SOLDIERS

IN

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.

Oct 5, 1675

Richard Wood

00

10

04

Ephraim Willer, Corpl

02

05

00

Thomas May

01

19

04

Michael Bearstow

00

10

04

Thomas Webb

01

19

04

Edward Dickinson

02

07

00

Jacob Bullard

01

18

06

Samuel Whitney

01

18

06

John Shattock

01

02

00

Daniel Keniday

01

17

08

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.]
Hond Sr

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
(Mass. Archives, vol. 67, 269.) D. HENCHMAN.

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
Hond Sr
My orders directing me to the several places and times that my souldiers were to be ready at, Speded my march accordingly; and reached this place yesterday by three of the clock afternoon; and had with me only 20 men that marched from Boston with me -- Since divers are come up, and all that at present I am like to have by nine of the clock last night. Several hear as well as myself have great thoughts how it fareth with Mendam, having not heard since they sent to Boston, I am hasting to march this morning but hoped if the men's refreshments had not given check to have been gon by moon rising, I cannot see by acct taken before I draw out that my number will amount to above 75, some sending short of what ordered and 37 discharged by order, I have not any officer but a Sergeant from Roxbury; some men and the armes of others not fit for service, notwithstanding the strikt orders given by the Major. Our greatest danger (as I judged) if the enemy designs upon us this day, will be at a pass six miles from hence; the which I hope we shall look unto the Lord in the use of means to avoid; some being to returne home this morning I thought it meet to give this acct. Begging your prayers for us I desire that all our supplications may be accepted for the Country and the interest of our Lord Jesus Christ therein; and rest

Hond Sr
Your humble Servant D. HENCHMAN.
[This is in a P. S.] When the Lord shall have brought us safe to Mendam I shall attend the Major's orders there and wait for the recruits intended me.

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.

December 20th, 1675

Joshua Silverwood

01

18

06

John Sherman

01

18

06

John Corbin

00

16

02

Henry Tite

01

16

02

Simon Yates

00

10

00

Thomas Birch

00

06

10

John Pierpont

00

16

02

John Necks

01

14

02

John Griggs

00

11

02

Thomas Lawrence

00

07

06

Joshua Atherton

00

07

06

William Briggs

00

06

10

Nicholas Gray

00

16

02

Isaac Hubbard

00

16

02

James Draper

00

16

02

January 25 1675. (N.S. 1676.)

William Goswell

00

16

02

Onesiphorus Tilston

00

06

10

Thomas Jones

00

16

02

Samuel Burnall

00

16

02

John Spurr

00

16

10

Lawrence White

00

16

02

Thomas Cheyney

00

16

02

Thomas Bridentine

00

16

02

Robert Woodward

01

02

03

February 29, 1675-6

Joseph Bodman

00

08

09

William Lyon

00

10

04

John Parker

00

16

02

March 24, 1676

     

William Elliot

00

16

02

Joseph Clark

00

09

04

April 24, 1676

Hugh Clark

00

07

00

Thomas North

01

13

04

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