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The Hon. Major-General Gookin, who has left, in many particulars, the best ancient account, extant, of the natives of this country, informs us, that originally, five principal Indian nations occupied the chief part of New-England. The limits of this country on the North and West, were, at that time, imperfectly defined. The tracts, assigned to these five nations by Mr. Gookin, amount, also, to less than one half of the present New-England. We are therefore to understand this account with important qualifications.

The Pequods are the first of these nations. The jurisdiction of this people spread over the country, commencing about five miles East of Paukatuc river, at a place called Wecapaug, in the township of Westerly, and terminating near the Western boundary of Connecticut. Mr. Gookin observes that their Sachem held dominion over a part of Long-Island, the Moheagans, the Sagamores of Quinipeake, (Quinipiac or New Haven,) the people on Connecticut river, and over the most Southerly inhabitants of the Nipmuc country about Quinabaug; the Southern part of the County of Worcester. The country, inhabited by the Pequods, has been already pointed out.

The second of these nations was the Narrhagansets ; who inhabited most of the country, which is now the State of RhodeIsland, and had also several tributaries.

The third nation was the Pawkunnakuts or Wamponoags ; who inhabited the three Counties of Plymouth, Bristol, and Barnstable ; or the old Colony of Plymouth.

The fourth of these nations was the Massachusetts; who occupied the Counties of Suffolk, Norfolk, and Middlesex, and probably the Eastern border of Worcester.

The fifth nation was the Pawtuckets ; who lived in the County of Essex, the Northern part of Middlesex, and the County of Rockingham in New Hampshire.

The two last of these nations I suppose to have been comprehended under the common name of Aberginians.

To these nations may be added the Nipmucs or Nipnets; who occupied the County of Worcester, and were extensively tributa

tary to the three first, which have been mentioned; the Mohekaneews; who extended their jurisdiction over the Counties of Berkshire, in Massachusetts ; Columbia, Rensselaer, a part of Washington, Ulster, Albany, and Saratoga in the State of NewYork; and the County of Bennington in Vermont; and the Tarrateens : who possessed a great part of the District of Maine.

Westward of these nations, and bordering upon them, were the Iroquois. These I shall have occasion to mention hereafter.

The comparative strength of these Chief nations, as declared by the oldest Indians in Mr. Gookin's time, was as follows.


when most numerous. The Pequods,

4,000 Narrhagansets,

5,000 Pawkunnakuts,

3,000 Massachusetts,

3,000 Pawtuckets,

3,000 Nipuets, probably

1,000 Mohekaneews,

1,000 From the smallness of the number of children, who survive their childhood, and the universal devotion to war among the Savages of this country, which makes every man a warriour as early, and as late, as he can possibly employ himself in this business; it may be safely determined, that one person out of four is a warriour. The whole number of these nations therefore, at the time of their greatest known prosperity, may be safely considered as within the following enumeration. The Pequods,

16,000 Narrhagansets,

20,000 Pawkunnakuts,

12,000 Masssachusetts,

12,000 Pawtuckets,

12,000 Nipnets,

4,000 Mohekaneews,




This population covered between thirty and forty thousand square miles; and may be considered as the acme of Indian population : for there is no tract of country, equally distant from the equator, which could boast of so many advantages, or furnish equal means of subsistence to man, living in the Indian manner. It is believed, that one third, if not one half of this population, was sustained on fish only. The Narrhagansets, whose country was much more populous than that, which was inhabited by any other of these tribes, were proprietors of the best fishing grounds; i. e. for such fish, as Indians were able to take; furnished by the continent of North America. From this source was derived the uncommon populousness of the Narrhaganset territory.

In the numbers, mentioned above, are intentionally included all the subordinate and tributary tribes; who, as I apprehend, being either obliged or voluntarily inclined to take the field with their Lords paramount, were customarily reckoned in the number of their warriours. These numbers are given, as I have observed, according to the accounts of the oldest Indians within the knowledge of Gen. Gookin. My own opinion is, that they are most, if not all, exaggerated. Seventy thousand or two to a square mile, would, I am satisfied, include every Indian, living on this tract at any preceding period.

