Lord De La Warr and those with him still had not come to terms with the depressing truth about Jamestown’s food sources: there were none. The Indians, hostile since John Smith’s leaving, had no food to trade, even if they had been willing: it was early June, and their crops were barely in the ground. Admiral Sir George Somers noted that the Indians “had nothing to trade with but mulberries.” And berries were not the best diet for delicate, malnourished digestions.
De La Warr and his company had expected to find meat in Virginia, and so had brought none. But not one hog was left alive, and not “a hen nor chick in the fort.” That was disappointing news, indeed.
Strachey wrote dispiritedly that the food supply which the Captain-General had brought, “concerning any kinde of flesh, was little or nothing; in respect it was not dreamt of by the Adventurers in England, that the Swine were destroyed.” How could they have known? They brought barrels of meal, dried beans, some oil and cheese, but no meat to stick to a hungry person’s ribs.
And there were in Jamestown at least sixty men, women, and children whose ribs were in great need of fleshing out.