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to have lost, in the various encounters, 96 men. It was a great oversight, that Captain Lothrop should have suffered his men to stroll about, while passing a dangerous defile. “Many of the soldiers having been so foolish and secure, as to put their arms in the carts, and step aside to gather grapes, which proved dear and deadly grapes to them."* The same author observes, “ This was a black and fatal day, wherein there were eight persons made widows, and six-and-twenty children made fatherless, all in one little plantation and in one day; and above sixty persons buried in one dreadful grave !"
The Narragansets had not yet heartily engaged in the war, though there is no doubt but they stood pledged so to do. Therefore, having done all that could be expected upon the western frontier of Massachusetts, and concluding that his presence among his allies, the Narragansets, was necessary to keep them from abandoning his cause, Philip was next known to be in their country.
An army of 1500 English was raised by the three colonies, Massachusetts, Plimouth and Connecticut, for the purpose of breaking down the power of Philip among the Narragansets. They determined upon this course, as they had been assured that, in the spring, that nation would come with all their force upon them. It was not known that Philip was among them when this resolution was taken, and it was but a rumor that they had taken part with him. It was true, that they had promised to deliver up all the Wampanoags, who should flee to them, either alive or dead; but it is also true, that those who made this promise, had it not in their power to do it; being persons, chiefly in subordinate stations, who had no right or authority to bind any but themselves. And, therefore, as doubtless was foreseen by many, none of Philip's people were delivered up, although many were known to have been among them. Thus, in few words, have we exhibited the main grounds of the mighty expedition against the Narragansets in the winter of 1675.
Upon a small island, in an immense swamp, in South Kingston, Rhode Island, Philip had fortified himself, in a manner superior to what was common among his countrymen. Here he intended to pass the winter, with the chief of his friends. They had erected about 500 wigwams of a superior construction, in which was deposited a great store of provisions. Baskets and tubs of cornt were piled one upon another, about the inside of them, which rendered them bullet proof. It was supposed that about 3000 persons had here taken up their residence.
But, to be more particular upon the situation of “the scene of the destruction of the Narragansets,” we will add as follows from the notes of a gentleman lately upon the spot, for the express purpose of gaining information. “What was called The Island is now an upland meadow, a few feet higher than the low meadow with which it is surrounded. The island, by my estimate, contains from three to four acres. One fourth of a mile west, is the Usquepaug; a small stream also at a short distance on the east." The celebrated island on which the fort was built is now in the farm of J. G. Clark, Esq. a descendant of John Clark, of R. 1. and about 30 rods west of the line of the “ Pettyswamscot Purchase.” Water still surrounds it in wet seasons. It was cleared by the father of the present possessor about 1789, and although improved from that time to the present, charred corn and Indian implements are yet ploughed up.I
* I. Mather's History of the War, 12.
7500 bushels, says Ďr. I. Mather. Hollow trees, cut off about the length of a barrel, were used by the Indians for tubs. In such they secured their corn and other grains.
MS. communication of Rev. Mr. Ely, accompanied by a drawing of the island. Its shape is very similar to the shell of an oyster. `Average rectangular lines through it measure, one 35 rods, another 20.
President Stiles, in his edition of Church's HISTORY OF Philip's WAR, states that the Narraganset fort is seven miles nearly due west from the South Ferry. This agrees with data furnished by Mr. Ely, in stating the returning march of the English army. Pine and cedar were said to have been the former growth.* An oak 300 years old, standing upon the island, was cut down in 1782, two feet in diameter, 11 feet from the ground. From another, a bullet was cut out, surrounded by about 100 annuli, at the same time. The bullet was lodged there, no doubt, at the time of the fight. We will now return to our narrative of the expedition to this place in December, 1675.
After nearly a month from their setting out, the English army arrived in the Narraganset country, and made their head quarters about 18 miles from Philip's fort. They had been so long upon their march, that the Indians were well enough apprized of their approach, and had made the best arrangements in their power to withstand them. The army had already suffered much from the severity of the season, being obliged to encamp in the open field, and without tents to cover them!
