King Philip - John S. C. Abbott

Commencement of Hostilities

The old warriors, conscious of the power of the foe whose fury they were about to brave, were not at all disposed to precipitate hostilities, but Philip found it difficult to hold his young men under restraint. They became very insolent and boastful, and would sharpen their knives and tomahawks upon the door-sills of the colonists, vaporing in mysterious phrase of the great deeds they were about to perform.

There was at this time a Christian Indian by the name of John Sassamon, who had learned to read and write, and had become quite an efficient agent in Christian missions to the Indians. He was esteemed by the English, as truly a pious man, and had been employed in aiding to translate the Bible into the Indian language, and also in preaching to his countrymen at Nemasket, now Middleborough. He lived in semi-civilized style upon Assawompset Neck. He had a very pretty daughter, whom he called Assowetough, but whose sonorous name the young Puritans did not improve by changing it into Betty. The noted place in Middleborough now called Betty's Neck is immortalized by the charms of Assowetough. This Indian maiden married a warrior of her tribe, who was also in the employment of the English, and in all his interests had become identified with them. Sassamon was a subject of King Philip, but he and his family were on the most intimate and friendly relations with the colonists.

Philip needed a private secretary who could draw up his deeds and write his letters. He accordingly took John Sassamon into his employment. Sassamon, thus introduced into the court and the cabinet of his sovereign, soon became acquainted with the conspiracy in all its appalling extent and magnitude of design. He at once repaired to Plymouth, and communicated his discovery to the governor. He, however, enjoined the strictest secrecy respecting his communication, assuring the governor that, should the Indians learn that he had betrayed them, his life would be the inevitable forfeit. There were many who had no faith in any conspiracy of the kind. Rumors of approaching perils had been rife for many years, and the community had become accustomed to them. Most of the Massachusetts colonists thought the Plymouth people unnecessarily alarmed. They listened to the story of Sassamon with great incredulity. "His information," says Dr. I. Mather, "because it had an Indian original, and one can hardly believe them when they do speak the truth, was not at first much regarded."

Sassamon soon after resigned his situation as Philip's secretary, and returned to Middleborough, where he resumed his employment as a preacher to the Indians and teacher of a school.

By some unknown means Philip ascertained that he had been betrayed by Sassamon. According to the Indian code, the offender was deemed a traitor and a renegade, and was doomed to death; and it was the duty of every subject of King Philip to kill him whenever and wherever he could be found. But Sassamon had been so much With the English, and had been for years so intimately connected with them as their friend and agent, that it was feared that they would espouse his cause, and endeavor to avenge his death. It was, therefore, thought best that Indian justice should be secretly executed.

Early in the spring of 1675 Sassamon was suddenly missing. At length his hat and gun were found upon the ice of Assawompset Pond, near a hole. Soon after his body was found beneath the ice. There had been an evident endeavor to leave the impression that he had committed suicide; but wounds upon his body conclusively showed that he had been murdered. The English promptly decided that this was a crime which came under the cognizance of their laws. Three Indians were arrested under suspicion of being his murderers. These Indians were all men of note, connected with the council of Philip. An Indian testified that he happened to be upon a distant hill, and saw the murder committed. For some time he had concealed the knowledge thus obtained, but at length was induced to disclose the crime. The evidence against Tobias, one of the three, is thus stated by Dr. Increase Mather:

"When Tobias came near the dead body, it fell a bleeding on fresh, as if it had been newly slain, albeit it was buried a considerable time before that." In those days of darkness it was supposed that the body of a murdered man would bleed on the approach of his murderer.

The prisoners were tried at Plymouth in June, and were all adjudged guilty, and sentenced to death. The jury consisted of twelve Englishmen and four Indians. The condemned were all executed, two of them contending to the last that they were entirely innocent, and knew nothing of the deed. One of them, it is said, when upon the point, of death, confessed that he was a spectator of the murder, which was committed by the other two.

