Great Swamp Fight – Regiments

The Great Swamp Fight on December 19, 1675 was the most significant battle of King Philip’s War, what has been called the bloodiest (per capita) conflict in the history of America.  It was a critical blow to the Narragansett tribe from which they never fully recovered.  In April 1676, the Narragansett were completely defeated when the Wampanoag sachem Metacom was shot in the heart by John Alderman, a Native American soldier.  The Narragansett tribe was not recognized by the Federal Government until 1983 and today includes 2,400 members.

As I worked out our family genealogy, the Great Swamp Fight kept appearing again and again.  Our family seems to have an especially intimate relationship with this battle, but I’m beginning to think that every family was equally involved.  Nine direct ancestors participated, four were officers and one was killed.  27 close relatives were part of the fight of whom 6 were officers, six were killed or died of their wounds and six were wounded and survived.  Of the three small regiments involved, eleven officers were our ancestors or their children.

Navigate this Report
1. Overview
2. Background
3. The Battle

4. General Staff
5. Massachusetts Regiment
6. Plymouth Regiment
7. Connecticut Regiment

8. Joshua Tefft – the Only American Drawn & Quartered

9. Aftermath

4. Roster of the Officers of the Army of the the United Colonies

As organized for the Naragansett Campaign, and mustered at Pettisquamscot, December 19, 1675.

General Josiah Winslow, Governor of Plymouth Colony, Commander-in-Chief  Severely wounded in the fight.

General Staff

Daniel Weld, of Salem, Chief Surgeon

Joseph Dudley, of Boston, Chaplain

Benjamin Church, of Little Compton, RI., Aid severely wounded in this fight (c. 1639-1718), considered the father of American ranging was the captain of the first Ranger force in America (1676). Church was commissioned by the Governor of the Plymouth Colony Josiah Winslow to form the first ranger company for King Philip’s War. He later employed the company to raid Acadia during King Williams War and Queen Anne’s War.

Church designed his force primarily to emulate Indian patterns of war. Toward this end, he endeavored to learn to fight like Indians from Indians. Americans became rangers exclusively under the tutelage of the Indian allies. (Until the end of the colonial period, rangers depended on Indians as both allies and teachers.)

Church developed a special full-time unit mixing white colonists selected for frontier skills with friendly Indians to carry out offensive strikes against hostile Indians and French in terrain where normal militia units were ineffective. His memoirs “Entertaining Passages relating to Philip’s War” were published in 1716 and are considered the first American military manual

Capt. Benjamin Church

5. Massachusetts Regiment

Samuel Appleton, of Ipswich, Major and Captain of First Company  (b. 1625 in Little Waldingfield, Suffolk, England – d. 15 May 1696 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass.) m1. . 2 Apr 1651 in Boston to Hannah Paine (1627  – 1656)   Hannah’s parents were William Paine and Anna North.  Her grandparents were William PAYNE and Agnes NEVES.

In November 1675, John HARVEY enlisted from Charlestown, Massachusetts as a soldier in Major Samuel Appleton’s Battalion and marched with it from Dedham into the Narragansett country and was “wounded but not disabled,” at the ‘Great Swamp Fight.”

Regimental Staff

Richard Knott, of Marblehead, Surgeon

Samuel Nowell, of Boston, Chaplain

John Morse, of Ipswich, Commissary

On the Narragansett Expedition which was appointed for the next December, the three colonies of Plymouth, Connecticut, and Massachusetts united in furnishing military forces to be under the command of Josias Winslow, of Plymouth, as general.

William WOODCOCK Sr.’s son John Woodcock’s Garrison in North Attleboro, Mass was a place of rendezvous for the Massachusetts portion of the army. Six companies under the command of Captains Mosely, Gardiner, Davenport, Oliver, Johnson, and Major Appleton, who commanded this portion of the force, and who, on the ” 9th Dec. 1676 marched with them from Dedham to Woodcock’s, the well known place of rendezvous, 30 miles from Boston, and there encamped for the night.”

His companies numbered four hundred and sixty-five foot, and one company of horse under command of Captain Prentice, so that the whole number must have been over five hundred. This was a large army for the infant colony of Massachusetts forty-six years only after the settlement at Boston. They marched over the ” Oulde Bay Road.” Here they rested, and then marched on to Seekonk, where they met the army of Plymouth Colony, under General Winslow, and where the two forces were united and moved on their way to the great Narragansett fight. These same forces must have rendezvoused at Woodcock’s on their return.

