News from New England – King Phillip’s War

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Being a true and last account of the present Bloody Wars carried on betwixt the infidels, natives, and the English Christians, and converted Indians of New England, declaring the many dreadful battles fought betwixt them: As also the many towns and villages burnt by the merciless heathens. And also the true number of all the Christians slain since the beginning of that War, As it was sent over by a factor of New England to a merchant in London. Licensed Aug. 1. Roger L’Estrange. London. Printed for J. Corners, at the sign of the Black Raven in Duck-Lane, 1676.1

Those Coals of Discention which had a long time lain hid under the ashes of a secret envy; contracted by the Heathen Indians of New England, against the English; and Christian Natives of that Country brake out in June 1675, both Armies being at a distance without doing anything remarkable till the 13 of December following; at which time the Mathusets and Plymouth Company marching from Seconk, sent out a considerable number of Scouts, who killed & took 55 of the Enemy, returning with no other loss but two of our Men disabled; about three days after came a perfidious Indian to our Army pretending he was sent by the Sachems to treat of Peace, who was indeed no other but a Spy and was no sooner conducted out of our Camp but we had news brought us that 22 of our Straggling Soldiers were Slain and divers barns and out houses, with Mr. Jer. Bulls dwelling house burnt by him and his Treacherous confederates which waited for him. The next day, as the Connectick Army under the Conduct of Major Treat was Marching to join with the Mathusets, and Plymouth Company; they were assaulted by the Indians, but without any loss, they taking eleven of the Assailants Prisoners.

The 8th [18] of December, our whole Army being united under the Conduct of Major Genr. Winslow, went to seek out the Enemy, whom we found (there then happening a great fall of Snow) securing themselves in a dismal Swamp, so hard of access that there was but one was [way] for entrance, which was well lined with Heathen Indians, who presently went out to assault us; but we falling in Pelmell with them; with much difficulty gained the Swamp where we found above 1500 Wigwams and by night, had possession of the fort of which we were disposses soon after by an unexpected recruit of fresh Indians out of an adjoining Swamp, but our Noble Generals insatiable desire of victory prompted him to such brave actions, that we following his example to the enemies cost, made ourselves absolute Masters of the fort again.2 Although we purchased our success at so dear a rate that we have small cause to rejoice at the victory; yet when we consider the vast disadvantage3 they had of us in number, whom we collected4 have 4000 fighting men, & we not much more than half so many, we have great reason to bless God we came of so well, our dead and wounded not a Mounting to above 220, and the enemies by their own Confession to no less than 600. The chief officers killed on our side were Capt. Davenport, Capt. Johnson, Capt. Marshal, Capt. Gardner. Capt. Gallop. Captains wounded were 4. Viz. Sealey, Major, Wats, and Bradford, Lieutenants wounded were 4. viz. Savage, Ting, Upham and Wam.5

In this bloody Battle we gave so bitter a Relish of out English valor & our converted Indians resolutions, that they dreaded our neighborhood & thought themselves unsafe till secured by six or seven miles distance from our remaining Army, where they remain’d near a month not attempting anything considerable till the first of Feb. at which time a certain Number of them made desperate through hunger came to Palickset, a Little Town near Providence & attempted the house of one Mr. Carpenter, from whom they took 20 horses 50 head of Cattle and 180 sheep. And set fire on a house at Southbury6 wherein were two men, one woman and seven Children; on the 11th. of February the Christians received private intelligence from the Indians who had Sculked ever since the last Battle in certain woods scituate about 30 miles from Malbury, that they were drawn up into a body, and encamped in a well fortified Swamp, where notwithstanding the Indians assaulted the Rear, wounded four of our men, and we killing so many of theirs that they thought fit to forsake their refuge, and leave both it and their wigwams to our disposal, who lodging in their Rooms that night, set fire to a 150 of their wigwams next morning, & by this light pursued them so close that we kill’d divers of them, whom age or wounds rendered incapable of keeping up with their Companions, & resolving to continue the quest with all the celerity imaginable, they led us to another Swamp whose Rocky ascent propounded so great a difficulty to attain it, as would have Staggered the resolution of any but a resolved Mind; but we attempted it with the like resolution and success as we did the Last; the enemy by a speedy flight leaving us in full possession of all they left behind them.

