|Finding the body of John Sassamon in |
It was obviously a murder. An Indian named Patuckson told that he saw killing him three men working in the service of Metacom (Philip), before throwing his body into the pond. His testimony should have been considered with caution insofar he owed money to those he was accusing but nothing could be done and the alleged perpetrators were arrested and locked to Plymouth.
There was little doubt that John Sassamon, the former secretary of Philip necessarily aware of some confidential matters, was victim of a political crime. He could become annoying to some people, especially as he had, reportedly, informed a few days before, Josiah Winslow, the governor of Plymouth, that the Wampanoag were preparing a general uprising.
Belonging to the former Massachuseuk tribe, John Sassamon had mainly received a puritan education, being more importantly the first Native to graduate from Harvard College. He was somehow part of the regional elite and had either served as a teacher or secretary wherever he had lived. The fact remained that the settlers, as well as the Indians, distrusted him because of the relationship he had mutually with both communities for which he served regularly as interpreter for all information that he could collect. He spoke, for some, the language of the invaders and was for the others from a nation which had suffered bloody disputes with Wampanoag whose Grand Sachem Masssaoit had murdered the three leaders Peksuit, Wittawamit and Yanough to establish his power.
February 9, 1675 - Signature of the Tripartite Deed by which William Penn, Gawen Lawrie and Nicholas Lucas are associated with Edward Byllynge's interests in the western part of New Jersey, with the exception of a tenth transferred to Johh Fenwick.
March, 1675 - Tobias, one of the three Indians identified by Patuckson is summoned before the Court of Plymouth to be questioned about John Sassamon's death.
He tried to exculpate himself by explaining that Sassamon accidentally fell into the frozen water while fishing and that the marks on his body were due to ice.
March 6, 1675 – Held in St James, the Grand Assembly of Virginia decides to set up a fort at Currawaugh (alias New Dursley) located in the mouth of the Nansemond River under guard by 40 men commanded by captain Edward Wiggins.
This expensive measure supposed to put an end to the constant territorial feuds between planters was, however, considered by some as a way to protect the interests of the wealthiest colonists.
Other provisions were approved in anticipation of a war against the Natives whose incursions and damages in plantations were regarded as an ongoing problem. Every county was accordingly obliged to create garrison forts under the command of officers. Northumberland County would provide 30 men, Middlesex County 25 men, Glocester County 110 men under Lawrence Smith's command, York County 61 men under Major George Lyddall, James River 55 men under captain Byrds, Warwick, Elizabeth and Charles River 57 men under General Abraham Wood and 40 men for Surrey County commanded by Major Peter Jones.
Spring, 1675 - The Assembly of Connecticut passes a law requiring Pequot Indians who live in the reserves to observe the Sabbath restrictions, requiring every settler who would see a drunken Native to do work in his service for twelve days under punishment.
The Natives of New England were Algonquians and had little opportunity to move to West where lived Mohawks, one of the most powerful tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy and above all their most dreaded foe.
April, 1675 - Two English settlers are killed by Indians near Millstone River in New Jersey while an Indian dies after drinking too much liquor near the Raritan River and a second dies from his injuries after being expelled by a Finn in Upland.
Declaring that there were victims on both sides, the Indians refused to deliver the murderers as demanded them the settlers.
|Sir Edmund Andros|
Governor of New York
He had taken office when tensions with the Indians were rising everywhere. Skirmishes and ambushes remained the rule between Iroquois and the northern tribes allied to the French, while the peace between Mohawk and Mahican seemed very superficial. But stubborn and pragmatic, Andros was convinced that good-neighborly relations were conceivable between the colonists and the Indian nations.
April 30, 1675 – Travelling in Delaware Bay, Governor Edmund Andros signs a peace treaty with Renowickam, the main chief of the Lenape.
May, 1675 - John Leverett is reelected governor of Massachusetts.
It was then estimated that the fortune of the 30 most important merchants of Boston was between £10,000 and 20,000 for a 430-boat fleet.
May 4, 1675 - Sir Edmund Andros lands in the Delaware colony with George Carteret, the governor of New Jersey. He comes to restore the Duke of York’s supremacy.
Captain Cantwell who commanded New Castle met them at Falls (Trenton) and reported that the people of the colony were generally well prepared to work with the new authorities. Andros noticed that the defenses of the city had been restored and distributed land as he had just done in New York. He announced measures to support the economy as the opening of new roads and the building of dikes. He also ordered to repair the mills while prohibiting the distillation of grain, considering that the development of the colony went through its ability to export its production.
This visit also allowed to stop the land claims of Maryland which recognized that Delaware clearly was under the authority of the Duke of York.
May 13, 1675 - A meeting with the governor of Delaware, the magistrates of the colony and four Indian chiefs is held at Passayunk, in Peter Rambo's mansion.
Governor Edmund Andros told them of his desire to maintain mutual friendship and assured them of his protection. Isaac Helme was commissioned to translate the statement of the governor and was in return the interpreter of the Indians who showed themselves sensitive to his friendly brands. Various gifts were exchanged and as a token of his good will, Sir Edmund Andros stood before them trial of James Sandyland's contentious case, accused of the murder of a Native. It ended up declaring a dismissal for lack of evidence, but Sandyland was however sentenced in another case.
Nevertheless, Sir Edmund Andros did not succeed in finding a solution to religious divisions which shook Delaware up. He wanted to meet the Finns granting them the fouding of new parishes but came up with the Dutch Reformed Church which refused the appointment of Rev. Jacob Fabritius, already known in Allbany and New York for his escapades and violent behavior. Only time would be able to calm the spirits.
June 4, 1675 - In Delaware, the assembly of New Castle turns to confrontation about the building of dikes wished by Governor Andros.
The planned works favored some and penalized others. John Ogle did not want to make efforts for owners of grasslands who would reap all the benefits. He strongly opposed the project and came after Captain Cantwell who put him under arrest as well as his most vocal defenders, Mathys Smith and Rev. Jacob Fabritius. Cantwell wanted to drive them to New York to be tried but found more reasonable to release them because of the uproar raised by this matter.
|Metacom a.k.a. Philip|
King of the Wampanoag
The jury included for the first time colonists and Natives. For the court, it was obvious that Metacom (Philip) was directly concerned while another party continued to pretend otherwise. The three men were hanged in Plymouth but a rope broke and Wampapaquan, the miraculous survivor, gave the name of the murderers and confirmed that Metacom (Philip) was well in collusion. This confession did not prevent him from being hanged a second time.
For Philip, the trial had been only a travesty of justice and the proof that it was impossible to maintain a friendly and respectful relationship with the English. For the latter, the guilt of three Indians not having been clearly established, their execution sounded like a warning sent to Philip in case he would persevere in his provocations.
June, 1675 - Josiah Winslow is reappointed governor of Plymouth. He is also reelected commissioner to the United Colonies with Thomas Hinckley.
June, 1675 - Major John Fenwick arrives from England with his family and brings with him 150 people, mostly friends and servants. He comes to settle in New Jersey on the lands he acquired to former Proprietor John Berkeley with plans to found there the first Quaker colony of America.
Considering himself a rightful owner, John Fenwick was eager to challenge the authority of Sir Edmund Andros and seized all the lands that the latter had distributed before him to assign them to others.