Officers of the Line

First Company: Samuel Appleton, of Ipswich, Captain of First Company and Major of the Massachusetts Regiment, Jeremiah Swain, Lt. Ezekiel Woodward, Sgt. (Acting Ensign) [son-in-law of William BEAMSLEY]

136 troops, 4 killed, 18 wounded including Lt. Swain

The official account read:

“A List of Major Saml Apleton Souldjers yt slayne & wounded The 19th Decemb ’75 at the Indian fort at Narragansett

Samuell Taylor of Ipswich, Isaac Illery of Glocester, Daniel Rolfe on Newberry, Samuel Taylor of Rowley,- 4 men slayne

Lieft. Jerrimyah Swayne of Redding, Roger Markes of Andiver, Isaac Ilsley of Newberry, Wm Standley of Newberry, Dani. Somersby of Newberry, Jonathan Emery of Newberry, Jn. Dennison of Ipswich, Jn Harvey of Newberry, George Timson of Ipswich, Tho: Dowe of Ipswich, Symon Gowen of Rowley, Benj. Webster of Salem, Ellja Thathan of Oborne, Tho: Abey of Wenham, Benj. Langdon of Boston, Solomon Watts of Roxbury, Jn. Warner of Charlestowne, Samuell Boutericke of Cambridge, eighteen men wounded who are at Road Island except ye Left. & Roger Marks – January 6 ’75”.

One of the four killed, Daniel Rolfe, was the grandson of Humphrey BRADSTREET.

Ezekiel Woodward was the son-in-law of William BEAMSLEY marrying his daughter Ann Jan 1649/50.  After Ann died, he married 20 Dec 1672 at Age: 48 in Wenham, Essex, Mass to Mrs. Elizabeth Soldart and became the step-father of Sarah (Soldart) Good (wiki) was the first person accused of witchcraft in 1692.

29 Feb 1675/76 – A bill presented by Serg’t Ezekiel Woodward of Maj Appleton’s company, in which his pay was for nine weeks as a common soldier £2 14 00 and he petitions for a sergeants pay. This shows the term of service in the Narragansett campaign to begin Saturday, Dec 4th as it closed, on Feb. 5.”

In May, 1676, the Court voted to repay the losses of divers persons who were “damnified” by the burning of Major Appleton’s tent at Narraganset.  Ezekiel was grantee for Narragansett Township No. 1. (now Buxton, Maine)

Thomas Hazen, son of Edward HAZEN Sr.  servied in Major Samuel Appleton’s company in the Narragansett campaign, 1675-76; Great Swamp Fight.  Thomas was an enlisted man at the time of this fight, but he was known as Corporal in 1689, Sargent in 1699, Ensign in 1700 and Lt in 1711.  As a reward for this service he was made one of the grantees of Narraganset Township No. 4 (later Greenwich, Mass.), the grant being confirmed about 1738-40.

Samuel RICHARDSON‘s son Joseph was admitted freeman 15 May 1672.  He was one of Major Samuel Appleton’s soldiers, and was engaged in the fierce assault on the Narraganset fort on 19 Dec 1675. He was a selectman of Woburn, 1693, 1694, and 1702.

Samuel PERKINS of Ipswich was a cordwainer by trade. He served as a soldier in the Narragansett war, for which he received a portion of land at Voluntown, on the eastern border of Connecticut, which land afterward came into possession of his son Ebenezer PERKINS, who settled upon it, and in 1735 sold it to John Wildes of Topsfield, Mass.

Greenwich was established in 1739 as Quabbin, incorporated as Quabbin Parish in 1754 and became the town of Greenwich in 1754. It was located along the East and Middle branches of the Swift River.   It was well known for its lakes and ponds, which were popular vacation spots. It was disincorporated on April 28, 1938 as part of the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir.It is now largely below water, except for the hilltops of Curtis Hill, Mount Liz and Mount Pomeroy, which are now islands.

