Tribe Against Tribe Scenario:
Turner's Falls
Connecticut River,
19 May 1676

        Forces Involved
        Victory Conditions
        Special Rules
        What Really Happened

Right: a 19th century woodcut depicting a similar slaughter of an Indian village near the Mystic River in Conneticutt, by Puritan colonists under Captain John Mason nearly forty years earlier. (From Malone, p. 105.)

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Now for a rather grim introduction. It is now the closing days of New England's yearlong war with the sachem Metacom, christened King Philip, and his Wampanoag, Narragansett, and Nipmuc followers who rose up with him in 1675, amounting to most of southern New England's native population. Among the English, the realization of the Chosen of their impending victory over the "daemons" set loose upon them from the wilderness as a trial for the their past impieties, surely a token of their restored favor in God's eyes, has encouraged a steadily more sanguine Old-Testamental tinge to the late Puritan resurgence on the field. The early days of public humiliation and prayer in Boston are now wholly past, and any distant memories of talk by men like the Rev. John Eliot of "Praying Indians" yet remaining, now rapidly fading to earth. The Indians for their part, despite many successes over the past few months in killing English and completely destroying twelve settlements, are by now suffering from famine, the colonists having belatedly perceived their weakness, raiding their cornfields and foodstocks instead of foolishly pursuing war bands. To make matters worse, flight to the interior is no longer any kind of option - Governor Andros' Mohawk friends made that point quite plain at King Philip's winter camp at Schaghticoke among the Mahicans, killing all but 40 of 500 Algonquian braves as they slept.

To get an idea of the desparate straits King Philip's people now face, we have the testimony of the Englishwoman Mary Rowlandson, captured by a war party at Lancaster in February not returned from captivity until early in this same month of May:

Though many times they would eat that, that a Hog or a Dog would hardly touch; yet by that God strengthned them to be a scourge to his People…They would pick up old bones, and cut them to pieces at the joynts, and if they were full of wormes and magots, they would scald them over the fire to make the vermine come out, and then boile them, and drink up the Liquor, and then beat the great ends of them in a Morter, and so eat them. They would eat Horses guts, and ears, and all sorts of wild Birds which they could catch: also Bear, Vennison, Beaver, Tortois, Frogs, Squirrels, Dogs, Skunks, Rattle-snakes; yea, the very Bark of Trees; besides all sorts of creatures, and provision which they plundered from the English (159-160).

Now the spring is come, and the only hope for the Indians after the losses of the winter is the oncoming fishing season. To this end they have encamped themselves in four open places on the upper Connecticut River between Deerfield and Squakeag (Northfield, Massachusetts), both in ashes and deserted by now.

It is difficult to say whether they mean to fight longer; nevertheless they continue to raid English livestock for food and two escaped English captives from among them have returned to Hatfield further downstream with the news of their unpreparedness, Thomas Reed claiming there were no more than "sixty or seventy fighting men… secure and scornful, boasting of great things they have done and will do" (qtd. in Schultz and Tougias 222).  Captain William Turner at Hatfield, himself weakened with sickness and his own long captivity as a Baptist by the Massachusetts authorities, has nevertheless mustered 150 mounted volunteers, men and boys from Hatfield, Hadley, and Northampton "resolved to Attaque them," perhaps whether Turner liked it or not. He wrote before he left to his superiors, "it is strange to see how much spirit (more than formerly) appears in our men to be out against the enemy… [who] now come so near us, that we count we might go forth in the evening, and come upon them in the darkness of the same night" (Schultz and Tougias 221).

It should be noted, these mounted volunteers have been described as young, inexperienced, poorly armed and supplied, and "in great distress for want of clothing both Linen and Woolen" (George Madison Bodge, qtd. in Schultz and Tougias 221)- probably not the heavy "Ironsides" militia horsemen of the early part of war. And north they have ridden, 20 miles by darkness, arriving at the largest, easternmost camp at dawn on 19 May, 1676. In a scene that would repeat itself in North America for another 200 years, the "cavalry" fell upon a sleeping village, killing indiscriminately. According to one anonymous report:

Our soldiers got thither after a hard March just about break of day, took most of the Indians fast asleep, and put their guns even into their Wigwams, and poured in their shot among them, whereupon the Indians that durst and were able did get out of their Wigwams and did fight a little (in which fight one Englishman only was slain) others of the Indians did enter the River to swim over from the English, but many of them were shot dead in the waters, others wounded were therein drowned, many got into Canoes to paddle away, but the paddlers being shot, the Canoes over-set with all therein, and the stream of the River being very violent and swift in the place near the great Falls, most that fell over board were born by the strong current of that River, and carryed upon the Falls of the Water from those exceeding high and steep Rocks, and from thence tumbling down were broken in pieces; the English did afterwards find of their bodies, some in the River and some cast a-shore, above two hundred. (A True Account 3-4)

