December 10, 2012
Clash of Cultures: The Deerfield Massacre
It was a cold winter of 1704 and an English settlement that was in the mid Connecticut River valley, became a place for a great intercultural, international conflict. Deerfield was raided by French and Native forces in an ongoing struggle with the English for control of native lands and resources. Native American peoples; French, English, and Africans; soldiers, ministers, farmers and traders; men, women, and children; they were all affected by these conflicts. Deerfield had been prepared for this attack as they had gotten word that it might happen. They had soldiers and a fortress ready, although it would appear to not be enough. Deerfield was ready and had protected itself inside a high fence, many hired soldiers to patrol and be lookout in the streets at night. Also to be scouts to prowl in the woods, all making the citizens of this town feel safer as there were many families living inside this stockade. The minister of the town, Rev. John Williams was known to be a target and also a leader in this community. In the days before the raid, Rev. Williams wrote that they had days of fasting and prayer in the local church and he thought “that the town would in little time be destroyed.” The French led the attack and set out that early February night moving south from Canada (New France) on rivers that were frozen and over the Green Mountains. This was a hard journey; they had snowshoes and dogs to pull their sleds. The sunrise would be an enemy to them as they needed the cover of darkness. The town knowing nothing of when the attack might come went to sleep on that February 28th night as usual. As the attackers made their final preparations, Deerfield was known by the Indian hunters as they had made visits previously for trading. A scout is sent to see the observation of the town and returns to say...