This summary execution of three of Philip's subjects enraged and alarmed the Wampanoags exceedingly. As the death of Sassamon had been undeniably ordered by Philip, he was apprehensive that he also might be kidnapped and hung. The young Wampanoag warriors were roused to frenzy, and immediately commenced a series of the most intolerable annoyances, shooting the cattle, frightening the women and children, and insulting wayfarers wherever they could find them. The Indians had imbibed the superstitious notion, which had probably been taught them by John Sassamon, that the party which should commence the war and shed the first blood would be defeated. They therefore wished, by violence and insult, to provoke the English to strike the first blow. The English established a military watch in every town; but, hoping that the threatening storm might blow over, they endured all these outrages with commendable patience.

On the 20th of June, eight Indian desperadoes, all armed for fight, came swaggering into the town of Swanzey, and, calling at the door of a colonist, demanded permission to grind their hatchets. As it was the Lord's day, the colonist informed them that it would be a violation of the Sabbath for them to do such work, and that God would be displeased. They replied, "We care neither for your God nor for you, but we will grind our hatchets." They then went to another house, and, with insulting carousals, ransacked the closets, helping themselves abundantly to food. The barbarian roisterers then proceeded blustering along the road, when they chanced to meet a colonist. They immediately took him into custody, kept him for some time, loading him with taunts and ridicule, and then dismissed him, derisively telling him to be a good man, and not to tell any lies or work on the Lord's day.

Growing bolder and more insolent as they advanced, they began to shoot the cattle which they saw in the fields. They encountered no opposition, for the houses were at some distance from each other, and most of the men were absent at public worship. At last they came to a house where the man chanced to be at home. They shot his cattle, and then entered the house and demanded liquor. Being refused, they became very boisterous in threats, and attempted to get the liquor by violence. The man at last, provoked beyond endurance, seized his gun and shot one of them, inflicting a serious but not mortal wound. The first blood was now shed, and the drama of war was opened. The young savages retired, bearing their wounded companion with them, and breathing threatenings and slaughter.

The next Thursday, June 24th, had been set apart by the colonists as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, in view of the alarming state of affairs. Upon an impartial review of all the transactions, it is difficult to see how the colonists could have avoided the war.

"I do solemnly protest," says Governor Winslow, in a letter written July 4th, 1675, we know not any thing from us which might have put Philip upon these motions, nor have heard that he pretends to have suffered any wrong from us, save only that we had killed some Indians, and intended to send for himself for the murder of John Sassamon."

As the people in Swanzey were returning from church on fast-day, a party of Indians, concealed in a thicket by the road side, fired upon them, killing one instantly, and severely wounding many others. Two men who set off in haste for a surgeon were waylaid and murdered. At the same time, in another part of the town, a house was surrounded by a band of Indians, and eight more of the colonists were shot. These awful tidings spread rapidly, causing indescribable alarm. One man, afraid to remain in his unprotected dwelling, hastily sent his wife and only son to the house of the Rev. Mr. Miles, which was fortified, and could be garrisoned. He remained a few moments behind to take some needful things. The wife had gone but a short distance when she heard behind her the report of a gun. True to woman's heroic love, she instantly returned to learn the fate of her husband.

He was lying in his blood on the threshold of his door, and the savages were ransacking the house. The wretches caught sight of her, pursued her, killed both her and her son, and took their scalps. In this terrible state of alarm, the scattered and helpless colonists fled with their families, as rapidly as they could, to the garrison house. Two men went from the house to the well for water. They fell, pierced by bullets. The savages rushed from their concealment, seized the two still quivering bodies, and dragged them into the forest. They were afterward found scalped, and with their hands and feet cut off. Such were the opening acts of the tragedy of blood and woe.

With amazing energy and with great strategic skill, the warriors of Philip, guided by his sagacity, plied their work of destruction. It was their sole, emphatic mission to kill, burn, and destroy. The savages, flushed with success, were skulking everywhere. No one could venture abroad without danger of being shot. Runners were immediately sent, in consternation, from all the frontier towns, to Plymouth and Boston, to implore assistance. In three hours after the arrival of the messenger in Boston, one hundred and twenty men were on the march to attack Philip at Mount Hope. But the renowned chieftain was too wary to be caught in the trap of Mount Hope Neck. He had sent his women and children to the hospitality of distant tribes, and, abandoning the Neck, which was nearly surrounded by water, traversed with his warriors the country, where he could at any time plunge into the almost limitless wilderness.

