Sour Grapes?…The “Battle of Bloody Brook”

The year is 1675. It is the beginning of the King Philip’s War, and the English are losing….BADLY. The natives have free reign of the countryside, attacking every town, every farm, and every traveler at will. Englishmen have pride at being one of the greatest powers in Europe. Even though they have left England due to religious reasons, they are still…English. Some of these English have military experience, and train others. The English power was superior.

The English did not consider the natives to be their equals. There was racism. English settlers viewed these “rebels” more like spoiled children that needed to be brought to justice, and the leaders lawfully punished.

But, the natives were wining, battle after battles. Somehow they were able to undermine European strategies. The natives were quick to take advantage of English mistakes. One of these blunders would come to be called, ‘Bloody Brook’.

In the month of September, 1675, settlements in Western Massachusetts were hit many times with much loss off. Troops would be sent out, unable to track down the attackers. Their refusal to use Indian guides was a great disadvantage to them.

Main governments, such as Springfield and Boston, began to settlers and farmers to abandon their town towns and move closer to safety. Although some chose to stay, some chose to abandon their homes. They didn’t know who trust.

The town of Deerfield, Massachusetts had been attacked twice and burned. The town of Hadley had also been attacked, burned and abandoned. The issue with Hadley was that town still had its harvest. The natives have cut off their access to safe routes to obtain food and supplies. Hadley’s harvest can be distributed to towns along the Connecticut valley before winter.

The decision made to obtain those supplies. On September 18, 1675, a troop of eighty men under the command of Captain Lathrop set out with a train of wagons. Although it was mid-September, the weather was hot and humid.

On the return trip, the wagons were slow-going in the heat and the denseness of the forest. The convoy came to a brook that needed to be crosses. Due to the weight of convoy’s load, the troops that it was going to take time. They also believed that another troop under the command of Captain Samuel Mosely was nearby.

In one of the greatest blunders in history, the troops put their rifles on top of the bags of grain in the wagons and sat down near the brook. Some of the soldiers began picking wild grapes. The troopers let their guard down.

A signal was given, and hundreds of native warriors swarmed upon the convoy. Shot and arrows coming from every direction. Smoke, the screams of the natives, the screams of death.

The forces under the command of Captain Mosely arrived, only to find the victims in Lathrop’s command being stripped. Mosely engaged. After six hours, neither side seemed to be pushing the other back. It was the arrival of Captain Treat with an addition one hundred men that caused the natives to withdraw.

English casualties were high. Of Lathrop’s command of eighty men, it is reported that only eight or survived. Lathrop himself lost his life. From Mosely’s command, of sixty men eleven lives were lost.

In enemy territory. The enemy is known for vicious, quick attacks. All over a bunch of grapes….I hope that they were good.

It said through local legend that the book ran with the blood of so many men, it was renamed to “Bloody Brook”

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