Both companies returned Tuesday, Sept. 2, 1645, and were disbanded the following day.Each soldier on going forth was supplied with 1 lb. of powder, and 3 lbs. of bullets, and 1 lb. of tobacco.
Taunton, Rehoboth, alias Seacunck, were not required to furnish men, as they were frontier towns and "billetted" the "souldiers" while out.
The items charged in the accounts of this expedition are of interest as showing the kind of supplies used and the prices.
It: for a line to Mr. Hanbury œ00:02:00.
The provisions were carried in canvas bags.
While the organization of the militia was efficiently kept up in Plymouth Colony from 1643 onward, and large preparations were made in 1653 and 1654 for war with the Dutch at Manhattan, no actual hostilities occurred until June, 1675.
In 1653 a "Council of War" was appointed to take charge of all preparations for the expedition against the Dutch. This council consisted of Mr. William Bradford, President. Mr. Thomas Prence, Mr. John Alden, Mr. Timothy Hatherly, Capt. Myles Standish, Capt. Thomas Willett, Capt. James Cudworth, Mr. John Browne and Lieut. Thomas Southworth.
These appointed an expedition to be sent out to join the other colonies, consisting of sixty men from Plymouth, with Capt. Myles Standish as Commander, Matthew Fuller as Lieutenant, and Hezekiah Hoare as Ensign.
Two barks were also to be impressed for the expedition, viz.: "The barque which George Watson sayleth, with himself as master, and John Green and John Smith of same barque." The expedition was still in preparation, June 20, 1654, when a full commission was granted to Capt. Standish to prosecute the war. Peace was settled between the two nations before the colonies became actively engaged.
The account of Philip's War in the preceding pages necessarily followed the fortunes of the officers and companies of Massachusetts, as the Treasurer's credits to these were the basis of my work. No such lists have been found pertaining to Plymouth or Connecticut Colonies, and the particulars of the services of the soldiers of these colonies have not had contemporary chroniclers, like Hubbard, Mather, and the authors of the "Letters to London," so often quoted in this volume.
In Philip's War, Plymouth Colony took the initiative, and had men in the field several days before the arrival of the Massachusetts companies at Swansey.
In the Records of the United Commissioners, vol. II. p. 362, is a letter from Josiah Winslow and Thomas Hinckley, recounting the events, in the Plymouth Jurisdiction, leading up to the outbreak of the war, the first overt act being the rifling of the house of Job Winslow at Swansey, on June 18th or 19th, 1675. On the next day, Sunday, June 20th, the Indians burned several houses at Swansey while the people were at church, upon the alarm of which, and a threatened general assault, Plymouth Colony sent a force of soldiers to protect the town. On the 24th of June Thomas Layton (Mr. Hubbard says Layton Archer) was killed at Fallriver, and on the 25th, several at Swansey.
The Plymouth forces, hastily collected, rendezvoused at Taunton, June 21st, under command of Major Bradford, and next day marched, under Capt. James Cudworth, to Swansey, where they were garrisoned at the houses of Mr. John Brown and Rev. John Miles. There the Massachusetts forces soon joined them, and, the war being in the Plymouth Jurisdiction, Capt. Cudworth became Commander-in-Chief, with the title of Major.
Mr. Hubbard relates that a company of seventeen men from Bridgewater were the first to arrive at Swansey, and were immediately ordered to Matapoiset to strengthen Bourne's garrison, wherein were seventy persons, of whom but sixteen were men. At this time there were many "strange Indians" mixed in with Philip's own, and these were reckless tramps and adventurers, mostly. One of the requests of the Plymouth authorities was that these should be sent away by Philip. Philip himself had many good friends among the people living near him, with whom he had had dealings, and found them kind and honest. He is said to have given strict orders not to disturb them or their families. Among these were Mr. John Brown, Capt. Thomas Willett, and Mr. James Leonard of Taunton; and when James Brown, son of the above, was sent to Philip to persuade peace, while many of his warriors urged that he be retained as captive, or be put to death, Philip sent him home safely guarded. The house of Capt. Willett seems to have been undisturbed, and when, a year later, his son Hezekiah Willett was killed by some strange Indians, it was without the knowledge of Philip or the Wampanoags.