The little army from Massachusetts moved promptly forward, pressing into its service all the available men to be found by the way. They marched to Swaney, and established their headquarters at the garrison house of the Rev. Mr. Miles, a Baptist clergyman of exalted character and of fervent piety, who was ready to share with his parishioners in all the perils of protecting themselves from the border ruffians of that day. About a dozen of the troops, on a reconnoitering party, crossed the bridge near the garrison house. They were fired upon from an ambush, and one killed and one wounded. The Indians fled, hotly pursued by the English, and took refuge in a swamp, after having lost sixteen of their number.

Upon the eastern shore of Narraganset Bay, in the region now occupied by Little Compton and a part of Tiverton, there was a small tribe of Indians in partial subjection to the Narragansets, and called the Soykonate tribe. Here also a woman, Awashonks, was sachem of tile tribe, and the bravest warriors were prompt to do homage to her power. Captain Benjamin Church and a few other colonists had purchased lands of her, and had settled upon fertile spots along the shores of the bay. Awashonks was on very friendly terms with Captain Church. Though there were three hundred warriors obedient to her command, that was but a feeble force compared with the troops which could be raised both by Philip and by the English. She was therefore anxious to remain neutral. This, however, could not be. The war was such that all dwelling in the midst of its ravages must choose their side.

Philip sent six ambassadors to engage Awashonks in his interest. She immediately assembled all her counselors to deliberate upon the momentous question, and also took the very wise precaution to send for Captain Church. He hastened to her residence, and found several hundred of her subjects collected and engaged in a furious dance. The forest rang with their shouts, the perspiration dripped from their limbs, and they were already wrought to a pitch of intense excitement. Awashonks herself led in the dance, and her graceful figure appeared to great advantage as it was contrasted with the gigantic muscular development of her warriors.

Immediately upon Captain Church's arrival the dance ceased. Awashonks sat down, called her chiefs and the Wampanoag ambassadors around her, and then invited Captain Church to take a conspicuous seat in the midst of the group. She then, in a speech of queenly courtesy, informed Captain Church that King Philip had sent six of his men to solicit her to enter into a confederacy against the English, and that he stated, through these ambassadors, that the English had raised a great army, and were about to invade his territories for the extermination of the Wampanoags. The conference was long and intensely exciting. Awashonks called upon the Wampanoag ambassadors to come forward.

They were marked men, dressed in the highest embellishments of barbaric warfare. Their faces were painted. Their hair was trimmed in the fashion of the crests of the ancient helmets. Their knives and tomahawks were sharp and glittering. They all had guns, and horns and pouches abundantly supplied with shot and bullets.

Captain Church, however, was manifestly gaining the advantage, and the Wampanoag ambassadors, baffled and enraged, were anxious to silence their antagonist with the bludgeon. The Indians began to take sides furiously, and hot words and threatening gestures were abundant. Awashonks was very evidently inclined to adhere to the English. She at last, in the face of the ambassadors, declared to Captain Church that Philip's message to her was that he would send his men over privately to shoot the cattle and burn the houses of the English who were within her territories, and thus induce the English to fall in vengeance upon her, whom they would undoubtedly suppose to be the author of the mischief. This so enraged Captain Church that he quite forgot his customary prudence. Turning to the Wampanoag ambassadors, he exclaimed,

"You are infamous wretches, thirsting for the blood of your English neighbors, who have never injured you, but who, on the contrary, have always treated you with kindness."

Then, addressing Awashonks, he very inconsiderately advised her to knock the six Warnpanoags on the head, and then throw herself upon the protection of the English. The Indian queen, more discreet than her adviser, dismissed the ambassadors unharmed, but informing them that she should look to the English as her friends and protectors.

Captain Church, exulting in this success, which took three hundred warriors from the enemy and added them to the English force, set out for Plymouth. At parting, he advised Awashonks to remain faithful to the English whatever might happen, and to keep, with all her warriors, within the limits of Soykonate. He promised to return to her again in a few days.

