Redeemed Captive

This American River

Deerfield: Old Pocumtuck Valley

Captain Samuel Moseley, who was searching the woods for Indians, hearing the firing, was soon on the ground. Too late to save, he did his best to avenge; he charged repeatedly, scattering the enemy, who swarmed as often as dispersed. But he defied all their efforts to surround him. His men exhausted with their long efforts, Moseley was about to retire, when just in the nick of time Major Treat appeared, with a force of English and Mohegans. The enemy were driven westward and were pursued until nightfall. The united force then marched to Deerfield, bearing their wounded, and leaving the dead where they fell. Mather says, “this was a black and fatal day wherein there was eight persons made widows and six and twenty children made orphans, all in one little Plantation.” That plantation was Deerfield, and these were the heavy tidings which the worn-out soldiers carried to the stricken survivors of the hamlet. Of the seventeen fathers and brothers who left them in the morning, not one returned to tell the tale. The next morning, Treat and Moseley marched to Bloody Brook and buried the slain— “64 men in one dreadful grave.” The names of sixty-three are known, and also of seven wounded. John Stebbins, ancestor of the Deerfield tribe of that name, is the only man in Lothrop’s command known to have escaped unhurt.

The reported force of the enemy was a thousand warriors, and their loss ninety-six. This must be taken with a grain of allowance.

Deerfield was now considered untenable, and the poor remnant of her people were scattered in the towns below.

October 5, Springfield was attacked. The Indians laid the same plan as at Deerfield and Northfield. Only notice given by a friendly

Indian during the night before saved the town from total destruction. The assailants were Indians who had lived for generations neighbors and friends of the Springfield people. On the 4th they had made earnest protestations of friendship, on the strength of which the garrison had marched to Hadley. This deliberate treachery was probably planned by Philip.

October 19, a large party made an attack on Hatfield, but was repulsed.

As the spring of 1676 advanced, a large body of Indians collected at Peskeompskut for the purpose of catching a year’s stock of shad and salmon. Parties from thence occasionally harassed the settlers below, who knew that when the fishing season was over, the enemy would constantly infest the valley, and watch every chance to kill the unprotected. They therefore determined to take the initiative, and at nightfall of May 18, a party of about a hundred and fifty men under Captain William Turner made a night march, surprised the camp at daylight the next morning and destroyed many of the enemy.

Edited & adapted by Laurel O’Donnell.
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This page was last updated on 14 May 2006