KING PHILIP'S WAR
Introductory Chapter, Part VIII
The remaining operations of the war in these parts were simply the hunting down of almost defenceless enemies. The colonial authorities issued a proclamation, calling all those Indians who had been engaged in the war to come in and surrender, submitting themselves to the judgment of the English courts. Many parties sought to take advantage of this, but were captured upon their approach by scouting parties, and treated as captives. Some of those who had been prominent in the war and could not hope for mercy, escaped to the eastward and put themselves under the protection of Wannalancet and his Pennacooks, who had remained neutral. Some fled farther to the east, and there incited war.
The constant success which the Connecticut troops had always had after their use of the Mohegans and Pequods, was a plain rebuke to the Massachusetts colonists for the numerous disasters from which the Christian Indians might have saved them, if they had trusted and employed them. As soon as Capt. Hunting and his Indian company were put in the field, this appeared. The Indians in small parties skulking in woods and swamps might have eluded English soldiers for years, but as soon as other Indians were employed, escape was impossible.
At the close of July, many of Philip's followers had been taken, and his wife and several of his chief men were captives or had been killed. With a small band of his followers he was hiding in the swamps at Mount Hope and Pocasset. English scouting parties were active in all parts of the colonies hunting down the trembling and unresisting fugitives, and especially Philip. Benjamin Church was among the most active in hunting and bringing in the Indians, and when one of Philip's men came to betray his chief, he found Mr. Church at Major Sanford's in Rhode Island, with his scouting party of English and Indians a short distance away. Upon the news of Philip's hiding-place and the offer of the Indian to lead thither, Mr. Church gathered as many as he could enlist in addition to his party, and, under the lead of the Indian deserter (who acted, it is said, from motives of revenge for his brother's death, by Philip's hand, because he advised him to make peace with the English), the party marched with great secrecy to Mount Hope.
Mr. Church arranged his attack with skill, and came upon Philip's party unguarded and asleep, and Philip springing up and attempting to escape to the swamp near by, was confronted with two of Mr. Church's guards, an Englishman and an Indian. The Englishman's gun missed fire, but the Indian, named "Alderman," immediately fired and shot the great chief through the breast, so that he fell forward into the water of the swamp, upon his face, dead. Philip was killed August 12th, 1676. Weetamoo's party, the sad remnant of her tribe, had been captured on the 7th, and she, trying to escape across a river, was drowned, and, her body being found, her head was cut off and paraded in the public streets.
After Philip's death, his chief counsellor, Annawon, led the rest of the party out of the swamp and escaped. With his party he soon after surrendered to Mr. Church. The death of Philip was practically the close of the war, though hostilities continued for some time after, and at the eastward for a year or more longer. At Dover, Major Richard Walderne had held command of the military interests and operations in those parts. He was a trusted friend of Wannalancet and the neighboring Indians. Under the proclamation the old chief and his people came in without fear, as they had taken no part whatever in the war. There were many Indians with them, however, it was suspected, who had been among the hostiles, and now wished to come in with the Pennacooks and secure the advantages of their influence in giving themselves up. They began to come in at Dover about the first of September, and when, on the 6th, the companies, sent to the eastward under Capt. Hathorn, arrived at Dover, there were some four hundred there, including the Pennacooks. In some way the immediate surrender of all these was received, probably by Major Walderne's great influence with them. They were then disarmed, and as the Massachusetts officers insisted upon treating them all as prisoners of war, Major Walderne was obliged to send all, save Wannalancet and his "relations," down to Boston to be tried there by the Court. The number sent was about two hundred.
Some of the Southern Indians, having lost all except their own lives, passed to the Eastern tribes and were active in exciting to hostility. The local Indians had been hostile the previous year, committing depredations from the Kennebec to Portsmouth. In the summer of 1676, it is thought that many who had been among the Indians in the war, came to these tribes and caused much of the trouble which ensued. The day before Philip's death the Indians fell upon the settlers at Falmouth, and killed or carried away some thirty-four persons and burned their houses. Further eastward also the settlements were attacked. It was upon these occasions that Capt. Hathorn's force was sent to these parts. They marched on from Dover on September 8th, as far as Falmouth, Capt. Hunting's Indians scouting the woods. This expedition was not of much avail, as the Indians easily eluded the troops, being only war parties without the encumbrance of women and children.