Indeed, another, more sympathetic reporter, signed only with the letters N.S., added a further note of accomplishment to the massacre:

But that which was almost as much, nay in some respect more considerable than their Lives, We there destroied all their Ammunition and Provision, which we think they can hardly be so soon and easily recruited with, as possibly they may be with Men. We likewise here demolisht Two Forges they had to mend their Armes; took away all their Materialls and Tools, and drove many of them into the River, where they were drowned, and threw two great Piggs of Lead of theirs (intended for making of Bullets) into the said River (A New and Further Narrative  95-96).

"But," in the same chronicler's pious words, "this great Success was not altogether without its Allay, as if Providence had designed to Checquer our Joys and Sorrows; and lest we should Sacrifice to our own Nets, and say, Our own Arms or Prowesse hath done this, to permit the Enemy presently after to take an advantage against us" (96),  and when the fleeing warriors began to rally and turn to fight back against the green horsemen, a panic ensued. The English had lingered too long - the shooting had awakened all the Indians for miles along the river, and they had begun to recover their wits enough to run for the wrecked camp with their arms and begin shooting. Killing sleeping villagers was one thing, but fighting off armed and angry braves altogether another, and the troopers began a sprint for their mounts half a mile away, there to begin a retreat pell-mell for the ford at Deerfield, pursued all the way by angry braves both from the camp at the falls they had raided and those they had passed on the way there.

This scenario begins at this point, just after the massacre. It is true, the Indians have already lost both the battle and the war - too many have died and too much food and munition spoilt to fight any more, and indeed the war after this will be mainly small bands of English and their allied Mohegans hunting down the remaining bands of survivors - but Turner and his rash company are still lucky if they can make it back across the river alive.

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The Forces:
(Scaled for the purposes of the game to 1 figure = 4 men)

The English:

(Images Above: typical Puritan militia dress at this time. Top row, left to right:  Major Thomas Savage, Massachusetts Militia, painted by Thomas Smith, c. 1679; Sir John Leverett, Governor of Massachusetts Bay 1673-79, d. 1679 (anon., n.d.); Captain Elisha Hutchinson, Massachusetts Militia, painted by Thomas Smith, c. 1675-90. Bottom row, left to right:  John Freake, a merchant of Boston, d. 1675, painted by an anonymous artist, c. 1671-74; two English soldiers in Tangier, detail of an etching by Wenceslaus Hollar, c.1669, picked out, I must confess, not by me but by the Kirke's Lambes reenactors; a nineteenth-century woodcut of Captain Charles Frost discovering Abenaki marauders at his farm near the Piscataqua River in Maine in 1676 (plagiarized by me from Schultz and Tougias, p. 302), and a detail an anonymous English engraving of a "Working Class Couple," c. 1689, also pinched from Kirke's Lambes.)

2 units of mounted Settler Militia-:
Captain Turner - mounted, pistol, sword, buffcoat
+18 mounted colonists volunteers (similar to English dragoons of the Restoration or “Battle of the Boyne” period, though with no uniform color to their coats, except that they were generally dressed in somber colors), mixture of flintlock and matchlock carbines and pistols, perhaps some having swords as well. A few sleeveless buff coats also are likely, though not universal.
Captain Holyoake - mounted, pistol, sword, buffcoat
+ 18 mounted colonist volunteers (same as above)

All start dismounted milling about in the village as shown on map, horses placed in the woods to the northwest as shown.

Important: Turner's troop counts as routing on its first turn and every tur thereafter until it rallies, while Holyoake's troop starts steady.

Miniature Recommendations:
I would recommend a motely appearance for the horsemen, perhaps mixing League of Augsburg / Great Northern War / and a few English Civil War dragoon figures from several manufacturers, though it would certaily be just fine to use all Foundry Marlburian "dragoons in informal tricornes" or Old Glory or Redoubt ECW Cavalry in buff suits and floppy hats. Just remember the skirts should be long on the coats, with no uniform colours save that most dress like the somber Calvinists they are. Long sleevless buff jerkins were common amongst the militia at this time; it is difficult to say who or how many had them at Hatfield when the column set out. Since a few matchlocks might be present in this hastily-gathered force a few Thirty Years War Swedish musketeers might be thrown in also with the dismounts for their long coats, but it should be remembered the forked musket rest had been abandoned by this time.

