The Deerfield Raid
The hardest blow landed on the night of February
29, 1704, when approximately 250 men, 200 Indians and 48 French,
assaulted the town. The assailants breached the palisade without
detection and stormed the houses. Some occupants resisted but most
were overpowered. The attack was just one battle in a broader conflict
between France and Britain, but the local consequences were profound.
After killing 42 residents and 5 garrisoned militiamen
and capturing 109 persons, the raiders withdrew, leaving the southern
end of the village (outside the palisade) untouched. Seven of the
eleven houses within the stockade were burned. Eleven of the attackers
died and a score were wounded. Reinforcements from towns downriver
joined men of the village in counterattacking the retreating party.
The raiders beat them back, killing nine and wounding others.
During the next several years, the majority of
the captives were returned, although 29 remained in Canada. 26 of
the 29 were children, aged 3 to 17, and 16 of the 26 were female.
Many of the captives who were redeemed returned to Deerfield, but
some who had survived the attack never resettled permanently, selling
their property or rights, and moving to safer havens, usually to
established towns further south in the Valley.