Saturday, April 14, 2012

About King Phillip's War


ABOUT KING PHILIP'S WAR



Philip did his best to keep at peace with the English. For a while he succeeded. But his young warriors began to steal hogs and cattle belonging to the settlers, and on one pleasant Sunday in June, 1675, when the people were at church, eight young Indians burned a few houses in the village of Swansea, the nearest town to the Wampanoag headquarters at Mount Hope. The whites immediately raised a few troops, marched after the Indians, and had a little skirmish with them.
Philip was not with his warriors at the time. The attack on the whites had been made against his express orders. When he heard that the Indians and settlers had really had a battle, he wept from sorrow, something which an Indian rarely does.
Everything seemed to go wrong. He tried to make peace with the whites, but they would not listen to him. The young warriors no longer paid any attention to what he said. They went on destroying property and killing cattle.[Pg 46]
After leaving Swansea, they went to Taunton and Middleboro, where they burned several houses and killed a few persons. But troops soon arrived from Boston and Plymouth, and in a few days the Indians were driven back to their homes at Mount Hope.
The English hurried on after them, and the war that followed is known in history as King Philip's War.
Philip and the Indians swam across Narragansett Bay and went to some of their friends in the Connecticut Valley. There they obtained the help of the Nipmucks, who had never been very friendly towards the English.
We do not know where Philip was during the war. He knew that he would be held responsible for it, although he had done everything in his power to prevent it. For a year the war was carried on, one hundred miles away from his home, and never once was he known to have been connected with any fighting, nor was he even seen by the English during that time. Some of them thought that he was directing the war, but really it was carried on by other tribes of Indians that had not been very friendly towards the whites. The Wampanoags seem to have had very little connection with the war.
The Indians attacked the English towns in the Connecticut Valley, and the more exposed places on the frontier of the colony where the people were few and scattered.
No battle was fought in the open field. The Indians did not fight in that way. They secretly surrounded a town, rushed in from all sides, killed as many people as possible, took what property they could carry away, and burned all that remained.
HOUSE PROTECTED BY PALISADESHOUSE PROTECTED BY PALISADES
They knew all the paths in the forests, swamps, and thickets. They were fast runners, and went rapidly from town to town.
Their favorite method of fighting was in an ambuscade. That was something peculiar to the Indians. The English had never heard of that way of fighting before they came to America. The Indians would lie down flat on the ground or stand behind trees or in a bush or thicket. When the enemy came along with no suspicion that any one was near, the Indians suddenly gave a yell and fired their arrows or guns at them. This would startle them and generally cause them to run away.
The war was one of the most dreadful in the history of our country. A farmer left his home in the morning not knowing whether he would ever see his wife and children again. His gun was always in his hand. Laborers were cut off in the field. Reapers, millers, women at home, and people on their way to and from church were killed.
Nearly every town in the Connecticut Valley was destroyed by the Indians, and the people suffered terribly. The Indians were very successful during the first year of the war. They lost but few warriors and did an immense amount of injury to the whites. This caused the young warriors to believe that Philip and the old warriors were wrong, and that it was really possible for them to drive the English from the country.