(Images above: English horsemen of this period. Left to right: "Coursing Fallow Deer with Greyhounds," woodcut by Wenceslaus Hollar, England, c. early 1670s; "Hawking of Herons," ditto; English Horse Guard, detail of an engraving, c. 1684. All plagiarized from Kirke's Lambes )

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The Algonquians:
canoeing indians

Images: Top: New England Indians from Nicholaes Visscher's map Novi Belgii Novaque Angliae, 1656, showing,  little revision shall we say from those of Willem Janszoon Blaeu immediately below them, from Blaeu's earlier map of New England, Nova Belgica et Anglia Nova, 1635. At right we have a native of New Jersey loosing his bow from John Seller's A Map of New Jersey, 1682, and at at far right an Abenaki brave on campaign  seen in Maine by Louis Armand de Lom d'Arce, baron de Lahontan, and put in his discourse of the country, Nouveaux voyages de Mr. le baron de Lahontan dans l'Amérique septentrionale, 1703. Below at left is our only truly reliable picture of a Southern New England Indian of the era, a portrait of the young Niantic-Narragansett sachem Ninigret II, son of the Ninigret who was such an ally to the colonists during King Philip's War. The portrait has been dated to 1681 (Schultz and Tougias 32). To his right is another image of a New England brave from Blaeu's map, and Visscher's redoing of the same, followed by more of de Lahontan's early eighteenth century work, this time a man and a woman and child in casual village dress. It should be noted that by 1675-76 the bow had nearly fallen out of use with the Southern New England Algoquians, and large numbers of trade hatchets were also in circulation.

King Philip's force numbers:

1 bold principal chief (Philip?) and 30 Warriors with clubs and a few bows only (fled survivors from the attack) enter on the southern table edge south of the camp the English have sacked, from the riverbank to the western corner

1 average subsidiary chief and 15 warriors with flintlock muskets start as a rearguard in the camp on Great Island, with canoes enough to carry them all.

1 average principal chief and 30 Warriors with flintlock muskets in the camp near the Green River (actually representative of the contingents of two camps - that one and another off-table to the south on Smead Island)

+ as many casualties and wrecked canoes as you like, have, or can stomach in the ruined village and about the cliffs and Great Island. They play no part.

Miniature Recommendations:
Wargames Foundry used to make a range of 17th century northeastern Algonquians almost ideally suited to this conflict, the Sachem clearly based upon Ninigret's portrait, though generally the range lacked musketmen. Now that they are out of production we have Parkfield Miniatures and Gladiator Games figures, though I myself prefer the Woodland Indians made by Falcon UK (Now owned by The Quartermaster, a company in Virginia) with long hair from the French-and-Indian War period, which also have the advantage of flintlock muskets in good supply.

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Victory Conditions:

Pretty simple: the English must make it across the Connecticut ford and off the extreme southwestern table corner with fewer than 13 dead. Otherwise the Indians win.

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The scenario is meant to be played on a table 5 feet wide and 6 feet long - however the map in total would be 5 feet wide and 36 feet long - hence, moving terrain. This can be done at the game-master's discretion, but ideally it should be done in such a way that the English are always on the table and none, neither English nor Indian, are left behind. If they are, you will have to plot their movement on the map provided. Combats should be fought on-table.

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Special Rules:

Simplified as follows: Visibility in the woods is 4 inches only, but you can hear movement 24 inches away; beyond that you simply disappear and may have to plot movement. Shooting gives away your position to all within 48 inches of you in woods. In clear, visibility is unlimited.

Maximum movement distances are the same for everybody, save that Indians don't know how to ride. Therefore the numbers of 6-sided movement dice per move are neatly summed up as follows:

Through the Forest black 
that stank with mold
O'er green Champion sad In the Waters 
rushing, deathly cold
A-gallopin' 5D6 8D6 Half rate
A-runnin' 3D6 5D6 Half Rate
A-paddlin' like mad!  -  - 12D6
Charging, Routing, and Pursuing adds another die to to the move same as always. And the pips on the dice mean inches on the table.

The canoes can paddle on the Connecticut River only, and only in one direction - downstream (west) from Great Island (see the introduction to find out what happened when they tried to paddle upstream). So swift is the current here that they can easily outrun the ill-trained Massachusetts horsemen. The Connecticut is completely impassable without a canoe, except at the ford which is the Englishmen's escape. The "in-water" rates are for this ford and the two smaller rivers, the Fall and the Green, which are fordable at all points.

It is anticipated the rearguard Indians with the canoes will use them to outrun or follow along downstream after the English horsemen (it is, after all hard to do so on foot, and I thought it only fair given the Indians' other difficulties).

