KING PHILIP'S WAR
Chapter 5, Part IV
Of the operations of the troops about Brookfield after the retreat of the Indians, some explanation will be given in the accounts of the various captains and their companies. In estimating the number of inhabitants who were in the house and took part in the defence, we may consider the following data. The whole troop, including Capt. Wheeler and son, numbered twenty-two; Capt. Hutchinson, Ephraim Curtis and three Indians made it twenty-seven. At the fight five were killed and five wounded, one Indian guide captured, Henry Young killed1 Under Wheeler at Groton garrison at the house, and Curtis sent to Marlborough, leaving fourteen, presumably, fit for duty. There were some sixteen families gathered in the house, including fifty women and children. On August 3d Capt. Wheeler reports that only twenty-six, counting the men of the town and his soldiers, were capable of service. Hence we may infer that twelve of the inhabitants were actively engaged in the defence. Recurring now to the list of petitioners of October, 1673, published by Mr. Waite (New England Hist. and Genealogical Register, vol. xxxv. 336), and counting out Ayres, Pritchard, and Coy, killed, and Wilson wounded, we shall not be far out of the way in concluding that the others were joined with the troopers in making up the twenty-six, allowing for some changes by accessions to and removals from town between 1673 and '75. The reported numbers of four or five hundred Indians present, and eighty killed, will bear liberal reduction, though the English carbines were bravely effective.
The following fragment may be of interest here as showing the presence of the celebrated pirate here just after the assault was over. It is taken from the Mass. Archives, vol. 68, p. 7. Boston, October ye 13, 1675.
To the honored Governor & Councell of the Massathusets Colony in New England. These are to signyfie that Cornellius (???) [sic] Consort the Dutchman was uppon the Contryes Servis Att quabauge and by the Councle of Warre there was sent out Capt. of the for lorne And Afterward marched to Grotton & Chemsfort According to my best Advice continued in the Countryes Servis six weekes Cornellius being Reddy to depart the Country & myself being here att boston the Major Willard being Absent I granted this ticket.
THOMAS WHELLER, Capt.
This was the famous Cornelius Anderson. In the great trial of the pirates he was constantly referred to as Cornelius Consort, i. e. Consort of Capt. Roderigo, the chief of the pirates. The name "Consort" thus became his familiar cognomen among the people and soldiers with whom he was very popular. I cannot tell on what occasion he led the "forlorne," but it was after Capt. Mosely came, Aug. 11th or 12th, and before the 15th when he left. The Council of War was held after Capt. Wheeler had gone, but now, Oct. 13th, being in Boston, Major Willard absent at Groton, Mosely at Hatfield, Lathrop and Beers both slain, it devolved upon him to "grant the ticket."
BROOKFIELD AFTER THE ATTACK
Capt. Wheeler relates that soon after his own return from Brookfield, "the inhabitants of the town also, men, women, and children, removed safely with what they had left, to severalplaces, either where they had lived before their planting or settling down there, or where they had relations to receive and entertain them," and "the Honored Major Willard stayed several weeks after our coming away."
A small garrison was undoubtedly maintained at the fortified house some time after the withdrawal of the inhabitants, probably up to the 12th of October, and it is likely that widow Susannah Ayres remained during that time, as is indicated by her petition and account presented the Court in October, 1677, which charges supplies to soldiers under Ephraim Curtis, Major Willard and Capt. Poole; but some time before November 16th the place was vacant, for the Council on that date instructs Capt. Appleton in his march homeward from Connecticut River, if he comes by way of Quaboag, to drive down some of the cattle and swine which they have heard have gathered about the house, as a relief to the "poore people that are concerned therein." There is much material preserved in the Mass. Archives bearing upon this point of the withdrawal of the garrison from Brookfield, in numerous letters and orders of the Council to various officers, all giving evidence of the complete desertion of the town about Oct. 12th. See especially, correspondence with Capt. Appleton and Lieut. John Ruddock, etc.; also petition of John Ayres's sons, Mass. Arch. vol. 10.
The town was doubtless wholly vacated before the middle of October, and remained so, except for the frequent passage of the troops to and from the west, up to the last of February following. On the 21st of that month the Council ordered "Carpenters' tooles for six men, nayles of all sorts with hooks and hinges for doors and locks and of such sort as the chief carpenter shall appoint, to build a quarter at Quabaog;" and on the 25th the committee was ordered to procure either John Brewer of Sudbury, or John Coolidge of Watertown to go up with the army and build a house or houses for lodging and shelter of provisions, etc. A small garrison was established there under Serg't William Ingraham, who writes the Council on March 21st for relief, "men few and discouraged, need ammunition," etc. In answer the Council sent up Capt. Nathaniel Graves of Charlestown with men and horses laden with supplies, as will be seen by the following order from Mass. Archives, vol. 68, p. 173:Att a Council held at Boston, 22. March 1675-6
It is ordered that Capt. Nathaniel Graves of Charlestown shall be the Comander of the Garrison at Brookfield & all Inferiour officers and Souldjers are requested to be obedjent to him: As the said Capt. Graves is ordered to take ye Comand of twenty troopers and thirty horses & fiveteen men besides wth the Carriage horses to be Loaden wth provision & Ammunition to be conveyed to the Garrison at Brookfield and after the carriages are Lodged there he then send backe the Troopers & Carriage horses, dismissing them to theire several homes, And that Wm Ingram now Comander of the Garrison at Brookfield is dismissed after Capt Graves comes there who is to returne with the Troopers & Carriages. It is further ordered that Major Savage order ten Souldiers more to strengthen the Garrison at Brookfield as soon as he Can Conveniently. And the said Capt. Graves is ordered with all Convenient dispatch to march up to Brookfield wth the sayd Carriages: dated in Boston as above.
pr. EDWD RAWSON, Secret'y.
Warrants issued forth to the Constables.
To Charlestowne for Carriage
The following letter is of interest both for the matter in hand and to show that garrison life in idleness is much the same in every age. From Mass. Archives, vol. 68, p. 237.
Honoured Governer &Sir we are all In Indifferent helth we dayly are goeing forth but cannot see any Indians: our provissions dus spend apace And if you Intend to Continue ys place we must have more prouissions yt wee have may Last about 8 or 10 days: for my owne partt I Can be Content wth Less yn many of yr men heare: I have eatten but Littell of your provissions: I expect A release by ye next yt Cum up: for I am not fit for ys Employ being out of my way & know there are many men more fit than I for ys Busines I do not Apprehend any danger to Ly heare for I Beleave the Indians will nott Cum to our Garreson all my feare is of our men yt go Abroad & are not so Carefull as they shud be we have had no damage yet yt makes us Secure if you doe Continue ye men heare they will wantt showes & Shurtts And Linin drawers and Tobacco & A glace to Keap watch wth all our discontent Arises from yt now afore it was want of meate now we have enough heare are many would not care if they did stay there time out. they ow there masters here is noething to doe but up to play And down to sleepe if ye Country Can Afoard to maynteyn them so: I am Content rather to bare my partt of ye Charge then to play heare where I Can do no good wht showes and other things we had was sent to hadly & I have a Resayte for them from ye Commissarys wch I hoap wll discharge mee wch is all yt offers att present from
Sir, your Seruant In what I am abell & understand.
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