King Phillip's War part 4

Blue Gray Line

Brief History of King Philip's War by George M. Bodge (George Madison) 1841 to 1914
Printed Privately at Boston, 1891

Part 4  p. 7 to 8

On July 18th the combined forces arrived at the Pocasset
swamp and made a resolute attack upon the enemy conceal-
ed in the thick underbrush from whence at the first
volley they killed five and wounded seven of our men.
After this volley the enemy retreated deeper into the
swamp, where it was impossible, night coming on, to
follow them.  The commanders in council concluded that
they had the enemy now enclosed securely within the
swamp, whence it was impossible to escape, if a suitable
guard were left to watch.  Major Savage and the Massa-
chusetts men returned to Boston, except Capt. Henchman's
company of one hundred men, who with the Plymouth forces
remained at Pocasset.  Capt. Henchman began to build a
fort there, which might serve as a stronghold for the
English and might guard the entrance to the great swamp.

The English were deceived by the apparent easy conquest
of both the Wampanoags and Narragansets, and believed
they had over-awed them and set their hostility at rest,
and now might take their own time in crushing Philip and
thus finishing the war.

Plymouth Colony had been engaged from the first in seek-
ing to conciliate the tribes, in their bounds, which
were related to Philip.  Through the efforts of Mr.
Benjamin Church, a resident of Seconet, who was acquaint-
ed on pleasant terms with nearly all the tribes in the
colony, negotiations were held with Awashonks the squaw
sachem of the Seconet Indians and Weetamoo the squaw
sachem or "queen" of the Pocasset tribe.  Awashonks and
most of her people passed over into the Narraganset
country at the opening of active hostilities and thus
avoided joining Philip, but Weetamoo and her people were
swept along with him in his retreat towards the Nipmuck
country.  Plymouth companies were abroad too, scouting
the country in the effort to protect their settlements,
exposed like Dartmouth, Middleboro, etc.  They also esta-
blished a garrison at Mount Hope after Philip retreated
to Pocasset, to prevent his return.  The entrance of
Philip into the Pocasset swamps compelled the cooperation
of the hesitating Weetamoo and afforded him a safe hiding
place to recruit and prepare for his flight northward.

In the meantime the Massachusetts authorities had begun
negotiations with the various Nipmuck Indians.  Seven of
the principal towns had been visited and treaties made
with each.  On July 16th Ephraim Curtis returned to
Boston and reported the Quahaugs gathered at a great
island in a swamp beyond Brookfield and showing a de-
fiant and hostile spirit.  The Council immediately sent
Capt. Edward Hutchinson, escorted by Capt. Thomas
Wheeler and his mounted company, with Curtis as guide,
to find the Indians and bring them to terms.  The comp-
any, accompanied by some friendly Naticks, arrived at
Brookfield on August 1st, and immediately sent Curtis
with the guides to arrange for a meeting next day.  The
Quahaugs, whose leader was the famous Muttaump, agreed
to come next day to a plain some three miles from Brook-
field to meet the English.

The next morning, the company, with three of the chief
men of Brookfield rode out to the appointed place but
found no Indians.  Urged by the Brookfield men, but
against the earnest remonstrance of the Naticks, they
rode forward towards the place where Curtis met them the
day before.  But coming to a narrow defile between a high
rocky hill and an impenetrable swamp, and riding single
file they found themselves caught in a great ambuscade
of the Indians, who let them pass along until they were
able to surround them, and then rose together and fired
into their column at close range.  They killed eight men
outright and wounded five, including Capts. Hutchinson
and Wheeler, the former mortally.  The English were
forced to retreat, fighting, up the hill; and under the
skillful conduct of their Indian guides were able to
make a safe retreat to Brookfield where they gathered
the people and fortified a house just before the Indians
came sweeping furiously down upon the village.

Here they defended themselves against great numbers for
several days, till Major Willard and Capt. Parker came
with a company and reinforced the garrison, when the
enemy retired.

At Pocasset Capt. Henchman continued building his fort,
and Philip was making ready for his fight.  The English
seem not to have contemplated the possibility of a
general war, nor to have at all appreciated the gravity
of the present situation in the colonies.  Philip with
all his fighting-men and the greater part of his own
and Weetamoo's people, escaped across the river and
passed through the open plain in Rehoboth, where they
were discovered by some of the settlers.  A scouting
party from Taunton made the discovery that it was
Philip's Indians who were thus escaping.  The situation
of affairs may be briefly stated.  Capt. Henchman was
guarding the swamp wherein Philip and his people were
supposed to be securely trapped.  Major Cudworth and
Capt. Fuller were at Dartmouth with a company of one
hundred and twelve men. Lieut. Nathaniel Thomas of
Marshfield was at the Mount Hope garrison with twenty
men.  At Rehoboth a company of Mohegan Indians under
Oneko, under convoy of Corporal Thomas Swift, arrived
from Boston on the 30th on their way to Capt. Henchman
at Pocasset.  Upon the alarm, Rev. Mr. Newman of Reho-
both began to organize a company of volunteers for the
pursuit of the Indians.  Lieut. Thomas with a small
detachment, happened to come to Rehoboth on the 30th
and hearing of the escape, hastened back to carry the
news to Capt. Henchman, and urge his cooperation. Lieut
Thomas then, on the 31st, took eleven men of his Mount
Hope garrison and being joined by Lieut James Brown of
Swansy, with twelve men, marched in the pursuit.  The
Rehoboth men, with some volunteers from Providence and
Taunton, led by the Mohegans, had started earlier upon the
trail of the enemy.

To be continued  Part 5  p.9 to 10

Transcribed by Janice Farnsworth
Blue Gray Line

Rod Bigelow

8 Prospect Circle
Massena, N.Y. 13662 Rod Bigelow at SLIC 
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