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THE YEAR 1861.




The settlement of iSTew-Hampshire was commenced, and
prosecuted for some years, by private enterprise ; hence its
military appointments were limited to the necessities of
its colonists, whose main objects w^ere fish, lumber,- furs
and minerals. However, some military organization was
necessary, in case of trouble with the natives, and for
proper defense against foreign enemies, and particularly,
pirates, who infested the coast. Accordingly, the infant
Colony was furnished with arms and ammunition, suffi-
cient for the equipment of its eflective men, and for ofien-
sive or defensive operations, on a limited scale. The orig-
inal settlement was made in the spring of 1623, by Sir
Ferdinando Gorges and Capt. John Mason, on the Piscat-
aqua river. These gentlemen, on the 10th of August of
the year previous, had obtained from "the Council of
Plymouth," a grant of laud, "situated between the rivers
Merrimack and Sagadahock, extending back to the great
lakes and river of Canada," under the name of Laconia.
Their agents were David Thompson and Edward and Wil-
liam Hilton. Thompson set up his fishing stages and
flakes at what is now known as Little Harbor, while the
Hiltons went eight miles farther up the Piscataqua, and
located on what ia now known as "Dover Neck." In
1629, Gorges and Mason divided Laconia, the former tak-
ing the part east of the Piscataqua, and the latter the part
west of that river. These subdivisions were confirmed to
them by new grants.


Another subdivision was made, March 12, 1630, when a
grant was made to Edward Hilton and his associates, of a
tract embracing Dover Neck, the north part of ISTewington
and Greenland, the whole of Stratham, and a part of Ex-
eter up to Squamsauke Falls, " carrying a breadth of three
miles down the Exeter river and the Great Bay to the
Piscataqua;" and November 3, 1631, a grant was made to
Capt. Mason and his associates at the mouth of the Piscat-
aqua, of a tract of land on both sides of that river and the
harbor, " and five miles westward by the sea-coast, and then
to cross over toward the other patent, in the hands of Ed-
ward Hilton." This patent included part of the present
town of Kittery, in Maine, all of Newcastle, Rye and
Portsmouth, and the south parts of Newington, Greenland
and Stratham. These last grants were known as the "Hil-
ton Patent," and "Rendezvous Patent," but more famil-
iarly as the Upper and Lower Plantations. Capt. Thom-
as Wiggin was the Agent of the Upper Plantation, while
Capt. Walter Neal was the Agent of the Lower Planta-
tion. These agents had charge of both the civil and mil-
itary operations of their plantations, and, in 1631, called
upon their military forces to settle the rights of soil in a
point of land in Newington, extending into the Piscataqua,
and claimed by both agents. But luckily their better
judgment suggested leaving the matter to their employers,
and the point was named Bloody Point, because blood
was savedy rather than spilled, on that occasion.

The next year, however, a more serious matter was in
hand to excite their military spirit. The famous Dixy Bull,
the pirate, in 1632 appeared upon the coast, taking several
boats, and rifling the fort at Pemaquid. The Massachusetts
Colony sent a bark with twenty men against the pirate, and
our infant plantations joined the expeditiou with four pin-
naces and shallops, with forty men, armed, under the com-
mand of Capt. Walter Neal. Bull and his associates had
gone farther east, and a storm arising, the expedition re-
turned to the Piscataqua in a shattered condition.

Meantime the colonists, at their first coming over, had
built a fort on Odiorue's Point, south of Little Harbor, and


now in the town of Rye, as a means of defense as^ainst
the Indians, and had built another on Fort Point, at Great
Island, now JSTewcastle. This was boilt prior to 1632, as,
in that year, Henry Jocelyu and Richard Vines certify the
Proprietors in England, that a fortification had been built
at Fort Point, and four great guns had been mounted,
given the people by a certain merchant of London, for the
defense of the river, and that " a draft was sent of the place
that they had made choice of, to the said Earl (of Warwick)
and company, and the draft did contain all the neck of
land in the northeast side of the Great Island that makes
the Great Harbor, and they gave it the name of Fort
Point, and allotted it so far back into the island, about a
bow shot, to a great high rock, whereon was intended, in
time, to set the principal fort."

