King Philip - John S. C. Abbott

The Vicissitudes of War

During this terrible war there were many deeds of heroic courage performed which merit record. A man by the name of Rocket, in the town of Wrentham, was in the woods searching for his horse. Much to his alarm, he discovered, far off in the forest, a band of forty-two Indians, in single file, silently and noiselessly passing along, apparently seeking a place of concealment. They were all thoroughly armed. Mr. Rocket without difficulty eluded their observation, and then, at some distance behind, cautiously followed in their trail. It was late in the afternoon, and, just before twilight was fading into darkness, the Indians found a spot which they deemed safe, but a short distance from the town, in which to pass the night. It was a large flat rock, upon the brow of a steep hill, where they were quite surrounded by almost impenetrable bushes.

Rocket, having marked the place well, hastened back to the town. It was then near midnight. The inhabitants were immediately aroused, informed of their peril, and the women and children were all placed safely in the garrison house, and a small party was left for their defense. The remaining men capable of bearing arms, but thirteen in number, then hastened through the forest, guided by Rocket, and arrived an hour before the break of day at the encampment of the Indians. With the utmost caution, step by step, they crept within musket shot of their sleeping foes. Every man took his place, and endeavored to single out his victim. It was agreed that not a gun should be fired until the Indians should commence rising from their sleep, and the morning light should give the colonists fair aim.

An hour of breathless and moveless silence passed away. In the earliest dawn of the morning, just as a few rays of light began to stream along the eastern horizon, the Indians, as if by one volition, sprang from their hard couch. A sudden discharge of musketry rang through the forest, and thirteen bullets pierced as many bodies. Appalled by so sudden an attack and such terrible slaughter, the survivors, unaware of the feebleness of the force by which they were assailed, plunged down the precipitous hill, tumbling over each other, and rolling among the rocks. The adventurous band eagerly pursued them, and shot at them as they would at deer flying through the forest. Many more thus fell. One keen marksman struck down an Indian at the distance of eighty rods, breaking his thigh bone. In this short encounter twenty-four of the Indians were slain. The remainder escaped into the depths of the forest. The heroes of this adventure all returned in safety to their homes, no one having been injured. It was undoubtedly the intention of this prowling band to have attacked and fired the town as soon as the inhabitants had been scattered in the morning in their fields at work.

Soon after this, two English boys, who had been captured by the Indians and taken to the upper waters of the Connecticut, escaped, and, following down the river, succeeded in reaching the settlements. They gave information that the Indians, in large numbers, were encamped upon the banks of the river, just above the present site of Deerfield. Supposing that all the energies of the colonists were employed in endeavoring to arrest the ravages which were taking place in the towns nearer the seaboard, they were indulging in careless security.

The inhabitants of Hadley, Hatfield, and Northampton promptly raised a force of one hundred and fifty mounted men to attack them. On the night of the 18th of May they left Hadley, and, traveling as fast as they could about twenty miles, through the dead of night, arrived a little after midnight in the vicinity of the Indian encampment. Here they alighted, tied their horses to some young trees, and then cautiously crept through the forest about half a mile, when, still in the gloom of the rayless morning, they dimly discerned the wigwams of the savages. Concealing themselves within musket shot, they waited patiently for the light to reveal their foes. The Indians were in a very dead sleep from a great debauch in which they had engaged during the early part of the night. The night had been warm, and they were sleeping upon the ground around their wigwams. At an appointed signal, every gun was discharged upon the slumberers, and a storm of bullets fell upon them and swept through their wigwams. Many were instantly killed, and many wounded. The survivors, in a terrible panic, men, women, and children, sprang from the ground and rushed to the river, attempting to escape to the other shore.

They were just above some rapids, where the current was very swift and strong. Numbers attempted to swim across the stream, but were swept by the torrent over the falls. Some sprang into canoes and pushed from the shore. They presented but a fair mark for the bullets of the colonists. Wounded and bleeding, and whirled by the eddies, they were dashed against the rocks, and perished miserably. Many endeavored to hide in the bushes and among the rocks upon the shore. Captain Holyoke killed five with his own hand under a bank. About three hundred Indians were slain or drowned in the awful tumult of these midnight hours. Several of the most conspicuous of the Indian chiefs were killed. Only one white man lost his life. In the midst of the confusion the wigwams of the Indians were set on fire, and the black night was illumined by the lurid conflagration. The flashing flames, the dark billows of smoke, the rattle of musketry, the shouts of the assailants, the shrieks of women and children, and the yells of the savage warriors, presented a picture of earthly woe which neither the pen nor the pencil can portray.

