Bloody Brook

Bronze edition: 8 | Height: 24″

In many ways this was like countless skirmishes and battles which raged all along the frontier of 17th and early 18th century New England …

In the autumn of 1676 during the last great Indian resistance of New England tribes, known as “King Phillip‘s War”, a detachment of 100 Puritan soldiers under the command of Colonel Lothrop, were ordered to retrieve a large cache of supplies from the abandoned settlement of Deerfield (Mass.). While crossing a small brook with their heavily laden ox-drawn carts, and heedless of any danger, stopped to gather the wild grapes that they found growing around them in profusion … a foolish act Cotten Mather later observed, for these proved to be “dear and deadly grapes to them.” Gazing down at them from ambush were as many as 1200 Nipmuck, Pocumtuck, Wampanoag and Narragansett warriors clutching matchlock muskets and tomahawks, waiting for the cry of the war hoop to sound – which would seal the fate of all but two of the Puritans.

“The flower of Essex, all killed in a day!”

As one widow lamented, when word reached them of the disaster, “the flower of Essex (Mass.) all killed in a day!” For the Indians it was one of many victories which inflicted on the Puritans the highest casualty rate of any subsequent American war. Ultimately, however, the “United Colonies” proved victorious and the resistance of New England Indians was largely broken.