The Narrhagansets were undoubtedly the most formidable tribe in New-England after the Pequods. I have observed that their dread of the Pequods prevented them from uniting in the scheme of exterminating the people of New-England, proposed by Sassacus in 1637. Their dread of the English colonists prevented them from openly uniting with Philip, who formed the same design, and attempted to execute it in the year 1675. Still they favoured his enterprise; and entertained his warriours with a hospitality, which contradicted both their professions and their treaties. Their warriours, also, went into the field with this Chieftain; and took their share in his battles, murders, and conflagrations. Satisfied of these facts, the Commissioners of the United Colonies resolved, in the month of November, 1675, on an expedition against these people; and for this purpose directed

an army of a thousand men to be immediately raised. Of these, Massachusetts was to furnish 527; Plymouth 158; and Connecticut, 315. Connecticut, however, sent 300 soldiers, and 150 Moheagans and Pequods. Major Treat commanded the Connecticut troops ; Major Bradford, those of Plymouth; and Major Appleton, those of Massachusetts. Mr. Winslow, Governor of Plymouth, commanded the whole. The Massachusetts and Plymouth troops rendezvoused at Wickford, in North Kingston, on the Western side of Narrhaganset Bay, about twenty-four miles South of Providence, the 12th of December; and commenced some desultory hostilities upon the enemy. On the 17th, the Connecticut forces arrived at Petty Sqamscot ; which, from a number of circumstances, I conclude to be South Kingston.

On the 18th they were joined by their friends from Plymouth, and Massachusetts. The night following was tempestuous, and very cold. The snow fell to a considerable depth; and the army was without a shelter. Very early in the morning of the 19th, they marched against the enemy, embodied in a swamp, which I suppose to be that called Indian swamp, in the Northern part of Charlestown. In the deep and thick recesses of this dismal place was an island, containing five or six acres of ground, enclosed with palisadoes. Here the Narrhaganset warriours, above two thousand in number, armed with one thousand muskets, beside bows and arrows, furnished with ammunition, and possessed of skill to use them, had collected their whole strength, together with their women and children, and their winter's stock of provisions. One of these people, named Peter, had quarrelled with his countrymen, and fallen into the hands of the colonists. This man promised to guide them to the fortress, and punctually fulfilled his promise. The Massachusetts led the van; those of Plymouth occupied the centre; and those of Connecticut the rear.

Fifteen miles, this band of heroes waded through the snow, between the dawn and one o'clock P. M. They reached the fort, while their enemies were employed in dressing their dinner, without a suspicion of their approach. The New-England forces could discover but one entrance into the fort ; and this was on a log, felled across the exteriour ditch. The palisado was inclosed by what Hubbard calls, “a hedge, of almost a rod in thickness.” This I suppose to have been a collection of bushes, and branches of trees, laid closely without the wall. To force a passage through it, you will easily see, was in these circumstances a work of too much time, difficulty, and danger: particularly, as the alarm was given by a small party of the enemy, whom the army had met in the swamp, and driven before them into the fort. From this embarrassment they were delivered by Peter, who led them to another opening. Here some trees, lying loosely as they fell, obstructed their course; and a block-house, directly in front, threatened them with destruction. The passage, however, was possible; and they attempted it without hesitation : but the fire from the block house was so great, and so well directed, that they were compelled to fall back. The attempt was immediately renewed, notwithstanding they lost a number of men in the onset, and among others, Captains Johnson and Davenport, who fell while they were fighting gallantly at the head of their companies.

During this struggle the Connecticut troops became impatient of their situation in the rear; but found it impossible to act with any advantage against the enemy, as the main body of the army was between them and the fort. A part of them therefore, moved round to the opposite side, and forced their way, over the hedge, through a gap in the palisado. The Indians were so occupied in defending the entrance, where the Massachusetts people began the assault, that these men crossed the hedge, and came upon their rear unobserved. Here they poured upon them a well-directed fire. Every man took aim; and every man was a marksman. The execution, therefore, was great.

Just at this time some of the officers, commanding the main body of the Colonial army, cried out, “they run." At the word the soldiers pushed their enemies with increased vigour, and compelled them from their shelter. The contest then became still more violent: but it was now carried on in the open field : and was therefore more destructive to the Indians, and less so to the NewEngland forces. The battle lasted from two to three hours; and

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