In November, 1676, a company was sent up into the mountain regions of New Hampshire to break up a winter encampment of the Ammoscoggin and Pigwacket Indians, who had been active in the hostile movements at the eastward settlements during the summer and fall, and were now said to be gathering into winter quarters in a great fort, near "Ossapy Lake."
After a severe march, the fort was discovered, but no signs of Indians, and after scouting in small parties some twelve miles beyond this fort, they burned the same, and marched back to Berwick, having been gone nine days. In the meantime the Penobscot sagamore, Mugg, or, as he was afterwards called, "Mogg Hegone" (and in Whittier's poem Mogg Megone), came to the English in behalf of Madockawando, the sachem of Penobscot, to treat for peace, and the return of the English captives. A treaty was concluded at Boston, November 6th, 1676, by which Mugg agreed to return all the captives and goods taken from the English, and offered to remain with the English until the same was done. Two vessels were fitted out, and sailed to Penobscot, where they arrived the first week in December, and found the great chief, Madockawando, who received and treated them kindly. He delivered to them two captives, who were then with him, and Mugg was allowed to go up into the country, to try to bring down some others, who were said to be at another camp. He did not return; and the vessels, after a few days' waiting, sailed to Pemaquid, where they received some more English captives, and returned home. Among the captives received at Pemaquid was Thomas Cobbet, son of Rev. Thomas, of Ipswich. He had been among the savages for several months, and his interesting story of his captivity gave much and correct information in regard to the strength, habits, temper, and intentions of the Indians and their other captives.
Soon after that, another captive, Francis Card, escaped and brought later news, and one item of great importance was that Mugg had returned to the Indians on the Kennebec, who were the real leaders in the war in those parts. He said that Mugg boasted greatly of the trick he had played upon the English, and threatened great things to be done against them in the spring. He gave a minute description of the country, the condition of the Indians, and the easiest approaches to their places of encampment.
He said that the numbers of the Indians were not so large as reported, their war- party, in full force, being not over a hundred men. The captives with them were well, and not abused, except they were made to work for their captors. Stirred up and encouraged by this report, the Council at Boston raised a force of two hundred men, of whom sixty were Natick Indians, and sent them away by water, to the eastward, the first week in February; Major Waldron, of Dover, being Commander-in-chief of the expedition. The forces were at Blackpoint on February 17th, and sailed eastward along the shore, landing in Maquoit Bay, where Capt. Frost with his company had a skirmish with a body of the savages, without much loss on either side, and followed next day with an attempt at a treaty. Thence they sailed around to the Kennebec, and landing at Arrowsick Island, left a part of their force there, to build a fort and establish a garrison. Major Waldron, with a part of the company under Capt. Frost, went to Pemaquid and ransomed some captives there; but, discovering a plot to destroy himself and a small party who went on shore to treat with the Indians, he called his soldiers ashore, and attacking the enemy furiously, drove them to their canoes which they had near by, killing some, among whom was the sagamore Mattahando, leader in this affair. Sailing back to Arrowsick, Major Waldron gathered his forces together, leaving a small garrison at Kennebec, and went home to Boston, where they arrived safely, without the loss of a man, on March 11th, 1677.
In April following an attempt was made by the Massachusetts authorities to enlist the Mohawk Indians against the hostile savages upon the North and Eastern borders. Major Pynchon, of Springfield, with Mr. James Richards of Hartford, and twelve men as a guard, made a journey to the Mohawk country to arrange for their co"peration.
This action was taken with the advice of Gov. Andros, of New York, and some of the Indians did really come into the borders of New Hampshire and Maine; but the distance was so great from their country that little was achieved except by the terror inspired among the Eastern tribes, by the rumor of their coming.
