« ZurückWeiter »
Having been made thus successful, in providence, to the destruction of so many of the Pequots, with their stronghold, they conclude to pursue their victories, and complete the destruction of the Pequots, if possible. In order thereto, they take care to send back the Narragansett party of Indians, that had assisted them thus far, in one of their vessels. Otherwise they must have travelled near twenty miles through their enemy's country, and be exposed to their rage.
This done, they immediately follow the scheme before laid, which was for the vessels to steer their course to Quinnepaeg, or Quinņepauge rather, now New Haven, and their forces to march by land, and there to meet.
This resolution being drawn, Captain Patrick proposes to accompany them with a part of his men, all that could be spared out of their vessel. Captain Mason did not incline. to have his company with him; yet he would go, "although in truth we did not desire or delight in it, and so we plainly told him. However, he would, and did march along with us." Thus Captain Mason relates it. This treatment of the Captain's might proceed partly from a sharp contest that arose between Captain Patrick and Captain Underhill at the place where their vessels were riding at anchor, and where they first met; in which controversy Captain Mason concluded Captain Patrick very much in the wrong, to deny Captain Underhill the liberty of his own vessel to carry their wounded men aboard, when Captain Patrick had had the privilege of coming on shore with his men in it; which Captain Mason and his men looked upon as very unreasonable on Captain Patrick's part, and is so represented in Captain Mason's Narrative. Or the slight put on Captain Patrick's company, with his men and their assistance might, perhaps, be with this view, that as the Connecticut forces, though small, had been thus remarkably successful in subduing such a strong party of the Pequots, they chose rather to complete the conquest, and confine the glory and triumph of this victory within their own weak, newly-erected colony.
However, Captain Patrick with his party were very serviceable, in this instance, among others (if my intended brevity would allow a longer narrative). In the march of this army, they discovered a party of the enemy; but they, seeing the English, fled to shelter themselves in a swamp
not far distant. They advancing forward in order to surround the swamp, and coming to a hill, observed some wigwams on the other side, and attempted to go thither, by Sergeant Palmer and about 12 men under his command, and surround the smaller part of the swamp, which was divided almost into two, parts, and also prevent the Indians' flight. Ensign Davenport (who after was made Captain of the Castle at Boston), he with Sergeant Jeffries entered the swamp, intending to go to the wigwams, but were set upon by some Indians, with whom they had a small skirmish. Two of their men were wounded, but the damage the Indians sustained was not known. After some disputes passing. in our army what method was best to come into to prevent the enemy's escape, some were for cutting down the swamp, others for hedging it round; others represented it as too hard a task, being unwilling to destroy the women and children, and what Indians might be belonging to that place, if any such there were. At length Captain Mason gave orders to cut through the swamp in the narrowest place, which would bring the body of their army into a narrower compass, and more likely to prevent the enemy's escape; which was soon performed by Sergeant Davis and his assistants. Mr. Thomas Stanton, one that was well acquainted with the Indian language and manners, offered his service to go into the swamp and treat with them; which at first they were very unwilling to consent to, looking on it as exceeding hazardous and dangerous for him; but through his great importunity, they at length gave him leave. He accordingly went in and treated with them in their own language, and soon brought out 200 old men, women and children, who delivered themselves to the mercy of the English.
The night coming on, they used the utmost care to secure them, by keeping a strict watch and guard round the swamp. The Indians that were still remaining in it, about half an hour before day, attempted to break through Captain Patrick's quarters, who were bravely repulsed and driven back several times. After several attempts, wherein they were driven back by the shot of our men, about 60 or 70 stout fellows broke through and escaped. The captives they took were about 180.
Before this, there were sent from the Massachusetts about 120 men, under the command of Captain Israel Stoughton,
to assist the Connecticut forces in carrying on the war against the Pequots, who were joined with them in this immediate -foregoing narrative, and helped them mightily in their following pursuits of the Pequots, until they had totally destroyed, or dispersed and scattered them. The enemy that were left being all escaped, as will after appear, they became a prey to all the other Indians. Some few stragglers of them were seized by the Mohawks and others of the Indians, and by them given to the Massachusetts soldiers.
Soon after the destruction of the Pequot fort, as has been related, or Mystick Fight, as it was called, it not being far from a little river and small inlet of the sea bearing that name, the remaining Pequots, who were yet very numerous, found it would be dangerous staying in their own country, resolved to disperse and scatter into some distant parts. Some therefore took their flight towards the Manhatoes or Manadoes, so called, where some Dutch people had settled themselves, before the settlement of these New-English colonies, now New York. Of this number it is very probable those just above-mentioned were a part, who were bending their course westward, and overtaken by our troops. Others fled to the Maquas, so called, (I suppose the Mohawks), and others of them elsewhere to other tribes of the Indians at a distance, for shelter, who thereby had not felt the force of the Pequots' arms. A party of these Pequots, passing over Connecticut river in flight, found three Englishmen in a shallop going down to Saybrook, whom they killed. Some of the party after were taken, and confessed the Englishmen fought very smartly before they were killed, and wounded several of them.
