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uncertain. He went thither on a friendly trading voyage with the natives there; but, as it was said, they fell into an unhappy quarrel, which issued in the above-said slaughter. About this time the Indians on Long Island killed two men that were cast away there in a storm. In this interim there were but about 250 men in Connecticut, exclusive of 20 men sent down under the command of Captain Mason, before-mentioned, to defend the Fort at Saybrook, also before noted, which had been erected by some lords and gentlemen in England, under the command of Lieutenant Lyon Gardner.
In 1636 and following winter and March, at Wethersfield on Connecticut river, the Indians killed six and took seven
Those they took they tortured to death in a cruel and barbarous manner. April 23, 1637, they killed nine more, and took two young women captive.
Under these repeated outrages and slaughters committed on the English by the Pequots, with some farther in the country confederating with them, as was concluded, the Indians in a combination having murdered about thirty of our people in Connecticut, carried a threatening aspect on them in their beginnings. And being but few in number, as before is noted, and their enemies so numerous not only round about them, but the most warlike, fierce and cruel,—the first fomenters of this mischief, the Pequots, seated in the bowels, as it were, of this newly-begun colony,--put the people under some discouragements. However, finding it necessary that some measures should be come into, if possible, to repel the force of these savages, and secure themselves from their rage,
Accordingly a Court was called at Hartford, May 1, 1637, being Monday, and it was then concluded to send 90 men of the colony, under the command of Captain John Mason, before spoken of. This Captain Mason, after Major of all the Connecticut forces, and afterwards, by a successive yearly choice, Deputy Governor of the colony of Connecticut until, the infirmities of old age prevailing on him, declined serving any longer in any public post. He died highly esteemed and much lamented in the 73d year of his age. He was trained up in the Netherland war, according to Mr. Prince's remark, under Sir Thomas Fairfax. When the struggle arose between King Charles I. and the Parliament, about the royal powers and national liberties in England, that famous general had such an esteem for his conduct and bravery, that he wrote over to him to come and assist him. But he declined it, choosing rather to continue in the country, and assist in completing the settlement of the new colony in which he had begun, and suppress the infidels ; in which God made him wonderfully instrumental, as after
Uncas, the Mohegan sachem, about this time, or perhaps not long before, had revolted from the Pequots, though by his father and mother he derived from the royal blood of the Pequots, and had married the daughter of Tatobam, their late sachem. Notwithstanding, having gained a particular acquaintance with Captain Mason, he fell in with the English, and was very active by assisting in taking the Fort, and also in subduing and driving out of the country the greater part of that fierce and dangerous nation. Thus God, in his care and protection, brought forth help for his people even out of the bowels of their enemies, and saved their lives when their hopes were brought low and into a gloomy, staggering state. Thus God is wont to appear in the moment of difficulty for all that trust in him.
But to return. The Court at Connecticut, as was noted, having determined to send out a force against their malicious neighbors the Pequots, the men were raised and embarked, consisting of 90 men. Their fleet (such as it was) consisted of one pink, one pinnace, and one shallop. Úncas, the Mohegan sachem, joined them. This was in the beginning of May, 1637. But in sailing down Connecticut river, the water being very low, they ran aground several times, which the Indians were not acquainted with in their light flatbottomed canoes, grew impatient of delays, therefore desired to be set on shore, promising to meet them by land at Saybrook, which they accordingly did; but in their way fell in with about 30 or 40 of the enemy, near Saybrook, and killed 7 of them, therein proving their fidelity to the English; and there re-embarked and set sail from the mouth of Connecticut river for the Pequot river, then called, where their instructions were to land; at the mouth of which river New London now stands.
But when they came near to the place of their intended landing, they fell under great discouragements and dilemma
of foreseen evil consequences. For, on the one hand, if they did not land there, they should break their orders and act contrary to the instructions they were under, which they could not answer; and on the other hand, if they landed there, they should inevitably throw themselves into the mouths of the enemy, as they were upon a constant look-out and had two forts not far distant from thence, and where the body of these Pequots resided. (The ruins of one of these forts, and also that of Ninicraft's, in the Narragansett country, I have seen ; that particularly of the Pequots, which was destroyed, which I am now hastening to.) Upon the difficulty above noted, the officers, (which we may be sure were but few) some of the company, were for landing at Narragansett Bay, as it was called, à bay lying between the main land and Canonicut Island. Others objected, for the reasons before cited. However, they finally agreed to leave the decision of the case to Mr. Stone, the worthy colleague with Mr. Hooker in the church at Hartford, who was then their chaplain. of this mutual conclusion they acquainted Mr. Stone in the evening; and doubtless this eminent man of God, as he was justly esteemed, made his fervent prayers at the throne of grace, for direction in this arduous affair. In the morning he told them, he apprehended it most advisable to land at the Narragansett Bay. Accordingly they steered their course thither, and there landed without any opposition. This bay was the utmost boundary of Ninicraft's dominions in the east. The place of their landing was about forty-three miles from the nearest Pequot fort, which they purposed first to attack, and did so. It should have been noted before, that Captain John Underhill, being at Saybrook Fort, joined Captain Mason with 19 men; for these they sent back 20 men to Connecticut. It may also be noted here, that the two young women spoken of before, taken captive, were set at liberty by means of the Dutch, which was a very kind office in them.
