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fortunately a resolute serjeant, entering at the moment, severed the bow string with his cutlass, and saved his commander.
Though the English had been completely successful in their attack on the fort, and had suffered but a trifling loss, their situation was critical. The provisions conveyed upon the backs of the men, were nearly exhausted -the men were much fatigued by their previous march, in which little time had been given for repose ; and another powerful body of the enemy, under the daring Sassacus, was in the possession of the other fort, not far distant. The flotilla which had landed the troops at Narraganset, had been ordered, on Mason's departure from the bay, to proceed to Pequot harbor, with supplies for the little army; but it had not yet reached the place. Under these embarrassing circumstances Mason was at a loss how to shape his future operations and in constant expectation of an attack from Sassacus and his exasperated warriors. In a short time however, he was relieved from his dilemma, by the sight of the flotilla, under full sail, entering Pequot harbour with an ample supply of provisions. Mason immediately commenced his march for the harbour, nearly six miles distant, and a body of about three hundred furious Indians were soon pressing upon his flanks and rear; and covering themselves with trees and rocks, galling his troops with their arrows. Capt. Underhill with some of the best men, covered the rear of the column, and by a well directed fire, as opportunity presented, compelled the enemy to give up the pursuit.
Embarking on board the vessels, Mason with his brave companions, sailed for Connecticut river, and arriving at their plantations, they were received by their friends, with the highest demonstrations of joy; having been absent about three weeks. “Every family, and every worshiping assembly,” says Dr. Trumbull, “ spake the language of praise and thanksgiving."
The capture of the fort, and the loss they had sustained, threw the Pequots into great consternation. On viewing the destruction they were frantic with ragethey stamped the ground—tore their hair, and filled the air with their horrible cries. But as the number still under Sassacus was formidable, the danger had not subsided, and
the English had much to fear from their increased resentment.
The success of the Connecticut forces being communicated to the governor of Massachusetts, from Roger Williams, by an Indian runner, it was judged that the whole of the forces from Plymouth and Massachusetts, but a part of which had been put in march, were not now required for the prosecution of the war. Only one hundred and twenty men penetrated the Pequot country, under captains Stoughton, Trask and Patrick.* In June, this force reached Pequot harbor, and in conjunction with a body of Narragansets, marched into the interior, for the purpose of devastation. During their operations, they hemmed in a body of Pequots upon a peninsula formed by a river, killed thirty, and made eighty prisoners. Thirty of the captives were warriors; these were put on board a small vessel under captain Gallop, at Pequot harbor-conveyed a small distance out and dispatched. A most disgraceful act of the commander of the forces, is executed by his order.f The troops under Stoughton, were afterwards joined by forty men from Connecticut, under the gallant Mason. With this force, added to the Narragansets, Sassacus found it in vain to contend; he destroyed his remaining forts and wigwams, and with a large body of his chief counsellors and warriors, fled towards Hudson's river, while others left their country, and joined the distant tribes in other directions.
The route of Sassacus towards the Hudson lying along the sea coast, the English resolved to pursue, and if possible, complete bis destruction, and rid themselves of a dangerous enemy. For this purpose part of the forces were embarked in light vessels, to proceed by water, while the remainder should traverse the shore. At Me. Runkatuck, since Guilford, several stragaling) Pequots were captured by the English, among whom were two Sachems, who, obstinately refusing to give information of the destination of the main body, were put to death, at a a place since known by the name of Sachems'-head, in that town.
Dr. Robinson, on the authority of Neal, says, the march of the Massachusetts forces was retarded by the following singular cause. when they were u ustered previous to their departure, it was found that some of their oficers, as well as the private soldiers, were still under a cocenant of works ; and that the blessing of God could not be implored, or expected to crown the arins of such unhallowed men with success. The alarm was general, and many arrangerest Decker sary in order to cast out the unclear, and render this Bitk band stieply pure to fight the battles of a people who entertained high ideas of tveir own sanctityHistory of inerica. Vol. ii, Bock 10.
i Captaiu Storgizon was al erwards one of the sage judges cf Missachutte, tu sai for the trials of witchcraft at Salem.