But there was probably no soldier by profession in the
plantation, until the latter part of the year 1631. Under
date of May, of that year, Thomas Eyre, one of the pat-
entees wrote Ambrose Gibbins, their agent, thus : " By
the Bark Warwick we send you a factor, to take care of the
trade goods ; also, a soldier for discovery," &c. This " sol-
dier for discovery," &c., was doubtless Parbey Field, an
Irishman, who, in company with Capt. Neal and Henry
Jocelyn discovered the White Mountains in the following
year. He was doubtless sent over, not only for discovery,
but to assist in the military operations of the plantations,
and in organizing and "training" the volunteer soldiers.
After 'the expedition against Bull and his associates, there
seems to have been little occasion for soldiers for several
years. In July, 1635, an inventory of the goods and im-
plements belonging to the Plantations of Piscataqua and
JSTewichewanock was rendered, from which it appears the
warlike implements were then formidable. There were
" 3 sackers,* 3 minions,t 2 faulcons,| 2 rabenets,|| 4 mur-

* A cannon carrying a six pound ball.

■f A cannon carrying a 3^ pound ball.

J A cannon carrying a "J pound ball.

II A small cannon or swivel carrying a h pound ball.

6 adjutant-general's report.

tlierei's,* 2 chambers,! 22 arqiibusses,J 4 muskets, 46
fowling pieces, 67 carbines, 6 p irs of pistols, 61 swords and
belts, 15 halberds,|| 31 head-pieces, 82 beaver spears, 50
flasks, ^pairs of baudaleers,^ 13 barrels of powder, — iron
bullets, 2 firkins of lead bullets, 2 hogsheads of match,
955 lbs. of small shot, 2 drums, 15 recorders and haut-
boys."** These, in addition to the fort at Little Harbor,
and the fort with the "great guns," at Fort Point, "of
which some were brass," as deposed by George Walton, of
Great Island, made quite a formidable araiament for de-
fensive or offensive operations.

In 1640, upon occasion of a riot at Dover, raised by the
partisans of the rival clergymen, Larkham and Knowles,
in wdiich resort was had to arms, the former sent to Ports-
mouth for assistance. This was promptly furnished, as
Mr. Francis Williams, who had been chosen Governor of
the Lower Plantation, immediately went up to Dover with
a company of militia, and quelled the riot, arresting the
leaders and sending them out of the plantation.

In 1641 the plantations upon the Piscataqua passed
under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, and the following
year the plantation at Exeter " was admitted into the
Union." Thus the government of Massachusetts accom-
plished her long cherished design, that of obtaining con-
trol of the greater part of the Masonian grants.

From this time until 1679, New-Hampshire was govern-
ed generally by the laws of Massachusetts, and in its mil-
itary operations altogether by them. It was while thus
governed by Massachusetts that some of the most noted
Indian depredations were committed on our frontiers.

* A small swivel or wall piece, carrying a ^ pound ball, or less.

-j- Mortars, for throwing bombs.

X A gun that was cocked by a wheel, and carried a ball weighing from
2 to 4 ounces.

II A military weapon, being a sort of spear attached to a long handle, car-
ried formerly by sergeants.

^ A belt, worn by ancient soldiers over the right shoulder, and suspend-
ed under the left arm, to hold a gun or pouch.

■**A recorder was a wind instrument, something like a flageolet. A
hautboy was somewhat like a clarionet, without keys.

MILITARY HISTORY — 1623 TO 1861. 7

Massachusetts was too much occupied on her southern
frontier to lend much assistance, and, as a result, fear and
consternation spread through the Province. Business was
suspended almost entirely in the Spring and Summer of
1675, as men were obliged to provide for the safety of
themselves and families. The occupants of the smaller
houses in the settlements, left them, and fortified with
wooden walls and flankarts the large houses, into which
they went every night for rest and protection, each one by
turn keeping watch from a sentry-box placed upon the
roof of the house for that purpose. Notvvithstanding these
precautions, frequent attacks and massacres took place.
Scouts were kept out under brave and experienced men,
but the rolls of none of them have been preserved. The
names of Waldron, CotRn, Plaisted and Frost, are identi-
fied with these savage attacks.

