Friday, April 10, 2009


Whatever wounds Jeremiah Swain suffered at the Great Swamp Fight apparently
were healed enough by the summer of 1676 for him to be promoted to the
rank of Captain and be sent out to the Connecticut River Valley in the western
part of the colony. He was in command of the garrison at the town of Hadley
on 12 Jun 1676 when a force of Indians estimated to be around 700 in numbers

"For this assault seven hundred warriors swooped down from Passacus's new 
headquarters, and were before the town on the morning of the 12th. Strong 
bands were ambuscaded at the north and south ends of the town, and awaited 
the movements of the townspeople. Two men who had left the stockade contrary 
to orders fell among the ambushed band at the south end and were killed. 
Thus this band were discovered to the garrison, and Captain Swain instantly
sent a force out after them. While they were engaged with the garrison soldiers, 
the band at the north end sprang from their ambush. Rushing toward the stockade 
they found it lined with soldiers and Mohegans, and amazed, fell back in disorder. 
On the retreat some of them tarried to plunder a house, when it was struck by a 
missile from a small cannon. This was a weapon strange and awful to them, and 
they came " tumbling out in great terror." All were now on the run. The soldiers 
chased them for two miles northward. Disheartened by the repulse and the 
discovery of troops returned to the Valley with Indian allies, the fugitives reached 
their headquarters to find that in their absence their camp had been sacked by
Mohawks and fifty of their women and children left dead in the ruins. This was 
the final blow, and they scattered aimlessly in the wilderness."

-Edwin Munroe Bacon, The Connecticut River and the Valley of the Connecticut: 
ThreeHundred and Fifty Miles from Mountain to Sea; Historical and Descriptive
(New York, New York, G.P. Putnam & Sons, 1906) p 159.

Swain's predecessor at Hadley, Captain William Turner, had been slain in battle a few
weeks before Swain's arrival. On 29 Jun 1676, Swain sent out some men who reached
the waterfalls (now known as Turner's Falls) where the battle took place. They found
and destroyed a large but empty Indian encampment.

Then on 12 Aug 1676, the Massachusetts Colonial Council sent Jeremiah the new

"in ye Councill ! 12, Augst. 76, past by the Council!, E. R.
Captain Swain :
The Council having taken with consideration the present state of matters as to the 
Comon ending do judge meet to order & do hereby order that forthwith upon receit
hereof you sumon & as soon as may be draw up the Garrison Soldiers under your 
comand of the town of N: H: Hadlay, Hatfield, & also those of Springfield &
Westfield & wth them do march up, to Dearfield, Squakeheag & the places near 
about there to searching for & destroy the comon enemy and the corn that 
may be found, which having performed you are therewith the said soldiers to 
march homewards, either directly or by such ways as may be most advisable
for further service & this order you are exactly to attend except you receive
further order or any momentus pressidence (?) not now appearing to the council

dos (?) interpose, in wch case you shall give speedy advertisment."

Massachusetts State Archives Vol. 69, p. 43.
- William Chester Swain, Swain and allied families (Milwaukee, Wisconsin,
Press of Swain and Tate Company, 1896)pp.6-7

I believe "N:H:" refers to the town of North Hampton which fell within Swain's jurisdiction.

Ironically, on the very date of the issuing of the order, King Philip was killed. King
Philip's War was at an end, and on 1 Sept 1676 Jeremiah Swain and his men marched
back to their homes in eastern Massachusetts where controversy awaited him.

1 comment:

BeNotForgot said...

I am really enjoying browsing around on your blog. FYI . . . during this same time period . . . actually on the 11th August 1676 . . . my 9th great-grandpa, Thomas Brackett, was killed by Indians at Falmouth, Cumberland County, Maine . . .