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Papers of the Winthrop Family, Volume 3

John Winthrop to William Bradford1
Winthrop, John Bradford, William


Worthy Sir,

I receiued your louing letter, and am much prouocked to express my affections towards you, but straitnes of time forbids me, for my desire is to acquainte you, with the lords greate mercies towards vs, in our preuailing against his, and our enimies; that you may rejoyce, and praise his name with vs. About 80 of our men haueing costed along towards the dutch plantation, (some times by water, but most by land) mett hear, and ther, with some pequents, whom they slew or tooke prisoners. 2 sachems they tooke, and beheaded And not hearing of Sassacous (the cheefe sachem) they gaue a prisoner his life, to goe and find him out. He wente and brought them word wher he was, but Sassacouse suspecting him to be a spie, after he was gone fled away, with some 20 more, to the Mowakes; so our men missed of him. yet deviding them selues, and ranging vp and downe, as the providence of God guided them (for the Indeans were all gone, saue 3 or 4 And they knew not whither to guid them, or els would not) vpon the 13 of this month, they light vpon a great company of them viz. 80 strong men, and 200 women, and children, in a small Indean towne, fast by a hideous swamp, which they all slipped Into before our men could gett to them. Our captains were not then come togeither, but ther was mr. Ludlow, and Captaine Masson, with some 10 of their men, and Captaine Patrick with some 20 or more of his; who shooting at the Indeans, Captaine Trask with 50 more came soone in at the noyse; then they gaue order to surround the swampe, it being aboute a mile aboute; but Leuetenante Dauenporte, and some 12 more, not hearing that cammand, fell into the swampe among the Indeans. the swampe was so thicke with shrub woode, and so boggie with all, that some of them stuck fast, and receiued many shott. Leuetenant Dauenport was dangerously wounded about his armehole, and another shott in the head, so as fainting, they were in great danger to haue been taken by the Indeans; but Sargante Rigges, and Jeffery 457and 2 or 3 more rescued them, and slew diuerse of the Indeans, with their swords. After they were drawne out, the Indeans desired parley; and were offered (by Thomas Stanton, our Interpretour) that if they would come out, and yeeld them selues, they should haue their liues all that had not their hands in the English blood; whervpon the sachem of the place came forth, and an old man or 2 and their wiues and chilldren; and after that some other women and children, and so they spake 2 howers, till it was night, then Thomas Stanton was sente into them againe, to call them forth; but they said, they would selle their liues their, and so shott at him so thicke, as If he had not cried out, and been presently rescued, they had slaine him. Then our men cutt of a place of the swampe with their swords, and cooped the Indeans into so narrow a compass, as they could easier kill them throw the thikets; so they continued all the night, standing aboute 12 foote one from an other, and the Indeans coming close vp to our men, shot their arrows so thicke, as they peirced their hatte brimes, and their sleeues and stockins, and other parts of their cloaths, yet so miraculously did the lord preserue them, as not one of them was wounded, saue those 3 who rashly went into the swampe. When it was nere day, It grue very darke, so as those of them which were left, dropt away betweene our men, though they stood but 12 or 14 foote assunder; but were presenly discouered, and some killed in the pursute. Vpon searching of the swampe the next morning, they found 9 slaine, and some they pulled vp, whome the Indeans had buried in the mire; so as they doe thinke that, of all this company, not 20 did escape, for they after found some, who dyed in their flight, of their wounds receiued. The prisoners were devided, some to those of the riuer, and the rest to vs; of these we send the male children to Bermuda, by mr. William Peirce, and the women and maid children are disposed aboute in the townes. Ther haue been now slaine and taken in all aboute 700. The rest are dispersed, and the Indeans in all quarters so terrified, as all their freinds are affraid to receiue them. 2 of the Sachems of long Iland came to mr. Stoughton and tendered them selues to be tributaries, vnder our protection. And 2 of the Neepnett Sachems haue been with me to seeke our frendship. Amonge the prisoners we haue the wife and children of Mononotto, a womon of a very modest countenance and behaviour. It was by her mediation that they 2 English maids were spared from death, and were kindly vsed by her; so that I haue taken charge of her. One of her first requests was that the English would not abuse her body and that her children might not be taken from her. Those which were wounded were fetched of soone by John Galopp who came with his shalop in a happie houre, to bring them victuals, and to carrie their wounded men to the pinnass, wher our cheefe 458surgeon was, with mr. Willson, being aboute 8 leagues of. Our people are all in health (the lord be praised) and allthough they had marched in their armes all the day, and had been in fight all the night, yet they professed they found them selues so fresh as they could willingly haue gone to such another bussines.

This is the substance of that which I receiued, though I am forced to omite many considerable circomstances. So being in much straitnes of time (the ship being to departe within this 4 days, and in them the Lord Lee and mr. Vane) I heer breake of, and with harty saluts to, etc. I rest Yours assured

Jo: Winthrop the 28 of the 5 month 1637

The captains reporte, we haue slaine 13 sachems; but Sassacouse and Monotto are yet liuing.


Original not located; Bradford, History of Plymouth (facsimile edition, London, 1896), 431–435; (1912), 11. 253–257; L. and L. , II. 197–200.