Jethro, a negro slave of Capt. Willett's, was taken at the same time as a captive, but escaped afterwards, in good time to warn the English of a raid planned by the Indians. His story was that the Indians, who killed his young master and made him captive, carried the head of Willett to Philip, who, with his people, was greatly grieved, and, taking the head, mourned over it, and showed it great honor, as for a good friend, combing the hair and ornamenting it with beads of wampum.
Mr. Hubbard relates that the first persons killed in the war were the six men who ventured from Bourne's garrison with carts to take some corn from a barn, "one Jones" being the only name I have found of those slain. The people at this place were soon after taken over to Rhode Island.
In June, 1675, Taunton was attacked by a prowling band of the savages, and the houses of James Walker and John Tisdell were burned, and Tisdell was killed. At the same time two soldiers from Eastham, serving there, were killed; their names were John Knowles and Samuel Atkins. In May, 1676, in that part of Taunton which became Raynham, six men were killed while at work in the field planting, viz., Henry Andrews, James Bell, Sergt. James Phillips, and in another part of the town Edward Bobit, or Babbitt; while two youths were taken captive. At Eel River, near Plymouth, March 12, 1675-6, the house of William Clark was assaulted by a small party of Indians led by Tatoson, and Mrs. Clark and an infant, with eight other persons from other families, were killed. At the trial of divers Indians captured by Major Bradford, were several who had a hand with Tatoson, from whose confessions the names of all were learned.
Although these Indians, most of them, surrendered under the proclamation of the Governor, those who had had any part in the war were mostly sold into servitude out of the country, often with their wives and children, while those who had killed any of the English were at once put to death. Among those who surrendered was one called "John Num," who was accused of having part in the Clark murders, and also confessed that he was with the company which killed Jacob Mitchell and his wife, and John Pope, at Dartmouth. Of the whole number of the perpetrators of the Clark's House outrage, eleven in all, the names were proved and stand upon record. Those captured, tried, and beheaded were the said "John Num," "Woodcocke," "Quanapawhan;" while Keweenam was proved an accessory and also executed. Tatoson was hunted down, but died in the woods, uncaptured.
The "Entertaining History" of Philip's War, written by Benjamin Church, of Little Compton, Rhode Island, gives many interesting details, in his own personal experience, and casual references and items, which would otherwise be lost. Being joined with the Plymouth forces his stories relate mostly to their operations, or those in which he, personally, played the leading part. The invasion of Pocasset by Capt. Mathew Fuller and himself, with thirty-six men, his fight, with his small party, at Punketees Neck with several hundred savages, until rescued by Captain Roger Golding's vessel, is a story of intense interest; and by his graphic descriptions of events, and oftentimes garrulous narration of personal adventures, he has preserved the very details concerning men and things, which the historians have missed. Many have taken him as a historian of the war, and neglected the real authorities, like Hubbard, Mather, and Gookin. His narrative is simply a compilation of an old man's reminiscences, written out some forty years after their actual occurrence, and we can readily understand that the long years and the frequent relation of his experiences would tend to make his memory fertile in graphic details and personal achievements which contemporaries knew nothing about.
Capt. Nathaniel Thomas wrote a letter from Mounthope garrison on August 10th, with details of the course of events upon Philip's escape, July 29th, and does not mention Mr. Church. The story, nearly as Capt. Thomas tells it, is followed in the introductory chapter. He mentions that "thirty Stonington men" joined in the pursuit at Rehoboth, and says that in the fight with Philip's and Weetamoo's warriors at "Nipsachick," the Mohegans "stripped" the enemies whom they had slain, and "skinned their heads." The captive whom they wounded and took told them that Philip, Tokomona (brother of Awashonks), and the "Black Sachem," were with the enemy; that Awashonks had gone over among the Narragansets at the beginning of the war; that Nimrod was slain in the fight. Capt. Thomas relates that Sergt. John Parker and William Porey were wounded, also, in this skirmish, while twenty-three of the enemy were killed. He severely criticises Capt. Henchman for neglecting to pursue Philip immediately, as they would have done had not Henchman come up and taken command.