At last the morning dawned. The sun of a serene and beautiful May day rose over the spectacle of smoldering ruins and blood. The victors, weary of sleeplessness, of their night's march, and of the carnage, sat down among the smoking brands and amid the bodies of the slain to seek refreshment and repose in this exultant hour of victory.

But disaster, all unanticipated, came upon them with the sweep of the whirlwind. It so happened that Philip himself was near with a thousand warriors. A captured Indian informed them of this fact, and instantly the victors were in a great panic. They were but one hundred and fifty in number. Their only retreat was by a narrow trail through the woods of more than twenty miles. A thousand savage warriors, roused to the highest pitch of exasperation, and led by the terrible King Philip, were expected momentarily to fall upon them. It was known that the fugitives, who had scattered through the woods, would speedily communicate the tidings of the attack to Philip's band.

The colonists, in much confusion, immediately commenced a precipitate retreat. They had hardly mounted their horses ere the whole body of savages, like famished wolves, with the most dismal yells and howlings, came rushing upon them. The peril was so terrible that there seemed to be no hope of escape. But there are no energies like the energies of despair. Every man resolved, in the calmness of the absolute certainty of death, to sell his life as dearly as possible. Captain Holyoke was a man equal to the emergency, and every member of his heroic little band had perfect confidence in his courage and his skill. Silently, sternly, sublimely, in a mass as compact as possible, they moved slowly on. Every eye was on the alert; every man had his finger to the trigger. Their guns were heavily loaded, that the balls might be thrown to a great distance. Not an Indian could expose his body but that he fell before the unerring aim of these keen marksmen.

Captain Holyoke exposed himself to every danger in front, on the flanks, and in the rear. His own lion-like energy was infused into the spirit of his men, and he animated them to prodigious exertions. His horse was at one time shot, and fell beneath him. Before he could extricate himself from his entanglement, a band of Indians threw themselves upon him. Two of them he shot down with his pistols, and then with his sword cut his way through the rest, aided by a single soldier who came to his rescue.

As they toiled along, pursued by the infuriate foe and harassed by a merciless fire, many were wounded, and every few moments one would drop lifeless upon the ground. The survivors could do nothing to help the dead or the dying. Hour after hour passed, and at length unexpected hope began to dawn upon them. They were evidently holding the Indians at bay. Could they continue thus for a few hours longer, they would be so near the settlements that the Indians, in their turn, would be compelled to retreat. Though it was evident that their loss must be great, there was now hope that the majority would escape. Thus animated, they accelerated their march, and at length, having lost about forty by the way, they emerged upon the clearings of the settlements, where the savages dared to pursue them no longer. With howls of disappointment and rage, the discomfited Indians returned to their forest fastnesses, and the heroic band, having lost about one third of their number, and with nearly all of the survivors exhausted, wounded, and bleeding, were received by their friends with throbbing hearts, and with blended tears of bliss and woe. Those who, while still living, fell into the hands of the Indians, were put to death by tortures too horrible to be described.

A fortnight after this, on the 30th of May, the men of Hatfield were all at work in the fields, having, as usual, established a careful watch to guard against surprise. All the houses in the centre of the town were surrounded by a palisade, but there were several at a distance which could not be included. One old man only was left within the palisades to open and bar the gate.

Suddenly a band of Indians, between six and seven hundred in number, plunged into the town between the palisades and the party at work in the fields, thus effectually cutting off the retreat of the colonists to their fortress. They immediately commenced a fierce attack upon the palisades, that they might get at the women, the children, and the booty. The people of Hadley, on the opposite side of the river, witnessed the assault. Twenty-five young men of Hadley promptly crossed the river, threw themselves unexpectedly and like a thunderbolt upon the band of seven hundred savages, cut their way through them, and gained an entrance within the palisades, having lost but five of their number. Where has history recorded a deed of nobler heroism? In their impetuous rush they put down twenty-five of their foes. The Indians, intimidated by so daring an act, feared to approach the palisades thus garrisoned, and sullenly retired. The men in the fields took refuge in a log house. The savages spread themselves over the meadows, drove off all the oxen, cows, and sheep, and burned twelve houses and barns which were beyond the reach of protection.