We Pursued them two days after this encounter, but then (which was on the 18th Febr.) finding our men wearied with Speedy marches, our provision scarce through continual expense and no recruit, our horses tired, and ourselves hopeless of overtaking them, who had great advantage of us in passing over Rocks and through Thickets, which our Foot, not without much difficulty, could, & our horse were altogether incapable to do; our Commanders, after a Council of war, resolved to send the Massachusetts & Plymouth Company to Malbury, and the Connecticks Army to their own homes which was accordingly done. And Major Genr. Winslow, only with his Troops to Boston, leaving the foot at Malbury and Southbury, who came home on Monday following, and were all dismissed to their several habitations, except Capt. Wadsworth, who was left at Muldbury in pursuit of the Enemy, of whom he destroyed about 70, Old Men, Women and Children, who wanted strength to follow the fugitive Army.7

The Desperate heathens taking advantage of the dismission of three Disbanded Companies, studied nothing but Massacres, outrages, and treacherous hostillitie, which within two days after those said Companies were dispersed, they found opportunity to commit, in a Town called Nashaway,8 which they set fire to, and burnt to the Ground, taking no less than 55 Persons into their Merciless captivity, and because the reader shall understand the Damnable antipathy they have to Religion and Piety, I would have him take notice how they endeavor to Signalize their Cruelty, and gratifie their enraged Spleen, chiefly on the promoters of it; for of these 55 Captives, the Minister of the Town’s relations made no less than 19 of them; viz. Mrs. Rowlonson, the Ministers wife, and three of his Children, her sister and seven Children, and her sister Drew and four Children. The Minister himself with his sisters husbands returning from Boston a little after the engagement, to their infinite grief, found their houses burnt to the ground, and their Wives and Children taken Captive, nor was this cruelty committed, as the extent or Nepolus Vltria of their vengeance, but rather as an earnest of their Bearbarity. For no longer than the next day after, three men Going out, with the Cart, were seized on by these Indians, one of them killed, and the other two not to be found; the day following at Cox[c]ord, [Concord?] they burnt one house and murder’d three persons.

In short, their outrages are so many and different, that I must intreat the reader, since they will not be brought into affluent Narration, to accept them plainly and dyurnally, according to the time, place, and manner, as they were committed, which is the only way to avoid omissions, and consequently to Satisfy the inquisitive, who, I suppose, would willingly hear of all the extremities [that] have happened to the suffering Christians in this New England War.

On the 17 of Febr. therefore, you must know, that the Town of Medfield was begirt with a regiment of resolute Indian[s], who assailed it so briskly, that maugred all the resistance made by Capt. Jacobbs, who was then Ingarrisoned there with a hundred Soldiers for its security, the enraged Heathens never desisted their desperate attempts, Battering the Walls, and powering showers of Arrows into the bosome of the Town, they had destroyed above 50 of her inhabitants, & burnt 30 of her houses.9

The 7th. of March following these bloody Indians marched to a considerable Town called Croaton10 where first they set fire to Major Willards house, & afterwards burnt 65 more, there being Seventy two houses at first, so that there was left standing but six houses of the whole Town; the next day after, two men coming from Malbury to Southbury were slain: and the Sabboth day ensuing, these destroying Indians came to Plymouth, where fixing only on a house of one Mr. Clarks, they burnt, and murthered his wife and all his Children, himself Narrowly escaping their cruelty by happily at that juncture being at a meeting.

On the second of April, 1676, Major Savage, Capt. Moseley, Capt. William Tumor, and Captain. Whipal,11 with 300 men marching from Malborow to Quabury,12 where they had ordered the Connectick Army to remain in readiness against their coming, which being effected, accordingly they joined forces, and began [5] their march towards Northampton, but by the way were assaulted by the Indians, whom they repelled without any other damage, then only Mr. Buckly wounded, killing about 20 of the Enemies in a hot pursuit after them.

The tenth Ditto, about 700 Indians encompass Northampton on all sides where they fought very resolutely for the space of an hour, and then fled, leaving about 25 persons dead upon the place, the Christians loosing only 4 men and 1 woman, and had some barnes burnt; on the 12th instant they assaulted Warwick with so unhappy a success that they burnt all the Town, except four Garrison houses which were left standing, six days after Captain Peirce, Brother to Captain Peirce of London, with 55 men and 20 Christian Indians went to seek out their Enemies, the Indians whom according to their intelligence they found rambling in an obscure Wood; upon his approach they drew into order, and received his onset with much difficulty, being in the end forced to retreat, but it was so slowly that it scarcely deserved that name, when a fresh company of Indians came into their assistance, beset the Christians round, Killed Captain Pierce and 48 of his men, besides 8 of the Christian Indians. The Fight continued about 5 hours, the Enemy bying the Victory very dearly, but at last obtained it so absolutely, that they deprived us of all means of hearing of their loss.

At Malbrow on the 12th Ditto, were several houses burnt whilst the miserable inhabitants were at a meeting, and at Springfield the same Lords day, these devillish Enemies of Religion seeing a man, woman, and their Children, going but towards a meeting-house, Slew them (as they said) because they thought they intended to go thither.

The 28th, of the same instant, April last, Captain Denison collecting a Regiment of 500, and 200 English Paquet Nimerass Indians, march out of New London in search of that Grand fomenter of this Rebellion. Anthony13 the Secham, whom at last near the Town called Providence he recovered, and after a hot dispute, wherein he killed 45 of the Sechems men, Took him their commander Prisoner, with several of his Captaines, whom they immediately put to death; but were at strong debate whether they should send him to Boston, but at length they carried him to New London, and began to examine him, why he did foment that war which would certainly be the destruction of him and all the Heathen Indians in the Country, to which, and many other interrogatories he made no other reply but that  [ he was born a Prince, & if Princes came to speak with him, he would answer them, But none of those present being Princes, he thought himself obliged in honor to hold his Tongue. ]14 This Answer, though it might Challenge their admiration, was not so prevalent as to obtain their pity.