John Fenwick (1618 - 1683) – He had served as captain of cavalry in Cromwell’s armies. Become a Quaker with his wife in 1665, he had joined the Society of Friends, a choice which earned him being imprisoned for some time on order of King Charles II. He participated in 1673 to redeem John Berkeley's domain in western New Jersey, his lands being equivalent to current Salem and Cumberland counties, approximately one tenth of the territory of the province.
June 14, 1675 - James Browne, a resident of Swansea known for his good relationship with Philip, goes to him hoping to convince him to develop a peaceful attitude and hands him a “friendly” letter " from the Plymouth Council. He asks him to send his warriors back and to order his people to return to work.
The meeting went rather badly and a young warrior even tried to kill James Browne before being stopped by Philip himself.
|Saconet Squaw Sachem Awashonks|
June 17, 1675 - John Easton, lieutenant governor of Rhode Island, and Samuel Gorton meet Philip (Metacom) in Bristol for a mediation attempt. They collect his complaints and both agree that " war would be the worst way " to solve the grievances of the Natives.
For Philip, the English had only shown ingratitude towards his people while these had helped them to sow and reap. He blamed them for having mistreated his father, the sachem Massasoit, for having tried and poisoned his brother Alexander whereas they had both welcomed them as friends. He complained more generally that the Wampanoags were dispossessed of their lands when, more and more, the English herds of cattle destroyed their crops and justice was made to them in a totally unfair way.
John Easton's attempt finally achieved nothing. No agreement was found.
Philip noticed especially with bitterness that most Natives adopted the European habits just because these offered them less rough living conditions. He insisted, however, to preserve the traditions of his nation by dwelling a remote village inside his wigwam. Moreover, hadn’t the English given him the name of Philip because of his haughty manners? But he felt for a long time that his power was threatened and war seemed increasingly the only way to go out of the pain chain which, according to him, led his people to its own ruin. The Plymouth authorities had, for years, dithered about him between trust and distrust but he had every time vowed that it was all rumor and falsehood. Now, the time had come for him to end with a 50-year old friendship become so heavy between Plymouth and the Wampanoags, to get free from his commitments, untie his oaths, break his alliances, spill blood, and ultimately involve his own fate.
Among all the colonies of New England, Rhode Island was the least populated, the most divided regarding opinions and the worst organized in term of public policy, while it housed on its territory the most powerful and independent Indian nations. In contrast, Massachusetts and Plymouth had only to deal with tribes weakened by diseases and terrorized at the thought of crossing paths with the awful Mohawks while Connecticut which worked hand in hand with Mohegans served unconsciously the designs of their hard-boiled chief Uncas. On the other hand, being excluded from the United Colonies, The Providence and Rhode Island Plantations were politically well insulated facing the Narragansetts and their Wampanoag allies. Hostilities, initiated each time by their neighbors, had however previously been solved thanks to the conciliatory attitude of Roger Williams and the friendship that united him to the Narragansettt chiefs. But would it now be the same?
|The Death of Jesuit Father Jacques Marquette|
His remains would be exhumed one year later by the Indians and moved to St Ignace where his mission was based.
June 18, 1675 - A colonist of Swansea comes upon several Wampanoags as these try to get into houses left by their inhabitants during the church service. A young man named John Salisbury, kills one of them with a gunshot.
The Natives came to demand an explanation but the offending young man, supported by his father, dared to tell them that " it was unimportant ". They left upset with the idea of revenge.
June 19, 1675 - A group of Pokanoket sets fire to several isolated houses of the Plymouth colony at Mattapoiset, near Swansea, taking advantage of the fact that their inhabitants left to worship.
It was likely that they were acting without the approval of their leader Metacom (Philip) but this attack came in response to the previous day's event, reflecting the hostility growing between the Natives and the settlers.
Philip was aware of the resentment of his people and the desire of his warriors to do battle but he had not certainly planned the speed with which the events would occur. He had in his advantage a local knowledge, a good experience of firearms and a consummate art of wars.
June 21st, 1675 – Governor of Massachusetts John Leverett receives from his counterpart in Plymouth, Josiah Winslow, a letter describing him the situation.
Given the urgency, it was decided to send captain Edward Hutchinson with a delegation to Narragansetts to know their intentions and rely on their goodwill towards the English. They had planned to stop off in Providence to meet Roger Williams who had to accompany them.
June 23rd, 1675 - the Council met in New York considers the reasons for the troubles caused in Delaware since the beginning of the month and decides to send a delegation to investigate about the problem with dikes building.
June 24, 1675 - Pokanoket warriors return to Swansea to burn the village. They prey on livestock and fire into the settlers when they come out of the church, killing nine victims among whom the young John Salisbury and his father, responsible for the death of one of their companions. King Philip’s War has just been declared.
Governor of Plymouth Josiah Winslow had mobilized seventy men and wrote to John Leverett, his counterpart in Massachusetts, informing him that Narragansett and Nipmuc were also involved. Roger Williams tried from his part to obtain guarantees on behalf of Narragansett sachem Canonchet but he was not convinced of his sincerity.
Philip saw that the war was started but insisted James Brown, Thomas Willett and James Leonard to be unharmed. He also sent a message to Hugh Cole whose house had been burned, to apologize and renew him his friendship.
June 26, 1675 - the Plymouth authorities allied with those of Boston respond to the Pokanoket aggression and decide to send troops to destroy the Wampanoag capital at Mount Hope (Montaup - near Bristol, Rhode Island).
An infantry company, equipped with muskets and bayonets, commanded by captain Daniel Henchmann and horseback company troops captained by Thomas Prentice leave Boston southbound. They are supported by captain Samuel Mosely and a group of volunteers including sailors, privateers and even pirates. These are 250 men all in all who go to Swansea.
June 27, 1675 – A lunar eclipse impresses the people of Boston. Several ministers of the clergy take advantage of it to deliver sermons announcing terrible events.
June 28, 1675 - The troops left two days earlier from Boston make their junction with those of Plymouth patrolling for a few days around Swansea under the orders of captain Cudworth.
The same day, two men on sentry duty were killed by Indians while a dozen soldiers in the company of Captain Prentice was attacked during a recon mission. An English guide from Rehoboth, named William Hammond was also killed during the clash.
June 29, 1675 - Wampanoag burn eight farms at Rehoboth and kill about fifteen people in Taunton.
About ten Indians are chased by the volunteers of captain Mosely and a group of horsemen. They kill some Wampanoag warriors but alerted, Philip leaves Mount Hope at night and crosses discreetly the river near Taunton.
|Major Thomas Savage (1608-1682)|
Thomas Savage (Taunton (Somerset) 1608 - 1682) - Arrived in Boston in 1635, he was upgraded captain of an artillery company in 1651 and served until his death in the 2nd Company of the Boston Militia.
To him was given in June, 1675 the task to solve the Wampanoag problem, a mission which ended in series of failures. He appeared too often awkward in his decisions and clumsy in his strategies, to the point that the Boston authorities relieved him of his command and put him under Major general Daniel Denison.
|Captain Benjamin Church (1639-1709)|
Eight farmers had been beheaded and dismembered in a place called Mattapoiset and the heads of eight others were set on pikes at Keekkamuit. These gruesome findings could discourage the ultimate mediation attempts.
June 30, 1675 – Captain Edward Hutchinson blocks off Mount Hope under a pouring rain, discovering the village completely deserted. Philip succeeded in taking refuge at Pocasset (present-day Tiverton) where he placed his wives and his children under the protection of Narragansetts.