Mounting up or dismounting, whether from a horse or a canoe, costs 1 turn of doing nothing else.

Firing distances:
Musket/carbine on foot 12 inches
Carbine mounted 8 inches
Pistol whether mounted or on foot 4 inches
Indian bow 6 inches
Use the matchlock reloading rules for those English who have them. The New England Algonquian are far to sensible to trade for such antiquated pieces (Malone 45, 53-66).


I repeat: Turner's troop counts as routing on its first turn in the game and every tur thereafter until it rallies, while Holyoake's troop starts steady.

Otherwise, English morale rules are normal, but if they fly, they fly for the ford, the same way they are going.

The Indians who fail a morale check do not rout or rally, merely stop where they are for one turn, not shooting, counting as routing if meleed, unless in a canoe, in which case they behave normally, moving only downstream though to get beyond the English.

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What Really Happened:
As we left them, the volunteers had dallied too long in their butchery of the village, and as the warriors began to return the English began to panic. Now Turner tried to steady the men and stage an ordered withdrawal, Turner to the fore, Holyoake to the rear (Schultz and Tougias 224).

(Image at left: A battle between colonists and Indians on the Upper Conneticutt River, c. 1675, detail (if you'll pardon the euphemism) from John Seller's A Mapp of New-England of that year)

But as the English were coming away with the plunder they had got, there was a noise spread among some of them, of Sachem Philip's coming down upon them; with a thousand men: which not being weighted as it might have been by the English, whether it were true or false, a fear possessed some part of the English, whereby they fell into a disorder (A True Account 4)[.]

In a panic, Turner's men ran for their horses and rode away immediately, leaving Holyoake and his rearguard to fend for themselves, nearly resulting in the second troop's horses being carried off by the Indians before it could reach them.

Turner tried again to steady his men, but had not succeeded before he was surprised and shot dead at the Green River.

For as our Men were returning to Hadly, in a dangerous Passe, which they were not sufficiently aware of, the skulking Indians (out of the Woods), killed at one Volley, the said Captain and Eight and Thirty of his Men; but immediately after they had discharged, they fled (A New and Further Narrative 96).

Our first chronicaller elaborates, "the Souldiers so cut off were surpriz'd by a Party of the Enemy belonging to the Indians at Deer-field-falls, who having gotten before our forces had laid and Ambush, the chiefest execution of which was through too much fear of our men, whereby they disordered themselves" (A True Account 4)[.]

As for Holyoke's men left behind, "Captain Holyoake exhorted them not to be terrifyed, saying God hath wrought hitherto for us wonderfully, let us trust in him still: and reducing his men into close order, made a safe and valiant retreat, and preserved the Souldiers under him" (A True Account 4)[.]

(Image at right: nineteenth century engraving of an unnamed Indian ambush of militia during King Philip's War, set in a "dangerous Passe" not unlike the one that was Turner's undoig at the Green River [Malone 117].)

As the Puritan historian William Hubbard added, had Holyoake "not played the Man at more than ordinary rate sometimes in the Front, sometimes in the Flank and Rear, at all Times encouraging the Soldiers, it might have proved a fatal business to the Assailants" (qtd. in Schultz and Tougias 225).

The pursuit carried on all morning past the ford and all the way through abandoned Deerfield and Deerfield South Meadows to a place known as "the Bars" - when the English finally arrived at Hatfield, 45 were missing, six to straggle in over the next few days. Turner was dead. Indian losses had been estimated as high as 400 at the time, but were more likely closer to 100, mostly women and children from the initial massacre (Schultz and Tougias 225). In any case, added to the material losses and the necessity of leaving the fishing grounds on the river to avoid further English reprisals, Indian resistance in the Conneticutt Valley was finished.

[T]hus God by this mixture of his Providence would hide pride from our eyes, who perhaps might have been too much lifted up by our success

- Anon., A True Account, 4.
Truly, this story of a massacre of innocents and the revenge of the bereaved upon the murderers seems to echo all round with divine retribution indeed. If the Indians' uprising was, as the Council ruled in Boston on 17 September, 1675, the Lord's punishment to his Chosen People for their sins, "we having greatly incensed Him to stir up many Adversaries against us, not only Abroad, but also at our own Doors, (causing the Heathen in this Wilderness to be as thorns in our sides, who have formerly been, and might still be, a Wall unto us therein; and others also to become a Scourge unto us" (The Present State, 14), what battle than this sad affair at Turner's Falls could have provided a better proof?
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American Shores: Maps of the Middle Atlantic Region to 1850. 2002. New York Public Library. 25 July 2004 < >.