Credited under Capt. Samuel Appleton

December 10. 1675

Thomas Davis 04 18 06
John Ford 03 10 00
Israel Thorn 03 18 00
Thomas Waite 03 18 00
Francis Young, Corpl 04 11 00
Ezekiel Woodward  son-in-law of William BEAMSLEY  05 17 00
Samuel Rust 04 00 00
Sylvester Hayes 05 03 00
Stephen Gullifer 02 10 06
Thomas Hastings 02 14 00
Roger Vicar 02 10 06
Stephen Butler 03 18 00
Robert Sibly 02 10 06
William Knowlton 04 16 10
Thomas Brown 02 10 06
Thomas Ferman 04 16 10
Isaac Ilsley 02 10 06
Samuel Brabrook 02 10 06
Arthur Neale 02 10 06
John Boynton (Son of John BOYNTON) 04 16 10
Israel Henerick 03 18 00
Robert Simson 03 18 00
Samuel Very 03 18 00
Philip Matoone 02 10 06
Philemon Dean 05 17 00
Gershom Browne 03 18 00
Andrew Heding 02 10 06
Robert Downes 03 18 00
Robert PEASE 03 18 00
Thomas Tenny 03 18 00
Thomas Hazen (Son of Edward HAZEN Sr.) 03 18 00
William Webb 02 10 06
Solomon Watts 02 10 06
Nathaniel Masters 04 16 10
Isaac Ellery 02 10 06
Daniel Ringe, Corpl 04 11 00
John Pengilly, Corpl 02 19 00
Stephen Greenleaf (Son of Edmund GREENLEAF) 08 16 10
Richard Hancock 03 18 00
John Whicher, Sergt 05 17 00
William Williams 03 18 00
Joseph Blancher 02 14 10
George Stedman 02 10 06
Thomas Sparke 03 18 00
John Raymond 03 18 00
Samuel Foster 03 18 00
Henry Cooke 03 18 00
Samuel Hebard 03 18 00
John Davis 03 18 00
Samuel Ierson 03 18 00
Joseph Eaton 02 10 06
James Brearly 04 16 00
Abial Sadler 03 18 00
William Wainwright 03 18 00
Benjamin Webster 04 16 10
John Warner 02 10 06
Ephraim Cutter 03 04 06
Thomas Abbey 03 18 00

Second Company: Samuel Mosely, Captain, Perez Savage, Lt.

Dainell Mathews and James Junson, Serjeants; James Smith, Dennis Siky, Clerke; Edward Wesson, Jno. Fuller, Richard Barnum, Samuell Fosdicke, Corporalls;

92 troops, 6 killed, 9 wounded including Lt. Savage.

Third Company: James Oliver, Capt. [son-in-law of our ancestor Thomas DEXTER Sr.], Ephraim Turner, Lt., Peter Bennett, Sergeant (Acting Ensign)

83 troops, 5 killed, 8 wounded

On Nov 17 1675, James Oliver was appointed to command the Boston company for the Naragansett campaign. He was one of the few officers who made it through the Swamp Fight uninjured.

Fourth Company: Isaac Johnson, Captain, Phineas Upham [grandson of our ancestor Richard UPHAM], Lt, Henry Bowen, Ensign.

75 troops, 4 killed including Capt. Johnson, 8 wounded including Lt Upham

On July 6, 1675, Capt. Johnson was sent with a small escort to conduct 52 friendly Indians to the army at Mount Hope. On July 15, 1675, on news of the attack upon Mendon, he was sent out there to relieve the town and was ordered back on July 26th. Upon mustering at Dedham Plain for the Naragansett campaign, Capt. Johnson was placed in command of a company made up of men from Roxbury, Dorchester, Milton, Braintree, Weymouth, Hingham, and Hull, numbering 75 all told. At the battle of the Great Swamp fight Capt. Johnson was killed when leading his men against the barrier at the entrance to the fort. After his death and the mortal wound of Lt. Upham, the command of the company passed to Ensign Henry Bowen, later promoted to lieutenant.

Phineas Upham was grandson of our ancestor Richard UPHAM].,  In September, 1675, Lieut. Upham was a subaltern officer under Capt. John GORHAM, of Barnstable, and out on a scout after Indians in what is now the towns of Grafton, Oxford and Dudley, and the city of Worcester, then an almost unbroken wilderness.

Under date of Mendon, Oct. 1, 1675, Lieut. Upham addressed a letter to the Governor and Council of Massachusetts, in which he said, “Now seeing that in all our marches we find no Indians, we verily think that they are drawn together into great bodies, far remote from these parts,” and thus it in fact proved to be, and that drawing together into a great body was then being done on the island in the swamp, in what is now the town of Kingston, in Washington County, Rhode Island.

Phineas was assigned to Capt. Johnson’s company, and after that gallant officer’s fall, was himself fatally wounded, at the head of the company, inside the fort. He was among the wounded at Rhode Island, January 6, 1675/76. He died at Boston, October, 1676,

Thomas Holbrook, son of Thomas HOLBROOK Sr., Thomas served under Capt. Isaac Johnson in King Philip’s war and presumably was at the Narragansett Fort battle.  For this service his heirs received a share in the land granted to soldiers at Narragannsett No. 5 (Bedford, NH) in 1733.  He lived in Braintree.