They found terrified, the bodies of eight beheaded and dismembered English farmers whose remains were hammered at the end of spears. In defiance, a Bible the pages of which had been torn apart, was placed in plain view. They buried the bodies and continued to Rhode Island.
Edward Hutchinson (Alford (Lincolns.) 1613 – Marlboro (MA) Aug. 19, 1675) – an ironmonger by trade, he arrived in the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1633 and was admitted next year in the first church of Boston. He returned, however, soon after to England where he married Katherine Hamby. Back in Boston in 1637, he followed his parents William and dissident minister Anne Hutchinson when they moved to Rhode Island where he appeared among the signatories of the Porstmouth Compact on March 7th, 1638. He stayed only a short time in this plantation, preferring to return to Boston after the death of his father. He soon became a brilliant businessman and was considered from 1660s as a prominent citizen. A member since 1638 of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts since 1638, he was promoted captain in 1657.
July 1st, 1675 - While Connecticut mobilizes troops, captain Edward Hutchinson leaves Mount Hope towards the Narragansett territory. He fears that Weetamo, the widow of Philip’s brother Alexander, makes an alliance with him.
The Narragansetts represented alone approximately 2000 warriors and 900 guns.
July 6, 1672 - a company of 52 Christian Indian soldiers, commanded by captain Isaac Johnson moves to Mount Hope.
The English thought to rely on the loyalty of the Christianized Indians but they were both disappointed and surprised noticing that many of them had left joining Philip.
July 7, 1675 - Captain Edward Hutchinson, assisted by Roger Williams and Joseph Dudley, arrives in Narragansett country, supported by volunteers under captain Mosely. They find it deserted.
Wigwams had been abandoned in haste and crops were still standing. For fear of reprisals, women and children had taken refuge in swamps. Hutchinson sent for the chiefs in vain and Roger Williams wrote to Wait Winthrop of New London, that it was no longer possible to meet, everything being soon shattering in a blood bath
Joseph Dudley (Roxbury (MA) ,1647 – Roxbury, 1720) - The son of Thomas Dudley, second governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony, he did not inherit the intolerant nature of his father and even received little education because this one died while Joseph was only four. Her mother quickly remarried with Reverend John Allen, minister of Dedham who was actually responsible for his training. He graduated from Harvard in 1665 with the intention to become a minister like his father-in-law but more attracted by political life, he was elected in 1672 representative of Roxbury to the General Court of the Massachusetts. He was chosen as commissioner to accompany Major Thomas Savage during his mission to the Narragansetts.
July 8, 1675 - Governor Edmund Andros vainly tries to seize Old Saybrook, at the mouth of the Connecticut River.
Since he took office in New York, he kept claiming this area which was, according to him, within the charter granted to the duke of York by King Charles II. He even requested the handover of all the previous colonial charters, what Connecticut had refused. He conveniently took advantage of unrest affecting then the region to sail to Old Saybrook. The authorities of the city, one of the oldest in Connecticut, had no desire to go under his jurisdiction but he thought that hoisting the colors of the king of England would be enough to secure its surrender. Andros reckoned, however, without the good sense of captain James Bull who received him well but had, him too, the royal flag raised above fort of Old Saybrook. The governor of New York had to withdraw without firing a single bullet.
July 8, 1675 - Pease Field Fight - Captain Benjamin Church patrolling near Tiverton with a 30-men company is attacked at Foglant Point by a party of about 300 Indians. Church recommends then his men to remove their coats so that their white shirts can be seen by far. Actually after two hours of fight seeming lost, captain Roger Goulding sailing by chance on a sloop down Sakonet River seems them and comes to their relief. Although he is targeted first and by the Indians, Church manages to take place the last one on the boat without any injury, having even taken time to retrieve his hat and cutlass.
July 9, 1675 - Wampanoags attack the villages of Dartmouth and Middleborough, burning houses and killing several settlers.
The troops of Massachusetts and Plymouth were unable to adapt to the guerilla tactics set up by the Indians. These remained evasive and it was feared that their successes would lead alongside other tribes staying so far neutral such as Nipmuc or Narragansett. The English leaders yielded to indecision, not knowing where and who to hit. Only Captain Benjamin Church defended the offensive way, assuming that to strike hard would provide a psychological advantage while Cudworth had rather wait for reinforcements.
As for the residents, they did not dare to go any more into their fields and began to flee towards Plymouth.
July 12, 1675 - Heading a Connecticut company and a party of Mohegans, Captain Wait Still Winthrop of New London joins the group of Roger Williams and captain Edward Hutchinson.
He met, along his walk, the old Niantic chief Ninigret who had no sympathy for Philip and ensured his neutrality.
Wait Still Winthrop (Boston (MA), 1642 - Boston (MA), 1717) - the second son of governor John Winthrop, Jr. and grandson of late John Winthrop, governor of Massachusetts. His complete first name, Wait still for the grace of God reminded a Puritan phrase. Like his father Wait became a physician.
July 13, 1675 - Ephraim Curtis, from Worcester, is sent to Nipmucs by the governor and council of Massachusetts. He knows the area well and the people of this tribe that he frequented for years by trading. He goes first near Brookfield and crosses several Indian villages where everyone shows kindness to him. He thinks to go back to Boston bringing good news.
He learnt that Nipmuc chiefs Matoonas and Sagamore Sam had got on with Philip and meanwhile come to rob his house in Worcester. He wished, however, to continue his mission, convinced that he could parley when, suddenly, relations began to change. The welcome became reluctant and guns were several times pointed at him. Curtis was not impressed and reached to talk with Muttaump, the leader of Quabaug and Sagamore Sam of the Nashaway tribe. It helped to clear the air and they explained him that the English had killed one of their fellows near the Merrimac a few days earlier and that they wanted revenge.
The Nipmucs agreed to send an embassy to Boston within five days and Curtis assured them that they would be well received and would get all the guarantees they demanded. But they never came, convinced by Black James, a Quabaug leader that they would all be killed by the English.
July 14, 1675 - Nipmucs destroy the village of Mendon.
This remote village, founded 8 years earlier on a land given up by the Nipmucs, included about twenty isolated families and proved an easy prey. It was totally plundered by the Indians who killed six settlers.
Among the Indians who attacked Mendon was Matoonas, whose son had been hanged a few years earlier in Boston after being accused of the death of a settler.
July 15, 1675 - the English succeed in signing a neutrality agreement with the old Narragansett chiefs.
This treaty obtained under duress was actually unrealistic because leader Canonchet and most Narragansett warriors had already joined, further north, Wampanoags from Abnaki, alongside Norwottucks, Pocumtucks and Agawams.
Canonchet (Nanuntenoo - 1630-1676) – The grand-nephew of Canonicus, he was only thirteen when his father Miantinomo had been executed by Mohegan at the request of the English. He considered therefore this act as a felony on behalf of those whom his people had nevertheless come to help against Pequot Indians. He maintained, however, good relationship with Roger Williams who had thought at first to gain his neutrality. But Canonchet finally sided with Philip by taking in the women and children of his tribe before being militarily involved.
July, 1675 - A party of Nanticcock attacks by surprise Thomas Mathew's plantation in Stafford County, north of Virginia. They ransack the house, steal two pigs, kill his son and his steward Robert Henn before vanishing in the wild.
