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Plate XV.

Plate XV. How Outina's Soldiers Treated their Slain Enemies

Plate XV. How Outina's Soldiers Treated their Slain Enemies

At no time while the French were acting along with the great chief Holata Outina in his wars against his enemies, was there any combat which could be called a regular battle; but all their military operations consisted either in secret incursions, or in skirmishes as light troops, fresh men being constantly sent out in place of any who retired. Whichever side first slew an enemy, no matter how insignificant the person, claimed the victory, even though losing a greater number of men. In their skirmishes, any who fall are instantly dragged off by persons detailed for the purpose; who, with slips of reeds sharper than any steel blade, cut the skin of the head to the bone, from front to back, all the way round, and pull it off with the hair, more than a foot and a half long, still adhering, done up in a knot on the crown, and with that lower down around the forehead and back cut short into a ring about two fingers wide, like the rim of a hat. Then, if they have time, they dig a hole in the ground and make a fire, kindling it with some which they keep burning in moss, done up in skins, and carry round with them at their belts; and then dry these scalps to a state as hard as parchment. They also are accustomed, after a battle, to cut off with these reed knives the arms of the dead near the shoulders, and their legs near the hips, breaking the bones, when laid bare, with a club, and then to lay these fresh broken, and still running with blood, over the same fires to be dried. Then hanging them, and the scalps also, to the ends of their spears, they carry them off home in triumph. I used to be astonished at one habit of theirs- for I was one of the party whom Laudonniere sent out under M. d’Ottigny which was that they never left the field of battle without shooting an arrow as deep as they could into the arms of each of the corpses of the enemy, after mutilating them as above; an operation which was sometimes sufficiently dangerous, unless those engaged in it had an escort of soldiers.

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