Capt. Appleton appointed a council-of-war for the ordering of military matters in the towns, consisting of the commissioned officers of the various garrisons, together with Dea. Peter Tilton, of Hadley, and Sergt. Isaac Graves, of Hatfield, and Capt. Poole was made president. These arrangements seem to have been made in anticipation of the order of withdrawal of the army, which was authorized by the Council on November 16th. -- Mass. Archives, vol. 68, p. 58. Their letter had not reached him on November 19th. This letter gives a long account of the operations of Capts. Henchman and Syll now in the Nipmuck country.
Then "touching the disposal of the Army," the direction is left at his discretion, and as to the wounded men, those fit for garrison duty are to be left as part of the garrison soldiery and the rest to be comfortably provided for. The special instructions seem to have been in accordance with the Major's own suggestions in his last letter to the Council. On the march home it is suggested that he come by way of "Wabquisit" (now in Woodstock, Conn.), and, if convenient, to form a junction with Henchman and Syll and "distress the enemy" gathered near there.
This little plan, so easy to conceive in the Council Chamber, for excellent reasons was never realized. Capt. Appleton, with his forces, marched homeward probably about November 24th. Very little is known of the march homeward. This campaign cost the colony very dearly in men and means, but had saved from destruction five of the seven western towns. For the first time since the war began, a competent commander is at the head of the Massachusetts troops.
Upon the organization of the army for the expedition against the Narraganset Fort, Major Appleton was appointed to the command of the Massachusetts forces. A partial account of that expedition and its results has been given in a previous chapter relating to Capt. Mosely. On December 9th the Massachusetts force, consisting of six companies of foot under Capts. Mosely, Gardiner, Davenport, Oliver and Johnson, and a troop of horse under Capt. Prentice, mustered on Dedham Plain under command of Major Appleton, who himself led the first company. They were joined by the Plymouth forces, two companies under Major William Bradford and Capt. John Gorham. The quota of Plymouth Colony was one hundred and fifty-eight men. That of Massachusetts five hundred and twenty-seven.
In the Mass. Archives, vol. 68, p. 91, I find this fragment relative to Major Appleton's division:
The full complement of the Massachusetts is 527, 13 under the impressed men, so that if there should want 13 troopers and be but 62 troopers besides their officers there would be but 465 foote & if less than 62 troopers they must be suplyed with so many foote soldjers.
These seem to be fragments of memoranda, the latter list being on the back of the paper. This refers to the number in the six companies, and gives an excess of 99 over the estimated quota of 465 foot. I doubt that this excess includes Capt. Prentice's troopers as might at first appear, his company not being set down; but his lists and credits published hereinbefore give few if any of the names included in Appleton's, Mosely's or Johnson's lists, which were taken at Dedham, December 9th, and contain exactly the numbers above. It is probable that the excess consisted of volunteers, the regular quota being impressed men. In this expedition Capt. Mosely took Capt. Hubbard's place, and then his company was not made up wholly of volunteers.
Mr. Hubbard says that the force from the latter colony mustered there four hundred and sixty-five "fighting men besides a Troop of Horse" under Capt. Prentice. Gov. Josiah Winslow, of Plymouth, was commander-in-chief of the army in this expedition, and with this force marched to Woodcock's Garrison (Attleboro'), that day, thence to Seaconck, where they arrived on the night of the 11th, and on the 12th passed over Patuxet River, and by way of Providence arrived at Wickford, at Smith's Garrison, at night. After several days spent in scouting and skirmishing, as previously related, on the 18th they all marched out to Pettisquamscott and met the Connecticut forces, consisting of five companies, three hundred and twenty-five men, under Major Treat, and the whole army were forced to bivouac in the open air in a driving snow-storm during the night, Bull's Garrison-house at that place having been burned by the Indians but a few days before.
At daybreak next morning they took up their march over the rough country through the deepening snow, each man carrying his own arms, rations, etc. In this march the Massachusetts division led; Plymouth held the centre and Connecticut the rear. This army, the largest and best organized that had ever been in the field in the American colonies, arrived about 1 o'clock, P.M., at the borders of the great swamp where the Indians had gathered in great numbers and had built a strong fortification and now awaited the attack. The full account of the battle must be completed in several chapters, wherein the names of those in the remaining companies of Major Appleton's division are given. The conduct of the Major and his men here, as elsewhere, was creditable. In May, 1676, the Court voted to repay the losses of divers persons who were "damnified" by the burning of Major Appleton's tent at Narraganset.
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