An afliiir at Cochecho, now Dover, in 1676, in which cer-
tain troops of Massachusetts took an active part, led to
one of the most noted Indian attacks and massacres in the
history of our wars with the aborigines. On the 4th of
September, 1676, there was a large gathering of Indians,
some four hundred in number, for trade and pleasure, at
Cochecho, under the auspices of Major Waldron, with
whom they had made a peace, and who was considered by
them as their protector and father. At the same time,
there marched into town two companies of troops from
Massachusetts, under the command of Capts. Joseph Syll
and Wm. Hathorne, under orders to seize all Indians who
had been concerned in Philip's War. Some of Philip's
warriors had fled eastward, and become incorporated with
the tribes upon the Merrimack, Saco and Ameriscoggin.
Some of the " strange Indians" were of the gathering at
Cochecho. Syll and Hathorne would have ftillen upon
them at once, but Waldron resorted to stratagem. He
proposed a sham-fight, after the manner of the English, in
which the Indians should be opposed by the English. The
proposal delighted the Indians, and they joined in it read-
ily ; when, all at once, the Indians found themselves sur-
rounded and prisoners. Tradition has it that the Indians


were furnished with a cannon, and gunners to "load and
fire" it, and that the gunners discharged the cannon in
range with a line of Indians on one of the drag-ropes,
thus killing a large number of them, by accident, as it was
called I

The Penacooks were dismissed, but some three hun-
dred of the prisoners were taken to Boston, six or seven
hung upon the Common, and the rest sold into slavery !
This outrage caused innocent blood to stain many a
hearth -stone, while it cost Major Waldron his life in the
fatal massacre of Cochecho.

In 1679 New-Hampshire was created by the Xing in
Council, into a separate government, under the jurisdic-
tion of a President and Council, and John Cutt, Esq., a
citizen of Portsmouth, was appointed President, with six
of the most influential citizens of the Province as a Coun-
cil, with power to elect three other Councilors. His com.
mission was received at Portsmouth, the first of January,
1680, and the President and Councilors were qualified,
and entered upon their duties on the 22d of the same
month. In President Cutt's commission was the folloAving
clause as to a Militia : namely, " And for ye better defense
and security of all our loving subjects within tliB said
Province of !N^ew-Hampshire, and ye bounds and limits
aforesaid, our further will and pleasure is, and we do here-
by authorize, require and command ye said President and
Council for the time being, in our name and under the
seal appointed by us to be used, to give and issue forth
commissions from time to time, to such person and per-
sons, whom they shall judge shall be best qualified for
regulating and discipline of the Militia of our said Prov-
ince; and for the arraying and mustering the inhabitants
thereof, and instructing them how to bear and use their
arms ; and that care be taken that such good discipline
shall be observed as by ye said Council shall be pre-
scribed ; yt, if any invasions shall at any time be made,
or other destruction, detriment or annoyance, made or
done by Indians, or others upon or unto our good subjects
inhabiting within ye said Province of ISrew-IIarapshire,

MILITARY HISTORY — 1623 TO 1861. 9

TVe do, by these presents, for us, our heirs and successors,
declare, ordain and grant, that it shall and may be lawful
to and for our said subjects, so commissioned by our said
Council from time to time, and at all times for their spe-
cial defense and safety, to encounter, expel, repel and re-
sist, by force of arms, and all other fitting means what-
ever, all and every such person and persons as shall at any
time hereafter attempt or enterprise the destruction, in-
vasion, detriment or annoyance of any of our said loving
subjects, or their plantations or estates."

This was the first order issued to the Province of ISTew-
Hampshire as to organizing the militia, and is contained
in the only charter ever granted to this Province. A
clause was contained in this commission or charter, or-
dering the calling of a General Assembly within three
months after they had taken the oath of office. This was
duly called, and on the IGth of March enacted certain
laws. The militia was organized, and was made to con-
sist of one company of foot in each of the four towns of
Portsmouth, Dover, Exeter and Hampton ; one company
of artillery at the fort, and one troop of horse. Richard
Waldron, of Dover, was appointed to the command of
these troops, with the rank of Major.

The military companies in the Province having been
organized under the laws of Massachusetts, and the offi-
cers of the same having been appointed by that govern-
ment, much difficulty occurred in organizing the militia
by the new government. Notwithstanding the King, in his
commission to President Cutt, had explicitly said, " We
have written to ye Governor and Council of the Massa-
chusetts Bay, to recall all such commissions as they have
granted for exercising any jurisdiction in ye parts afore-
said," * * * "and that we have inhibited and restrained
them for ye future from exercising any farther authority or
jurisdiction over them," there was not wanting men who
were unwilling to conform to the new order of things.
To meet this difficulty, at a meeting of the Deputy Presi-
dent (Richard AValdron) and Council, March 25, 1680, the
following order was made : " It is ordered by the Deputy

10 adjutant-gexeral's report.