It was initially a dispute between Mathew and the Indians about unpaid goods but the matter had degenerated. Warned of the attack, Colonel George Mason and Major George Brent, from the Stafford militia, threw themselves in pursuit of the Indians whom they managed to take by surprise on the other side of the Potomac, Maryland. They killed a dozen during the scuffle but went, by mistake, after Susquehannocks who lived nevertheless in good neighborhood with the settlers.
This incident had the expected impact. The authorities of Maryland were quick to accuse governor William Berkeley for violating their territory. As for Susquehannock, they did not hesitate to sack all the isolated settlements on the border between Virginia and Maryland.
July 19, 1675 - Captain Benjamin Church leads a group of militiamen of Rhode Island, in the Pocasset swamps where Philip took refuge.
He wished to have the element of surprise but aware of their approach, the Indians quickly scattered. The English decided then to build a fort to contain Philip in the swamps.
July, 1675 - The Chowanoc Indians rise up against the settler of Albemarle, North Carolina, breaking with the terms of the of submission treaty to the English crown they signed in 1663.
Algonquian-speaking, the Chowanoc tribe (named after the Chowan River) occupied at the beginning of the century a prominent place in the north-east region of North Carolina. It could then line up not less than 700 warriors. Gradually dislodged from their territory by the pressure of the English colonization, they took advantage of disorders arisen in nearby Virginia to rebel. Their action however failed and the English used the fact that they had "violated" a peace treaty to group them in a small reserve near Bennett Creek.
The last representatives of the tribe were to be gradually absorbed by Tuscarora.
July, 1675 - While patrolling on the road between Swansea and Rehoboth, Lieutenant Edward Oakes and his men chase a group of Indians caught setting fire to a house. The scalps of the killed enemies are sent to Boston as trophies.
Native of England, Edward Oakes (before 1632 - Concord (MA) 1689) had been received as free man in Cambridge, 1642. He had then been a member of the City Council for twenty-six years (from 1643 till 1678) before being elected a deputy of Cambridge and Concord to the General Court of Massachusetts. He had been appointed in June, 1675, lieutenant under the command of captain Prentice for the first Mount Hope campaign.
July 24, 1675 - the Council of New York focuses again on the problem of dikes in Delaware. It decides to summon John Ogle and Rev. Jacob Fabritius against whom the magistrates of the colony have complained, to hear from them the reasons why they oppose.
July 26, 1675 - Old Mohegan Sachem Uncas enters Boston with fifty of his warriors and his three sons, whose eldest Oweneco is tipped to succeed him. They come to ensure the authorities of their loyalty and offer their service to the English .
Aged over 85, Uncas was since the 1637 Pequot War, a faithful ally of the English. His offer was timely and his men were immediately sent to join captain Henchamnn's troops. They proposed to go in pursuit of Philip who had just left Pocasset swamp where he was hiding but still doubting their perfect loyalty, the commissioners to the United Colonies required that the two other sons of Uncas, Joshua and Ben, remain hostages in Cambridge during the period of operations.
July 28, 1675 - The Council of Massachusetts sends captain Edward Hutchinson and about twenty soldiers to the Nipmucs in order to understand the reason why they did not keep their promise to send an embassy in Boston and to let them know that unless they deliver Matoonas, they will be considered accomplices.
August 1st, 1675 - After a quick stop in Rehoboth, Mohegan warriors come, at dawn, upon Philip and his guard at Nipsachuck (current Smithsfield, R.I.). They attack his camp making 23 killed among the Wampanoags and about forty prisoners. Captain Henchamnn who runs the operation arrives on the scene a few hours later with 85 soldiers but orders without a cause cessation of hostilities, especially against the advice of his soldiers, allowing Philip to flee with 40 of his men.
August 1st, 1675 - Captain Benjamin Church manages to conclude a peace treaty with Awashonks, squaw sachem of the Saconets.
Benjamin Church (1639 - 1718) - Native of the Plymouth Plantation, he traveled throughoutl the colony from his childhood, accompanying his father carpenter. He then became a soldier and married Alice Southworth in 1671 before moving three years later as a farmer to Sogkonate (Little Compton), Rhode Island. Church quickly made friends with the Natives of the region who, in turn, held him in high respect. He had thanks to his military experience to be called back as officer in the Plymouth company when the war broke out against Philip.
|Nipmuc attack on Brookfield|
The survivors fled towards Brookfield where they managed to withstand for four days the assaults of the Indians. These burnt all the houses, one after the other and laid siege to the one where the population and the soldiers took shelter, namely fifty women and thirty two men. Ephraïm Curtis, who was part of the group came alone to escape to Marlboro to seek reinforcements. Troops were mobilized throughout the country and by chance, Major Simon Willard, patrolling near Marlborowith a company of 46 men, immediately made his way to Brookfield. Seeing arriving this additional support, the Indians dispersed quickly. Fortunately, there were only three casualties among the settlers, a young man and a woman killed by gunshots and one of the sons of sergeant Pritchard, gone out recklessly and beheaded by the Indians before they raised his head on the top of a pike. The Indians left from their part about eighty warriors.
Reinforcements then arrived one after the other: captains Richard Beers and Lathrop at first, coming from east, then captains Watts and Cooper arriving from Springfield and Hartford with a group of horsemen and Mohegan warriors commanded by Joshua, the son of Uncas.
August 4, 1675 - the Plymouth war council has to give a ruling on 112 Indians, men, women and children captured since the beginning of the war.
It was admitted that there were among them people who had directly taken part to the uprising but that many of them could only be accused of complicity. None was sentenced to death, most of them were sold as slaves and, for political reasons, some were even released.
August 5, 1675 - Philip meets the Nipmucs on their way back from Brookfield. He offers them wampum and promises them the victory.
He told their chiefs how he had escaped death during the Nipsachuck skirmish. He had then 250 men including the Wetamoo's forces. But most were killed and only forty warriors stayed alive with few women and children. Then he set out to join them by crossing forests, hiding in caves and climbing hills from which he could see villages burning.
August 7, 1675 - Major John Pynchon sends a letter to governor John Winthrop, Jr., informing him that Philip and forty of his men would have found refuge at Ashquoash (the old Quabaug fort) 22 miles east of Springfield. According to him, he would intend to settle there due to plentiful reserves. The fort is well prorected and also serves to store corn.
August 9, 1675 - Captain Samuel Mosely and a part of the Henchmann company arrive at Brookfield from Mendon. Major Willard has now 350 men at his disposal besides the Mohegans.
August 20, 1675 - The town of Northampton is attacked by Indians, killing a man among its inhabitants.
|Lancaster under attack|
The information seemed wrong but although these Indians who had received the order to be confined in the praying towns have already been disarmed by captain John Ruddock, Mosely did capture fifteen belonging to the Hassanemesit tribe who were tied together by the neck and sent to Boston for trail. He kept walking in the area and burned the settlement of Chief Wannalacet, near Concord, although he was renowned for his friendly relations with the English.
Embarrassed, the General Court of Massachusetts found no charge against the Natives and they were all released.
From the beginning of the war, Mosely had mainly been conspicuous for his often unjustified brutalities and he was officially sanctioned by the General Court of Massachusetts following the Lancaster incident.
But, in turn, he enjoyed the support of the public opinion which saw a foe in every Indian, whether or not a Christian.