The 19th of December, 1675, is a memorable day in the annals of New England. Cold, in the extreme,--the air filled with snow,—the English were obliged, from the low state of their provisions, to march to attack Philip in his fort. Treachery hastened his ruin. One of his men, by hope of reward, betrayed his country into their hands. This man had, probably, lived among the English, as he had an English name. He was called Peter,t and it was by accident that himself, with thirtyfive others, had just before fallen into the hands of the fortunate Captain Mosely. No Englishman was acquainted with the situation of Philips fort; and but for their pilot, Peter, there is very little probability that they could have even found, much less effected any thing against it. For it was one o'clock on that short day of the year, before they arrived within the vicinity of the swamp: There was but one point where it could be assailed with the least probability of success; and this was fortified by a kind of block-house, directly in front of the entrance, and had also flankers to cover a cross fire. Besides high palisades, an immense hedge of fallen trees, of nearly a rod in thickness, surrounded it, encompassing an area of about five acres. Between the fort and the main land was a body of water, over which a great tree had been felled, on which all must pass and repass, to and from it. On coming to this place, the English soldiers, as many as could pass upon the tree, which would not admit two abreast
, rushed forward upon it, but were swept off in a moment by the fire of Philip's men. Still
, the English soldiers, led by their captains, supplied the places of the slain. But again and again were they swept from the fatal avenue.
Six captains and a great many men had fallen, and a partial, but momentary, recoil from the face of death took place,
Meanwhile, a handful, under the fortunate Mosely, had, as miraculous as it may seem, got within the fort. These were contending hand to hand with the Indians, and at fearful odds, when the cry of “ They run! they run !” brought to their assistance a considerable body of their fellow soldiers. They were now enabled to drive the Indians from their main breast work, and their slaughter became immense. Flying from wigwam to wigwam-men, women and children, indiscriminately, were hewn down and lay in heaps upon the snow. Being now masters of the fort, at the recommendation of Mr. Church, General Winslow was about to
* Holmes's Annals, i. 376. + The name of Peter among the Indians was so common, that it is, perhaps, past determination who this one was. Mr. Hubbard calls him a fugitive from the Narragansets.
| Afterwards the famous Colonel Church. He led the second party that entered the fort, and was badly wounded in the course of the fight,
quarter the army in it for the present, which offered comfortable habitations to the sick and wounded, besides a plentiful supply of provisions. But one of the captains* and a surgeon opposed the measure; probably from the apprehension that the woods was full of Indians, who would continue their attacks upon them, and drive them out in their turn. There was, doubtless, some reason for this, which was strengthened from the fact that many English were killed after they had possessed themselves of the fort, by those whom they had just dispossessed of it. Notwithstanding, had Church's advice been followed, perhaps many of the lives of the wounded would have been saved ; for he was seldom out in his judgment, as his continued successes proved afterwards.
After fighting three hours, the English were obliged to march 18 miles, before the wounded could be dressed, and in a most horrid and boisterous night. Eighty English were killed in the fight, and 150 wounded, many of whom died afterwards. The English left the ground in considerable haste, leaving eight of their dead in the fort.
Philip, and such of his warriors as escaped art, fled into a place of safety, until the enemy had retired; when they returned again to the fort. The English, no doubt, apprehended a pursuit, but Philip, not knowing their distressed situation, and, perhaps, judging of their loss from the few dead which they left behind, niade no attempt to harass them in their retreat. Before the fight was over, many of the wigwams were set on fire. Into these, hundreds of innocent women and children had crowded themselves, and perished in the general conflagration! And, as a writer of that day expresses himself, “no man knoweth how many.” The English learned afterwards, from some that fell into their hands, that in all about 700 perished.
The sufferings of the English, after the fight, are almost without a parallel in history. The horrors of Moscow will not longer be remembered. The myriads of modern Europe, assembled there, bear but small proportion to the number of their countrymen, compared with that of the army of New England and theirs, at the fight in Narraganset.