There was a petty sachem, not far from the place where they landed, to whom Captain Mason applied, desiring the liberty of free passing through his country, which he readily consented to; the Captain also acquainted him with the expedition he was upon. This also he liked well, but thought they had not a number sufficient to engage such a powerful and numerous people as the Pequots were.
It may not be amiss here to observe, that some time before this I am now speaking of, the murder, before related, committed on Captain Oldham and company by the Indians on Block Island, reached the Massachusetts; upon which the Court there sent 120 men, under the command of Captain John Erdicott in chief, with Captain Underhill, before named, and Captain Turner. They were directed to search into the reasons of the murder of Captain Oldham and his company. Of their proceedings at Block Island with the Indians there we have no particular account.* They were also ordered to treat with the Pequots, and know the reason of their killing Captain Stone and others on Connecticut river. They accordingly arrived at the Pequot country, and had some conference with the Indians on these affairs. But their answers, as well as carriage, gave our men no satisfaction, but rather disgusted them to that degree, that they killed an Indian and burnt some of their wigwams, or houses, and then drew off; which enraged the Pequots against the English so, that they fell with violence on them, and killed divers at Saybrook and elsewhere; for which reason Captain Mason was sent down to Saybrook Fort, as before is noted. The number of those slain at Saybrook we have no particular account.
To return to Captain Mason and his troops. They coming to Narragansett Bay, (it was on Saturday in the afternoon) there they kept Sabbath. Monday and Tuesday the wind blowing hard, prevented their landing till Wednesday. Soon after their landing, Captain Mason visited the sachem, as before is related, and then proceeded on his march towards the Pequot country; and after travelling about eighteen or twenty miles, they came accordingly to a place where another petty sachem lived in a fort. The Captain, in his account of this march, calls the place Nayantick, and says, “ it was a frontier of the Pequots; and then travelling twelve miles further, they came to Pawcatuck.” The Captain not being acquainted with the country, might mistake; for Nayhantick, or Nahantick, lies several miles westward of the Pequot fort that they aimed to destroy, and Pawcatuck river, now the boundary between Rhode Island and Connecticut governments, is about ten or twelve miles east of the Pequot
[* The Author had probably never seen Uuderhill's account of the expedition to Block Island. See page 5 of this volume.
fort, and also the eastern bounds of Sassacus, the then Pequot sachem's territories; and it must evidently be a mistake, as to the name Nayantick, and its being in the territory of the Narragansett sachem, by many of his men coming and offering to assist him, as by his relation they did in the morning. However, let that matter be as it will, at that fort they stayed that night. The Indians belonging to the fort carried very proudly towards them, and would not suffer any of Captain Mason's men to enter into the fort. Upon this behavior of theirs the Captain set a strong guard round the fort, with orders that not one of the Indians should stir out on the peril of their lives; fearing likewise lest tidings should be carried to the Pequots of their approach. Thus they continued that night ; in the morning there came a number of the Narragansetts and joined them, as before noted.
Our forces in the morning pursued their route toward Pequot, with about 500 Indians. Surely it must be under the special hand of Divine Providence, that no tidings of all this came to the Pequots, nor to the moment of their assaulting the fort, as we shall hear. They soon got over the ford, or wading-place, at Pawcatuck river, where now there is a large bridge, which brought them into the Pequots' territories, wherein they marched near eight or ten miles even in the enemy's country, and still undiscovered. About this time, in their march they came to a place where Indian corn had been planted. Supposing thereby that the fort was not far off, they came to a stand, and the Captain ordered the Indians to be called up who were now in the rear, who had all along before led the van. This the English supposed was owing to their fear of the Pequots. However, Uncas, the Mohegan sachem, and one named Wequash, came up. It was demanded of them where the fort was. They, pointing, said, “On that hill before them,” as they were then in lower land. They demanded also where were the rest of the Indians. They answered, “Behind, as they 'were afraid of the Pequots.” Then the Captain ordered them to tell their fellows, “ that they should by no means fly, but stand at what distance they pleased, and see whether Englishmen could fight or not." It was said that this Wequash that came up with Uncas, as before is noted, had, upon some disgust, deserted the Pequots and came to Captain Mason; and was his pilot, directing where the easiest passes were