Hawkeye says to Heyward and his band that he (Hawkeye) has never heard such a cry as this, although Hawkeye has lived among the natives for many years, and is therefore a “man without a cross” (or a man who is neither native nor Christian). The band leaves the caverns for a moment to try to determine what is making the crying sound, and where it is located. Finally, Duncan realizes that the cry is coming from the band’s frightened horses, hidden by the banks of the stream; Heyward believes the horses are being frightened by wolves or other beasts of the forests, and Hawkeye sends Uncas down to the horses to try to shoo away whatever has gathered nearby.
Hawkeye is a “man without a cross” for several reasons. He is a white man who has lived among the natives for much of his life, and he has therefore abandoned some characteristics of his English background, including the Christian faith. But Hawkeye can never fully integrate into native society, either, despite his vast knowledge of the forest and of the Delaware language. Therefore, he is a “man without a cross” not simply because he has renounced Christianity, but because he lives between native and English culture.
Uncas returns, having quieted the horses, and the group waits for several hours. After Cora and Alice and David sleep for a time, Heyward and Hawkeye awaken them and say it is time to move the band onward. At this, however, a sound of yells cuts through the forest, as do shots from rifles brandished by the Iroquois: the band is under siege. Hawkeye tells the group to lie down and take cover, but David, shocked by the violent screams, stands bolt upright and is grazed by a bullet, which sends him into shock.
This is the first of many scrapes David gets himself into, mostly because he has no concept of battle and has never fought in the field. David could have just as easily been killed at this point in the narrative, but his survival, and continued survival, through Huron battles and a massacre, indicates that he is either very lucky or somehow adept at avoiding a violent end.
Hawkeye drags David back down into the cave, and seeing that David’s wound is only superficial, promises the band that the singer will improve after his shock wears off. Heyward tells Cora and Alice to hide with David in the cavern; Heyward joins Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook in lowering himself on the rocks, hoping to take aim at the Maquas as they return to battle again.
Although Heyward, Alice, Cora, and David are greatly surprised by this battle with the Mingos, Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook seemed to be expecting it. Part of these three warriors’ skill in the field derives from their inability to be caught unprepared by an enemy attack.
Hawkeye and Heyward spot five Mingos drifting down the river on wooden logs; one Mingo falls over the cascade and is drowned (Heyward briefly consider trying to help that Mingo, only to be stopped by Hawkeye). The other four Mingos prepare to attack the position held by the band. When the Mingos do charge, Hawkeye fires upon them with his long rifle, and two fall. Another Mingo attacks Heyward, and the two fall into hand-to-hand combat. The Mingo appears to have Heyward pinned, but just as the Mingo is about to stab Heyward, Uncas stabs the warrior from behind, saving Heyward’s life. Heyward, Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook then scamper back up the rocks to the shelter of the cavern, having killed all four Mingos.
Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook recognize that, in order to defeat the Mingos and protect one’s safety, one must actually kill all Mingos present. The Hurons, who themselves are greatly skilled warriors, tend to escape and regroup their forces, in preparation for a counter-attack; Magua does this numerous times throughout the narrative. Heyward, Alice, and Cora find the ritual of scalping unseemly, but Hawkeye recognizes that scalping is a physical reminder of the enemy’s inability to continue fighting.