On the 12th of June, the Indians, seven hundred in number, made an attack upon Hadley, and hid themselves in the bushes at its southern extremity, while they sent a strong party around to make an assault from the north. At a given signal, when the first light of the morning appeared, with their accustomed yells, they leaped from their concealment, and rushed like demons upon the town. The English, undismayed, met them at the palisades. The battle raged for some time with very great fury.

In the midst of this scene of tumult and blood, when the battle seemed turning against the English, there suddenly appeared a man of gray hairs and venerable aspect, and dressed in antique apparel, who, with the voice and manner of one accustomed to command, took at once the direction of affairs. There was such an air of authority in his words and gestures, the directions he gave were so manifestly wise, and he seemed so perfectly familiar with all military tactics, that, by instinctive assent, all yielded to his command. Those were days of superstition, and the aspect of the stranger was do singular, and his sudden appearance so inexplicable and providential, that it was generally supposed that God had sent a guardian angel for the salvation of the settlement. When the Indians retreated the stranger disappeared, and nothing further was heard of him.

The supposed angel was General Goffe, one of the judges who had condemned Charles I. to the block. After the restoration, these judges were condemned to death. Great efforts were made to arrest them. Two of them, Generals Goffe and Whalley, fled to this country. They were both at this time secreted in Hadley, in the house of the Rev. Mr. Russell. Mr. Whalley was aged and infirm. General Goffe, seeing the village in imminent peril, left his concealment, joined the inhabitants, and took a very active part in the defense. It was not until after the lapse of fifteen years that these facts were disclosed. The tradition is that both of these men died in their concealment, and that they were secretly buried in the minister's cellar. Their bodies were afterward privately conveyed to New Haven.

It so happened that the Connecticut colony had just raised a standing army of two hundred and fifty English and two hundred Mohegan Indians, and had sent them to Northampton, but a few miles from Hadley, for the protection of the river towns. A force of several hundred men also marched from Boston to co-operate with the Connecticut troops. The settlements upon the river were thus so effectually protected that Philip saw that it would be in vain for him to attempt any farther assaults.

He therefore sent most of his warriors to ravage the towns along the sea-coast. It is generally reported that, about this time, Philip took a party of warriors and traversed the unbroken wilderness extending between the Connecticut and the Hudson. He went as far as the present site of Albany, and endeavored to rouse the Mohawks, a powerful tribe in that vicinity, to unite with him against the English. It is said, though the charge is not sustained by any very conclusive evidence, that Philip, in order to embroil the Mohawks with the English, attacked a party of Mohawk warriors, and, as he supposed, killed them all. He then very adroitly arranged matters to convince the Mohawks that their countrymen had been murdered by the English. But one of the Mohawks, who was supposed to be killed, revived, and, covered with blood and wounds, succeeded in reaching his friends. The story he told roused the tribe to rage, and, allying themselves with the English, they fell fiercely upon Philip.

Whether the above narrative be true or not, it is certain that about this time the Mohawks became irreconcilably hostile to King Philip, and fell upon him and upon all of his allies with great fury.

And now suddenly, and almost miraculously, the tide of events seemed to turn in favor of the English. It is very difficult to account for the wonderful change which a few weeks introduced. The Massachusetts Indians, for some unknown cause, became alienated from the sovereign of the Wampanoags, and bitterly reproached him with having seduced them into a war in which they were suffering even more misery than they created. All the Indians in the vicinity of the English settlements had been driven from their corn-fields and fishing-grounds, and were now in a famishing condition. They had sufficient intelligence to foresee that absolute starvation was their inevitable doom in the approaching winter. At the same time, a pestilence, deadly and contagious, swept fearful desolation through their wigwams. The Indians regarded this as evidence that the God of the white men had enlisted against them. The colonial forces in the valley of the Connecticut penetrated the forest in every direction, carrying utter ruin into the homes of the natives. In this horrible warfare but little mercy was shown to the women and the children. The English did not torture their foes, but they generally massacred them without mercy.