August 24, 1675 - A war council held at Hatfield orders captains Thomas Lathrop and Richard Beers to reach ou with a 100-men company to the Indians got together in Nonatucks village, north of Northampton, and to disarm them.
They were not involved in any violent action but Mohegan scouts who observed them had reported that they had welcomed destructions perpetrated in Quabaug (Brookfield) and were about to do the same.
The colonial troop arrived by surprise in the camp while the day was barely raised. Alerted, the Indians scattered in the woods with their women and children and the pursuit ensued in the nearby Hopewell Swamp where they sought refuge. Nine soldiers found death and it is said that twenty six Natives were killed during the fight.
Thomas Lathrop (1612 - 1675) - Native of Eastwell, Kent, he had arrived at Salem in 1634 where he had quickly been admitted as free man. He had been granted a plot of land and had settled as farmer before being appointed lieutenant then captain of the Artillery Company in 1645. Married in 1650 to Bethia Rea a 20-year-old young woman from Plymouth, he had then accompanied the major Sedgwick during the storming of Acadia (1654). Lathrop continued to be actively involved in civil and religious matters of Salem that he represented in particular, repeatedly, to the General Court of Massachusetts.
Richard Beers (Gravesend (Kent) 1607 - September 4, 1675) - he emigrated to New England in 1635 with his two nephews and was accepted, two years later, as a free man in Watertown, at the very moment he was brought to get involved in the war against the Pequots. Considered a prominent resident of Watertown, he was councilman for more than thirty years and representative of the city to the General Court of the Massachusetts from 1663 to 1675.
August 31, 1675 - Sir William Berkeley, the governor of Virginia, meets his council to decide on the follow-up to the incidents occurred the previous month in Stafford's County.
He had tried to let colonel Mason solve the dispute in his way but rumors suggested that the troubles did not, instead, stop expanding. He proposed then to build a line of defensive forts along the border but the council considered this project as expensive, unsuitable and being able to serve as a pretext for raising additional taxes.
It was then decided to send John Washington and Isaac Allerton to get the measure of the crimes and destructions committed by Indians and to punish or chase them if necessary as far as Maryland, albeit with the consent of local authorities.
September 1st, 1675 - As Rev. John Russell delivers a sermon before his parishioners, a group of Indians attacks the village of Hadley. The settlers are on the verge of retreating when an old man appears conveniently to fight off the aggressors before disappearing. The legend of " the Angel of Hadley " has just taken shape.
|The Angel of Hadley|
September 2nd, 1675 - Heading a company from Massachusetts, Captain Samuel Mosely attacks Pennacook villages suspected of sheltering rebel Indian warriors.
Pennacook leader Wonalancet tried not to take his people into the conflict but two of his villages had actually chosen to join Philip.
September 2, 1675 - The war council of Plymouth orders to sell as slaves 57 Natives who came to surrender.
September 4, 1675 - Captain Richard Beers approaches Northfield, at the head of a 36-soldier company, to clear out the residents, when he is ambushed by a group of Nipmucs and Pocumtucs. He is killed during the fight with 20 of his men. Sergeant John Shattuck who appears among the survivors gallops towards Boston to warn the governor of the disaster. Three soldiers made prisoners by the Indians are burned alive. The soldiers died during the battle have their head cut off and planted along the path at the top of spikes.
John Shattuck would have the misfortune to die drowned on September 14 further to the wreck of the ferry between Charlestown and Boston.
September 8, 1675 - A storm strikes Boston Harbor, damaging a large number of boats.
September, 1675 - Thomas Eastchurch and his supporters win the elections in Albermarle County, Carolina.
Eastchurch became president of the Assembly with the intention to make governor John Jenkins arrest, accusing him for having unlawfully imprisoned Thomas Miller, one of his close friends, notorious supporter of the Lords Proprietors.
There was for several years a deep rift between the former owners who had founded the colony and the newcomers about the tariffs imposed by the Navigation Acts. The planters, represented by George Durant, widely felt penalized since they could no longer ship their tobacco through New England without being heavily taxed, whereas Thomas Eastchurch's party supported the politics of the Lords Proprietors to establish a feudal conception of the society.
September 9, 1675 - Thomas Wakely, a 75-year-old man and his family are attacked by Indians in their Falmouth home near Casco Bay, Maine. His is cruelly killed as well as his wife and their elder son John, his wife and three of their children. The last daughter, Elizabeth and two other members of the family are taken in captivity.
Alerted by the smoke, Lt George Ingersoll who patrolled in the neighborhood decided to move the next day with his soldiers towards the place where the fire seemed to come but could only notice the atrocious death of the Wakely family members.
Born around 1600, Thomas Wakely had first settled in Hingham then in Gloucester, before moving in 1661 to Falmouth where he had bought a tract of land at Back Cove, in Casco Bay.
Born around 1600, Thomas Wakely had first settled in Hingham then in Gloucester, before moving in 1661 to Falmouth where he had bought a tract of land at Back Cove, in Casco Bay.
September 15, 1675 – After hearing the arguments of Rev. Jacob Fabritius, the council met in New York decides to sentence him for disturbing public order and contempt of court.
It retained especially against him his scandalous past and his former abuses. He was consequently suspended from his ministry and forbidden to preach in public as in private.
The Court of New Castle received, meanwhile, the order to confirm the building of dikes.
|Battle of Bloody Brook|
The road was not safe and went through the forest but the number of soldiers accompanying the convoy seemed sufficiently deterrent.
But, lo and behold, Indians sprang suddenly from the woods at the crossing of a brook. They were approximately 700 equipped with bows and guns. The balance of power being unequal, Lathrop and his men had no chance especially as they had left their weapons on wagons. It was a real massacre. The captain was killed from the beginning of the attack and only 7 soldiers reached to escape death. All the inhabitants of Deerfield who drove wagons were also killed.
Captain Mosely and a small detachment of 60 soldiers patrolled in the area when the they heard the sound of the battle. They rushed to the scene and engaged fight although outnumbered.
After six hours heavy fighting, the outcome remained uncertain. It was the arrival of a hundred soldiers from Connecticut commanded by Major Treat, and assisted by 50 Mohegan auxiliaries that allowed to end the slaughter. Facing the arrival of these new reinforcements, the Indian warriors preferred to disperse into the forest.
Mosely, wounded, and the rest of his men turned to spend the night at Deerfield where they could hear, from afar, the shouts of a group of Indians come to rob corpses. The next day, they went back to the battlefield bury the dead and left Deerfield, emptied of all its inhabitants.
This ambush was the fact of groups of Wampanaogs and Nipmucs who had crossed Connecticut to settle near Hadley. At their head were chiefs Sagamore Sam, Montaup, One-Eye John (John Monoco), Matoonas as well as Panquahow who had for the most taken part in all the summer fightings.
September 25, 1675 - Sir Edmund Andros, the governor of New York, orders captain Edmund Cantwell to seize all the property appropriated by John Fenwick and resell it, considering that he is illegally granted a power of jurisdiction and has no right on New Jersey. He summons him to New York where he intends that he gives some explanation to the Council.
Fenwick, who had just founded the city of New Salem, ignored, of course, this order and granted freedom of worship and consciousness to all the settlers who would move in his portion of New Jersey. He also allowed to give freedom of access to all the merchant ships sailing on the Delaware River, a measure to which Andros was absolutely opposite. He became obvious that, aware of his rights, Fenwick had decided to behave as real troublemaker but his former links with Cromwell, the regicide, would not miss, in return, to attract against him powerful enemies among the local elite.
