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Munson- Osborn Archaeology Site
THE GREAT SWAMP FIGHT
Thursday, 30 July 2009
THE GREAT SWAMP FIGHT

 

Mr. Stoughton, with about eighty of the English, whereof Mr. Ludlowe, Capt. Mason, and [blank,] of Connecticut, were part, sailed to the west in pursuit of Sassacus, etc.  At Quinepiak, they killed six and took two.  about this time they had given a Pequod his life to go find out Sassacus.  He went, and found him not far off; but Sassacus, suspecting him, intended to kill him, which the fellow perceiving, escaped in the night and came to the English.  Whereupon Sassacus and Mononotto, their two chief sachems, and some twenty more, fled to the Mohawks.  But eighty of their stoutest men, and two hundred others, women and children, were at a place within twenty or thirty miles of the Dutch, whither our men marched, and, being guided by Divine Providence, came upon them, where they had twenty wigwams, hard by a most hideous swamp, so thick with bushes and so quagmiry, as men could hardly crowd into it.  Into this swamp they were all gotten. Lieut. Davenport and tow or three more, that enterd the swamp, were dangerously wounded by the Indian arrows, and with much difficulty were fetched out.  Then our men sourrounded the swamp, being a mile about, and shot at the Indians, and they at them, from three of the clock in the afternoon till they desired parley, and offered to yeild, and life was offered to all that had not shed English blood.  So they began to come forth, now and some then some, till about two hundred women and children were come out, and amongst them the sachem of that place, and thus they kept us two hours, till night was come on, and then the men told us they would fight it out; and so they did all the night, coming up behind the bushes very near our men, and shot many arrows into our hats, sleeves, and stocks, yet (which was a very miracle) not one of ours wounded.  when it was near morning, it grew very dark, so as such of them as were left crept out of one place and escaped, being (as was judged} not above twenty at most, and those like to be wounded; for in the pursuit they found some of them dead of their wounds.  here our men gat some booty of kettles, trays, wampum, etc., anf the women and children were divided, and sent some to Connecticut, and some to the Massachussetts.  The sachem of the place, having yeilded, had his life, and his wife and children, etc.  the women, which were brought home, reported that we had slain in all thirteen sachems, and that there were thirteen more left.  we had now slain and taken, in all, about seven hundred.  We sent fifteen of the boys and two women to Bermuda, by Mr. Peirce; but he missing it, carried the to Providence Isle. (an island in the Caribbean, off the Nicaraguan coast.  In 1630 Charles I granted it, by a patent similar to that of Massachusetts, to a company of Englishmen, mostly Puritans, who held it  till 1641, when the Spaniards captured it. (Winthrops's Journal July 1637)


The Pequot war ended with the Battle of the Great Swamp Fight located at Sasqua Swamp in Southport, Connecticut. Below is an excerpt of the Great Swamp fight from the writings of Capt. John Mason who led the search, attack and capture of the Pequot Indians

Connecticut Colony being informed hereof, sent forthwith forty men, Captain Mason being Chief commander; with some other Gent, to meet those of the Massachusetts, to consider what was necessary to be attended respecting the future.Who meeting with them of the Massachusetts in Pequot Harbor; after some time of consultation, concluded to pursue those Pequots that were fled toward Manhatance, and so forthwith Marched after them, discovering several Places where they rendezvoused and lodged not far distant from their several removes; making but little haste, by reason of their children, and want of provision, being forced to dig for clams, and to procure such other things as the wilderness afforded:Our Vessels sailing along by the shore.In about the space of three days we all arrived at New Haven Harbor, then called Quinnypiag.And seeing a great smoke in the woods not far distant, we supposing some of the Pequots our enemies might be there; we hastened ashore, but quickly discovered them to be Connecticut Indians. Then we returned aboard our vessels, where we stayed some short time, having sent a Pequot captive upon discovery, we named him Luz, who brought us tidings of the enemy, which proved true; so faithful was he to us, though against his own Nation. Such was the terror of the English upon them such was the terror of the English upon them, that a Mohegan Indian named Jack Eatow going ashore at that time, met with three Pequots, took two of them and brought them aboard.

 

We then hastened our march towards the place where the enemy was. And coming into a corn field, several of the English spied some Indians, who fled them: they pursued them; and coming to the top of a hill, saw several wigwams just opposite, only a swamp intervening, which was almost divided in two parts. Sergeant Palmer hastening with about twelve men who were under his command to surround the smaller part of the swamp, that so he might prevent the Indians flying; Ensign Danport, Sergeant Jeffries & c, entering the swamp, intended to go into the wigwams were there set upon by several Indians, who in all probability were deterred by Sergeant Palmer. In this skirmish the English slew but few.; two or three of themselves were wounded. The rest of the English coming up, the swamp was surrounded.

Our Council being called, and the question propounded. How should we proceed. Captain Patrick advised that we should cut down the swamp; there being many Indian hatchets taken, Captain Traske concurring with him; but was opposed by others: Then we must pallizado the swamp; which was also opposed: then they would have a hedge made like hose of Gotham; all which was judged by some almost impossible, and to no purpose, and that for several reasons, and therefore strongly opposed. But some others advised to force the swamp, having time enough, it being about three of the clock in the afternoon. But that being opposed, it was then propounded to draw up our men close to the swamp, which would have much lessened the circumference; and with all to fill up the open passages with bushes, that so we might them until morning, and then we might consider further about it. But neither of these would pass, so different were our apprehensions; which was very grievous to some of us, who concluded the Indians would make an escape in the night, as easily they might and did. We keeping at a great distance, what better could be expected Yet Captain Mason took order that the narrow in the swamp should be cut through which did much shorten our leaguer. It was resolutely performed by Sergeant Davis.

We being loth to destroy women and children, as also the Indians belonging to that place, whereupon Mr. Tho. Stanton a man well acquainted with Indian language and manners, offered his service to go into the swamp and treat with them. To which we were somewhat backward, by reason of some hazard and danger he might be exposed unto. But his importunity prevailed: who going to them, did in a short time return to us, with near two hundred old men, women and children; who delivered themselves to the mercy of the English. And so night drawing on, we beleaguered them as strongly as we could. About half an hour before day, the Indians that were in the swamp attempted to break through Captain Patricks quarters, but were beaten back several times, they making a great noise, as their manner is a such times, it sounded round about our leaguer: whereupon Captain Mason sent Sergeant Stares to inquire into the cause, and also to assist if need required; Capain Traske coming also in to their assistance: but the tumult growings to a very great heighth, we raised our siege, and marching up to the palace, at a turning of the swamp the Indians were forcing out upon us, but we sent them back by our small shot.

We waiting a little for a second attempt, the Indians in the mean time facing about pressed violently upon Captain Patrick, breaking through his quarters, and so escaped. They were about sixty or seventy as were informed. We afterwards searched the swamp, and found but few slain. The captives we took were about one hundred and eighty, whom we divided, intending to keep them as servants, but they could not endure that yoke; few of them continuing any considerable time with their masters.

 

 

 


Posted by shesabo at 9:29 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 26 February 2010 2:01 PM EST

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