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Captain Oliver's Narrative

Author: James Oliver
From the edition of: 1675, published at Boston, Massachusetts
This edition: Copyright 2011, Norman P. Burdett
Pages: 10
Format: PDF

Captain James Oliver was of the First Military Company of Boston, and was elected Captain probably in 1673. On November 17, 1675 he was appointed to command a Boston company in the Narraganset campaign. Although the Narragansett Tribe had not engaged in hostilities again the English, some individual warriors were thought to be involved. The United Colonies decided to stage a preemptive strike to prevent the powerful tribe from joining the war in the spring when the bare limbs of the winter forest would be filled with green leaves, providing the much needed cover for these forest fighters. An army of a thousand men began gathering in the Narragansett Country launching search and destroy missions from a base in what is now Wickford, R.I. The soldiers from Plimouth, Massachusetts and Connecticut were to meet at the Jireh Bull garrison house in Narragansett, but after some preliminary skirmishing, the Indians attacked that fortified building and killed seventeen people, burning the buildings down. The soldiers that arrived had to sleep in the field.

A captured Indian informed the English of a location in the Great Swamp near present day Kingston, R.I. of a fort where the Narragansetts had settled in for the winter with their families and stores of food. The English attacked the fort and after a very costly fight managed to set the fort and its wigwams ablaze, killing hundreds of people including children, women and old people.

Oliver was one of the few fortunate officers who passed through the Great Swamp Fight unscathed, and remained in command of his company until the return and dismissal at Boston February 5th, 1675-6.

This massacre served to solidify the Narragansetts resolve to join the war effort, and they became the most dangerous of all of the Indian allies who fought the English.

This Narrative, as it it termed, is a letter or Dispatch from the front reporting to headquarters about the events of the Narragansett Campaign.

Books in this series:

A Brief History of the War with the Indians (Abidged)
Increase Mather

Easton's Relation
Rhode Island Deputy Governor John Easton

The Ordeal of the Thomas Eames Family
Josiah Temple

Captain Oliver´s Narrative
Captain James Oliver

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