I had not noticed anything ahead of us but a mass of young Spring green, and picking my way carefully through the young corn for 1 or 200 yards, I was startled on looking up to see a sheer gray wall towering up [illegible] at my right, looking at first sight like granite. It is in reality tapia or tabby, a mixture of shells and cement, almost as hard as rock and more durable than brick. There it has stood, for no one knows how many years, some holding that it was built by the English settlers, others, that it dated back to the Spaniards. But in either case the object was the same--protection from the Indians. The fort is not very large, and stands on a bluff overlooking the river, in a commanding position. There are bastions on the land side, and, facing the river, is a sheer parapet of gray wall of some eighteen or twenty feet; on the land side the wall does not rise to more than about eight feet, but the height was probably the same originally, and the present difference is to be accounted for by the accumulated drift and washing down of earth in 200 years. The fort is in remarkably good preservation; the walls are nearly entire, the effect being altogether that of breaches in it, & not of fragments left standing, and the narrow sally-port is entire. This sally-port opens in one of the sides by the river, but not the one nearest to it. Within the fort is a tangled mass of green--young trees, shrubs &c. and near the centre is a crumbled mass of brick. Comparatively few vines and lichens grow upon these walls, and the stern gray lines stand firm and strong and threatening under the delicate feathery foliage that waves and bends above them, like some iron-hearted warrior, disarmed and defenseless, yet still defiant at his post. The river winds below the bluff on which the fort is built, and on the side nearest to it, the ground slopes suddenly and steeply away almost from the very foot of the wall. From this spot there is a lovely view of the river stretching away in a long straight reach like a silver ribbon, bordered on each side with its narrow strip of marsh, this again by the bright young green of deciduous trees, and all hemmed in by the dark and solemn pines.
The tide was low, and the stream was narrow. Looking down upon it from that height, it seemed almost wandering through a deep cleft of which the dark pines formed the sides. The sky was clouded, and the waning afternoon light threw strange dark lines across the water, and mysterious shadows lurked along the shores and in the recesses of the woods. It was easy to bring back again in imagination the old vanished days, the primeval forest with its massive trunks, its interlaced branches, its great twisted vines,--the cannon frowning above the sheer gray wall,--the stern faces with compressed lips gazing down the long reach of river to descry the approach of the swift and shadowy canoe, the mothers cowering below the walls clasping their children to their breasts, the kneeling maidens waiting in shuddering dread for the war-whoop from the forest . . .