In the Classroom > Unit Overview > Lesson 6

Lesson 6 - Readings for Activity 3: Outcomes of the Attack

Excerpts from
The History of Philip's War
by Thomas Church, 1829, pgs. 321-323

"Deerfield, at that time, was the most northerly settlement on Connecticut river, a few families at Northfield excepted. Against this place, M. Vaudrieul sent out a party of about three hundred French and Indians. They were put under the command of Hertel de Rouville...

To this place, Rouville with his party, approached on February the twentyninth. Hovering round the place, he sent out his spies for intelligence. The watch kept the streets of the town till about two hours before day, and then, unfortunately, all of them went to sleep. Perceiving all to be quiet, the enemy embraced the opportunity and rushed on to the attack. The snow was so high, that they had no difficulty in jumping over the walls of the fortification; and immediately separated into small parties, to appear before every house at the same time. The place was completely surprised, and the enemy were entering the houses at the moment the inhabitants had the first suspicion of their approach. The whole village was carried in a few hours, and with very little resistance; one of the garrison houses only, being able to hold out against the enemy.

Having carried the place, slain fortyseven of the inhabitants, captured the rest, and plundered the village, the enemy set it on fire; and an hour after sunrise on the same day, retreated in great haste. A small party of the English pursued them, and a skirmish ensued the same day, in which a few were lost on both sides. The enemy, however, completely succeeded in their enterprise, and returned to Canada on the same route, carrying with them one hundred and twelve of the inhabitants of Deerfield, as prisoners of war.

What Does That Mean?

Deerfield was the northernmost settlement on the Connecticut River. Monsieur Vaudrieul, the Governor of Canada, sent out 300 French and Indians against the town. Hertel de Rouville commanded them.

The French and Indians approached Deerfield on February 29th. The French Commander, de Rouville, sent out spies. Town guards walked the streets until two hours before dawn and then went to sleep. Seizing their opportunity, the French and Indians rushed to the attack. The snow was so high that they had no difficulty climbing over the stockade. Then a small party was sent to each house. Deerfield residents were completely surprised. The town was overtaken in a few hours. Only one of the houses was able to resist the attackers.

The French and Indians killed 47 residents, captured the rest, took what they wanted from the village, and then set it on fire. They retreated an hour after dawn. Some English followed the attackers. They fought and a few were killed on each side. The French and Indians returned to Canada with 112 Deerfield residents.

Excerpt from
The History of Deerfield, Vol. I
by George Sheldon, 1895, pgs. 293 - 294

Governor de Vaudreuil writes to the war minister at Paris,... Nov. 17th, 1704,--
...This obliged us, my lord, to send thither Sieur de Rouville, an officer of the line, with nearly two hundred men, who attacked the fort, in which, according to the report of all the prisoners, there were more than one hundred men under arms; they took more than one hundred and fifty prisoners, including men and women, and retreated, having lost only three men and some twenty wounded.

Charlevoix, in his history of New France, tells the story... the Abenakis, whose chiefs called on M. Vaudreuil for aid, and he sent out during the winter 250 men commanded by the Sieur Hertel de Rouville...who, in his turn, surprised the English, killed a large number of them, and took 150 prisoners. He himself lost only three Frenchmen, and some savages.

What Does That Mean?
The Governor of Canada, de Vaudreuil, wrote to the minister of war in Paris on Nov. 17, 1704, that the French had sent Sieur De Rouville and nearly 200 men to attack a fort in which there were more than 100 armed men. They took more than 150 prisoners, including men and women, and left, having lost only 3 men and some 20 wounded.

Charlevoix tells in his book that the Abenaki chiefs asked Monsieur Vaudreuil for help. During the winter he sent 250 men, commanded by Sieur Hertel de Rouville. They surprised the English, killed a large number of them, and took 150 prisoners. Rouville lost only 3 Frenchmen and some Indians.