Fifth Company: Nathaniel Davenport, Captain, Edward Tyng, Lt., John Drury, Ensign

75 troops, 4 killed including Capt. Davenport, 11 wounded including Lt. Ting.

In December 1675 Nathaniel Davenport was serving on the jury at the Court of Assistants when he was summoned to take command of the 5th Company in the Massachusetts Regiment for the Naragansett Campaign. This company was made up chiefly of men from Cambridge and Watertown. The company mustered at Dedham Plain and marched to Naragansett with the army. On December 19th , at the Great Fort fight, Capt. Mosely and Capt. Davenport led the way and were the first officers to enter the fort. The death of Captain Davenport follows:

“Before our men came up to take possession of the fort, the Indians had shot three Bullets through Capt. Davenport, whereupon he bled extreamly, and immediately called for his Lieutenant, Mr. Edward Ting, and committed the charge of the Company to him, and desired him to take care of his Gun, and deliver it according to Order and immediately died in his place….. And it is very probable the Indians might think Capt. Davenport was the General because he had a very good buff Suit on at the Time and therefore might shoot at him.”

Capt. Davenport left no children, and his nephew, Addington Davenport, inherited his Naragansett claim.  Lieutenant Ting (or Tyng) commanded the company during the rest of this campaign, and many credits are given under him as Captain.

Daniel WOODWARD , John BURBEEN and  John POLLEY are included on a list of men impressed in several towns where Capt. Davenport’s company was raised. Daniel is listed under Cambridge which is five miles from Medford where he lived most of his life and John Burbeen and John Polley are listed under Woburn.   Of course, many impressed were either excused for disability or escaped from the service in some other manner. The returns were dated from Nov. 25 t0 Dec. 3, 1675

Sixth Company: Joseph Gardiner, Captain, William Hawthorne, Lt., Benjamin Sweet, Ensign (promoted Lieutenant), Jeremiah Neal, Sergeant (promoted Ensign)

95 troops, 7 killed including Capt. Gardiner at the first charge of the gate, 10 wounded

Joseph Gardiner was the husband of Anne Downing, grand daughter of our ancestor George DOWNING.  Anne’s father Emanuel Downing  gave this house to his daughter Anne and her husband Capt. Joseph Gardiner. After Joseph was killed at the Great Swamp Fight, Anne remarried to the last Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony,  Simon Bradstreet

File:Gov Simon Bradstreet's Mansion.jpeg

Emanuel gave this house to his daughter Anne and her husband Capt. Joseph Gardiner. After Joseph was killed at the Great Swamp Fight, Anne remarried to Gov. Simon Bradstreet

Historians in Salem believe the house burnt or was torn down in the the late 1700′s or early 1800′s.  The lot is now the site of the Peabody -Essex Musuem which  may be considered one of the oldest continuously operating museums in the United States.

On May 12, 1675, the militia of Salem was divided into two companies by order of the Court, and by the same order the election of Joseph Gardiner as captain of the First Company in Salem was confirmed. When the expedition against the Naragansetts was organized, Capt. Gardiner was appointed, November 3, 1675, to command a company raised at Salem and the adjoining towns, and mustered his men, ninety-five strong, at Dedham Plain, December 10th , and marched with his army towrds the rendezvous at Wickford. During the march several skirmishes took place, and Mr. Hubbard relates that some of Stone-wall-John’s crew “met with some of Capt. Gardiner’s men that were stragling about their own business contrary to order, and slew his Sergeant with one or two more.” In “Capt. Oliver’s Narrative” it is related that on this occasion the Indians “killed two Salem men within a mile of our quarters and wounded a third so that he his dead.” The fall of Capt. Gardiner is related in Church’s “Entertaing History”:

“Mr. Church spying Capt. Gardiner of Salem amidst the Wigwams at the east end of the Fort, made towards him; but on a sudden while they were looking each other in the face, capt. Gardiner settled down, Mr. Church stepped to him, seeing the blood run down his cheek lifted his cap and calling him by name, he looked up in his face but spake not a word, being mortally Shot through the head.”

After the death of Capt. Gardiner, the command of his company fell upon his lieutenant, William Hathorn, under whom the men served the remainder of the campaign, until disbanded about February 7th to 10th. It is thus that the men were credited sometimes under Gardiner, sometimes under Hathorn, occasionally both; the latter’s name signed to the voucher on “debenter” which each soldier presented to the paymaster, doubtless confused the clerks and caused this appearance of double command.