Just north of Little Compton, in the region now occupied by the upper part of Tiverton, and by Fall River, the Pocasset tribe of Indiana dwelt. Wetamoo, the former bride of Alexander, was a princess of this tribe. Upon the death of her husband and the accession of Philip to the sovereignty of the Wampanoags, she had returned to her parental home, and was now queen of the tribe. Her power was about equal to that of Awashonks, and she could lead three or four hundred warriors into the field. Captain Church immediately proceeded to her court, as he deemed it exceedingly important to detach her, if possible, from the coalition.

He found her upon a high hill at a short distance from the shore. But few of her people were with her, and she appeared reserved and very melancholy. She acknowledged that all her warriors had gone across the water to Philip's war-dance, though she said that it was against her will. She was, however, brooding over her past injuries, and was eager to join Philip in any measures of revenge. Captain Church had hardly arrived at Plymouth before the wonderful successes of Philip so encouraged the Indians that Wetamoo, with alacrity and burning zeal, joined the coalition; and even Awashonks could not resist the inclinations of her warriors, but was also, with reluctance, compelled to unite with Philip.

War was now raging in all its horrors. A more harassing and merciless conflict can hardly be imagined. The Indians seldom presented themselves in large numbers, never gathered for a decisive action, but, dividing into innumerable prowling bands, attacked the lonely farm-house, the small and distant settlements, and often, in terrific midnight onset, plunged, with musket, torch, and Tomahawk, into the large towns. These bands varied in their numbers from twenty to thirty to two or three thousand. The colonists were very much scattered in isolated farm-houses through the wilderness. In consequence of the gigantic growth of trees, which it was a great labor to cut down, and which, when felled, left the ground encumbered for years with enormous stumps and roots, the colonists were eager to find any smooth meadow or natural opening in the forest where, for any unknown cause, the trees had disappeared, and where the thick turf alone opposed the hoe. They often had neither oxen nor plows. Thus these widely-scattered spots upon the hill-sides and the margins of distant streams were eagerly sought for, and thus these lonely settlers were exposed, utterly defenseless, to the savage foe.

The following scene, which occurred in a remote section of the country at a later period, will illustrate the horrible nature of this Indian warfare. Far away in the wilderness, a man had erected his log hut upon a small meadow, which had opened itself in the midst of a gigantic forest. The man's family consisted of himself, his wife, and several children, the eldest of whom was a daughter fifteen years of age. At midnight, the loud barking of his dog alarmed him. He stepped to the door to see what he could discover, and instantly there was a report of several muskets, and he fell upon the floor of his hut pierced with bullets, and with a broken leg and arm. The Indians, surrounding the house, now with frightful yells rushed to the door. The mother, frantic with terror, her children screaming around her, and her husband groaning and weltering in his blood, barred the door and seized an axe. The savages, with their hatchets, soon cut a hole through the door, and one of them crowded in. The heroic mother, with one blow of the axe, cleft his head to the shoulder, and he dropped dead upon the floor. Another of the assailants, supposing, in the darkness, that he had made good his entrance, followed him. He also fell by another well-directed stroke. Thus four were slain before the Indians discovered their mistake.

They then clambered upon the house, and were soon heard descending through the capricious flue of the chimney. The wife still stood with the axe to guard the door. The father, bleeding and fainting, called upon one of the little children to roll the feather bed upon the fire. The burning feathers emitted such a suffocating smoke and smell that the Indians were almost smothered, and they tumbled down upon the embers. At the same moment, another one attempted to enter the door. The wounded husband and father had sufficient strength left to seize a billet of wood and dispatch the half-smothered Indians. But the mother was now so exhausted with terror and fatigue that her strength failed her, and she struck a feeble blow, which wounded, but did not kill her adversary. The savage was so severely wounded, however, that he retreated, leaving all his comrades, six in number, dead in the house. We are not informed whether the father recovered of his wounds. Some distant neighbors, receiving tidings of the attack, came with succor, and the six dead Indians, without much ceremony, were tumbled into a hole.

Volumes might be filled with such terrible details. No one could sleep at night without the fear of an attack from the Indians before the morning. In the silence of the wilderness, many a tragedy was enacted of terror, torture, and blood, which would cause the ear that hears of it to tingle.

