Crisis, Patrick J. Walsh: The Pilgrims first sighted land off Cape Cod on November 9, 1620, after spending sixty-five days at sea. They rejoiced, singing Psalm 100, a traditional song of thanksgiving. But as William Bradford recorded in Of Plymouth Plantation, it was winter when, “all things stand upon them with a weatherbeaten face.” “They had no friends to welcome them, nor inns to refresh. What could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wild beasts and wild men?” There certainly was a native population, but its fullness and ranks were severely depleted when the Pilgrims landed because a great plague had swept the area from 1616 to 1619, in which thousands of Indians perished. Account is here.