Notwithstanding, the Surviving Sechems were not long in revenging his death, for, on the Sixth of May, they burnt all Malborow, except three Garrison houses, killed Capt. Jacobson and Lieutenant Prat, and two days after burnt 24 houses in Southbury, killed several of the inhabitants who vainly expected Capt. Wedworth and Capt. Brook we15 to their Relief; for these unfortunate Gentlemen were intercepted by 700 Moors, with whom they fought for the space of 4 hours, till not only they two, but Capt. Sharp and 51 Christians more lay dead upon the place.

AJ Woodcock[s] 10 miles from Seconch, on the the May was a little Skirmage betwixt the Moors and Christians, wherein there was of the later three slain and two wounded, and only two Indians Kild.

May 28, 1676. Capt. Denison and Capt. Evry [Avery] with 50 English and about 150 Paquet Indians, Scouting among the Woods, in 8 days space killed 25 Indians and took 51 prisoners; one whereof was Grandchild to Dunham16 who was killed by Capt. Peirce in the engagement on the 26 May.

The number of Christians slain since the beginning of the late Wars in New England, are 444. Taken Prisoners, 55.

The number of Indians Slain in this war is uncertain, because they burn17 their Dead, keeping their Death as a Secret from the Christians knowledge, but the number mentioned herein is 910.

We have Received very late news that the Christians in New England have had very great Victory over the Infidel Natives.

There has been a Treaty between them; the Indians proffer to lay down their Armes; but the English are not willing to agree to it, except they will give up their Armes, and go as far up into the Country, as the Court of Boston shall think fit.18

Footnotes

  1. The following tract is of exceeding rarity; so much so that, not long since, but one was known to be in this country. This is reprinted from a copy of one in the library of John Carter Brown Esq., of Providence. To the politeness of this gentleman we are indebted for permission to make a transcript. The original is, without exception, one of the worst printed tracts of the day in which it appeared. The type on which it was printed was wretched, especially the Italic; some of the letters in many of the words not being distinguishable, and others entirely wanting. I have adhered, in this reprint, as closely to the original, in respect to orthography, capitals, and italics, as possible. Of its comparative value, in an historical point of view, it is unnecessary to remark. It is republished as a curious record of one of the most important periods in the History of New England. The Antiquary, and Student in our history, will readily perceive its value, while to the general reader it will be almost as unintelligible as though in an unknown language.

    To whom belongs the authorship, we have no data on which to found even a conjecture. A few notes seemed necessary. These, and the words in the text included in brackets, are added to this edition. 

  2.  There is a little embellishment here. The English were at no times driven out of the fort.  

  3.  The exact reverse is probably meant.  

  4.  Calculated?  

  5.  Swain, very probably. There was a “Lieut. Swayne,” belonging to Capt. Appleton‘s company. A “Lieut. Swan” is mentioned in one of the London tracts In out Old Indian Chromete, p. 50, no doubt the same Lieut. Swain.  

  6. Sudbury, probably.  

  7.  If this be so, who will wonder at the fate of Capt. Wadsworth and his men.  

  8. Nashua 

  9. The number of inhabitants “destroyed” is excessively inaccurate and brings questions as to the other numbers listed elsewhere. Medfield is reported to have lost 17 of her inhabitants, and had 32 houses destroyed. 

  10.  Groton. The C. may be an imperfect G. in copy.  

  11.  Probably Whipple, but hardly decidable  

  12.  Quabaog? Brookfield.  

  13. Nanunteno, unquestionably is intended; but what is meant by Nimerass is beyond our comprehension.  

  14. The printer’s quotation mark.  

  15. The printer was probably puzzled to make any thing of his copy Brocklebank if the name.  

  16. Perhaps Pumham  

  17. This is new and untrue.  

  18.  Some copies of the original tract have not this last paragraph. Mr. BROWN‘S copy has it, but that in Harvard College library is without it. By comparing the proof of this edition with that belonging to the College, several corrections have been made, and uncertain words made out, which could not have been done by the other copy. And here we would return our thanks to the obliging Librarian, for his kindness in affording us an opportunity to make our copy more perfect than either of the others.  



MLA Source Citation:

Frost, John, LL. D. Frost's Pictorial History of Indian Wars and Captivities, From the Earliest Record of American History to the Present Time; Nearly 200 Engravings from Original Designs, by Distinguished Artists. New York: Wells Publishing Company. Vol. 1. 1873. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 25 July 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/military/news-new-england.htm - Last updated on Feb 15th, 2014

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