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1637.

May 10.

May 21.

arations had been retarded—not from any misgivings as to the justice of the war, but because the army “was too much under a covenant of works.” The expedition was now got ready, and, by “a solemn public invocation of the word of God,” a leader was designated by lot from among three of the magistrates set apart for that purpose. The lot fell on Stoughton, whose adherence to the orthodox party during the late dissensions had restored him to favor, and obtained for him, at the late election, one of the vacant magistrates' seats. Wilson was also designated by lot as chaplain to the expedition. The people of Plymouth agreed to furnish forty-five men. The decisive battle, however, had been already fought. The Connecticut towns, impatient of delay, having obtained the alliance of Uncas, sachem of the Mohegans, had marched, to the number of ninety men, almost their entire effective force, under the command of John Mason, bred a soldier in the Netherlands, whom Hooker, with prayers and religious ceremonies, solemnly invested with the staff of command. After a night spent in prayer, this little army, joined by Uncas with sixty Indians, and accompanied by Stone, Hooker's colleague, as chaplain, embarked at Hartford. They were not without great doubts as to their Indian allies, but were reassured at Fort Saybrook. While Stone was praying “for one pledge of love, that may confirm us of the fidelity of the Indians,” these allies came in with five Pequod scalps and a prisoner. Underhill joined with his twenty men, and the united forces proceeded by water to Narraganset Bay, where they spent the Sunday in religious exercises. They were further strengthened by Miantonimoh and two hundred Narraganset warriors; but the English force seemed so inadequate that many of the Narragansets became discouraged and returned home.

The Pequods were principally collected a few miles east of Pequod River, now the Thames, in two forts or villages, fortified with trees and brushwood. After a fatiguing march of two days, Mason reached one of these strongholds, situated on a high hill, at no great distance from the sea-shore. He encamped a few hours to rest his men, but marched again before daybreak, and at early dawn approached the fort. The Pequods had seen the vessels pass along the sea-shore toward the bay of Narraganset, and, supposing the hostile forces afraid to attack them, they had spent the night in feasting and dancing, and Mason could hear their shoutings in his camp. Toward morning they sunk into a deep sleep, from which they were roused by the barking of their dogs, as the colonists, in two parties, approached the fort, one led by Mason, the other by Underhill, both of whom have left us narratives of the battle. The assailants poured in a fire of musketry, and, after a moment's hesitation, forced their way into the fort. Within were thickly clustered wigwams containing the families of the Indians, and what remained of their winter stores. The astonished Pequods seized their weapons and fought with desperation; but what could their clubs and arrows avail against the muskets and plate-armor of the colonists? Yet there was danger in the great superiority of their numbers, and Mason, crying out “we must burn them,” thrust a fire-brand among the mats with which the wigwams were covered. Almost in a moment the fort was in a blaze. The colonists, “bereaved of pity and without compassion,” so Underhill himself declares, kept up the fight within the fort, while their Indian allies, forming a circle around, struck down every Pequod who attempted to escape. No quarter was given, no mercy was shown; some hundreds, not warriors only, but old

CHAPTER
IX.

1637.

May 26.

chores men, women, and children, perished by the weapons of the

colonists, or in the flames of the burning fort. “Great

1637. and doleful,” says Underhill, “was the bloody sight to

the view of young soldiers, to see so many souls lie gasping on the ground, so thick you could hardly pass along.” The fact that only seven prisoners were taken, while Mason boasts that only seven others escaped, evinces the unrelenting character of this massacre, which was accomplished with but trifling loss, only two of the colonists being killed, and sixteen or twenty wounded. Yet the victors were not without embarrassments. The morning was hot, there was no water to be had, and the men, exhausted by their long march the two days before, the weight of their armor, want of sleep, and the sharpness of the late action, must now encounter a new body of Pequods from the other village, who had taken the alarm, and were fast approaching. Mason, with a select party, kept this new enemy at bay, and thus gave time to the main body to push on for Pequod River, into which some vessels had just been seen to enter. When the Indians approached the hill where their fort had stood, at sight of their ruined habitations and slaughtered companions they burst out into a transport of rage, stamped on the ground, tore their hair, and, regardless of every thing save revenge, rushed furious in pursuit. But the dreaded fire-arms soon checked them, and Mason easily made good his retreat to Pequod harbor, now New London, where he found not only his own vessels, but Captain Patrick also, just arrived in a bark from Boston, with forty men. Mason sent the wounded and most of his forces by water, but, in consequence of Patrick's refusal to lend his ship, was obliged to march himself, with twenty men, followed by Patrick, to Fort Saybrook, where his victory was greeted by a salvo of cannon,

In about a fortnight Stoughton arrived at Saybrook with the main body of the Massachusetts forces; Mason, with forty Connecticut soldiers and a large body of Narragansets, joined also in pursuing the remnants of the enemy. The Pequods had abandoned their country, or concealed themselves in the swamps. One of these fortresses was attacked by night, and about a hundred Indians captured. The men, twenty-two in number, were put to death; thirty women and children were given to the Narraganset allies; some fifty others were sent to Boston, and distributed as slaves among the principal colonists. The flying Pequods were pursued as far as Quinapiack, now New Haven. A swamp in that neighborhood, where a large party had taken refuge, being surrounded and attacked, a parley was had, and life was offered to “all whose hands were not in English blood.” About two hundred, old men, women, and children, reluctantly came out and gave themselves up. Daylight was exhausted in this surrender; and as night set in, the warriors who remained renewed their defiances. Toward morning, favored by a thick fog, they broke through and escaped. Many of the surviving Pequods put themselves under the protection of Canonicus and other Narraganset chiefs. Sassacus, the head sachem, fled to the Mohawks; but they were instigated by their allies, the Narragansets, to put him to death. His scalp was sent to Boston, and many heads and hands of Pequod warriors were also brought in by the neighboring tribes. The adult male prisoners who remained in the hands of the colonists were sent to the West Indies to be sold into slavery; the women and children experienced a similar fate at home. It was reckoned that between eight and nine hundred of the Pequods had been killed or taken. Such of the survivors as had escaped,

CHAPTER
IX.

1637.

June.

July.

August.

chapTER forbidden any longer to call themselves Pequods, were

distributed between the Narragansets and Mohegans,

1637, and subjected to an annual tribute. A like tribute was imposed, also, on the inhabitants of Block Island. The colonists regarded their success as ample proof of Divine approbation, and justified all they had done to these “bloody heathen” by abundant quotations from the Old Testament. Having referred to “the wars of David,” Underhill adds, “We had sufficient light from the word of God for our proceedings;” and Mason, after some exulting quotations from the Psalms, concludes: “Thus the Lord was pleased to smite our enemies in the hinder parts, and to give us their land for an inheritance!” The Indian allies admired the courage of the colonists, but they thought their method of war “too furious, and to slay too many.”

Some occurrences shortly after are sufficient to show that, in their relations with the Indians, the colonists were not governed by mere passion and hatred, but by systematic principles of what they considered justice. Three out of four runaway servants, who had robbed and murdered an Indian near Providence, after consultation with the magistrates of Massachusetts, were tried at Plymouth, found guilty, and hanged. The fourth escaped to Piscataqua, and the people there refused to give him up; “it was their custom, some of them,” * says Winthrop, “to countenance all such lewd persons as fled from us.” The case of Sequeen was still more remarkable. This was the chief who had instigated the attack on Wethersfield, in which nine of the inhabitants had been slain. But the elders and magistrates of Massachusetts, whose opinion was asked on the subject, decided that Sequeen, having been first injured, might, by the law of nations, right himself, either by force or

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