This sudden accumulation of disasters appalled Philip and all his partisans. They were thrown into a very surprising state of confusion and dismay. Cotton Mather, speaking of this constant terror which bewildered them, writes:

"They were just like beasts stung with a hornet. They ran they knew not whither, they knew not wherefore. They were under such consternation that the English did even what they would upon them. I shall never forget the expressions which a desperate, fighting sort of fellow, one of their generals, used unto the English after they had captured him. You could not have subdued us, said he, striking upon his breast, but the Englishman's God made us afraid here."

The latter part of July, Captain Church, the General Putnam of these Indian wars, was placed in command of a force to search for Philip, who, with a small band of faithful followers, had returned to the region of Mount Hope. Captain Church went from Plymouth to Wood's Hole in Falmouth, and there engaged two friendly Indians to paddle him in a canoe across Buzzard's Bay, and along the shore to Rhode Island. As he was rounding the neck of land called Saconet Point, he saw a number of Indians fishing from the rocks. Believing that these Indians were in heart attached to the English, and that they had been forced to unite with Philip, he resolved to make efforts to detach them from the confederacy. The Indians on the shore seemed also to seek an interview, and by signs invited them to land. Captain Church, who was as prudent as he was intrepid, called to two of the Indians to go down upon a point of cleared land where there was no room for an ambush. He then landed, and, leaving one of the Indians to take care of the canoe, and the other to act as a sentinel, advanced to meet the Indians. One of the two Indians, who was named George, could speak English perfectly well. He told Captain Church that his tribe was weary of the war; that they were in a state of great suffering, and that they were very anxious to return to a state of friendly alliance with the English. He said that if the past could be pardoned, his tribe was ready not only to relinquish all acts of hostility, but to take up arms against King Philip. Captain Church promised to meet them again in two days at Richmond's Farm, upon this long neck of land. He then hastened to Rhode Island, procured an interview with the governor, and endeavored to obtain authority to enter into a treaty with these Indians. The governor would not give his consent, affirming that it was an act of madness in Captain Church to trust himself among the Saconets. Nevertheless, Church, true to his engagement, took with him an interpreter, and, embarking in a canoe, reached the spot at the appointed time.

Here he found Awashonks, the queen of the tribe, with several of her followers. As his canoe touched the shore, she advanced to meet him, and, with a smile of apparent friendliness, extended her hand. They walked together a short distance from the shore, when suddenly a large party of Indians, painted and decorated in warlike array, and armed to the teeth, sprang up from an ambush in the high grass, and surrounded them. Church, undismayed, turned to Awashonks, and said, indignantly,

"I supposed that your object in inviting me to this interview was peace."

"And so it is," Awashonks replied.

"Why, then," Captain Church continued, "are your warriors here with arms in their hands?"

Awashonks appeared embarrassed, and replied,

"What weapons do you wish them to lay aside?"

The Indian warriors scowled angrily, and deep mutterings were passing among them. Captain Church, seeing his helpless situation, very prudently replied, "I only wish them to lay aside their guns, which is a proper formality when friends meet to treat for peace."

Hearing this, the Indians laid aside their guns; and quietly seated themselves around their queen and Captain Church. An interesting and perilous interview now ensued. Awashonks accused the English of provoking her to hostilities when she had wished to live in friendship with them. At one moment these children of nature would seem to be in a towering rage, and again perfectly pleasant, and almost affectionate. Captain Church happened to allude to one of the battles between the English and the Indians. Immediately one of the savages, foaming with rage, sprang toward him, brandishing his tomahawk, and threatening to sink it in his brain, declaring that Captain Church had slain his brother in that battle. Captain Church replied that his brother was the aggressor, and that, if he had remained at home, as Captain Church had advised him to do, his life would have been spared. At this the irate savage immediately calmed down, and all was peace again.

As the result of the interview, Awashonks promised to ally herself in friendship with the English upon condition that Church should obtain the pardon of her tribe for all past offenses. The chief captain of her warriors then approached Captain Church with great stateliness, and said, "Sir, if you will please to accept of me and my men, and will be our captain, we will fight for you, and will help you to the head of King Philip before the Indian corn be ripe." At this all the other warriors clashed their weapons and murmured applause.

