The next morning by daybreak, having left their horses behind,
the colonials were in position on a slope overlooking the
Amerindian encampment. As so often happens in battles, luck
played a part in the unfolding drama.
SITE OF CAPTAIN TURNER'S ATTACK ON THE AMERINDIAN ENCAMPMENT. SUBMERGED TODAY BY THE WATER IMPOUNDED BY THE TURNERS FALLS DAM.
The assembled tribe had feasted well on fresh fish and stolen
cattle. They had posted no sentinels, had sent no scouts out,
and were still asleep as the Hatfield party crept closer and
closer to the wigwams. When the 150 men and boys were pressed
right up against the wigwams, Captain Turner gave a prearranged
signal -- guns were thrust directly into the wigwams and fired!
Many of the Amerindians were killed immediately, some leapt into
the Connecticut River, to be swept over the falls and drowned.
The colonials were ruthless in their attack, searching through
the camp and killing women, children, old people. No one was
spared. Two forges had been set up to repair guns and make
ammunition. These were destroyed and two pigs of lead were
thrown into the river. Maybe these pigs of lead are still there
under the water.
The sounds of attack had alerted other Amerindian groups who were
camped along the river. One of these groups crossed the river
below the falls and took up a position across the track leading
to Deerfield. Apparently Captain Turner had not thought much
about securing his retreat. His attack had been successful --
perhaps several hundred Amerindians had been slain at the cost of
only one English life. By this time the neighboring tribes were
getting closer and closer. Time to retreat, but by which route?
The Hatfield force broke into small groups, some insisting on one
route, others equally insistent on taking a different path back
to where the horses had been left. A few fortunate men managed
to get to their horses just before the warriors got to them.
Other settlers were forced to push homeward on foot. Warriors
followed the panicking English, inflicting casualties whenever
possible. Captain Turner was killed as he tried to cross the
Green River. Of the 150 participants, at least 40 were killed on
the retreat. Some got separated from the main body and had to
find their way alone; a few were successful while others never
Captain Turner's body was found about a month later and was
buried on a bluff west of where he fell. A tablet marks the spot
today. Peskeompscut (Great Falls) was renamed Turners Falls.
RETURN for more incidents.