SOLDIERS

IN

KING PHILIP'S WAR

Chapter 4, Part I 

IV.

MAJOR THOMAS SAVAGE AND THE FORCES

UNDER HIM

MAJOR THOMAS SAVAGE was born in Taunton, Somerset Co., England, son of William Savage. Came in the "Planter" to Boston, April, 1635, aged 27. Admitted freeman in May following; was an original member of the Artillery Company, and was chosen its captain in 1651, and several times afterwards. He married Faith, daughter of William and Ann Hutchinson, in 1637, and for sharing the views of Ann and her brother-in-law, Rev. John Wheelwright, he was disarmed by the Court, and joined with Coddington and others in the purchase of Rhode Island, whither he removed in 1638, but returned the same year. By his wife Faith he had seven children between 1638 and 1652. Faith died February 20, 1652, and the following September he married Mary Symmes, daughter of Rev. Zechariah, of Charlestown, by whom he had eleven more children. He was almost constantly in public office, and was especially prominent in all the military affairs of the town from 1651 onward. He was captain of 2d Boston militia company from 1652 to his death in 1682.

It is the purpose, in this chapter, to give as fully as possible the operations under Major Savage, and facts connected with this Mt. Hope campaign, and the names of men serving with him not previously mentioned, so that our account of the campaign may be considered complete. Some details of the opening preparations are here given, as being rather connected with the movements of the general force than separate companies.

It will be remembered that the first actual attack of Philip was upon those people of Swansey who lived nearest to him. An account of this attack was sent to the Massachusetts Council by Gov. Josiah Winslow of Marshfield. His letter is in Mass. Archives, vol. 67, page 202, dated June 21st, and says the attack was made on the day before, and asks the Massachusetts Colony for aid only in protecting them from the alliance of Philip with the Narraganset and Nipmuck1 Indians, which tribes are within )1 The term Nipmuck or Nipnet, is used here and elsewhere often, as if including the Quabaugs, Nashaways, Wabbaquassets, Pocomptucks, and others.) the jurisdiction of Massachusetts; says that if Plymouth can have "fair play" with their own Indians he trusts they can take care of themselves. On the same paper is a copy of the answer of the Council, assuring him of immediate assistance, and that they will send messengers with all speed to both Narragansets and Nipmucks. This answer is dated June 21, "at 5 o'clock."

On the same day an order was passed in the Council to Capt. Edward Hutchinson, Seth Perry and William Towers, giving commission and instruction for taking a warning message to the Narragansets, and to leave a letter for Roger Williams at Providence. This message is in Mass. Archives, vol. 67, page 201, in a paper directed to "Moosucke [Mootucke], Ninigret & Squa Sachem, of the Narraganset & Nyantic Indians." A paper containing the agreements of the Nipmuck chiefs is in vol. 30, page 169, of the Mass. Archives. Upon June 24th came news of the general outbreak, and further appeal from Plymouth. The Council hastily despatched two messengers to Philip, who, arriving at Swansey, discovered the two men who were slain that day lying in the road, and thus warned of the futility of their peaceful mission, they returned to Boston without speaking with Philip. I find by a letter from the Council to Gov. Winthrop of Connecticut, that these two messengers were Capt. Savage and Mr. Brattle. 

This letter is of great importance in several respects in the light it throws upon those few busy days. It is in the Mass. Archives, vol. 67, page 209, and is the original draft, containing many erasures and corrections. It is judged to be in the handwriting of Thomas Danforth, who was then First Commissioner of the United Colonies. It is endorsed by Edw. Rawson, as follows: "Rough draft of Council's letter to Connecticot Govr. Ent. June 28, 1675." The figure 8 in the date is somewhat obscure, but the reference in the letter to the Fast appointed for "to-morrow" (which fast we know to have been on the 29th) proves the date of writing to have been on the 28th.