His widow, then aged about thirty-four, married June 6, 1676, Gov. Simon Bradstreet, whose age was about seventy-three. She died April 19, 1713, aged 79. Leaving no children, Capt Gardiner’s Naragansett claim fell to the oldest male heir of his eldest brother Thomas. This heir was Habkkuk Gardiner, son of the Captain’s nephew Thomas, who in the list of claimants claims in the “right of his uncle, Capt. Joseph Gardiner.”

19 Dec 1675 – Joseph BATCHELLER’s son Mark  Batcheller was a soldier in the company of Capt. Joseph Gardner of Salem,    Mark Bachelder of Wenham along with Joseph Peirce and Sam’l Pikeworth, of Salem, and, were killed outright while endeavoring to force an entrance at the gate of the Indian fort.   Mark’s estate was valued at £131.

Another version of Joseph Gardner’s story from Salem Witchcraft, Volumes I and II, by Charles Upham

Captain Gardner’s company was raised in this neighborhood. Joseph Peirce and Samuel Pikeworth of Salem, and Mark Bachelder of Wenham, were killed before entering the fort. Abraham Switchell of Marblehead, Joseph Soames of Cape Ann, and Robert Andrews of Topsfield, were killed at the fort. Charles Knight, Thomas Flint, and Joseph Houlton, Jr., of Salem Village; Nicholas Hakins and John Farrington, of Lynn; Robert Cox, of Marblehead; Eben Baker and Joseph Abbot, of Andover; Edward Harding, of Cape Ann; and Christopher Read, of Beverly,–were wounded. An account of the death of Captain Gardner, in detail, has been preserved. The famous warrior, and final conqueror of King Philip, Benjamin Church, was in the fight as a volunteer, rendered efficient service, and was wounded. His “History of King Philip’s War” is reprinted, by John Kimball Wiggin, as one of his series of elegant editions of rare and valuable early colonial publications entitled “Library of New England History.” In the second number, Part I. of Church’s history is edited by Henry Martyn Dexter. Church’s account of what came within his observation in this fight, with the notes of the learned editor, is the most valuable source of information we have in reference to it.

He says, that, in the heat of the battle, he came across Gardner, “amidst the wigwams in the east end of the fort, making towards him; but, on a sudden, while they were looking each other in the face, Captain Gardner settled down.” He instantly went to him. The blood was running over his cheek. Church lifted up his cap, calling him by name. “Gardner looked up in his face, but spoke not a word, being mortally shot through the head.”

The widow of Captain Gardner (Ann, sister of Sir George Downing) became the successor of Ann Dudley, the celebrated poetess of her day, by marrying Governor Bradstreet, in 1680. She died in 1713.

John PERKINS’ grandson Zacheus Perkins must have been the cause of much sorrow.  To his credit he was a soldier under Captain Joseph Gardner of Salem in King Philip’s War and was at the Great Swamp Fight in 1676.   Found guilty of stealing at his trial on May 4, 1680 he was sentenced to be branded on the forehead with the letter “B” and publically whipped which was carried out on May 6 “immediately after lecture.”

Cavalry Company ( “Troop”): Thomas Prentice, Captain, John Wyman, Cornet (promoted Lieutenant)

20 troops, 1 killed, 3 wounded

John Wyman, the son of our ancestor Francis WYMAN Sr.  was wounded in Great Swamp Fight.     He was the second officer in the only cavalry troops the English had at the Narraganset Fort fight.   In this fight his son John was killed, but he escaped with a wound in his cheek from an Indian arrow.

John Sr. had an indentured servant named Simpson working in the Wyman tannery. Simpson was a Scot who had fought against Cromwell and when captured was sent to New England as an indentured servant. Simpson also fought in King Philip’s War.  After his son’s death, John petitioned the General Court to excuse Simpson from further duty;

To the Honorable Govers: ye Council now Sitting in Boston

The Petition of John Wyman.

Humbly Sheweth that yore Petitioner Hath beene often out in the service of ye Country against the Indians: his sone also was out and slaine by the enemy: and his servants hath beene long out in the warrs and now being reduced to greate wants for clotheing: desires liberty to come downe from Hadly where he now remains a garrison souldier: and he is a taner by traid and yore Petitioner bought him on purpose for that management of his tan yard: and himselfe being unexperienced in that calling doth humbly request that favore of your honors to consider the premisses and to grant his said servant Robert Simpson a dismission from this present service that so his lether now in the fatts may not be spoyled but yore Petitioner be ever engaged to pray &c.

