and his head clotted with the blood
of the wild boar, was enough to-strike
terror to the heart of the most reckless
desperado. The matter was soon arranged.
It was stipulated bv the cazador
that he. would procure pardon and a re
ward for the negro, if enabled by the
guidance and assistance of the latter to
capture any of the pirates, dead or alive.
Taking a boar-path indicated by the
negro, they soon came up a small watercourse,
on the margin of which they presently
found the mark of a naked loot,
which the cazador knew to be that of a
white man. Then the hounds .vere let
out of their leashes, excepting Bergante,
who was kept tightly in hand by the
negro. They went oft on the trail, and
it was not long before their loud yells
proclaimed that they had brought some
quarry to hay. The hunters plunged on
after them through the ravine. They
niRSfil si larire rock, under the shelter of
I"" ? O- ' .
which a fire was burning, and some
blankets and cooking utensils lay scattered
alioiit. Following the baying of the
dogs, which now became tinnier, they
came upon one of them, dead, with a
long sheath-knife sticking in his heart.
There was a similar kuile in a tree close
by, into which it had been driven with
great torce. It had just missed the other
dog, probably, and the pirates were e\ iifcutiy
great knife throwers, but they bad
lost two of tlicir weapons at any rate.
1... -.5 n ? ?1?A /dliOf liAlin/1 Tl'O J voi'ir
i tie uuvmg ui ine viiivi iiuuiui muj i\i i
furious now, and close at hand, and, oil
coining up with him, the hunters tbnnd
him crouching at a safe distance from
two awful desperadoes, who stood with
their hacks against a huge fallen tree,
one of them armed with a short boardingpike,
and the othei with a sailors knife.
At tins sight Bergaute made one furiuis
bound, and. tearing himself away from
the grip of the negro, was fastened in an
"V ?
10? I ( PRrCF,
lOO'r*' \rive C'entis.
instant upon the throat of the ruffian
with the boarding-pike, and rolled with
him to the ground in a tangle of unequal
strife. The man was dead in a moment,
and the huge dog lav panting upon his
corpse, crunching die broken neck-bones
with smothered growls. Terriiied at the'* * /
ilio Xfhof nirntrt ilivovtr
Pi^U^ UIV wuivi tutVTT M
weapon and fell uj>on his knees. "He
would do anything if tliey would save
him from that terrible hound : lirst he
would h-iew them treasure, and then he
would betray the other pirates iuto their
hands. With difficulty the negro again
got the bloodhound into the leash, and
then, lrd by the pirate, they retraced
their steps to the camp lately passed by
them. There, buried under a jutting
ledge of the rock, they found a large
amount of treasure in gold, which had
"been taken by the mutineers from the
English brig. The pirate was then securely
handcuffed, and ordered to lead
them at ouec to the haunt of other tfespcradoes.
on pain of being at once given
over to Bergaute for execution. Indeed
the latter had to be restrained with a
double leash, and held by both the cn/.idor
and the negro, to prevent him from
springing upon the prisoner, and throttling
him as he had done his comrade.
Ere long they came upon four pirates,
ensconced among some loose boulders,
sun! aniu.il with their long knives, prepared
to make a desperate resistance.
The caz.idor first hound his prisoner securely
to a tree,.and then the dogs were
Ioose<l and the tight was a terrible one?
for the sight of blood had excited the
fuiy of the other hound, and he had his
man down in a moment. Two of the *
others were throttled by llergantc, but
not until he had received soine fearful
gashes' from their knives. The other was
captured alive; and. ere night had fallen,
the captors had returned to the town,
with their prisoners, and a great quantity
of valuable treasure which the hitter gave
up to lliciir \s hen they found that there
was no longer any object in concealing it.
The pirates, dead as well as alive, were
all identified by a sailor who had escaped
from the vessel seized bv them, and the
captured ones Ave re tried, found guilty,
and executed. Six tall poles were planted
firmly upon the beach, near where
the vessel had been mil ashore, and the
remains of the murderers were placed
in large iron cages slung at the heads of
these, as a warning to such desperadoes.
Years afterwards the grinning skeletons
yet swung there to and fro. The carrion
crows could pass between the bars oft he
cages, in which they held their horrible
revels day after day, while the vultures,
prevented by their size from entering,
clung, and hovered, aiul squabbled outside.
The Avholc scene was one of weird
and terrible imprcssiveness, and the place
was known to mariners as Skeleton
Beach, for many a year alter.
The negro was not only pardoned, but
was presented with his liberty and a
large sum of money, for the part taken
by liim in this important capture. Fur
tiier than this, he leceived an appoint-*
ment as a paid assistant to the eazadors;
and there are traditions of many a daring
act in which he was subsequently concerned,
in conjunction with JJcrgnnte. the
Bloodhound.?.Wic York Ledger.
Lady Chandos, who was still a coquette
in her advanced maturity, came to a party
after eleven o'clock.
* "How late you are, my charmer.-"
said the mistress of the house, provoking
"lam quite ashamed," answered her
ladyship, "hut lav mail! is so very slow:
she takes more than an hour and a hah'
to do my hair."
"Fortunately." observed one of her
friends, "you are not obliged to stay at
lioiiio whilf shu is doin^ il.'
I;-a fop should r ut liiso.rn thr\:r. !:
would Ik* liunikcv'-idc.

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