Horrors of History, Part Seven – The Mystic Massacre
Don’t Turn Evil, Part Thirteen – The Mystic Massacre
Copyright 2010 M.A. Golding
No, the Puritans did NOT slaughter many members of oddball cults -- just a few.
On May 26, 1637, another “date which should live in infamy”, Captain John Mason and 90 Connecticut militia, Captain John Underhill and 20 Massachusetts militia , Uncas and 70 Mohegan, and a few hundred Narragansett somehow reached their target, the Pequot village of Misistuck, now Mystic, Connecticut, undetected. The Narragansett had feared detection and ambush, but Uncas persuaded them to continue.
There were hundreds of Pequot in the village, but most of the warriors were away on a raid. The village was set on fire, and the Pequot who ran out though the gates or climbed over the palisade were shot by the English. The Mohegan and Narragansett slaughtered those who did get out of the village.
It should have been easy to capture most of the villagers. The attackers could have announced that if the villagers came out the gates one by one (except for little children carried by older people) when ordered they would be taken prisoner. Seventy Mohegan who basically spoke the Pequot language could have been interpreted instructions.
The retreating English were harassed by Pequot warriors from the other main village. I hope that each and every member of the expedition, fearing being tortured to death by vengeful Pequot, cursed himself for not capturing one or more Pequot he could trade for his life if things went badly.
There were strategic disadvantages to the Mystic Massacre. To end Kickapoo raids from Mexico into Texas, General Sheridan ordered Colonel Ranald Mackenzie of the Fourth US Cavalry to secretly cross the border without Mexican permission. On May 18, 1873, Mackenzie attacked a Kickapoo village near Remolina, Mexico when the warriors were away hunting. Though some noncombatants were killed or escaped, Mackenzie took forty captives back to Texas, sending them to Indian Territory. Frightened of future attacks and wishing to be reunited with the captives, hundreds of Kickapoo surrendered and moved to a new reservation in Indian Territory.
If the Puritans had captured hundreds of Pequot and threatened them with foreign slavery the whole tribe would probably have made peace like the Kickapoo in 1873. Then the Puritans could have split control of the Connecticut Indians between Sassacus and the Pequot and Uncas and the Mohegan, and encouraged them to compete for control of various tribes by being more loyal to the English.
Don’t Turn Evil Part Fourteen – Pequot Terrorism
Copyright 2010 M. A. Golding
About eighty percent of the Pequot, and most of the warriors, were alive after the Mystic Massacre. In an action movie with Pequot heroes they would have hunted down and slaughtered Mason and Underhill’s men, and finally the leaders. And the Pequot could still have captured enough hostages to negotiate good peace terms or all retreat in one direction to a place of safety.
Instead they panicked and fled in small groups to seek refuge wherever they could. Many Pequot were massacred by tribes seeking revenge for past Pequot attacks. Sassacus managed to reach the Iroquois to ask for asylum – his head was sent to Connecticut as a sign of friendship.
The English executed or enslaved many Pequot. About a thousand and a half survivors became second class Mohegan. In 1655 the English took the Pequot away from the Mohegan, alleging excessive Mohegan cruelty, and later gave the Pequot two small reservations.
In Moby Dick Melville wrote that the Pequod were as extinct as the Medes – but most natives of northwestern Iran are probably descended from the Medes.
In the late Twentieth Century one Pequot tribe sued to regain lands which Connecticut had illegally sold in 1855. Some of the affected landowners called the Pequot lawsuit a form of terrorism.
Terrorism! How can suing people instead of “Sioux-ing” them be terrorism? The Pequot raids in 1637 were almost terrorism and just as evil. The Mystic Massacre was almost terrorism and just as evil. But it would be a far, far, better world than it is if starting a lawsuit was the closest possible thing to terrorism.
Uncas’s Mohegan and former Pequot soon ruled most of the tribes which the Pequot had. The Pequot War must have seemed like a Pequot civil war which Uncas’s faction won, continuing the Pequot rule, to many Connecticut Indians.
The Puritans celebrated the victory as a sign of divine favor over evil, unbelieving Pequot. I wonder why nobody asked if a different, more sinister, supernatural being could have given the Puritans such an evil victory. If the Puritans were God’s Elect the Devil would have wanted to corrupt them into enjoying the fruits of an evil crime. And the Devil might have caused such an easy Puritan victory to tempt them think into seeking another easy victory in the next war.
Did Mason, Underhill, and their superiors just think of committing the Mystic Massacre, did the Devil put the idea in their minds, or were they inspired by the atrocities of the Thirty Years War of 1618 to 1648? Or did the English raids on Powhatan villages in 1622 to 1632, and/or the Powhatan attack on March 22, 1622 give them the idea?
where can it finds the other parts to these horrific historical tales?
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