In 1636, John Oldham
(q. v.) was trading in a vessel of his own along the shores of Connecticut
, and near Block Island
he was attacked by Indians of that island, and he and his crew were murdered.
Filled with the barbarians, who did not know how to manage rudder or sail, the vessel was found drifting by John Gallop, a Massachusetts fisherman, who had only a man and two boys with him. They gallantly attacked the Indians, killed or drove them into the sea, and recaptured the vessel — the first naval fight on the New England
They found the dead body of Oldham
on the deck, yet bleeding, The Block Island
Indians were allies of the Pequods, and were protected by the latter.
The murder of Oldham
was a signal for war. In August five small vessels, carrying about 100 men, under John Endicott
, sailed from Boston
to punish the Block Island
His orders from the magistrates were to kill all the men, but to spare the women and children.
There were four captains in the company, because the Indians in fighting usually divided into small squads, and it was necessary to attack them in like detachments.
One of these captains was the famous John Underhill
(See Pequod Indians.
's party landed in a heavy surf, and in the face of a shower of arrows.
but only one Englishman was wounded.
fled into the interior of the island.
Everything — dwellings, crops.
and the simple furniture of
the Indians--was destroyed.
The island was completely desolated.
could not find the Indians to kill them, but he left them in a condition to starve to death.