This measure was questioned by many as to its lawfulness, in employing heathen to fight the battles of the Lord; but the General Court fell back upon the scriptural precedent of Abraham employing the Amorites, and so justified its somewhat questionable proceeding. The Indians on the Kennebec were not deterred from hostilities, which were renewed by the killing of nine of the garrison left the year before, at that place. So the Massachusetts Court at once called upon the other colonies to assist them in raising a new force to send into those parts. Up to the present time, Massachusetts had borne the whole expense of the Eastern wars, but now call them to raise their proportional part of one hundred English, and two hundred Indian soldiers, to rendezvous at Blackpoint. But in the meantime Massachusetts had acted with promptness in sending Capt. Hunting to bring the remaining garrison at Kennebec, and strengthening the garrisons at Wells with a company under Capt. Benjamin Swett, and at Blackpoint with another company under Lieut. Tippin. In May, the Eastern tribes, elated by their success in driving the English out of their country, gathered all their forces against the above garrisons. The Indian leaders in this campaign were Symon, a renegade Christian Indian, and Mugg, above mentioned, both wary and skilful, and well acquainted with the country around, and with the English people and their habits. The Indian forces under these leaders at this time were well-tried men from the Penobscot, Kennebec, and Ammoscoggin tribes of the Tarratines, ranking as fighters next to the Pequods and Mohawks. They were well equipped and supplied, probably by the French in Canada.
It does not appear that either of the other colonies sent men to assist in this campaign, and the force that was raised by Massachusetts was too small, and the English part of it was mostly of young and untried men and boys who had seen no service except in garrisons. They seem also to have entirely underrated the numbers and temper of the enemy. On the 13th of May, the Blackpoint garrison had beaten off a large body of the Indians after a fierce assault of three days, on the last of which Lieut. Tippin had shot and killed the leader, Mugg; when the Indians had gone away towards Wells and York, as told above. On July 28th, Capt. Swett, with forty young English recruits, and a company of thirty-six Natick Indians, landed at Blackpoint garrison-house, the Indians being under the command of Lieut. James Richardson. Next morning the enemy with quite a large party appeared not far from the fort, when Capt. Swett drew out his whole force, with a number from the garrison, and pursued them with headlong haste about two miles, when, at the edge of a hill, with a dark swamp on each side, they found themselves ambushed, after the old fashion at Brookfield, Deerfield, Sudbury, etc., whose lessons, after two centuries, the American soldiers have not fully learned. Half the English were shot down at the first volley, and the raw young lads were completely panicstricken, and unable to make any defence. The Captain with a few tried men rallied and attempted to bring off their wounded and make good a retreat to the fort. The odds were too heavy against him, and having received many wounds, he was at last surrounded and overpowered by the foe, and fell not far from the garrison, still fighting.
Lieut. Richardson fell near the first onset. Forty of the English and twelve of the Natick Indians were killed at the time. It is not known how many the enemy lost; but they made no further attempt upon the garrison and soon retired. The next hostile move of these Indians was in a new direction. They captured no less than thirteen fishing- vessels with their crews and loads along the Eastern shores.
In August of this year (1677), Gov. Andros, of New York, sent a ship with a force of men to Pemaquid, which, when the Indians understood, they soon, for some reason, came to proper terms of peace, returned the English captives and the captured vessels into the hands of the New York soldiers, by whom they were soon returned home.
Yet another act in this long tragedy was to come. The scene changes to Hatfield, where, September 19th, the people of that village were engaged in raising a house, having no thought of any Indian hostility in the colony. Suddenly they were set upon by a party of River Indians, forty or fifty in number, who had crept about them so secretly that they were unarmed and utterly helpless. Some were shot down from the frame of the building. Twelve were killed outright, and some twenty more were made captive and carried to Canada. The story of the captivity and redemption of these last, by the two brave Hatfield men, Benjamin Wait and Stephen Jennings, is one of the most heroic and interesting of the whole war. The Indians killed one man and captured three more at Deerfield that same day. This was the last act of any considerable importance in the war known as "King Philip's War," the particulars of which are to be related in the following chapters.
HTML by Debbie
Special thanks to Fred for his wonderful graphics.
You are the 4787th Visitor to this USGenNet Safe-Site™ Since April, 2001.
[King Philip's War Index Index][NY][VT]