Col. Church, then only a volunteer, was, in reality, the Napoleon in this fight. We will hear a few of bis observations. “By this time, the English people in the fort had begun to set fire to the wigwams and houses, which Mr. Church labored hard to prevent; they told him they had orders from the general to burn them; he begged thein to forbear until he had discoursed the general.” Then, hastening to him, he urged, that “ The wigwams were musket-proof, being all lined with baskets and tubs of grain, and other provisions, sufficient to supply the whole army until the spring of the year; and every wounded man might have a good warm house to lodge in; which, otherwise, would necessarily perish with the storms and cold. And, moreover, that the arnıy had no other provision to trust unto or depend upon; that he knew that Plymouth forces had not
* Probably Mosely.
+ There is printed in Hutchinson's Hist. Mass. i. 300. a letter which gives the particulars of the Narraganset fight. I have compared it with the original, and find it correct in the main particulars. He mistakes in ascribing it to Maj. Bradford, for it is signed by James Oliver, one of the Plimouth captains. Hutchinson copied from a copy, which was without signature. He omits a passage concerning Tift, or Tiffe, who, Oliver says, confirmed his narrative. That man had “ married an Indian, a Wompanoag—he shok 20 times at us in the swamp-was taken at Providence, [by Captain Fenner,] Jan. 14th brought to us the 16th-executed the 18th; a sad wretch. He never heard a sermon but once this 14 years ; he never
heard of the name of Jesus Christ. His father going to recall him, lost his head, and lies unburied.”' Hubbard says, (Narrative, 59.) that condemned to die the death of a traitor, and traitors of those days were quartered. As to his religion, he was found as ignorant as an heathen, wbich, no doubt, caused the fewer tears to be shed at his funcral." A sorrowful record!
80 much as one biscuit left.” The general was for acceding to Church's proposition, but a captain and a doctor prevented it, as we have before observed; the former threatening to shoot the general's horse under him, if he attempted to march in, and the latter said, Church should bleed to death like a doge, before he would dress his wounds, if he gave such advice. Church then proceeds: “And, burning up all the houses and provisions in the fort, the army returned the same night in the storm and cold. And, I suppose, every one that is acquainted with the circumstances of that night's march, deeply laments the miseries that attended them; especially the wounded and dying men. But it mercifully came to pass that Capt. Andrew Belcher arrived at Mr. Smith's, [in Narraganset,] that very night from Boston, with a vessel loaden with provisions for the army, who must otherwise have perished for want."*
Soon after this, Philip, with many of his followers, left that part of the country, and resided in different places upon Connecticut River. Some report that he took up his residence near Albany, and that he solicited the Mohawks to aid him against the English, but without success.
The story of the foul stratagem said to have been resorted to by Philip for this object, is, if it be true, the deepest stain upon his character. ACcording to one of the historianst of the war, it was reported at Boston, in the end of June or beginning of July, 1676, that “those Indians who are known by the name of Mauquawogs, (or Mohawks, i. e. man-eaters,) had lately fallen upon Philip, and killed 40 of his men. And if the variance between Philip and the Mauquawogs came to pass, as is commonly reported and apprehended, there was a marvellous finger of God in it. For we hear that Philip being this winter entertained in the Mohawks' country, made it his design to breed a quarrel between the English and them; to effect which, divers of our returned captives do report, that he resolved to kill some scattering Mohawks, and then to say that the English had done it; but one of these, whom he thought to have killed, was only wounded, and got away to his countrymen, giving them to understand that not the English, but Philip, had killed the men that were murdered ; so that, instead of bringing the Mohawks upon the English, he brought them upon himself.”