Jno. Wyman.

John Baker, son-in-law of George POLLEY was “pressed into service” in December of 1675, when preparations for the Narragansett Expedition were being made.  He was one of 16 men from Woburn, Massachusetts who fought in the December 19, 1675 “Great Swamp Fight” against the Indians. He was wounded by musket fire and was crippled the rest of his life.

Years later, in the pension letters he wrote (to prove his military service) he said: “… arm being broke by shott, and ye shott whent thru part of my body below my shoulder. I was sent to Road Island, to ye doctor.  When I was able, my father detached me home, gott so much of a cure as I learned ye trade of a weaver. ”

In 1700, Massachusetts Bay Colony voted to pay £10 and an annual pension of £4 to John Baker of Swansea, Massachusetts. To obtain this pension, John had to write a series of letters describing his military service. There is a lot of information in these letters. For John’s service in King Phillips War and King Williams War, he was given a grant of land in Narragansett Township #4 (now Greenwich, Massachusetts).

Six other Woburn men were wounded in the fight:  Nathaniel Richardson [son of Thomas Richardson and Mary Baldwin and grandson of Thomas RICHARDSON Sr.] was wounded in the “Great Swamp Fight,” Dec. 19, 1675.  Eliah Tottingham, Caleb Simonds, Zachariah Snow,  Francis Wyman, Jr [son of Francis WYMAN], and Peter Bateman

6. Plymouth Regiment

Maj. William Bradford, of Marshfield, Major and Captain of First Company (father-in-law of Rev. James FITCH’s son James and grandson of Alexander CARPENTER) He was pierced with a musket ball that he carried through life and which found a lodgment with his corpse in the grave.  It is also said he was severely wounded in the eye.

Regimental Staff

Mathew Fuller, of Barnstable, Surgeon

Thomas HUCKINS, of Barnstable, Commissary   (1617 – 1679) Thomas was one of the twenty-three original members of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, charted in 1638. Thomas bore its standard in 1639.

The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts is the oldest chartered military organization in North Americaand the third oldest chartered military organization in the world.   While it was originally constituted as a citizen militia serving on active duty in defense of the northern British colonies, it has become, over the centuries primarily an honor guard and a social and ceremonial group in Massachusetts. Today the Company serves as Honor Guard to the Governor of Massachusetts who is also its Commander in Chief.

Officers of the Line

First Company: Robert Barker, of Duxbury, Lieutenant

Private Soldiers – The History of Rehoboth by Leonard Bliss, page 117, says, “The names of the Rehoboth soldiers who served in Philip’s war have been preserved, and are as follows:” Those engaged in the Narraganset expedition were, John Fitch, Jonathan WILMARTH , Jasiel Perry [son of Anthony PERRY], Thomas Kendrick [son-in-law of Anthony PERRY], Jonathan Sabin, John Carpenter, John Redeway, John Martin, John Hall, John Miller, Jun., John Ide, Joseph Doggett, Sampson Mason, Jun. “Those who served under Major Bradford were, Preserved Abell [son of Robert ABELL],  Samuel PERRY Stephen Paine, Jun., Samuel Miller, Silas T. Alin, Samuel Palmer, James Redeway, Enoch Hunt, Samuel Walker, Nicholas Ide, Noah Mason, Samuel Sabin, Thomas Read, Israel Read, George Robinson, Nathaniel Wilmarth. [son of Thomas WILMARTH]”’

Jasiel Perry died in Sep 1676 and was a soldier in King Philip’s War.  So far I have not found a specific record of his death. The fighting had ended by then, so maybe Jasiel died of his wounds,

Second Company: John GORHAM, of Barnstable, Captain, Jonathan SPARROW, of Eastham, Lieutenant, William Wetherell, Sgt. Non-commissioned Officers – William Wetherell, William Gray, Nathaniel Hall, Sergeants; John Hallet, Corporal.

The following Yarmouth men under Capt John GORHAM were paid for the hire of horses, the loss of arms, ammunition and money, loss in saddles and bridles in the Second expedition to Narragansett — William CHASE (not sure if the father or son)  £3 16 00, John WINGE II’s son Ananias £2 14 00, Francis BAKER’s son Samuel £4 10 00

Of the sums paid by the Plymouth Colony towns, as their proportion of the general assessment of £1000, voted by the court in 1676, the amount assigned to Yarmouth was £74 15s. 6d. In June, an additional levy of men was made, and £14 was assessed to Yarmouth for this purpose. In July the tax of the colony was £3692 16s 02d ; of this, the proportion of Yarmouth was £ 266 01. Large sums given that the estate of a typical freeman was £100 – £200.