Church then proposed that five Indians should accompany him through the woods to the governor to secure the ratification of the treaty. Awashonks objected to this, saying that the party would inevitably be intercepted on the way by Philip's warriors; and all would be slain. She proposed, however, that Captain Church should go to Rhode Island, obtain a small vessel, and then take her ambassadors around Cape Cod to Plymouth.

Captain Church obtained a small vessel in Newport Harbor; and sailed for the point. When he arrived there the wind was directly ahead, and blowing almost a gale. As the storm increased, finding himself quite unable to land, he returned to Newport. Being a man of deep religious sensibilities, he considered this disappointment as an indication of divine disapproval, and immediately relinquished the enterprise.

Just at this time Major Bradford arrived in the vicinity of the present town of Fall River with a large force of soldiers. This region was then called Pocasset, and was within the territory of Queen Wetamoo. Captain Church immediately then took a canoe, and again visited Awashonks. He informed her of the arrival of Major Bradford, urged her to keep all her people at home lest they should be assailed by these troops, and assured her that if she would visit Major Bradford in his encampment she should be received with kindness, and a treaty of peace would be concluded. The next morning, Major Bradford, with his whole force, marched down the Tiverton shore, and encamped at a place called Punkatese, half way between Pocasset and Saconet Point.

Awashonks collected her warriors and repaired to Punkatese to meet the English. Major Bradford received her with severity and suspicion, which appears to have been quite unjustifiable. Awashonks offered to surrender her warriors to his service if they could be under the command of Captain Church, in whom both she and they reposed perfect confidence. This offer was peremptorily declined, and she was haughtily commanded to appear at Sandwich, where the governor resided, within six days. The queen, mortified by this unfriendly reception, appealed to Captain Church. He, also, was much chagrined, but advised her to obey, assuring her that the governor would cordially assent to her views. The Indians, somewhat reassured, now commenced their march to Sandwich, under the protection of a flag of truce.

The next morning Major Bradford embarked his army in canoes, and crossed to Mount Hope in search of King Philip. It was late at night before they reached the Mount, and the fires blazing in the woods showed that the Indians were collecting in large numbers. Meeting, however, with no foe, they marched on to Rehoboth. Here Captain Church, taking an Indian for a guide, set out for Plymouth to intercede for his friends, the Saconet Indians. The governor received him with great cordiality. Captain Church, highly gratified, took with him three or four men as a body-guard, and hastened to Sandwich. Disappointed in not finding Awashonks there, he went to Agawam, in the present town of Wareham; still not finding her, he crossed Mattapoiset River, and ascended a bluff which commanded a wide prospect of Buzzard's Bay.

As they stood upon the bluff, they heard a loud murmuring noise coming from the concealed shore at a little distance. Creeping cautiously along, they peered over a low cliff, and saw a large number of Indians, of all ages and sexes, engaged upon the beach in the wildest scene of barbarian festivities. Some were running races on horseback; some playing at football; some were catching eels and flat-fish; and others plunging and frolicking in the waves.

Captain Church was uncertain whether they were enemies or friends. With characteristic sagacity and intrepidity, he retired some distance into a thicket, and then hallooed to them. Two young Indians, hearing the shout, left the rest of their company to see from whence it came. They came close upon Captain Church before he discovered himself to them. As soon as they saw Captain Church, with two or three men around him, all well armed, they, in a panic, endeavored to retreat. He succeeded, however, in retaining them, and in disarming their fears.

From them he learned that the party consisted of Awashonks and her tribe. He then sent word to Awashonks that he intended to sup with her that evening, and to lodge in her camp that night. The queen immediately made preparations to receive him and his companions with all due respect. Captain Church and his men, mounted on horseback, rode down to the beach. The Indians gathered around them with shouts of welcome. They were conducted to a pleasant tent, open toward the sea, and were provided with a luxurious supper of fried fish. The supper consisted of three courses: a young bass in one dish, eels and flat-fish in a second, and shell-fish in a third; but there was neither bread nor salt.

By the time supper was over it was night, serene and moonless, yet brilliant with stars. The still waters of Buzzard's Bay lay like a burnished mirror, reflecting the sparkling canopy above in a corresponding arch below. The unbroken forest frowned along the shore, sublime in its solitude, and from its depths could only be heard the lonely cry of the birds of darkness.