September, 1675 - Sokoki chief Squando and his warriors attack the city of Saco. They injure the Major Philips commanding the local garrison and burn several houses.
Squando had lived for decades in good terms with the colonists and his sudden change in attitude could be interpreted as an unexpected rallying to Philip. A rumor, however, claimed that Squando had in reality come to avenge the death of his newborn son, thrown alive into the river by drunk English sailors under the pretext of checking if the Indian children floated well at birth. The child could not be saved and the Indian chief had felt a fierce hatred known as Squando’s curse.
September 24, 1675 - Taking advantage of the fact that captain Wincoln and his men went to strengthen the defenses of Saco, a group of Indians led by chiefs Andrew and Hopehood, known as brave warriors enters the village of Berwick (Maine). They leave for dead an 18-year-old girl and abduct two children before setting fire to several buildings.
September 26, 1675 - John Washington and Major Thomas Trueman from Maryland, arrive at the gates of the main Susquehannock village with a white flag and ask to negotiate. Governor William Berkeley merely sought an investigation but his orders were interpreted and it is a whole army including 750 Virginians and 250 horsemen from Maryland which faces Indians until then considered as friends.
The five leaders came out and agreed to parley but denied being involved in attacks. Washington and Trueman refused their explanations and the discussion was cut short. Trueman told them they could go home but they had not yet crossed their palisade that he made them loosely shot down. He was to be punished with a small fine by the Assembly of Maryland and dismissed from the Provincial Council for this “clumsy gesture.”
The combined forces of Virginia and Maryland besieged for seven weeks Fort Susquehannock, until taking advantage of the night, its defenders discreetly disappeared into the forest.
John Washington (1631-1677) - from Purleigh, Essex, he belonged to a family of wealthy merchants, known for its royalist sympathies. The victory of Cromwell constituted inevitably a painful moment for the Washingtons whose properties were seized and future compromised. John preferred, in this context to move to Virginia where he created a trade company with Edward Prescott. It quickly dwindled and there followed severe conflict between the two partners of which Washington finally got through thanks to the financial support of Nathaniel Pope, a rich planter who had befriended him. He married his daughter Anne in 1658 and received as her dowry a 700-acre land at Mattox Creek, Westmorland County.
He then became a prosperous planter and sat in the House of Burgesses. He increased dramatically his domain up to 5000 acres and eventually acquired, in 1668, Hunting Creek on the other side of Potomac, where Mount Vernon Manor was to be later built.
It is as colonel of Westmorland militia and owner of plantations along the Potomac that governor William Berkeley appointed him to go to investigate devastations done by Indians during summer, 1675.
September 28, 1675 – A party of Indians attacks again the small town of Northampton, killing three colonists.
October 4-5, 1675 - Wequogan and his Agawam warriors meet at nightfall a group of Nipmucs on a hill overlooking Springfield. They decide to attack the city to obtain the release of their scouts, imprisoned in Hartford.
October 4-5, 1675 - Wequogan and his Agawam warriors meet at nightfall a group of Nipmucs on a hill overlooking Springfield. They decide to attack the city to obtain the release of their scouts, imprisoned in Hartford.
Made aware of this project by an Indian remained faithful, the inhabitants hurried to find shelter in the most protected houses including that of John Pynchon. By a strange coincidence, the latter was at the same moment outside, left accompanying the Hadley's militia for another operation and Springfield was defenseless. The Indians surrounded the city and began to methodically burn buildings. They also went to destroy the sawmill and the mill.
At dawn, Lieutenant Thomas Cooper and Constable Thomas Miller who knew well Wequogan, tried to go parley, but they were both killed. Later in the day, two other colonists met the same fate. Major Treat and the Westfield garrison arrived the first onsite, followed by John Pynchon and Hadley reinforcements, but it was to discover, heplessly, the destroyed city.
Wequogan, the local chief of the Agawam tribe, had always lived in peace with the English and despite the summer events, nobody imagined that he would side with Philip. Pynchon knew that the latter had been seen at Quabaug and some had well heard that several hundred warriors had gathered secretly in the region but the idea of an imminent attack appeared unfounded.
And now after Brookfield, Squakeag and Deerfield, it was time for Springfiled to know devastation, despite a population over 500 inhabitants. This attack was to be felt as a real trauma by colonists until then convinced of the unfailing loyalty of the Indians, heralding a deep change of attitude towards them.
October 16, 1675 - a party of about 150 Sokoki warriors attacks the village of Berwick (Maine). One of the residents is killed and another taken captive. Lieutenant Roger Plaisted who commands the garrison sends his men in pursuit but they are ambushed and lose three of theirs.
October 17, 1675 - William Dervall becomes the eight mayor of New York, replacing John Lawrence.
Several important decisions were to be made during his mandate:
- The ban to sell liquor to Indians, a measure increasingly common in all the English colonies.
- The introduction of the English system of weights and measures
- The introduction of taxes to support the clergy
- The creation of a law intended to beautify the city, condemning all the owners who would too much delay building to sell their land to purchasers determined to build as soon as possible.
- The obligation to clean up the city every Saturday and the establishment of a system of fines for all carters who would refuse to evacuate waste.
- The building of a public slaughterhouse outside the city.
- The appointment of the first auctioneer (Adolphe Peterson).
- The institution of the market day on Thursdays and the annual cattle fair in the first week of November.
William Dervall (?, - 1712) - this Dutch born merchant from Boston had come settle down in New York in 1667, in order to grow the dry foodstuffs business he managed with his brother. He married Rebecca, one of Thomas Delavall's daughters, a wealthy landowner of the city who had been a mayor in 1666 and 1672.
October 18, 1675 - Narragansett Sachem Canonchet comes to sign in Boston an additional treaty stipulating that his people have ten days to deliver to the English all the "hostile" Indians who found refuge on their lands. It includes as well members of Philip's tribe, as those of Pocasset squaw sachem Weetamoo, those of other squaw sachem Awashonks from Sogkonate, Quabaug and Hatfield Indians.
This document had been signed under the pressure and it made no doubt that if Narragansetts had not previously found a reason to make war, the provocative conduct of the English was enough to push them to it. This treaty was an insult to these people with noble character and provided in a way the foundation of a possible alliance with Wampanoags. The disrespectful behavior of the English had just sealed between both Indian nations what Philip and his partisans had not been able to achieve in months.
October 18, 1675 - Supported by the arrival of reinforcements led by Major Samuel Appleton, the garrison commanded by captains Poole and Samuel Mosely is able to fend off an Indian attack at Hatfield. It is the first time since summer that the English succeed in taking over. This victory is felt by the Puritan society of New England as a result of the divine providence.
Samuel Mosely (New Braintree, 1641-1680) - His father Henry Maudsley, a native of Lancashire, had emigrated to Massachusetts in 1635. In his youth, Samuel looked like an adventurist and he is even likely to have served as privateer in the West Indies. He later married Ann Addington, the niece of governor John Leverett and was appointed captain of company at the beginning of Philip's war. He surrounded himself with volunteers from various backgrounds including in particular former privateers like him but refused, on the other hand, to appoint Indian auxiliaries. He vowed a real aversion to the Native people and stood out by his brutal behavior towards them.