The day after the arrival of the English force in Swanzey the Indians again appeared in large numbers, and with defiant shouts dared them to come out and fight. Philip himself was with this band. A party of volunteers rushed furiously upon the foe, killed a number, and pursued the rest more than a mile. The savages retired to their fastnesses, and the English traversed Mount Hope Neck until they came to the imperial residence of Philip. Not an Indian was to be found upon the Neck. But here the English found the heads of eight of their countrymen, which had been cut off and stuck upon poles, ghastly trophies of savage victory. They took them down and reverently buried them.

It was now the 29th of June, and the Indian corn-fields were waving in luxuriant growth. Philip had not anticipated so early an outbreak of the war, and had more than a thousand acres planted with corn. These fields the English trampled down, and destroyed all the dwellings of the Indians, leaving the Neck barren and desolate. This was a heavy blow to Philip. The destruction of his corn-fields threatened him with starvation in the winter. The Indians scattered in all directions, carrying everywhere terror, conflagration, and death.

Captain Church, with twenty men, crossed the Taunton River, and then followed down the eastern shores of the bay, through Pokasset, the territory of Wetamoo, toward Sogkonate Neck, where Awashonks reigned. At the southern extremity of the present town of Tiverton they came to a neck of land called Punkateeset. Here they discovered a fresh trail, which showed that a large body of Indiana had recently passed. Following this trail, they came to a large pea-field belonging to Captain Almy, a colonist who had settled there. They loitered a short time in the field, eating the peas. The forest, almost impenetrable with underbrush, grew very densely around. Just as they were emerging from the field upon an open piece of ground, with the woods growing very thickly upon one aide, a sudden discharge of musketry broke iii upon the silent air, and bullets were everywhere whistling fiercely around them. Instantly three hundred Indians sprang up from their ambush. Captain Church "casting his eyes to the side of the hill above him, the hill seemed to move, being covered with Indiana, with their bright guns glistening in the sun, and running in a circumference, with a design to surround them." Captain Church and his men slowly retreated toward the shore, where alone they could prevent themselves from being surrounded. The Indians, outnumbering them fifteen to one, closely pressed them, making the forest resound with their hideous outcries.

As the savages emerged from their ambush, they followed at a cautious distance, but so directed their steps as to cut off all possibility of retreat from the Neck. They felt so sure of their victims that they thought that all could be killed or captured without any loss upon their own part.

The situation of the English now seemed desperate. They had no means of crossing the water, and the exultant foe, in overwhelming numbers and with fiendlike yells, were pressing nearer and nearer, and overwhelming them with a storm of bullets.

But the colonists resolved to sell their lives as dearly as possible. It was better to die by the quick ministry of the bullet, than to fall as captives into the hands of the savages, to perish by lingering torment. Fortunately, the ground was very stony, and every man instantly threw up a pile for a breastwork. The Indians were very cautious in presenting their bodies to the unerring aim of the white men, and did not venture upon a simultaneous rush, which would have secured the destruction of the whole of Captain Church's party.

For six hours the colonists beat back their swarming foes. The Indians availed themselves of every stump, rock, or tree in sight, and kept up an incessant firing. Just as the ammunition of the colonists was about exhausted, and night was coming on, a sloop was discerned crossing the water to their rescue. Captain Golding, a man of great resolution and fearlessness, had heard the firing, and was hastening to their relief. The wind was fair, and as the vessel approached the shore the Indiana plied their shot with such effect that the colors, sails, and sides of the sloop were soon pierced full of bullet holes. The water was so shoal that they dropped anchor, and the vessel rode afloat several rods from the beach. Captain Golding had a small canoe, which would support but two men. Attaching a cord to this, he let it drift to the shore, driven by the fresh wind. Two men entered the canoe, and were drawn on board. The canoe was then returned, and two more were taken oil board. Thus the embarkation continued, covered by the muskets of those on board and those on the shore, until every man was safe. Not one of their number was even wounded. The English, very skillful with the musket, kept their innumerable foes at a distance. It was certain death for any Indian to step from behind his rampart. The heroic Church was the last to embark. As he was retreating backward, boldly facing his foes, presenting his gun, which all the remaining powder he had did but half charge, a bullet passed through his hat, cutting off a lock of his hair. Two others struck the canoe as he entered it, and a fourth buried itself in a stake which accidentally stood before the middle of his breast. Discharging his farewell shot at the enemy, he was safely received on board, and they were all, conveyed to the English garrison which had been established at Mount Hope. Many Indians were killed or wounded in this affray, but it is not known how many.



