E/MS Unit I
Lesson C: King Philip’s War
- What led up to King Philip's War?
- What was each side fighting for?
- How does it affect our understanding of events when the accounts are all written by one side, or from one point of view?
- What happened to the Christian Indians?
- Was your community affected by the war? If so, in what ways was it affected?
Document E/MS I-10: The Prowess of Native Warriors: Excerpt from Benjamin Church’s Account of the War as Written by his Son Thomas in 1716
Thomas Church wrote this account using his father’s field notes. He called the book Entertaining Passages Relating to Philip’s War Which Began in the Month of June 1675.
Captain Church [militia leader in King Philip's War] enquired of some of the Indians that were become his soldiers, how they got such advantage often of the English in their marches through the woods. They told him that the Indians gained great advantage of the English by two things: the Indians always took care in their marches and fights not to come too thick together. But the English always kept in a heap together; that it was as easy to hit them as to hit an house. The other was, that if any time they discovered a company of English soldiers in the woods they knew that there was all, for the English never scattered, but the Indians always divided and scattered.
Quoted inKing Philip's War: The History and Legacy of America's Forgotten Conflict, by Eric B. Schultz and Michael J. Tougias (The Countryman Press, 1999).
Document E/MS I-11: A Winning Strategy: Excerpts from Capt. Thomas Wheeler’s Account of the Ambush at West Brookfield
Captain Hutchinson and myself, with about twenty men or more marched from Cambridge to Sudbury, July 28, 1675; and from thence into the Nipmuck Country, and finding that the Indians had deserted their towns…we set our march for Brookfield.
The Englishmen sent four men ahead to let the Nipmucs know they wished to talk about a “Treaty of Peace.”
The chief Sachems promised to meet us on the next morning [August 2] about 8 of the clock upon a plain within three miles of Brookfield….[W]e marched to the plain appointed; but the treacherous heathen intending mischief, (if they could have opportunity,) came not to the said place, and so failed our hopes of speaking with them there.
The group debated what to do next. The Brookfield men among them were convinced the Indians had no bad plans, and so the group decided to march to the swamp where the Indians were.
When we came near the said Swamp, the way was so very bad that we could march only in a single file, there being a very rocky hill on the right hand, and a thick swamp on the left, in which there were many of those cruel blood-thirsty heathen, who there way laid us, waiting an opportunity to cut us off; there being also much brush on the side of the said hill, where they lay in ambush to surprise us. When we had marched there about sixty or seventy rods, the said perfidious Indians sent out their shot upon us a shower of hail, they being (as was supposed) about two hundred men or more.
The colonists scrambled up a hill to escape. Eight Englishmen were killed in the ambush and several wounded. The group fled to the safety of a garrison house in town. There the Nipmucs kept them under siege for three days and nights until reinforcements arrived and the Indians withdrew.
Quoted in King Philip's War: The History and Legacy of America's Forgotten Conflict, by Eric B. Schultz and Michael J. Tougias (The Countryman Press, 1999).