John GORHAM died  5 Feb 1675/76 after being wounded 15 Nov 1675  by having his powder horn shot which split against his side, and he was severely weakened further from exposure. He died of the resulting fever.While John and Jonathan are both related to us, they are five generations removed from each other.

Johns son  Jabez, born Aug. 3, 1656, was wounded in King Philip’s War; his son Capt. John Gorham died of a fever in Swansea (where he was then stationed with his company), Feb. 5, 1676.

As a reward for service in the war with King Phillip, soldiers were given lands in Maine.   The town was named Gorham, Maine in John’s honor.  First called Narragansett Number 7, it was one of seven townships granted by the Massachusetts General Court to soldiers (or their heirs) who had fought in the Narragansett War of 1675.  The population was 14,141 at the 2000 census.

7. Connecticut Regiment

Robert Treat, of Milford, Major

Regimental Staff

Gershom Bulkely, Surgeon

Rev. Nicholas Noyes, Chaplain

Stephen Barrett, Commissary

Officers of the Line

First Company: John Gallop, of Stonington, Captain.  In 1672 a company of forty horsemen was organized; this was the first company of troopers in the county.

10 killed

Joshua Raymond was the cornetist, and is occasionally alluded to on the town records as Cornet Raymond, a title which was quite as familiar as that of captain or lieutenant.  He was later made commissary.  Joshua married Elizabeth Smith 10 Dec 1659 in New London, CT and was the son-in-law of  Rev. Nehemiah SMITH and Sarah Ann BOURNE.  He died 24 Apr 1676  New London, Connecticut as a result of wounds from the Great Swamp Fight.

Thomas MINER was a lieutenant in the Narragansett Campaign of King Phillip’s War in  1675-76 and reportedly took part in the “Great Swamp Fight” near Kingstown, RI even though he would have been 67 years old.  Almost all of the able-bodied men of Stonington were engaged in the Indian wars of their time.  Thomas was appointed Member of a Court Martial to meet in New London, January 2, 1676.

No list or roll of the Stonington men who participated in the early Indian wars has been preserved. The nearest approach to which may be found in “a list of the English volunteers in the late Narragansett war,” as prepared by a committee for that purpose in order to secure a grant of land for their services, as follows: Capt. George Denison, Sergt. John Frink, Capt. John Stanton, Capt. Samuel Mason, Rev. James Noyes, Lieut. Thomas MINER, Samuel Youmans, John Fish, George Denison, Jr., William Denison, Nathaniel Beebe, Henry Stevens, Edmund Fanning, Thomas Fanning, John Bennet, William Bennett, Ezekiel Main, William Wheeler, [son of Walter PALMER] Gershom Palmer, Samuel Stanton, Daniel Stanton, Manasseth Miner,Joseph Stanton, James York, Henry Bennett, Capt. James Pendleton, Robert Holmes,Thomas Bell, Henry Elliott, Isaac Wheeler, John Gallup, Nathaniel Chesebrough, [Thomas’ sons] Ephraim Miner, Joseph Miner, Samuel Miner, John Ashcroft, Edmund Fanning, Jr., John Denison, William Billings, and Samuel Fish.

Second Company: Samuel Marshall, of Windsor, Captain

14 killed

Third Company: Nathaniel Seely, of Stratford, Captain

20 killed  – Capt. Seely was wounded by Joshua Tefft and later died(See 8. Joshua Tefft below)

Fourth Company: Thomas Watts, of Hartford, Captain

17 killed

Fifth Company: John Mason, of Norwich, Captain, To the First and Fifth Connecticut Companies were attached Indian Scouting Companies, numbering seventy-five to each, made up mostly of Indians from the Mohegan and Pequod tribes.

9 killed including Capt. Mason

John Mason was son of our ancestor Maj. John MASON    John died of his wounds 12 Sep 1676.  It is probable that he was brought home from that sanguinary field by his Mohegan warriors on an Indian bier.  His wounds never healed. After lingering several months, he died, as is supposed, in the same house where his father expired, and was doubtless laid by his side in the old obliterated graveyard of the first comers. Though scarcely thirty years of age at the time of his death, he stood high in public esteem, both in a civil and military capacity. He had represented the town at three sessions of the Legislature, and was chosen an assistant the year of his decease. In the probate of his estate before the County Court he is called “the worshipful John Mason.