Captain Church then went, with a small army, to ravage the territories of Wetamoo. When he arrived at the spot where Fall River now stands, he found that Wetamoo, with her warriors, had taken refuge in a neighboring swamp. Just then news came that a great part of the town of Dartmouth was in flames, that many of the inhabitants were killed, and that the survivors were in great distress. Captain Church marched immediately to their rescue. But the foe had finished his work of destruction, and had fled into the wilderness, to emerge at some other spot, no one could tell where, and strike another deadly blow. The colonists, however, took one hundred and sixty Indians prisoners, who had been induced by promises of kind treatment to come in and surrender themselves. To the extreme indignation of Captain Church, all these people, in most dishonorable disregard of the pledges of the capitulation, were by the Plymouth authorities sold into slavery. This act was as impolitic as it was criminal. It cannot be too sternly denounced. It effectually deterred others from confiding in the English.

The colonists, conscious of the intellectual supremacy of King Philip as the commanding genius of the strife, devoted their main energies to his capture, dead or alive. Large rewards were offered for his head. The barbarian monarch, with a large party of his warriors, had taken refuge in an almost impenetrable swamp upon the river, about eighteen miles below Taunton. All the inhabitants of Taunton, in their terror, had abandoned their homes, and were gathered in eight garrison houses. On the 18th of July, a force of several hundred men from Plymouth and Taunton surrounded the swamp. They cautiously penetrated the tangled thicket, their feet at almost every step sinking in the mire and becoming shackled by interlacing roots, the branches pinioning their arms, and the dense foliage blinding their eyes.

Philip, with characteristic cunning, sent a few of his warriors occasionally to exhibit themselves, to lure the English on. The colonists gradually forgot their accustomed prudence, and pressed eagerly forward. Suddenly from the dense thicket a party of warriors in ambush poured upon their pursuers a volley of bullets. Fifteen dropped dead, and many were sorely wounded. The survivors precipitately retired from the swamp, "finding it ill," says Hubbard, "fighting a wild beast in his own den."

The English, taught a lesson of caution by this misadventure, now decided to surround the swamp, guarding every avenue of escape. They knew that Philip had no stores of provisions there, and that he soon must be starved out. Here they kept guard for thirteen days. In the mean time, Philip constructed some canoes and rafts, and one dark night floated all his warriors, some two hundred in number, across the river, and continued his flight through the present towns of Dighton and Rehoboth, far away into the unknown wilderness of the interior of Massachusetts. Wetamoo, with several of her warriors, accompanied Philip in his flight. He left a hundred starving women and children in the swamp, who surrendered themselves the next morning to the English.

A band of fifty of the Mohegan Indians had now come, by direction of Uncas, to proffer their services to the colonists. A party of the English, with these Indian allies, pursued the fugitives. They overtook Philip's party not far from Providence, and shot thirty of their number, without the loss of a single man. Rev. Mr. Newman, pastor of the church in Rehoboth, obtained great commendation for his zeal in rousing his parishioners to pursue the savages.

Philip had now penetrated the wilderness, and had effected his escape beyond the reach of his foes. He had the boundless forest around him for his refuge, with the opportunity of emerging at his leisure upon any point of attack along the vast New England frontier which he might select.

The Nipmuck Indians were a powerful tribe, consisting of many petty clans spread over the whole of the interior of Massachusetts. They appear to have had no sachem of distinction, and at one time were tributary to the Narragansets, but were now tributary to the Wampanoags. They had thus far been living on very friendly terms with the inhabitants of the towns which had been settled within the limits of their territory. The court at Boston, apprehensive that the Nipmucks might be induced to join King Philip, sent some messengers to treat with them. The young warriors were very surly, and manifestly disposed to fight; but the old men dreaded the perils of war with foes whose prowess they appreciated, and were inclined to a renewal of friendship.