The Massachusetts troops being, as was said, with those of Connecticut, pursued, took and destroyed these Pequots to that degree, that, together with those slain at first by Captain Mason at the taking of the fort and in their after pursuits, they killed, as was said, twelve of the Pequots' petty sachems and chief captains. But Sassacus, their grand sachem, had escaped to the Maquas, whose head was not long after brought to the English as a present, by the means of Ninicraft, the Narragansett sachem, who by his men, as is noted before, assisted Captain Mason in taking and destroying the Pequot fort. This act of friendship doubtless
was done to ingratiate himself the more with the English; which brings to mind a passage I met with from Captain James Babcock, late of Westerdly, in Rhode Island government, not many miles distant from Ninicraft's fort, a gentleman of known fidelity and uncommon generosity; and living near those Indians was well acquainted with them and their manners. As we were together viewing the remains of Ninicraft's fort, he told me that, in the time of Philip's war, as it was called, in Plymouth and the Massachusetts, Ninicraft was informed, three of his men were privately withdrawn, and had joined in that war against the English. Upon their return, he cut off their feet at their ancles, and then bid them run away to the war, if they could. In that condition they crawled about until they died. This he said the Indians there had told him.
It was very remarkable, in the providence of God, there should be in the fort that Captain Mason destroyed, 150 men that came up from the other fort but the evening before, to unite with those in this fort, with a strong resolution to pursue and destroy all the English, if possible. But their purposed mischief in the evening, was turned upon their own head early the next morning; and with very weak means, there being but 77 men that performed this marvellous and very memorable exploit.
It is also worthy of memorable remark, that Wequash, before mentioned, that was a captain among the Pequots, should, but a little time before, revolt from them to the Mohegan Indians, that had all along, from the beginning, approved themselves special friends to the English, and to be made Captain Mason's guide to the easiest places of access into the fort; which rendered their conquest the more speedy, and with but little loss. And that which adds a special lustre to this instance is, that this Wequash was hopefully converted to the Christian faith, and became afterwards an excellent preacher among the Indians for a considerable time, and probably was made the proto-martyr for the religion of Jesus Christ in this. North American land; for the time or manner of his death was never known; and as he was a special friend to the English, and a strict professor of the same religion with them, it was therefore strongly suspected that some of the Indians had privately murdered him, and concealed the murder.
To return to our troops in their pursuits of the Pequots,who continued for some time ranging the country until they destroyed many of them, and the rest were so scattered and dispersed, that they concluded it fruitless any longer to follow them; and therefore returned home. And now, as before was hinted, the Pequots became a prey to the other Indians. Happy were they that could bring in their heads to the English, of which were brought in almost daily to Windsor and Hartford. Those that remained of the Pequots, finding themselves reduced to such an amazing condition, that which way soever they turned their eyes with an attempt to escape, they saw nothing but destruction and death before them, therefore sent in some of their chiefs that were surviving to mediate for them with the English, offering to be their servants, and to be disposed of as they pleased, if they might have their lives spared; which was readily granted them. Whereupon the Mohegan and Narragansett sachems were sent for, who, with the Pequots, met at Hartford. The Pequots being demanded how many of them were yet living, answered, About 180 or 200. There was then given to Uncas, sachem of the Mohegans, 80, and to Miantinomo, who might probably be an ancient sagamore of the Narragansetts, 80, and to Ninicraft, likely his son,* 20; when he made satisfaction to Edward Pomroy for his mare, killed by his men. They then bound the Pequots in a covenant that none of them should any more inhabit their native country, nor be called Pequots any more, but Mohegans and Narragansetts for ever. This seems to carry something like a prophetic stamp in it, for the name of a Pequot, or Pequots, is long since wholly extinct; whereas the Mohegan and Narragansett tribes of Indians, who were seated on each side of the Pequots, and were from the beginning friends to the English, remain in considerable bodies of people, in their primitive territories, to this day.
I have purposely omitted many particulars in this Narrative of the Pequot War, partly for want of leisure, as also not to trouble my reader with a long and unnecessary detail
[* The author has fallen into some errors here. Ninicraft, or Ninegret, as he is sometimes called, was not the son of Miantinomo, but either his cousin, as Drake says in his Book of the Indians, or his uncle, as Prince states in his Annals. Miantinomo was the head sachem of the Narragansetts, and Ninicraft was the sachem of the Nyanticks, an integral part of the same formidable tribe. Pub. Com.]