In the Classroom > Unit Overview > Lesson 4

Lesson 4 - Readings for Studying the Falls Fight
Excerpts from

The Redeemed Captive Returning to Zion
by John Williams, 1706, pgs. 104-106

On the 17th of May, 1676, Captain Turner marched from Hatfield at the head of about one hundred and sixty militia-men, to attack a large Indian force stationed at the Great Falls, so called, on Connecticut River, in that part of Deerfield which is now Gill. The Indians had a large settlement there, as it was a famous resort for salmon, bass, and shad. They had at that time a force there of several hundred men. Captain Turner was from Boston, and he commanded the standing forces [army];...

It was now near day-break, but the Indians were asleep, not even guarded by a single sentinel [guard]. It is said they had been rioting the evening before upon milk and roast-beef, which they had stolen from the neighboring towns. The English silently broke in upon their camp, and poured in a charge of musketry which almost completely deafened them. In their consternation [horror] and alarm they ran towards the river, crying out, "Mohawks! Mohawks!" supposing themselves attacked by these Indians. Great numbers jumped into their canoes, and many forgot their paddles, and were hurried precipitately [headlong] over the falls, dashed to pieces, and drowned, while others were destroyed buy the English, in the camp, in their cabins, and in their canoes.

The loss on the part of the English was only one man. The Indian loss was very severe; one hundred were killed on the spot; one hundred and forty passed over the falls, and were killed or drowned, with the exception of one man. A few escaped to their companions. The Indians acknowledged their own loss to be three hundred, and among them many of their principal sachems [leaders].


Rev. John Williams--Deerfield's minister at the time of the 1704 attack. Two of his children were killed during the attack, and his wife was killed during the march north. He was captured along with five of his children. One child, Eunice would never return.


top of page