It was agreed that a conference should be held at a certain large tree, upon a plain about three miles from Brookfield, on the 2nd of August. At the appointed time, the English commissioners were there, with a small force of twenty mounted men. But not an Indian was to be seen. Notwithstanding some suspicions of treachery, the English determined to advance some miles farther, to a spot where they were assured that a large number of Indians were assembled. They at length came to a narrow pass, with a steep hill covered with trees and underbrush on one side, and a swamp, impenetrable with mire and thickets, upon the other. Along this narrow way they could march only in single file. The silence of the eternal forest was around them, and nothing was to be seen or heard which gave the slightest indication of danger.

Just as they were in the middle of this trail, three hundred Indians rose up on either side, and showered upon them a storm of bullets. Eight dropped dead. Three were mortally, and several others severely wounded. Captain Wheeler, who was in command, had his horse shot from under him, and a bullet also passed through his body. His son, who rode behind him, though his own arm was shattered by a ball, dismounted, and succeeded in placing his father in the saddle. A precipitate retreat was immediately commenced, while the Indians pursued with yells of exultation. But for the aid of three Christian Indians who accompanied the English party, every Englishman must have perished. One of these Indians was taken captive. The other two, by skill and bravery, led their friends, by a bypath, back to Brookfield.

This town was then a solitary settlement of about twenty houses, alone in the wilderness, half way between the Atlantic shore and the settlements on the Connecticut. The terrified inhabitants had but just time to abandon their homes and take refuge in the garrison house when the savages were upon them. With anguish they saw, from the loop-holes of their retreat, every house and barn consumed, their cattle shot, and all their property of food, clothing, and furniture destroyed. They were thus, in an hour, reduced from competence to the extreme of want.

The inhabitants of Brookfield, men, women, and children, amounted to but eighty. The nearest settlement from whence any help could come was at Lancaster, some forty miles northeast of Brookfield. The Indians surrounded the garrison, and for two days exerted all their ingenuity in attempting to destroy the building. They wrapped around their arrows hemp dipped in oil, and, setting them on fire, shot them upon the dry and inflammable roof. Several times the building was in flames, but the inmates succeeded in arresting the conflagration. It was now the evening of the 4th of August. The garrison, utterly exhausted by two days and two nights of incessant conflict, aware that their ammunition must soon be exhausted, and knowing not from what quarter to hope for relief, were in despair. The Indians now filled a cart with hemp, flax, and the resinous boughs of firs and pines. They fastened to the tongue a succession of long poles, and then, setting the whole fabric on fire, as if rolled up volumes of flame and smoke, pushed it back against the log house, whose walls were as dry as powder. Just then, when all hope of escape was abandoned, relief came.

Major Willard had been sent from Boston to Lancaster with a party of dragoons for the defense of that region. By some chance, probably through a friendly Indian, he was informed of the extreme distress of the people at Brookfield. Taking with him forty-eight dragoons, he marched with the utmost possible haste to their relief. With Indian guides, be traversed thirty miles of the forest that day, and arrived at the garrison in the evening twilight, just as the Indians, with fiendish clamor, were all engaged in their experiment with the flaming cart. Though the Indian scouts discovered his approach, and fired their guns and raised shouts of alarm, there was such a horrid noise from the yells of the savages and the uproar of musketry that the scouts could not communicate intelligence of the approach of the English, and the re-enforcement, with a rush, entered the garrison. At the same moment a very heavy shower arose, which aided greatly in the extinguishment of the flames.

The savages, thus balked of their victims, howled with rage, and, after firing a few volleys of bullets into the walls of the fortress, retired to their fastnesses. During this siege many of the whites were wounded, and about eighty of the Indians were killed. The day after the defeat, Philip, with forty-eight warriors, arrived at the Indian encampment at Brookfield. Though the Indians had not taken the garrison, and though they mourned the loss of many warriors, they were not a little elated with success. They had killed many of their enemies, and had utterly destroyed the town of Brookfield.