Saturday, October 03, 2015


As I said in a previous post, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem about the Battle of Lovewell's Pond was not the first written about it.  I found this one in Walter C Bronson's anthology American Poems (1625-1892). In his notes, Bronson dates it from about 1725, which was a year after the fight.

Several of my colonial ancestors served under Captain Lovewell's command but I haven't discovered if any of them were present on this third expedition. The Wyman credited with killing Chief Paugus may have been a descendant of my ancestor John Wyman.

Some might find it hard to accept the idea that our colonial ancestors took Indians scalps as willingly as the Indians took theirs, but it was a harsh fact of life at the time.                          



Of worthy Captain Lovewell I purpose now to sing,
How valiantly he served his country and his King:
He and his valiant soldiers did range the woods full wide,
And hardships they endured to quell the Indian's pride.

T'was nigh unto Pigwacket, on the eighth day of May,
They spied a rebel Indian soon after break of day;
He on a bank was walking, upon a neck of land
Which leads into a pond, as we 're made to understand.

Our men resolv'd to have him, and travell'd two miles round
Until they met the Indian, who boldly stood his ground.
Then speaks up Captain Lovewell: "Take you good heed," says he;
'This rogue is to decoy us, I very plainly see.

"The Indians lie in ambush, in some place nigh at hand,
In order to surround us upon this neck of land;
Therefore we 'll march in order, and each man leave his pack,
That we may briskly fight them when they make their attack."

They came unto this Indian, who did them thus defy:
As soon as they came nigh him, two guns he did let fly,
Which wounded Captain Lovewell and likewise one man more;
But when this rogue was running, they laid him in his gore.

Then, having scalp'd the Indian, they went back to the spot
Where they had laid their packs down, but there they found them not,
For the Indians, having spy'd them when they them down did lay,
Did seize them for their plunder and carry them away.

These rebels lay in ambush this very place hard by,
So that an English soldier did one of them espy
And cried out, "Here's an Indian!" With that they started out
As fiercely as old lions, and hideously did shout.

With that our valiant English all gave a loud huzza,
To shew the rebel Indians they fear'd them not a straw.
So now the fight began; and as fiercely as could be
The Indians ran up to them, but soon were forced to flee.

 Then spake up Captain Lovewell when first the fight began,
"Fight on, my valiant heroes! you see they fall like rain!"
For, as we are inform'd, the Indians were so thick
A man could scarcely fire a gun and not some of them hit.

Then did the rebels try their best our soldiers to surround,
But they could not accomplish it, because there was a pond
To which our men retreated and covered all the rear:
The rogues were forc'd to flee them, altho' they skulked for fear.

Two logs there were behind them that close together lay:
Without being discovered they could not get away;
Therefore our valiant English they travell'd in a row,
And at a handsome distance, as they were wont to go.

T'was ten o'clock in the morning when first the fight begun,
And fiercely did continue until the setting sun,
Excepting that the Indians, some hours before't was night,
Drew off into the bushes and ceas'd a while to fight.

But soon again returned in fierce and furious mood,
Shouting as in the morning, but yet not half so loud;
For, as we are informed, so thick and fast they fell
Scarce twenty of their number at night did get home well;

And that our valiant English till midnight there did stay,
To see whether the rebels would have another fray;
But, they no more returning, they made off towards their home,
And brought away their wounded as far as they could come.

Of all our valiant English there were but thirty-four,
And of the rebel Indians there were about fourscore:
And sixteen of our English did safely home return;
The rest were kill'd and wounded, for which we all must mourn.

Our worthy Captain Lovewell among them there did die;
They killed Lieut. Robbins, and wounded good young Frye,
Who was our English Chaplain: he many Indians slew,
And some of them he scalp'd when bullets round him flew.

Young Fullam, too, I'll mention, because he fought so well—
Endeavouring to save a man, a sacrifice he fell.
But yet our valiant Englishmen in fight were ne'er dismay'd,
But still they kept their motion, and Wyman's captain made,

Who shot the old chief Paugus, which did the foe defeat;
Then set his men in order, and brought off the retreat;
And, braving many dangers and hardships in the way,
They safe arriv'd at Dunstable the thirteenth day of May.


American Poems ( 1625-1892) University of Chicago Press, Chicago Illinois  1912

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