The Indians collected an enormous pile of pine knots and the resinous boughs of the fir-tree. Men, women, and children all contributed to enlarge the gigantic heap, and when the torch was touched, a bonfire of amazing splendor blazed far and wide over the forest and the bay. This was the introductory act to a drama where peace and war were blended. All the Indians, old and young, gathered around the fire. Queen Awashonks, with the oldest men and women of the tribe, kneeling down in a circle, formed the first ring; next behind them came all the most distinguished warriors, armed and arrayed in all the gorgeous panoply of barbarian warfare; then came a motley multitude of the common mass of men, women, and children.

At an appointed signal, Awashonks' chief captain stepped forward from the circle, danced with frantic gesture around the fire, drew a brand from the flames, and, calling it by the name of a tribe hostile to the English, belabored it with bludgeon and tomahawk. He then drew out another and another, until all the tribes hostile to the English had been named, assailed, and exterminated. Reeking with perspiration, and exhausted by his frenzied efforts, he retired within the ring. Another chief then came out and re-enacted the same scene, endeavoring to surpass his predecessor in the fierceness and fury of his efforts. In this way all the chiefs took what they considered as their oath of fidelity to the English. The chief captain then came forward to Captain Church, and, presenting him with a fine musket, informed him that all the warriors were henceforth subject to his command. Captain Church immediately drew out a number of the ablest warriors, and the next morning, before the break of day, set out with them for Plymouth, where he arrived in the afternoon.

It is said that when King Philip, in the midst of his accumulating disasters, learned that the Saconet tribe had abandoned his cause and had gone over to the English, he was never known to smile again. He knew that his doom was now sealed, and that nothing remained for him but to be hunted as a wild beast of the forest for the remainder of his days. Though a few tribes still adhered to him, he was well aware that in these hours of disaster he would soon be abandoned by all. Proudly, however, the heroic chieftain disdained all thoughts of surrender, and resolved to contend with undying determination to the last. We cannot but respect his energy and deplore his fate.

Receiving a commission from the governor, Captain Church that same evening took the field, with a company of eighteen Englishmen and twenty-two Indians. They saw gleaming in the distant forest the campfires of the Indians. Creeping stealthily along, they surrounded a small band of savages, took them by surprise, and captured every one. From one of his prisoners he learned there was another party at Monponset Pond. Carrying his prisoners back to Plymouth, he set out again the next night, and was equally successful in capturing every one of this second band. Thus for some days he continued very successfully harassing the Indians in the vicinity of the Middleborough Ponds. From one of his prisoners be ascertained that both Philip and Quinnapin, the husband of Wetamoo, were in the great cedar swamp, which was full of Indian warriors, and that a hundred Indians had gone on a foray down into Sconticut Neck, now Fair Haven.

The main body of the Plymouth forces was at Taunton. Philip did not dare attempt the passage of the Taunton River, as it was carefully watched. He was thus hemmed in between the river and the sea. Church, with amazing energy and skill, drove his feeble bands from point to point, allowing them not one moment of rest. One Sabbath morning a courier was sent to the governor of the Plymouth colony, who happened to be at Marshfield, informing him that Philip, with a large army, was advancing, with the apparent intention of crossing the river in the vicinity of Bridgewater, and attacking that town. The governor immediately hastened to Plymouth, sent for Captain Church, who was in the meeting-house attending public worship, and requested him to rally all the force in his power, acid march to attack the Indians. Captain Church immediately called his company together, and, running from house to house, collected every loaf of bread in town for the supply of his troops. Early in the afternoon he commenced his march, and early in the evening arrived at Bridgewater. As they were advancing in the darkness, they heard a sharp firing in the distance. It afterward appeared that Philip had felled a tree across the stream, which was there quite narrow, as a bridge for his men. Some energetic Bridgewater lads had watched the movements of the Indians, and had concealed themselves in ambush on the Bridgewater side of the stream. As soon as the Indians commenced passing over the tree, they poured in upon them a volley of bullets. Many dropped from the slender bridge, dead and wounded, into the river. The rest precipitately retreated. This was on the evening of the 31st of July.