Anon. A True Account of the Most Considerable Occurrences That have hapned in the Warre Between The English and the Indians in New-England From the Fifth of May, 1676, to the Fourth of August last; as also of the Successes it hath pleased God to give the English against them: As it hath been communicated by Letters to a friend in London. London: Printed for Benjamin Billingsley at the Printing-Press in Cornhill, 1676.

Anon. The Present State of New-England With Respect to the Indian War Wherein is an Account of the true Reason thereof (as far as can be Judged by Men.) Together with most of the Remarkable Passages that have happened from the 20th of June till the 10th of November, 1675, Faithfully Composed by a Merchant of Boston, and Communicated to his Friend in London. London: Printed for Dorman Newman, at the Kings-Arms in the Poultry, and at the Ship and Anchor at Bridg-foot on Southwark side, 1676.

Blaeu, Willem Janszoon. Nova Belgica et Anglia Nova. Map. Amsterdam:  Blaeu, 1635. American Shores: Maps of the Middle Atlantic Region to 1850 . 2002. New York Public Library. 25 July 2004 < >.

Chartrand, René. Colonial American Troops 1610-1774 (2). Men-at-Arms Ser. 372. Oxford: Osprey, 2002.

Early American Paintings in the Worcester Art Museum. 2004. Worcester Art Museum. 25 July 2004 < >.

Klekowski, Libby. “Turners Falls Massacre (1676).” The Connecticut River Homepage: A World Wide Web Site Containing Information About the Biology, History, and Geology of New England's Largest River. Ed. Ed Klekowski. 2004.University of Massachusetts Amherst. 25 July, 2004 <>.

L'Âge d'Or & Kirke's Lambs: Civilian and Military Living History 1660-1715. 2004. Baroque Living History Society. 25 July 2004 < >

Lahontan, Louis Armand de Lom d'Arce, baron de. Nouveaux voyages de Mr. le baron de Lahontan dans l'Amérique septentrionale: qui contiennent une relation des différens peuples qui y habitent, la nature de leur gouvernement, leur commerce, leurs coutumes, leur religion, & leur manière de faire la guerre, l'intérêt des François & des Anglois dans le commerce qu'ils font avec ces nations, l'avantage que l'Angleterre peut retirer dans ce païs, étant en guerre avec la France : le tout enrichi de cartes & de figures Mémoires de l'Amérique Septentrionale. La Haye : Chez les frères l'Honoré,1703.

N. S. A New and Further Narrative of the State of New-England; being a Continued Account of the Bloudy Indian War. From March till August 1676, Giving a Perfect Relation of the Several Devastations, Engagements, and Transactions there; As also the Great Successes Lately obtained against the Barbarous Indians, The Reducing of King Philip, and the Killing of one of the Queens, etc., Together with a Catalogue of the Losses in the whole, sustained on either Side since the said War began, as near as can be collected. London, 1676. Rep. in John Easton, Narratives of the Indian Wars, 1675-1699 . New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1913.

Malone, Patrick M. The Skulking Way of War: Technology and Tactics Among the New England Indians. Lanham Maryland, 1991. 2nd ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.

Rowlandson, Mary. The Soveraignty and Goodness of GOD, Together With the Faithfulness of His Promises Displayed; Being a Narrative Of the Captivity and Restauration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. Commended by her, to all that desires to know the Lords doings to, and dealings with Her. Especially to her dear Children and Relations, The second Addition Corrected and amended, Written by Her own Hand for Her private Use, and now made Publick at the earnest Desire of some Friends, and for the benefit of the Afflicted. Cambridge, 1682.  Rep. in John Easton, Narratives of the Indian Wars, 1675-1699. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1913.

Schultz, Eric B., and Michael J. Tougias. King Philip's War: The History and Legacy of America's Forgotten Conflict. Woodstock, Vermont: Countryman Press, 2000.

Smith, Thomas. Major Thomas Savage. Oil on canvas. Museum of Fine Arts. Boston, Massachusetts.
---. Portrait of a Man. Oil on canvas. Harvard University Portrait Collection. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 25 July 2004 < >.

Unidentified artist. Governor John Leverett. Oil on canvas. Peabody Essex Museum. Essex Inst. Salem, Massachusetts.

Unidentified artist. John Freake. Oil on canvas. Worcester Art Museum. Worcester, Massachusetts. 25 July 2004 < >.

Unidentified artist. Ninigret, Chief of the Niantics. Oil on canvas. Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. Providece, Rhode Island. 25 July, 2004 < >.

Visscher, Nicholaes. Novi Belgii Novaque Angliae. Map. Amsterdam, Visscher, 1656. Map Collections 1500-2004.2004. Library of Congress. 25 July 2004 < >.

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