Extract of the Massachusetts Council's letter of June 28, 1675, to the governor of Connecticut: and dayly wee heare of the Increase of trouble the Govr of yt Colony [Plymouth] hath frequently solicited us for Ayde wch as soone as wee could possibly Raise wee have sent to yem. It's certified from Plymouth and Swansey that both the Narragansets and Monhegins have sent ayd to Phillip. We sent messengers to the Narragansets & Nipmucks to warn & caution them not to Assist Phillip or if any were Gon to command their returne, our messengers are returned from both those places, the Nipmucks speake faire and say that they are faithful to the English and will not Assist Phillip, the Narragansets say they will not medle but there is more reason to suspect the latter and wee believe Uncas is not unconcerned in this matter, all our intelligence

gives us ground to believe that the poore people in those parts are in a very distressed condition in many respects, their houses burned, their people kild & wounded they not able to make any Attempt upon the Indians wanting both victuall ammunition and arms wch hath occasioned us to send greatt forces for their reliefe, we have sent above three hundred foot and about eighty horse besides several carts laden with munition and with goods and provisions and armes, moreover we are sending two vessels with provision and munition to supply ye forces, ye vessells to serve as there shall be cause, We sent Capt. Savage and Mr. Brattle 4 days since to speake with Philip who are returned but could not obtaine speech with him, The Council have appointed a fast to-morrow to seek God in this matter and a blessing upon our forces, How far his tribes may spread is with the Lord our God to order, There is reason to concieve yt if Phillip be not soone [suppressed?] he and his confederates may skulke into the woods and greatly anoy the English & yt the confederacy of the Indians is larger than yet we see. Maj. Genll Denison was chosen for to goe General of these forces, but he being taken ill Capt. Savage is sent Commander-in-chief, Capt Prentis commanding ye horse, Capt. Henchman and Capt Mosley, Capts of ye foot, Our eyes are unto ye Lord for his presence wth yem, & hope you will not be wanting in yr prares and watchfulness over the Indians, and particularly we request you to use yr utmost authority to restrain the Monhegins & Pequods.

E. R. Sec'y.

By inquiry I found that this letter, dated June 28th, is preserved in the Connecticut Archives, and also two others which are not in our own. By the kind offices of Mr. Charles J. Hoadly, State Librarian of Connecticut, I have been furnished complete copies of both. One is of July 5th and the other July 10th. Extracts of these letters are given below, from Conn. Arch., War Docs., Vol. I. Doc. 5:

Boston July 5th 1675
Hond Gentn By our former dat. the 3d of this instant wee gave you a briefe account of the late outbreaking of the Indians in the Plimouth Colony at Swanzie and pts adjact and since yt wee received the enclosed declaring the deplorable condition of those at Taunton in the same Colony wee have at their request accomodated them with ammunition and men, ie. abt 80 troopers furnished with carbines & small musketts abt 100 dragoones & abt 100 foote soldjers so that with their attendance for waggons &c. ye whole may be neere 400 men also two vessells well fitted with men provisions & ammunition we have sent abt the Cape to accomodate all their necessityes so far as wee could judge necessary, &c.

The remainder of the letter discusses the affairs of the United Colonies relating to the arming and management of the Indians not yet engaged with Philip, and is signed by Edward Rawson, Sec'y, on behalf of the Court, and is superscribed,

These to the Right Worshipfll John Winthrop Esqr Govenr of his Majtys Colony at Connecticot prsent, To be communicated to the Council there.

Extract of the letter of July 10th 1675. Conn. Arch., War Docs., Vol. I. Doc. 7:

. . . Capt Hutchinson wth abt 100. of our forces went from or headquarters upon Tuesday last to ye Narrogansets to demand an acct of their actings wee expect hourely intelligence wt they have done there which will be a great guide to us in our further motions. . . . Yesterday came six men sent from Uncas to assure his friendship & offer his service agt Phillip or other enemyes of ye English with a l're from Mr. Fitch to whome wee have returned or answer declaring to Uncas yt if he will send hostages to ye English for the assurance of his faithfulness wee shall accept his offer &c. &c.

Signed EDWARD RAWSON, Sec'y
By order of the Council.

In Mass. Archives, vol. 67, page 207, is the Court's instruction to Thomas Savage as major of the Massachusetts forces in this expedition under Major Gen. Denison as commander-in-chief of the colony, closing thus: "And in case the Lord should disenable yr General so as to take him of the service you shall take charge and command of all according to the commission given unto him," etc.

Major Savage had been commissioned for this expedition on or before June 24th, and the Court had then voted to raise one hundred horse and fifty foot. These constituted the companies of Henchman and Prentice, and together with Capt. Mosely's men, made up the number to two hundred and sixty men, besides officers and teamsters, etc., which force, estimated in round numbers at three hundred, marched out of Boston on June 26th. As to the exact time of Major Savage's marching, or the force with him, the accounts are somewhat vague and conflicting. I give briefly the various references bearing upon this point; and first, it is certain that Capt. Paige's troop numbered, according to the treasurer's credits, thirty-six men including officers. The statement in the above letter claims over three hundred and eighty men to have been sent, up to June 28th.

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