Early the next morning, Captain Church, having greatly increased his force by the inhabitants of Bridgewater, marched cautiously to the spot where Philip had attempted to effect a passage. Accompanied by a single Indian, he crept to the banks of the stream where the tree had been. He saw upon the opposite side an Indian in a melancholy, musing posture, sitting alone upon a stump. He was within short musket shot. Church clapped his gun to his shoulder, and was just upon the point of firing, when the Indian who accompanied him hastily called out for him not to fire, for he believed it was one of their own men. The Indian heard the warning, and, startled, looked up.. Captain Church instantly saw it was King Philip himself. In another instant the report of a gun was heard, and a bullet whistled through the thin air, but Philip, with the speed of an antelope, was gone.

Captain Church immediately rallied his company, crossed the river, and pursued the Indians. The savages scattered and fled in all directions. Church and his men picked up a large number of women and children flying in dismay through the woods. Among the rest, he captured the wife of Philip and their only son, a bright boy nine years of age. Quinnapin, the husband of Wetamoo, with a large band of the Indians, retreated down the eastern bank of the river, looking anxiously for a place where they might ford the stream. Captain Church followed upon their trail, pursued them across the stream, and continued the chase until he thought it necessary to return and secure the prisoners.

The Saconet Indians begged permission to continue the pursuit. They returned the next morning, having shot several of the enemy, and bringing with them thirteen women and children as prisoners. The prisoners were all sent to Bridgewater, while bands of soldiers scoured the woods in all directions in pursuit of the fugitives. Every now and then the shrill report of the musket told that the bullet was accomplishing its deadly work. Another night came. It was dark and gloomy. Some of the captives informed the English that Philip, with a large party of his warriors, had sought refuge in a swamp. The heroic chief had heard of the capture of his wife and son, and his heart was broken. Dejected, disheartened, but unyielding, he still resolved to bid defiance to fate, and to contend sternly to the last. The Indian captives, with their accustomed treachery, guided the English to all the avenues of the swamp. Here Captain Church placed his well-armed sentinels, cutting off all escape, and watching vigilantly until the morning.

As soon as it was light, he sent two scouts to enter the swamp cautiously, and ascertain the position of the enemy. At the same moment Philip sent two of his warriors upon a tour of reconnaissance. The two opposite parties met, and the Indians, with loud yells to give the alarm, fled toward their camp. Terrified with the apprehension that the whole English force was upon them, the Indiana plunged like affrighted deer into the deeper recesses of the swamp, leaving their kettles boiling and their meat roasting upon their wooden spits. But they were surrounded, and there was no escape. The following scene, described by Captain Church himself, gives one an idea of the nature of this warfare.

"In this swamp skirmish, Captain Church, with his two men, who always ran by his side as his guard, met with three of the enemy, two of whom surrendered themselves, and the captain's guard seized them; but the other, being a great, stout, surly fellow, with his two locks tied up with red, and a great rattlesnake's skin hanging to the back part of his head, ran from them into the swamp. Captain Church in person pursued him close, till, coming pretty near up with him, he presented his gun between his shoulders, but it missing fire, the Indian perceived it, turned, and presented at Captain Church, and missing fire also, their guns taking wet from the fog and dew of the morning. But the Indian turning short for another run, his foot tripped in a small grapevine, and he fell fiat on his face. Captain Church was by this time up with him, and struck the muzzle of his gun an inch and a half into the back part of his head, which dispatched him without another blow.

"But Captain Church, looking behind him, saw another Indian, whom he thought he had killed, come flying at him like a dragon. But this happened to be fair within sight of the guard that was set to keep the prisoners, who, spying this Indian and others who were following him in the very seasonable juncture, made a shot upon them, and rescued their captain, though he was in no small danger from his friends' bullets, for some of them came so near him that lie thought lie felt the wind of them. The skirmish being over, they gathered their prisoners together, and found the number they had taken to be one hundred and seventy-three."

With these prisoners the English returned to Bridgewater. Captain Church drove the captives that, night into the pound, and placed an Indian guard over them. They were abundantly supplied with food and drink. These poor wretches were so degraded, and so regardless of their fate, that they passed the night in hideous revelry. Philip had by some unknown means escaped. With grief and shame we record that his wife and son were sent to Bermuda and sold as slaves, and were never heard of more. One of the Indian captives said to Captain Church,

"Sir, you have now made Philip ready to die. You have rendered him as poor and miserable as he used to make the English. All his relatives are now either killed or taken captive. You will soon have his head. This last bout has broken his heart."