« On human plans what accidents attend,
Power of Solilude. I
The author of the anonymous “ LETTERS TO LONDON” has this passageg concerning Philip's visit to the Mohawks. “ King Philip and some of these northern Indians, being wandered up towards Albany, the Mohucks marched out very strong, in a warlike posture, upon them, putting them to flight, and pursuing them as far as Hassicke River, which is about two days' march from the east side of Hudson's River, to the north-east, killing divers, and bringing away some prisoners with great pride and triumph,
*“Our wounded men, (in number about 150,) being dressed, were sent into Rhode Island, as the best place for their accommodation ; where, accordingly, they were kindly rece ved by the governor, and others, only some churlish Quakers were not free to entertain them, until compelled by the governor. Of so inhumane, peevish and untoward a disposition are these Nabals, as not to vouchsafe civility to those that had ventured their lives, and received dangerous wounds in their defence.” A new and further Nar. &c. of the bloudy Ind. War, 2.
Dr. I. Mather, Brief Hist. 38.
By Joseph Story, now the eminent Judge Story. The words in italics we have substituted for others.
In his third part, which he calls “A continued Account of the Bloudy Indian War, from March till August, 1676,” page 13. fol. Lond. 1676.
which ill siiccess on that side, where they did not expect any enemy, having lately endeavored to make up the ancient animosities, did very much daunt and discourage the said northern Indians, so that some hundreds came in and submitted themselves to the English at Plimouth colony, and Philip hiinself is run skulking away into some swamp with not above ten men attending him.”
The various attacks and encounters he had with the English, from February to August, 1676, are so minutely recorded, and in so many works, that we will not enlarge upon them in this place.
When success no longer attended him, in the western parts of Massachusetts, those of his allies whom he had seduced into the war, upbraided and accused him of bringing all their misfortunes upon them; that they had no cause of war against the English, and had not engaged in it but for his solicitations; and many of the tribes scattered themselves in different directions. With all that would follow him, as a last retreat, Philip returned to Pokanoket.
The Pecomptuck or Deerfield Indians were among the first who abandoned his cause, and many of the other Nipmucks and Narragansets soon followed their example.
On the ļlth of July, he attempted to surprise Taunton, but was repulsed. * His camp was now at Matapoiset. The English came upon him here, under Captain Church, who captured many of his people, but he escaped over Taunton River, as he had done a year before, but in the opposite direction, and screened himself once more in the woods of Pocasset. He used many stratagems to cut off Capt. Church, and seems to have watched and followed him from place to place, until the end of this month ; but he was continually losing one company of his men after another. Some scouts ascertained that he, and many of his men, were at a certain place upon Taunton River, and, from appearances, were about to repass it. His camp was now at this place, and the chief of his warriors with him. Some soldiers from Bridgewater fell upon them here, on Sunday, July 30, and killed ten warriors; but Philip, having disguised himself, escapedit His uncle, Akkompoin, was among the slain, and his own sister taken prisoner.
The late attempt by Philip upon Taunton had caused the people of Bridgewater to be more watchful, and some were continually on the scout. Some time in the day, Saturday, 29 July, four men, as they were ranging the woods, discovered one Indian, and, rightly judging there were more at hand, made all haste to inform the other inhabitants of Bridgewater of their discovery. Comfort Willis and Joseph Edson were “pressed” to go "post" to the governor of Plimouth, at Marshfield, who" went to Plimouth with them, the next day, [30 July,] to send Capt. Church with his company. And Capt. Church came with them to Monponset on the sabbath, and came no further that day, he told them he would meet them the next day." Here Willis and Edson left him, and arrived at home in the evening. Upon hearing of the arrival of Church in their neighborhood,
went out on Monday, supposing to meet with Capt. Church; but they came upon the enemy and fought with them, and took 17 of them alive, and also much plunder. And they all returned, and not one of them féll by the enemy; and received no help from Church.” This account is given from an old manuscript, but who its author was is not
* A captive negro made his escape from Philip's men, and gave notice of their intertion; "whereupon the inhabitants stood upon their guard, and souldiers were timously sent in to them for their relief and defence." Prevalency of Prayer, 8.
t" 'Tis said that he had newly cut off his hair, that he might not be known." Halbard, Nur. 101.