October 4th, 1675, the Plymouth Court re‰lected Major James Cudworth as General, or Commander-in-Chief, of the forces of that colony in active service, Sergeant Robert Barker to be Lieutenant of his particular company, Captain John Gorum to be Captain of the other company, and Ensign Jonathan Sparrow to be his Lieutenant. Lieut. John Brown is appointed to be Capt. of the guard at Mounthope, with a new company of twenty-five men to be impressed in the various towns, and the guard now there to be released. Capt. Mathew Fuller was appointed to be surgeon-general of all the forces of the colony. The address of the Plymouth Court to the "Gentleman Souldiers," of the Colony, upon the mustering of the United Colonies' forces in December, 1675, for the Narraganset campaign, is at once a gracious summons to duty and a fervent appeal to loyalty, with promises that the wages of all the soldiers shall be secured, and their wants and interests provided for, and that volunteers shall be regarded with special favor.
Govr. Josias Winslow was, as we know, appointed Commander-in-Chief over the whole expedition, while Major Bradford was superior officer of the Plymouth forces and Capt. John Gorum captain of the second company.
The above list is confirmed by comparison with Narraganset No. 4, above, except some variations in the spelling, as readily seen. Gen. E. W. Pierce, in his valuable historical researches, has found two other names, both ancestors of his, who were Narraganset soldiers, viz., Isaac Peirce and William Hoskins. These are both found in the list of No. 4, Peirce at Middleborough and Hoskins, given as Hopkins, of Taunton, both alive, 1734.
In March, 1675-6, we find Plymouth Colony promptly trying to redeem her promises to the soldiers who were in the expedition, by the granting of several tracts of land to the value of one thousand pounds; said tracts being located at Showamett, Assonett Neck, Assowamsett, and Agawam and Sepecan, while one thousand pounds was assessed upon the towns of the colony for the present help of those whose condition calls for immediate help instead of payment in lands.
There is a tradition that one of the first men slain by the Indians, at Swansey, June 24th, 1675, was Joseph Lewis, a resident of that town, who was buried there on that day. There is a story that, on the same day with Peirse's fight nine men became detached from a company, or, possibly, were hastening to the relief of Capt. Peirse, when they were ambushed by a great body of Indians, and all slain and left unburied at a place known as "Camp Swamp," and, sometimes, from this disaster, as "Nine Men's Misery." On the records of Rehoboth are the names of four men who were slain on March 26th, 1676. Two of these were John Fitch (Fitz), jr., and John Miller, jr. The other two were Benj. Buckland and John Reed, jr. These last were not mentioned in the letter of Rev. Noah Newman, above noted, as being in Capt. Peirse's company. It may be that these were of the nine slain at "Camp Swamp," and that the account of the latter disaster had not reached him when, March 27th, he wrote his letter.
In the spring of 1676 there was an effort made by the Council of War in Plymouth Colony to raise a force of three hundred men for the defence of their towns, then threatened by the wandering tribes, straggling, in parties, back towards their former homes. This attempt failed, but in June, following, a force of one hundred and fifty English and fifty Indians was put into the field under Major Bradford, and did active service in protecting the southern towns and capturing the wandering parties of savages, being joined, in July, by Capt. Mosely's company and Capt. Brattle's "Troop."
The story of Philip's capture, and the closing events of the war, have been told. The list of those soldiers who had part in the Narraganset Fort Fight are found in the roll of Township No. 7. We find that some of the Plymouth soldiers preferred to be paid in land, according to the offer of the Court. Those of Scituate made application, and their names are preserved and are as follows:
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