Continuing the pursuit, the English arrived at Quinipiack, now New Haven, where they received intelligence that the enemy had halted at a great swamp, in the present town of Fairfield, and had been joined by many of the natives of the country, making in the whole, a force of nearly three hundred. The English immediately pressed their march, reached the swamp on the thirteenth of July, and soon invested it on all sides. A small party under lieutenant Davenport, incautiously pressing into the swamp, was attacked and driven back, and severely wounded by Indian arrows. Terms of surrender were now offered to the enemy, on which about one hundred old men, women and children, most of whom were natives of the country, came out of the swamp, and submitted to the English; but the high spirited Pequots, resolving to die, or escape, continued to resist with resolution. When night came on, the English opened a narrow passage inte the swamp, by cutting away the brush with their swords, and closing in their line, kept up a scattering fire during the night. A thick fog hanging over the swamp at day break the next morning, a body of fierce warriors made a rapid charge, at one point, and after a severe conflict, broke through the English line, and sixty or seventy escaped; about twenty were killed, and one hundred and eighty of all descriptions, found in the recesses of the swamp, were made prisoners. Sassacus and about twenty of his faithful warriors fled to the Mohawks, where it seems the chief was not very cordially received; for not long after, he, with most of his fugitives were put to death by these people, and his scalp sent to Connecticut.*
The victory at the Great Swamp, completed the ruin of the Pequot nation. A few still skulking about the woods in their native land, were taken by the Narragansets, and Mohegans, and not unfrequently their heads
According to Hubbard, Sassacus had escaped to the Mohawks, previous to the arrival of the English at the swamp, and therefore was not in the fight; others state the affair substantially as given in the text.
were brought to the English on Connecticut river. Mosi of the warriors whose lives were spared, were given te the auxiliary Indians, who treated them as their own people. Some of the males were sent to the West Indies, and their country became the property of the Englisli. In the course of this bloody war, at least seven hundred Pequots are supposed to have been destroyed, thirteen of whom were sachems. The English loss of men wag small: in all their battles with their enemy, even with inforior numerical forces, their fire arms gave them a vast suporiority, and when the enemy appronched sufliciently near to do execution with their bows and arrows, they were certain to loose great numbers, and it was impossible to break in or repulse the English, so long as they remained in a body, and managed their fire with dexterity.
The succesful termination of the Pequot wor, though, it relieved the settlers on the Connecticut from the depredations of the Indians, yet it left them to contend willa many serious difficulties. A considerable public debt had been incurred; the population was reduced, and considerable property had been destroyed. Interrupted in their agricultural pursuits, the necessary provision, had not been raised, and the following winter provints uncommonly severe, articles of food and clothing, were with difficulty procured.
To relieve the wants of the prople, application in made to Mr. Pynchon of Springfield, for a quantity of Indiza corn, which he was requested to prirchaea of the poighboring Indians, and a verdl was diapauhed th Narraz20set for the same purpose, Notwithstanding these exertions a great warcity atill continued, and the extraordinary prise of twelve shilling paint for * a bushel The quantity of corn otrained being still abrept er the demand, a gente e sent to the Commerturut Pentuck. * Depptell, wheya canisterable, anaatitin
73 reized: and the Indiana si that place deacensten the 72 with caanes, loader with that girl na Prver
This in some measure relieved the suffering people, and the most delicate fed on bread made of this coarse, though wholesome material. But these embarrassments did not long continue. The people now left to prosecute their labor without interruption, were soon able to raise a supply of provisions from their fertile lands, and, by bartering with their friends in the older settlements, to procure most of the necessaries of life. Thus relieved from their distresses, they soon began to extend their plantations into various parts of the adjacent country.
In the summer of 1637, John Davenport, a celebrated minister of London, Theophilus Eaton, and Edward Hopkins, merchants of the same place, and several other persons, arrived at Boston, with the intention of establishing a settlement where they might enjoy civil and religious liberty. Finding the country about Boston, already principally covered with plantations, they determined to look out some unsettled place for themselves and others, who were expected soon to follow them from England. The situation of Quinipiack, had been noted by the troops employed in the expedition against Sassacus, and favorably represented. Believing this an eligible situation, the adventurers resolved to procure a tract of land at that place, or in its vicinity. In the autumn, Mr, Eaton and a few others, proceeded to explore the country, and they at length pitched upon Quinipiack for their settlement; and here they erected a hut, and remained during the winter.
The next spring, Mr. Davenport and the rest of the company, sailed from Boston, and landed at Quinipiack; the first Sunday, the people assembled under a large spreading oak, where Mr. Davenport delivered a sermon. Not long after their arrival, Quinipiack was purchased of Monauguin, the sachem of that part of the country. Besides engaging to protect him against the Indians of the neighborhood, they paid to him and his tribe, twelve coats of English cloth, twelve alchymy spoons, twelve hatchets, twelve hoes, two dozen of knives, twelve poringers, and four cases of French knives and scissors. Other lands lying in the vicinity, were afterwards purchased of the sachem of Mattebeseck, since Middletown, and the following year, the people adopted a frame of government