21 de mayo de 2009

1676

In 1676 central Massachusetts was again aflame. Lancaster was sacked and burned, its inhabitants nearly all either carried captive or put to death with indescribable atrocities. Mrs. Rowlandson, wife of the Lancaster Minister, also her son and two daughters, were among the captives. We have this brave woman's story as subsequently detailed by herself. Her youngest, a little girl of six, wounded by a bullet, she bore in her arms wherever they marched, till the poor creature died of cold, starvation, and lack of care. The agonized mother begged the privilege of tugging along the corpse, but was refused. She with her son and living daughter were ransomed, after wandering up and down with the savages eleven weeks and five days.

From Mrs. Rowlandson's narrative we have many interesting facts touching the Indians' habits of life. They carried ample stores from Lancaster, but soon squandered them, and were reduced to a diet of garbage, horses' entrails, ears, and liver, with broth made of horses' feet and legs. The liver they seemed to prefer raw. Their chief food was ground-nuts. They also ate acorns, artichokes, beans, and various sorts of roots. They especially delighted in old bones, which, being heated to drive out maggots and worms, they first boiled for soup, then ground for use as meal.

The captive lady often saw Philip. At his request she made a shirt and a cap for his son, for which he paid her. Says Hubbard, "Such was the goodness of God to these poor captive women and children that they found so much favor in the sight of their enemies that they offered no wrong to any of their persons save what they could not help, being in many wants themselves. Neither did they offer any uncivil carriage to any of the females, nor ever attempt the chastity of any of them." So soon as negotiations were opened for Mrs. Rowlandson's release, Philip told her of this, and expressed the hope that they would succeed. When her ransom had arrived he met her with a smile, saying: "I have pleasant words for you this morning; would you like to hear them? You are to go home to-morrow," Twenty pounds were paid for her, raised by some ladies of Boston, aided by a Mr. Usher.

Hostilities now bore southeastward. Philip was in his glory. All the towns of Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts were in terror, nearly all in actual danger. At Medfield twenty whites were killed. Deserted Mendon was burned. Weymouth was attacked, and eleven persons were massacred in the edge of Plymouth. In Groton and Marlborough every house was laid in ashes, as were all in lower Rhode Island up to Warwick, and in Warwick all but one. Sachem Canonchet of the Narragansets drew into ambush at Pawtuxet a band of Plymouth soldiers, of whom only one escaped. Canonchet was subsequently taken by Captain Denison and executed. Rehoboth lost forty houses, Providence nearly as many.

The Connecticut Valley was invaded afresh. Springfield, Hadley, Northampton, and Hatfield were once more startled by the war-whoop and the whiz of the tomahawk. Captain Turner, hearing of an Indian camp at the falls of the Connecticut, now called by his name, in Montague, advanced with a troop of one hundred and eighty horse, arriving in sight of the encampment at daylight. Dismounting and proceeding stealthily to within sure shot, they beat up the Indians' quarters with a ringing volley of musketry. Resistance was impossible. Those who did not fall by bullet or sword rushed to the river, many being carried over the falls.
Three hundred savages perished, the English losing but one man. A large stock of the enemy's food and ammunition was also destroyed. Though so splendidly successful, the party did not return to Hadley without considerable loss, being set upon much of the way by Indians who had heard the firing at the falls and sped to the relief of their friends.
Turner was killed in the meadows by Green River; his subordinate, Holyoke, then commanding the retreat.
See also: 1675

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