President and Council, tljat if there be any troopers* that
have formed under the command of Capt. John Gerrish,
or in that troop of Norfolk's, they shall be at liberty from
serving any longer in that service ; provided they list
themselves foot soldiers in the towns of their present res-
idence ; and all such as are already, or would be troopers
in this Province, are now to list themselves under Capt.
John Gerrish, being qualified according to law to the fill-
ing up said troops to the number of 60, beside ofiicers."
And again, the 10th of June following, the Deputy Presi-
dent and Council passed another order to meet this same
difficulty, as follows :

*' Ordered by the President and Council, that all the
trained soldiers within the bounds of this Province, from
sixteen years old and upward, do from time to time obey
such orders and commands that shall be given by the of-
ficers that are commissioned by this government in the
several towns, both respecting arms and ammunition, and
kinds of exercise, according to the laws and orders that
are and shall be made concerning military affairs, and that
those troopers that were formerly listed under the com-
mand of Major Pike, and now inhabitants in this town,
shall have liberty to list themselves and horses under the
command of Capt. John Gerrish, Captain of the troops
in Kew-Hampshire ; and such as do not list under his
command, are required to attend their duties in the foot
companies in the towns where they dwell, upon the same
penalt^^ that is provided for neglect in that case."t

The 8th of April of the following year, President Cutt
died, and was succeeded, according to the Charter, by his

* Troopers were cavalry men. In former times, a company of cavalry
was called a troop, and its men were called troopers.

•{•From these orders, it would appear that Major Pike had command of
the troops or cavalry companies before President Cutt was commissioned,
and that Capt. John Gerrish had the command of a troop ; also, that un-
der the new form of government, Capt. Gerrish had been commissioned
to command all the tioops or companies of cavalry in the Province. Major
Kobert Pike was of Salisbury, Massachusetts, and Capt. John^Gerrish was
of Dover.

MILITARY HISTORY — 1623 TO 1861. 11

Deputy, Major Wuldron, of Dover. Wm, Vanghan, of
Portsmouth, succeeded WaldroQ as Major, commanding
the militia of the Province.

The Council, during this administration, made a report
of the condition of the Province to the Lords of Trade in
England, from which it would appear that a new fort had
been built, and the number of guns at the fort had been
increased, during the twenty years preceding, at the
charge of the towns of Dover and Portsmouth, and that
five guns had been purchased by citizens of Portsmouth,
for defense against the Indians. The Council say : " There
is at Great Island, at the harbor's mouth, a fort, well
enough situated, but for the present too weak and insuf-
ficient for the defense of the place ; the guns being eleven
in number, are small, none exceeding a sacker (six pound-
er), nor above twenty-one hundred weight, and the people
too poor to make defense, suitable to the occasion that may
happen for the fort.

These guns were bought, and the fortification erected,
at the proper charge of the towns of Dover and Ports-
mouth, at the beginning of the first Dutch war, about the
year 1665, in obedience to His Majesty's command, in his
letter to the government, under which this Province then

There are five guns more lying at the upper part of
Portsmouth, purchased by private persons, for their secu-
rity and defense against the Indians in the late war with
them." In 1682, this Charter was annulled by the ap-
pointment of Edward Cranfield, by the King in Council,
as Lieutenant-Governor and Commander-in-Chief of New-
Hampshire. He was duly commissioned on the 9th of
May, and arrived at Portsmouth the 4th of October of the
same year. Cranfield was arbitrary, capricious and rapa-
cious. During his short administration, the officers of the
militia were changed as his interest or prejudice might
dictate. Major Yaughan was deposed and imprisoned.
Capt. Stilemau, who had command of the fort at Great
Island, was deposed, and Walter Barefoot was appointed
to his place. Kobert Mason, the proprietor of the Prov-

12 adjutant-general's report.

ince, was appointed captain of "the troop," which com-
prised some of the most respectable citizens of the Prov-