Excerpt from
The History of Deerfield, Vol. I
by George Sheldon, 1895, pgs. 295 - 296

Penhallow's Account of the Assault. [1726]
Towards morning, being February 29th, the enemy sent scouts to discover the posture of the town... two hours before day, they attacked the fort, and by advantage of some drifts of snow, got over the walls. The whole body was above two hundred and fifty, under the command of Monsieur Arteil, who found the people fast asleep, and easily secured them. The most considerable part of the town thus fell into their hands... Sixty English fell whereof many were stifled in a cellar, and a hundred were taken captive.

What Does That Mean?
On February 29th, toward morning, the French and Indians sent spies to the town. Two hours before day, the French and Indians attacked the fort. The snow had drifted high against the walls, making it easy to climb over. There were more than 250 French and Indians under the command of Monsieur Artiel. They found the town fast asleep. Most of the town fell into their hands. Sixty English were killed. Many were smothered in a cellar; 100 were taken captive.

Excerpts from
A Half-Century of Conflict
by Francis Parkman, 1902, pg. 67-69

The number of English carried off prisoners was one hundred and eleven, and the number killed was according to one list forty-seven, and according to another fifty-three, the latter including some who were smothered in the cellars of their burning houses. The names, and in most cases the ages, of both captives and slain are preserved. Those who escaped with life and freedom were, by the best account, one hundred and thirty-seven. An official tabular statement, drawn up on the spot, sets the number of houses burned at seventeen.

Vaudreuil wrote... that the French lost two or three killed, and twenty or twenty-one wounded, Rouville himself being among the latter. This cannot include the Indians, since there is proof that the enemy left behind a considerable number of their dead.

Governor Dudley, writing to Lord----- on 21 April, 1704, ways that thirty dead bodies of the enemy were found in the village and on the meadow. Williams, the minister, says that they did not seem inclined to rejoice over their success, and continued for several days to bury members of their party who died of wounds on the return march. He adds that he learned in Canada that they lost more than forty, though Vaudreuil assured him that they lost but eleven.

What Does That Mean?
There were 111 English prisoners. According to one list, there were 47 dead. Another list said 53, including some who were smothered in the cellars of their burning homes. We know the names and ages of both captives and the dead. There were 137 who were not killed or taken captive. An official statement, written on the spot, says that 17 houses burned.

Vaudreuil, the Governor of Canada, wrote that there were 2 or 3 Frenchmen killed and 20 or 21 wounded, including Rouville. This number does not include the Indians, since there is proof that the French and Indians left behind a large number of dead.

Governor Dudley, writing to Lord ------ on April 21, 1704, says that there were 30 French and Indian bodies found in Deerfield and in the meadow. Williams, the minister, says the French and Indians were not happy over their success and continued to bury their own on their march north. He adds that he learned in Canada that they lost more than 40; although Vaudreuil assured him that they lost only 11.

An Account of Those Killed and Wounded
by Lynne Manring, (source: Revisiting the Redeemed Captive, Evan Haefeli & Kevin Sweeney, from The William & Mary Quarterly, Vol. LII, #1, Jan. 1995, pgs. 6 & 7, & footnotes 11 & 13)

The French and Indians killed 42 residents and 5 soldiers and captured 109 residents (sometimes this number is 112, which includes 3 Frenchmen who lived in Deerfield at the time and were taken back to Canada with the captives). Then they left, without harming the southern part of town. Eleven French and Indians died and 20 were wounded. More soldiers came from other towns south of Deerfield and attacked the French and Indians as they were leaving. The French and Indians killed 9 of them and wounded more.

The English reported that the French and Indians numbered about 300-400 and Deerfield's minister, John Williams, said that there were about 300. Historians have said there were 200 French and 142 Indians. Actually there were about 250 attackers. Two hundred of these were Indians and 48 were French. The French agree with these figures.

Dudley, the Governor of Massachusetts, wrote that 30 bodies of French and Indians were found in Deerfield and in the meadow.

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