Pequot War 1634 – 1638
Maj. John MASON (1600 – 1672) was the commanding officer in the Pequot War. At the time, he was a victorious hero who later became Deputy Governor of Connecticut and founded Norwich, Connecticut. Now, he is viewed by some as a war criminal due to his responsible for the Mystic Massacre.
Capt. William HEDGE (1602 – 1670) is favorably mentioned by a soldier in the Pequot War , who served with him, as a gentleman, of Northamptonshire, England. He was several times captain of the military company in Yarmouth and of the council of war.
26 May 1637 -Participated in the Mystic Massacre. During the Pequot War, English settlers under Captain John Mason, and Narragansett and Mohegan allies set fire to a fortified Pequot village near the Mystic River. They shot any people who tried to escape the wooden palisade fortress and killed the entire village, consisting mostly of women and children, in retaliation for previous Pequot attacks. The only Pequot survivors were warriors who had been with their sachem Sassacus in a raiding party outside the village.
The Pequot were the dominant Native American tribe in central to eastern Connecticut. They had long competed with the neighboring Mohegan and Narragansett. The Pequot eventually allied with the Dutch, while the Mohegan and others allied with the British. European population growth led to greater land demands, leading to eventual conflict with indigenous populations.
The tensions erupted into the Pequot War when a trader named John Oldham was killed and his trading ship looted by natives suspected to be Pequot. Some retaliation raids by settlers and natives alike ensued, and Pequots responded in kin.
The Connecticut towns raised a militia commanded by Captain John Mason consisting of 90 men, plus 70 Mohegan under sachems Uncas and Wequash. Twenty more men, including William Hedge, under Captain John Underhill joined him at Fort Saybrook.
The Pequot sachem Sassacus, meanwhile, gathered a few hundred warriors and set out to make another raid on Hartford, Connecticut.
At the same time, Captain Mason recruited more than 200 Narragansett and Niantic warriors to join his attack force. On the night of May 26, 1637, the forces of English and Native American attackers arrived outside the palisade-surrounded Pequot village near the Mystic River, which had only two entrances/exits. The English attempted to attack the villagers by surprise, yet met with stiff Pequot resistance. Underhill gave the order to set the village on fire and block off the exits. The Pequot were trapped inside. Those who tried climbing over the palisade were shot; anyone who succeeded in getting over was killed by the Narrangasett forces
A Brief History of the Pequot War Page 9 –
The Fire was kindled on the North East Side to windward; which did swiftly over-run the Fort, to the extream Amazement of the Enemy, and great Rejoycing of our selves. Some of them climbing to the Top of the Palizado; others of them running into the very Flames; many of them gathering to windward, lay pelting at us with their Arrows; and we repayed them with our small Shot: Others of the Stoutest issued forth, as we did guess, to the Number of Forty, who perished by the Sword.
In reference to Captain Underhill and his Parties acting in this Assault, I can only intimate as we were informed by some of themselves immediately after the Fight, Thus They Marching up to the Entrance on the South West Side, there made some Pause; a valiant, resolute Gentleman, one Mr. HEDGE, stepping towards the Gate, saying, If we may not Enter, wherefore came we hear; and immediately endeavoured to Enter; but was opposed by a sturdy Indian which did impede his Entrance: but the Indian being slain by himself and Serjeant Davis, Mr. Hedge Entred the Fort with some others; but the Fort being on Fire, the Smoak and Flames were so violent that they were constrained to desert the Fort.
Thomas CLARKE (1605 – 1697) Headed list of volunteers to act against the Pequot Indians in 1637 in Plymouth being then mentioned as of Eel River now Chiltonville.
Robert CROSS (1613 – 1693) was one of the young men of Ipswich, seventeen in number, who saw service as soldiers in the Pequot war. The war lasted six months and the men were paid at the rate of 20s. a month.