February 29, 1704: Deerfield is Attacked!

Not long before the break of day, the enemy came in like a flood upon us; our watch being unfaithful, an evil, whose awful effects, in a surprisal of our fort, should bespeak all watch men to avoid, as they would not bring the charge of blood upon themselves.Deerfield Attack

They came to my house in the beginning of the onset, and by their violent endeavours to break open door and windows, with axes and hatchets, awaked me out of sleep; on which I leaped out of bed, and running toward the door, perceived the enemy making their entrance into the house.

I called to awaken two soldiers, in the chamber; and returned toward my bed-side, for my arms. The enemy immediately brake into the room, I judge to the number of twenty, with painted faces, and hideous acclamations. I reached up my hands to the bed-tester for my pistol, uttering a short petition to God … Taking down my pistol, I cocked it, and put it to the breast of the first Indian who came up; but my pistol missing fire, I was seized by three Indians, who disarmed me, and bound me naked, as I was in my shirt, and so I stood for near the space of an hour.

Binding me, they told me they would carry me to Quebec. My pistol missing fire was an occasion of my life s being preserved … The judgment of God did not long slumber against one of the three which took me … for by sun-rising he received a mortal shot from my next neighbour’s house; who opposed so great a number of French and Indians as three hundred, and yet were no more than seven men in an ungarrisoned house.

I cannot relate the distressing care I had for my dear wife, who had lain-in but a few weeks before, and for my poor children, family, and Christian neighbours. The enemy fell to rifling the house, and entered in great numbers into every room of the house. I begged of God to remember mercy in the midst of judgment …

The enemies who entered … insulted over me a while, holding up hatchets over my head, threatening to burn all I had; but yet God, beyond expectation, made us in a great measure to be pitied; for though some were so cruel and barbarous as to take and carry to the door, two of my children, and murder them, as also a negro woman; yet they gave me liberty to put on my clothes, keeping me bound with a cord on one arm, till I put on my clothes to the other; and then changing my cord, they let me dress myself, and then pinioned me again: Gave liberty to my dear wife to dress herself, and our children.

About sun an hour high, we were all carried out of the house, for a march, and saw many of the houses of my neighbours in flames, perceiving the whole fort, one house excepted, to be taken. Who can tell what sorrows pierced our souls, when we saw ourselves carried away from God s sanctuary, to go into a strange land, exposed to so many trials?

The journey being at least three hundred miles we were to travel; the snow up to the knees, and we never inured to such hardships and fatigues; the place we were to be carried to, a popish country. Upon my parting from the town, they fired my house and barn. We were carried over the river, to the foot of the mountain, about a mile from my house, where we found a great number of our Christian neighbours, men, women and children, to the number of an hundred, nineteen of whom were afterwards murdered by the way, and two starved to death …

When we came to the foot of the mountain, they took away our shoes, and gave us, in the room of them, Indian shoes, to prepare us for our travel…

After this, we went up the mountain, and saw the smoke of the fires in town, and beheld the awful desolations of Deerfield: And before we marched any farther, they killed a sucking child of the English. There were slain by the enemy, of the inhabitants of our town, to the number of thirty-eight, besides nine of the neighbouring towns.

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