Laudonniere at once realized the Pocket John shirt force of the situation. His soldiers were worn out with the labor of building the fort, and many of them were prostrated by a peculiar fever that racked their joints with severe pains and unfitted them for duty. The store of provisions upon which he had depended to feed his men through the approaching winter had been destroyed. The Indians who might have provided him with game had abandoned him and gone he knew not whither. His men knew nothing of the art of winning for themselves a livelihood from the wilderness that surrounded them.
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Although the Pocket John shirt had been allowed to think differently, he knew that some months must still elapse before the arrival of reinforcements and supplies from France. He himself, worn out by anxiety and overwork, was beginning to feel symptoms of the approach of the dreaded fever, and he feared that ere long he would be unfitted to perform the duties of his important position. In this emergency, he decided to hold a council with the officers of the garrison, and ask their aid in deciding what was to be done. He therefore sent word to his lieutenant, old the captain of artillery the quartermaster, Chastelleux, the chief of engineers the artist, and his nephew, bidding them meet him in council. He added to the number, for his uncle wished him to fully comprehend the difficulties of their position.