The Connecticut Valley campaign had been disastrous for lack of coordination and command rivalries between the Council and commissioners without outlined strategy. The people concerned had gathered with poor stocks to face winter, while they piled up in the few houses remained standing they had strengthened against attacks.
On their side, the Natives who had lost their crops and had not much powder were about to face winter in poverty and had taken refuge in swamps or remote areas in search of food.
October 27, 1675 - the General Assembly of Rhode Island decides to leave to each city the care of providing for its own defense. Warwick is abandoned and its residents take refuge in islands.
The Quakers had obtained exemption of military service and would only intervene to protect themselves.
November 1st, 1675 - Nipmucs take captive Praying Indians living in the Magunkaquog, Chabnakongkomun and Hassanamesit communities, created by Rev. John Eliot. Among them is James Printer, member of an influential Nipmuc family.
Born in 1640, James Printer (Wowaus) was placed at the age of five in a family of Cambridge thanks to which he was able to attend college. He later became assistant of Samuel Green, head of the Harvard’s Indian College Printing, with whom he published many works. It would seem that he offered his services to Philip late 1675 before distinguishing himself by a declaration promising amnesty to all the Indians who would return to place themselves under English protection.
November 8, 1675 - Governor Edmund Andros orders captain John Collier and the magistrates of New Castle to bring John Fenwick to New York, by force if necessary.
Collier asked Fenwick to go voluntarily to New York what he refused. He strongly rejected the authority of Andros and left it to the king and duke of York. Collier returned with a dozen militiamen and beached the door of his house in the middle of the night. Fenwick was taken prisoner and brought to New York.
November 12, 1675 – The commissioners to the United Colonies of New England declare Narragansetts fully involved in all the bloody atrocities.
Such a statement was in many respects the result of a mischievous political calculation. Narragansetts lived firstly in Rhode Island, a traditionally dissented colony whose leaders were in disfavor with Plymouth. Secondly, they were not invincible since their warriors not exceeded the thousand when they had been more than five thousand during the Pequot War. And height of cynicism on behalf of the English, they had not actually joined Philip and were militarily unprepared for confrontation. Their leader Pessicus had, on the contrary, constantly reminded them his friendship by turning over Wampanoag prisoners. Up to the governor of Connecticut John Winthrop, Jr. who had defended them before the Massachusetts authorities, recalling that they were friends with the English. But these had responded by sending mercenaries who had been engaged in exactions. Struck by such a brutality, a settler of Rhode Island had told John Winthrop, Jr. that he compared these methods to those used during the Irish wars foreshadowing the blood-and-thunder annihilation of an entire people.
For their part, the Narragansetts had not deprived of asserting their friendship with the English as far as it served old interests and revived rivalries to Wampanoags, Pequots or Nipmucs from which they hoped to emerge victorious. The case of Mohegans seemed instead more complex in so far as they had the advantage to fight militarily alongside the English and constituted as such a real danger for Narragansetts.
On the other hand, Narragansetts hid, behind a front neutrality, that they could shelter fighters and provide them food and supplies. They were not actually at war but could, thanks to the abundance of their crops ensure provisioning to Wampanaogs and Nipmucs.
In the end, these elements decided the commissioners to declare them enemy.
November 19, 1675 - Maurice Brett is convicted of adultery by the General Court of Massachusetts. He is sentenced to banishment after been given thirty-nine lashes. Complaining about the severity of the punishment, he is then condemned to have his ears cut off.
The dramatic situation in which was New England late 1675 came along with a terrible soul-searching. Just like the elected people of the Old Testament, the public opinion considered these events as the punishment imposed on the whole population, further to its weaknesses and sins. That is why the General Court of Massachusetts decreed December 2nd as a day of humiliation and public prayer. It listed the offenses that could have generated the wrath of God; the relaxation of discipline in the churches, the vanity of the appearance urging the women to wear long hair, the strange fashion for the poor as for the rich to appear shirtless and bare-arms with unnecessary ribbons, the scandalous way of indulging in drunkenness in taverns for both men and women, and finally the sins of the flesh and more specially sodomy. The Court ordered to tidy churches up, to ban the Quakers meetings and restricted authorizations granted to liquor stores, while requiring magistrates to show more diligence in exercising their powers.
The security was reinforced throughout the colony, the Indians remained neutral were confined on the Boston Harbor islands of and all food exports were prohibited, excepted fish.
December 6, 1675 - The War Council of Plymouth decides that, according to the Indian threats, these will not be any more authorized to move north of Sandwich, on pain of death or imprisonment.
This measure concerned all the Natives without distinction, including Christians. Only a few dared to challenge it, given the extreme tension that prevailed.
December 8, 1675 - The forces mobilized to fight the Narragansetts gather in Dedham, Taunton, Plymouth and New London. Major Samuel Appleton takes the command.
Connecticut had sent 350 men headed by Major Robert Treat with under him captains Samuel Marshall, Mason and Watts.
The Massachusetts forces included 465 foot soldiers and 275 horsemen commanded by Benjamin Church and Joseph Dudley. There were captain Samuel Mosely and his veterans, captain Isaac Johnson with conscripts from Roxbury, Dorchester, Weymouth and Hull, captain Davemport with men from Cambridge and Watertown, captain Oliver with Bostonians, Gardiner and the troops of Essex County and Thomas Prentice at the head of the cavalry, without counting volunteers and Mohegan or Pequot auxiliaries.
Samuel Appleton (Wallingford (Suffolk) 1624 - 1696) - From an old family from Suffolk, he emigrated to New England with his parents while he was only eleven. Admitted as free man of Ipswich in 1636, his father quickly became one of the most influential resident of the city and was from the next year appointed deputy to the General Court of Massachusetts. Samuel had only to follow the way prepared by his father. Successively lieutenant, captain and major, he was from 1668 representative to the General Court. He received in September, 1675 the command of a company of 100 men with first task to defend Hadley. He was there appointed at the head of the Connecticut Valley forces replacing John Pynchon, resigned following the destruction of Springfield.
December 10, 1675 - The armies of the United Colonies converge to Providence. All the men received their military dress, their package and ammunitions.
December 14, 1675 - The colonial troops head to Wickford and cross the territory of Pumham, the Indian chief once ally of the English, since become a staunch supporter of Philip. They plod through the snow and go almost astray but succeed however in reaching without damage the camp set out by captains Mosely and Church. They also bring 35 Narragansett prisoners among whom women and children.
They were guided in particular by a Narragansett named Peter Freeman who, further to the ill-treatment he had suffered from his fellow men, decided to take revenge by delivering a lot of information on their defensive positions.
It would, however, take about ten years before the General Court of Massachusetts grants his family the promised reward and orders to free it from slavery.
December 14, 1675 - While waiting for the arrival of the Connecticut contingent, Josiah Winslow sends sergeant Bennett and his men to attack the village of squaw sachem Matantuck. A hundred and fifty wigwams are burnt, seven Natives killed and nine others taken prisoners.
December 15, 1675 - A group of Indians breaks at night into the house of Jirah Bull located at Tower Hill, near the Winthrop camp where gather the Connecticut troops. They kill fifteen of the seventeen people inside.
Captain Thomas Prentice discovered the slaughter the next morning and despondency started unsettling the minds when the Connecticut forces consisted of 315 soldiers sided by 150 Pequot and Mohegan warriors arrived at Pettasquamscutt camp.
