KING PHILIP'S WAR
Chapter 1, Part III
FURTHER SERVICE OF CAPT. HENCHMAN
There was intensely bitter feeling about this time in Boston as to the way captive Indians should be treated. The intercession of the venerable John Eliot and the strenuous advocacy of Capt. Gookin in their behalf, had created great animosity not only against themselves but all who advised moderate measures. Capt. Henchman seems to have been of the moderate party, and was therefore somewhat unpopular with most of the soldiers, and doubtless his apparent lack of success in the pursuit of Philip at Rehoboth added to this feeling with the people. But the court sustained and trusted him, and immediately reappointed him to service over one hundred men who met at Roxbury meeting-house, but refused to march forth under his command, and demanded Capt. Oliver. The council compromised the matter and sent them Capt. Lake, but they are not credited with any service under him. Capt. Henchman seems to have been employed in August and September in regulating affairs in some of the outlying towns, and these men perhaps served as his patrol or guard.
September 27th we find him at Chelmsford garrison in command, as we see by the following letter of that date.
Capt. Henchman's Letter to the Governor
Chelmsford Sept 27, '75. [This was Monday.]
In pursuance of my instructions; I and my Lieut. met at Major Willard's the last day of the week, with the Captaines of the severall townes directed to; as well for the drawing of the Souldiers, as to advise with them; for the first they promise they shall be sent to chelmsford at an hours warning and so will be ready here by that time I have provission for them; and that of absolute necessity for them will be powder shott biscake cheese and raisons, large and warme Wast-coats and drawers tobaco, some hatchets and a Chirurgion; for the later the Major and rest of the officers will advise to no other motion than about this and other towns; but I understanding the intent of the Hod Council to be that I should march to Pennycooke although not named in my instructions; I think it need full to acquaint your Honrs there with, and desire your express there unto. I have not farther at present but to subscribe
Sr your Honrs humble Servant
Major Willard was of Lancaster, but his house was in Groton, at what is now Ayer Junction; and the date was Saturday, September 25th.
November 1st Capt. Henchman marched out of Boston towards Hassanameset (Grafton) with a small body of men (20), and arrived at Medfield at 3 P.M. on the same day. The next morning he writes the Governor from that place.
Medfield Nov. 2d 1675
As will be seen by the above letter, the captain expected recruits to be ready and meet him at certain towns on the way, and was disappointed in receiving none, and also with the unfitness of those that came up afterwards, and in answer to this letter, the Court, on November 3d, ordered the "Major of Suffolk to send out of his regiment eighteen able men armed and furnished with ammunition and provision for ten days under the conduct of a fitt person to make Lieftenant," to recruit Capt. Henchman's company and search out the enemy at Hassanameset. The lieutenant chosen was probably Philip Curtis, of Roxbury, who was killed before he received his formal commission, I presume, as no order for his commission is found.
Capt. Henchman marches to Mendon, arrives on the 2d at 4 P.M., and writes immediately that they " arrived all safe and found the towne in like condition," and "pressed four horses for Scouts to send to Hassanemeset." He found the inhabitants "drawn into two houses," and "in a pestered condition," and holds frequent meetings with them in order to prevail upon them to remain at Mendon contented. This and frequent scouting and reports took up his time until the arrival of the men from Boston.
It seems also from this letter that he had not yet heard from Capt. Sill, as it was proposed, and was preparing to send his soldiers home to Boston; was intending that morning sending all his troopers, eight in number and three files of men; but he gets orders from the Council by messengers from Capt. Sill. In order to meet Capt. Sill, fourteen miles away, he is forced to change a file of men with the garrison on account of their destitution of "clothes and shoes."
On the 9th, with his lieutenant and twenty-two mounted men, he rides to Hassanameset, and has a fight there, of which he writes the details on the 10th. In his letter he relates that his lieutenant, Philip Curtis, is killed, and Thomas Andrews also (one of the Mendon garrison); and mentions that his corporal, Abiell Lamb, outran himself in the attack, and that all his own and the lieutenant's men ran away from him in the fight except (one of his "old souldiers," as he thinks) Jonathan Dunning.
The following list embraces those who served under Capt. Henchman from November 2d, and were credited November 30, as will be seen by the credits. The service was brief. Amongst these were eight troopers, which may explain in part the difference in credits.
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