Second Letter of Joseph Dudley

Mr Smith’s, 21, 10, 1675

May it please your honour

The comming of the Connecticut force to Petaquamscott, and surprisal os six and slaughter of five on Friday night, Saturday we marched towards Petaquamscott, though in snow, and in conjunction about midnight or later, we advanced: Capt. Mosley led the van, after him Massachusetts, and Plimouth and Connecticut in the rear; a tedious march in the snow, without intermission, brought us about two of the clock afternoon, to the entrance of the swamp, by the help of Indian Peter, who dealt faithfully with us; our men, with great courage, entered the swamp about twenty rods; within the cedar swamp we found some hundreds of wigwams, forted in with a breastwork and flankered, and many small blockhouses up and down, round about; they entertained us with a fierce fight, and many thousand shot, for about an hour, when our men valiantly scaled the fort, beat them thence, and from the blockhouses. In which action we lost Capt. Johnson, Capt. Danforth, and Capt. Gardiner, and their lieutenants disabled, Capt. Marshall also slain; Capt Seely, Capt. Mason, disabled, and many other officers, insomuch that, by a fresh assault and recruit powder from their store, the Indians fell on again, recarried and beat us out of, the fort, but by the great resolution and courage of the General and Major, we reinforced, and very hardly entered the fort again, and fired the wigwams, with many living and dead persons in them, great piles of meat and heaps of corn, the ground not permitting burial of their store, were consumed; the number of their dead, we generally suppose the enemy lost at least two hundred men; Capt. Mosely counted in one corner of the fort sixty four men; Capt. Goram reckoned 150 at least; But, O! Sir, mine heart bleeds to give your honor an account of our lost men, but especially our resolute Captains, as by account inclosed, and yet not so many, but we admire there remained any to return, a captive women, well known to Mr. Smith, informing that there were three thousand five hundred men engaging us and about a mile distant a thousand in reserve, to whom if God had so pleased, we had but been a morsel, after so much disablement: she informeth, that one of their sagamores was slain and their powder spent, causing their retreat, and that they are in a distressed condition for food and houses, that one Joshua Tift, an Englishman, is their encourager and conducter. Philip was seen by one, credilbly informing us, under a strong guard.

After our wounds were dressed, we drew up for a march, not able to abide the field in the storm, and weary, about two of the clock, obtained our quarters, with our dead and wounded, only the General, Ministers, and some other persons of the guard, going to head a small swamp, lost our way, and returned again to the evening quarters, a wonder we were not prey to them, and, after at least thirty miles marching up and down, in the morning, recovered our quarters, and had it not been for the arrival of Goodale next morning, the whole camp had perished; The whole army, especially Connecticut, is much disabled and unwilling to march, with tedious storms, and no lodgings, and frozen and swollen limbs, Major Treat importunate to return to at least Stonington; Our dead and wounded are about two hundred, disabled as many; the want of officers, the consideration whereof the Genreal commends to your honer, forbids any action at present, and we fear whether Connecticut will comply, at last, to any action. We are endeavoring, by good keeping and billetting oue men at several quarters, and, if possible removel of our wounded to Rhode Island, to recover the spirit of our soldiers, and shall be diligent to find and understand the removals on other action of the enemy, if God please to give us advantage against them.

As we compleat the account of dead, now in doing, The Council is of the mind, without recruit of men we shall not be able to engage themain body.

I give your honor hearty thanks for your kind lines, of which I am not worthy

I am Sir, your honors humble servant

Joseph Dudley

Since the writing of these lines, the General and Council have jointly concluded to abide on the place, notwithstanding the desire of Connecticut, only entreat that a supply of 200 may be sent us, with supply of commanders; and, whereas we are forced to garrison our quarters with at least one hundred, three hundred men, upon joint account of colonies, will serve, and no less, to effect the design. This is by order of the council.  Blunderbusses, and hand grenadoes, and armour, if it may, and at least two armourers to mend arms.

The Rev. Mr. Bradstreet, of New London, records his death in these terms:

“My hon’d and dear Friend Capt. Juo Mason one of ye magistrates of this Colony, and second son of Major Jno Mason, dyed, Sept. 18, 1676.”

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19 Responses to Great Swamp Fight – Regiments

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  18. dudley1675 says:

    My direct ancestor was Sgt. John Frink of Stonington.

  19. James Sullivan says:

    Thank you for this. I have two ancestors who fought in this battle (John Gallop and Thomas Wheeler Sr.). Like you, I’ve always wanted to learn more about this concluding battle of King Phillip’s War, because it kept coming up in my research. What you have shared here is rich with information.

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