At length, Cranfield becoming more arbitrary and op-
pressive, attempted to tax the people without their con-
sent. The people refused to pay the taxes; the consta-
bles attempted to distrain for them, and were resisted, the
women, even, heating spits and water, wherewith to resist
the levy. The Province was in a turmoil, and the Gov-
ernor ordered out the " troop of horse under Mason's
command, to assist in suppressing the disorders." Capt.
Mason's order is on file in the Secretary's office. It was
as follows : namely,

"You, whose names are under-writ, being listed in the
troop under my command, you and each of you are, in
His Majesty's name, hereby strictly charged and required
to meet me on Friday next, by nine of the clock in the
forenoon, at the house of John Sherburne, Sen., at the
Plains,* with horse, sword, pistols and shot; and hereof
you are not to fail, as you and each of you will answer it
at your peril.

Given under my hand the sixth day of January, 1684.

Robert Mason, Capt.
To Messrs.

Reuben Hull, Samuel Clark,

Thomas Grafibrt, Anto Nutter,

Richard Waldron, Joseph Hall,

Heni»y Penny, Pheasant Estwick,

John Hunkins, William Cotton.
Richard Jose.

I^Tot one of the men appeared at the time and place or-
dered. The soldiers took sides — fraternized with the people.

* The Plains was the noted muster-field of the " 1st Eegimenf," and is a
tract of level land, about a mile south-west of the Kailroad depots in
Portsmouth, on the road to Greenland Some of the leading people of
Portsmouth resided here and in the immediate neighborhood, such as the
Waldrons, the Langdons, and the Sherburnes. The Plains for a long
time constituted a Parish, with its church, &c. ; and bad its noted tavern,
the resort of the pleasure-seekers of the town.


Cranfield was foiled, and in disgust asked leave of absence,
which being granted, he quietly left the Province, May 16,

The following year, Joseph Dudley was appointed Pres-
ident of New-England. The new form of government
went into operation May 25, 1686. It expired December
30 of the same year. Sir Edmund Andros, arriving with
a commission, appointed him Captain-General and Gov-
ernor-in-Chief of New-England. This commission in-
vested in the Governor and Council full powers to make
laws, impose taxes and appropriate the money as they
should think proper. Andros' administration, arbitrary
and oppressive, was of short duration, as the people of
Boston, on the 18th of April, 1689, rose in arms, seized
the Governor and imprisoned him, and afterward sent
him to England as a state prisoner.

Some of the former magistrates in Boston, with Ex-Gov.
Bradstreet at their head, assumed the government, taking
to themselves the name and style of a " Council of Safety
for the People." It is a most curious fact in the history
of that revolution, that the people of Massachusetts should
imprison Governor Andros for his oppressions, and the
very same week should attempt to 'usurp the government
of New-Hampshire, as the}- did, as appears by the follow-
ing extract from the records of the doings of this " Coun-
cil for the safety of the People."

" April 23, 1689. At the council for the safety of the
people, and conservation of the peace, —

Ordered, That Major Richard Waldron be commander-
in-chief of the New-Hampshire Regiment."

But Major Waldron enjoyed this honor but for a short
time, as he met with a tragical end on the night of the
27th of June following. Among the Indians taken at Co-
checho and carried to Boston, in 1676, and sold into slavery,
were some of the friends and relatives of the Penacook
sachems. The whole tribe was incensed, and only waited
for a fitting opportunity to satiate their thirst for revenge.
Their plans were matured, and on the night of the 27th of
June, 1689, were carried into most signal efiect. The in-

14 adjutant-general's report.

furiated Indians, under the lead of their most noted war-
riors, made a general assault upon the garrison of Coche-
cho. Waldron was the special mark for their revenge.
Awakened by the noise of the Indians already in his house,
he rushed to the door of his apartment, sword in hand,
and drove them through two or three doors ; but, turning
to get his other weapons, one of the savages struck him on
the back of his head with his tomahawk, felled him to the
floor, and then the elated Indians drew him into the hall,
seated him in an arm chair upon his table, where he was
wont to dispense justice, and insultingly asked of him,
" Who shall judge Indians now ?" After slashing him with
their knives " to cross out their accounts," and cutting off
his nose and ears and forcing them into his mouth, and as
he was falling from his chair from loss of blood, an Indian

Online LibraryC. E PotterMilitary history of N.H → online text (page 1 of 29)