Thomas Prentice (1620- Newton (MA), 1709) - He emigrated to New England in 1648 but a tradition tells that he served beforehand under the orders of Cromwell and was even one of his bodyguards. It was certainly because of his military past that he was appointed cavalry lieutenant in 1656 and captain in 1662.
December 18, 1675 – Wait Winthrop joins Major Treat at Pettasquamscutt camp and takes command of the army.
The harsh weather conditions and the lack of foods decided him to plan the next day to attack Narragansetts. Their fortified village was about 16 miles west of the camp, in the middle of a swamp where grew many cedars. Approximately 1200 people were gathered inside, including warriors but also many women and children. The place had been reinforced by an outside stockade and an internal wall made of stone and wood punctuated with shelters for the shooters. Some witnesses claimed that a man named Joshua Tefft who lived in the area had served as advisor for the building of these fortifications.
December 19, 1675 - The colonial army starts up at five o’clock. Guided by Peter Freeman, the Massachusetts’ troops move first, preceded by the companies of captains Nathaniel Davenport and Samuel Mosely. The soldiers of Plymouth walk in the middle and those of Connecticut occupy the rear, whereas the Indian auxiliaries cover the sides.
|The Great Swamp Fight|
Captain John Gallup, Samuel Marshall and Nathaniel Seeley are killed during the attack, captain John Mason is fatally injured. The soldiers of Plymouth reach finally to enter the fortress. Now outnumbered, Narragansetts yet continue to fight with doggedness but their lines fall one after the other. Ironically, a sudden fire breaks out, fanned by a violent wind which sets wigwams on fire, urging their occupants, panicked, to escape in confusion. An indescribable slaughter follows then amid cries of the women and children. Some manage to flee and Indian warriors, holed up in the woods, continue to resist the English forces.
Captain Benjamin Church tries to run after them but must soon give up because of an injury. The English victory makes no more doubt but the toll paid is dramatically heavy.
As the day ends, Commander-in-chief Josiah Winslow gathers his officers in the light of the wigwams burning up among the dead.
The meeting was heated. Captain Church insisted to camp on the battlefield to keep the wounded safe and offer the rest of the troops a little rest and food. Walk more than 18 miles backward in the frosty wind and the snow seemed to him pure madness. For others, the burned-out village offered little protection while foods, as ammunitions risked to be quickly lacking. It was moreover necessary to take care of about one hundred and fifty wounded in extremely precarious conditions. As for Narragansetts, they had certainly been defeated but the survivors could reorganize to ambush. The wounded were thus placed on makeshift litters and the army began marching. Numbered 26, the dead were left behind. The first survivors reached Wickford at about two o'clock in the morning. Others got lost in the night including Josiah Winslow and forty of his men who joined the camp only at seven o'clock. Twenty-two wounded died along the way and a week later, at least eighty of them had died because of the lack of care and the absence of hospital. Concerning the Natives, figures were contradictory but the most reliable testimonies evoked the number of a hundred killed among the warriors and about 300 among the elderly, women and children in particular because of the fire that destroyed wigwams. Indian losses were certainly not so significant as the English would have wished, but if the young warriors who had taken refuge in the woods felt the courage to harass them, the lack of provisions announced especially, for them, famine and death.
The English army seemed, in those circumstances, no better off but it was however lucky to be resupplied by the timely arrival at Smith's Landing of Captain Richard Goodale, from Boston. A controversy then erupted over the role of Mohegans and Pequots. They were blamed for their lack of involvement while they had hitherto displayed bravery, what they replied to have been erroneously taken for targets by English shooters and made suspicious.
John Gallup II (1615 - December 19, 1675) - From Bridport, Dorsetshire, he had arrived in Boston in 1633 with his mother, his brothers and his sister Joan (his father John having emigrated three years before). He had then lived in Taunton with his family, then in New London before being rewarded in 1654 with a land at Whitehall on the shores of the Mystic River in recognition of the help he had provided with his father during the Pequot war. It is thanks to his knowledge of Indian language and his relationship with Mohegans that he was called, despite he turned sixty to join captain John Mason who had just taken command of a 70-men company from New London, going to fight the Narragansetts. Killed from the beginning of the " Great Swamp Fight ", he was buried on the spot where a memorial has further been raised.
Nathaniel Seeley (1627 - December 19, 1675) - A native of London, he was barely three years old when his parents sailed to New England aboard the Arabella, flagship of the fleet carrying among others John Winthrop, just appointed governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony. The Seeley family landed to Salem on June 12, 1630 and quickly left settling to Watertown. His father Robert, became, the year after, a free man of the new parish. He decided however to leave in 1635 to Connecticut where he was appointed lieutenant under captain John Mason. Seriously injured during the Pequot War, he pursued, however, a military career being upgraded captain in 1653. Robert served then under the command of Major Sedgwick and captain John Leverett, being actively involved in the operations against the Dutch. He spent thereafter some time in England before the General Court of New Haven offers him, from 1662, the command of Fort Saybrook. He was lastly involved in 1665 in the foundation of Elizabethtown in the New Jersey colony and died in New York in 1668. Dwelling Fairfield, Nathaniel devoted first to the administration of paternal properties before choosing to enter the military career as well. Considered a brave soldier by captain John Mason Jr, he was promoted sergeant in November, 1674, then lieutenant and finally captain on August 26, 1675.
Samuel Marshall - (Dorchester, Dorset, 1615 - December 19, 1675) - a tanner of his craft, he was involved in 1633 in the founding of Windsor, Connecticut. Married with Mary Wilton in 1653, he was sixty years old when he started to serve in the army again and was placed as ensign then as captain under the orders of Major Robert Treat.
John Mason, Jr. (1657 - December 19, 1675) – the son of Major John Mason, a veteran of the 1637 Pequot War and former deputy governor of Connecticut, and his second wife Ann Peck.
December 27, 1675 - Captain Prentice invests the village of Narragansett chief Pumham, near Warwick. He destroys a hundred wigwams but finds no Indian.
December 28, 1675 - A Native woman taken prisoner by the English is sent back to Narragansetts to inform them that the door is left open to negotiations if all Wampanoags who found refuge with them agree to surrender. A messenger tells them that "This is not the Indians who declared the war to the English but the English who declared without reason the war on the Indians".
December 28, 1675 - the Connecticut contingent is demobilized, forced to withdraw for future operations despite the efforts of Major Robert Treat. For his part, Joseph Dudley who asked governor John Leverett to be provided with about 300 men, ammunitions and armors, must wait unable to conduct any offensive.
The Narragansetts had meanwhile returned to their fortress to retrieve what remained of corn provisions and dried fish.
December 29, 1675 – Colonel Lewis Morris buys to James Grover half-interest of the Tinton Falls Iron Works located near Shrewsbury (East New Jersey).
These works had been built a few years earlier after James Grover, a farmer come from Long Island discovered bog iron on his property. Col. Lewis Morris had initially been sent to Barbados by Oliver Cromwell to command the British forces following which he had made a fortune through sugar plantation and interests in shipping. Back in New York in 1673 to care for his young nephew Lewis Morris (1671-1746), he obtained from governor Philip Carteret a whole series of privileges and exemptions in order to develop iron works. He will in particular be the first industrialist in New Jersey to buy African slaves.