Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ended in the expulsion of the enemy from the fort. The soldiers in the mean time set fire to their weekwams, and destroyed them.

Three of the Massachusetts Captains Johnson, Davenport and Gardiner; and three of the Connecticut Captains, Seely, Gallup, and Marshall; were killed outright. Capt. Mason of Connecticut, and Lieut. Upham of Massachusetts, died of their wounds. The killed and wounded soldiers amounted to two hundred and ten. Eighty of these died either on the field, or soon after the battle : Forty belonging to Connecticut, thirty to Massachusetts, and ten to Plymouth. The loss of the Indians, according to the confession of Potock, one of their principal men, taken afterwards at Rhode-Island, amounted to seven hundred killed outright, and three hundred more, who died of their wounds. Six hundred, men, women, and children, were taken prisoners. The whole number of the savages in the fort, is supposed to have been four thousand. The remainder escaped.

After the battle, the New-England troops marched immediately back to their former places of rendezvous; carrying with them their wounded, and most of their dead. Their march lay through a pathless wilderness. The frost was severe; and the snow so deep, that they were scarcely able the next day to move at all. To these inclemencies the wounded were exposed, equally with the rest.

The Connecticut troops having suffered very severely from their march, as well as from the conflict and the succeeding hardships, it was thought proper, that they should return immediately to Stonington. The Massachusetts forces, together with those of Plymouth, took up their head quarters in the neighbourhood; and by destroying the provisions of the Indians, frequently alarming them, captivating some, and killing others, distressed them not a little.

Few events in the annals of war have exhibited more honourable proofs of patience and fortitude under severe sufferings, or of gallantry and firmness in battle, than this enterprise. The enemy greatly outnumbered the New-England army; and in numbers, not less than theirs, were furnished with fire arms. They were at the same time immured in a fastness, and defended by a fortification, in the highest degree favourable to the Indian manner of fighting : being secured in a great measure from the view of their enemies; while their enemies were perfectly open to them. The savages were brave, and desperate : for they fought near three hours, and until half of their warriours fell. The NewEngland army, also, lost early in the engagement the greater part of their principal officers. Marching through snow, even of a moderate depth, is attended with excessive fatigue; and to be exposed night after night to repeated snow storms, and severe frosts has of itself been often fatal. All these evils were accumulated upon the New-England troops in a deep forest; and were borne without a fear, a murmur, or a thought of returning before the purpose was accomplished. Not a single instance of cowardice, impatience, or dishonour, is left on record. The officers and men, without an exception, suffered, fought, and endured, as a band of brothers. When all the circumstances are considered, I am satisfied, that it will be difficult to point out in the history of mankind a fairer specimen of heroism, or of fortitude.

The great reason for undertaking this enterprise, beside the treachery of the Narrhagansets, was the extreme danger, apprehended from their inroads upon the Colonies in the ensuing spring. The Commissioners certainly acted very wisely in determining to attack them before the commencement of their hostilities. They had already proved themselves to be determined enemies; and were waiting only for an advantageous opportunity, to invade the Colonies. Had they been let alone till the ensuing season, they would undoubtedly have destroyed great multitudes of the New-England people ; great multitudes, I mean more than they actually destroyed. The Colonial troops marched at the critical moment. A snow first, which immediately after fell to a great depth; and then a thaw, which dissolved the snow, and filled the low grounds with water; would have rendered it impossible for them to reach the enemy, until the season was too far advanced to allow the hope of any important success. On the whole, Providence smiled on VOL. II.

7

the undertaking in many important particulars ; every one of which seems to have been indispensable to its success.

In the ensuing spring the remainder of this people, joining themselves to Philip and his associates in different parts of NewEngland; destroyed many of the towns; and killed great numbers of the inhabitants.

In the month of March, Captain George Denison, of Stonington, one of the bravest and most skillful of partisans, made a successful incursion into the Narrhaganset country; where he surprised, and seized, Nanuntenoo, son of Miantonimoh, and the chief Sachem of this people. He was offered his life upon condition of living in peace with the Colonists : but he received the offer with disdain ; and would not permit any intercession to be made for his life ; declaring with a loftiness of mind, which would have been admired in a Grecian hero, that he chose to die before his heart became soft, and before he had uttered any thing unwor. thy of his character.

In the course of this season, Denison, with his Volunteers, killed and took, in several expeditions, 230 of the enemy, without having one man either killed or wounded. This fact, which in any circumstances would have been extraordinary, was here astonishing: for the Indians are the most exact marksmen in the world.* During the whole of this season Philipand his associates were every where pursued, throughout the different parts of the country, hy Major Talcott, Captain Denison, Captain Church, and many other gallant officers and men, without intermision. Parties every where scoured the country, and left the Indians neither safety nor rest. In August, Philip, the source and soul of the war, was surprised, and shot, by an Indian, one of the soldiers of Captain Church. With him the hopes, and exertions, of the enemy in the

* The brave actions of the Connecticut Volunteers have not been enough applauded. Denison's name ought to be perpetuated. The Narrhaganset fight had enraged the Indians, and made them desperate ; and the English plantations after that, were in greater terror than before; but this successful hunting them, and ferreting them out of their boroughs, sunk and broke their spirits, and seems to have determined the fate of the English and Indians, which until then was doubtful and uncertain.--Hutchinson, Vol. I. page 276.

Southern balf of New-England expired. Peace was established the following year. There were, a few years since, remaining in the country several hundred of the descendants of these people, and of their neighbours, the Eastern Nianticks. I know nothing in their character, or circumstances, which distinguished them from the Indians of Stonington.

I am, Sir, yours, &c.

LETTER VI.

Canonicut Island-Newport; Its buildings, Harbour, and Fortifications-Proposi

tion of the French Government relative to the occupancy of Newport-Remarkable cliffs and chasm-Enumeration of the Fish brought to this market - Healthfulness and Commerce of Newport-Its settlement.

Dear Sir,

We crossed Canonicut ferry, lying between what is here called Boston neck and that Island; and then rode across the island, one mile in breadth, to Newport ferry.

Canonicut is a beautiful island, sloping with great elegance from the middle to the shores. All the lines of its surface are graceful; and the soil is rich. It is about seven miles long from North to South ; and includes a single township, incorporated in 1678 by the name of Jamestown, which, in 1790, contained 507 inbabitants ; in 1800, 501; and, in 1810, 504.

The prospects from the highest part of this island are uncommonly handsome.

We crossed Newport ferry, between Canonicut and the island of Rhode Island, more rapidly than either of us wished; and arrived at 7 o'clock.

The next day, Sunday, September 21st, we attended divine service in the Rev. Mr. Patten's church. Monday and Tuesday morning we spent in examining the town, the fortifications in the harbour, the remains of the British works, erected during the Revolutionary war, and several other objects in the neighbourhood.

Newport is built near the Southern end of the island of RhodeIsland, upon the Western shore. Its site is a beautiful slope, rising from the water, to the Eastern side of the town. It is unnecessary to observe, after what has been repeatedly said upon this subject, that it is irregularly laid out, like most other towns in the United States. The streets, except Main-street, which is a mile in length, straight and wide, are narrow. Almost all the houses are built of wood; few comparatively are painted; many are out

« AnteriorContinuar »