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American Revolution and Before
- Lovewell's Fight

Taking a ScalpBy the early 1720s, disputes between the French and English regarding the territory of northern New England began to bubble over; the Abenaki Indians, allies of the French, raided throughout the area, killing, scalping, and capturing English settlers.  In 1724, to protect the rural settlements against maurauding French forces and their Abenaki Indian allies, the British constructed Dummer's Fort near what today is Brattleboro, Vermont, and manned it with a garrison of 43 soldiers and 12 Mohawk warriors.  The Abenaki raids, however, continued, and the governments of New Hampshire and Massachusetts subsequently offered a bounty of 100 pounds sterling for each Indian scalp. 

Massachusetts MilitiaReacting partly in response to the offered bounty, Captain John Lovewell of Dunstable, Massachusetts, organized a company of 46 militiamen to hunt the Abenaki raiding parties.  The company constructed a small fort at Ossipee, New Hampshire, and after several moderately successful patrols, Lovewell decided to attack the Abenaki village of Pequawket--which had served as a raiding party base for over fifty years--on the bank of what A Scouttoday is known as Lovewell's Pond near Fryeburg, Maine.  On 9 May 1725, during prayers led by the expedition's chaplain, one of the men spotted an Abenaki scout.  The company waited patiently for him to draw near in hopes that he could be killed or captured.  When fire was finally exchanged, both the warrior and Lovewell fell dead.  On the return to Ossipee, the company was ambushed by an Abenaki war party led by Paugus.  Ten men were killed in the first volley of Indian fire, and the firefight continued for nearly ten hours until Paugus was killed.  Although only twenty militiamen survived the battle, Abenaki losses were far heavier and the Indians deserted Pequawket.  Later in May, Col Ebeneazer Tyng advanced north with a larger force, cut off the Abenaki from their French allies, and forced them to make peace with both New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Shortly after the battle of 9 May, a song composed in commemoration of Captain Lovewell's patrol became popular with both the militia and citizens of New England.  Unfortunately, as is the case with many of the surviving early soldiers' songs, while the lyrics have been preserved, the melody has not although it possible that this was sung to an old 16th century martial tune that was also the melody for The British Grenadiers.

Lovewell's Fight
(possibly to the tune of The British Grenadiers)

Of worthy Captain Lovewell, I purpose now to sing,
How valiantly he served his country and his King;

He and his valiant soldiers did range the woods full wide,

And hardships they endured to quell the Indian's pride.

'Twas nigh unto Pigwacket, on the eighth day of May,
They spied a rebel Indian soon after break of day;
He on a bank was walking, upon a neck of land,
Which leads into a pond as we're made to understand.

Our men resolved to have him, and travelled two miles round,
Until they met the Indian, who boldly stood his ground;
Then up speaks Captain Lovewell, "Take you good heed,"
     says he,
"This rogue is to decoy us, I very plainly see."

"The Indians lie in ambush, in some place nigh at hand,
In order to surround us upon this neck of land;
Therefore we'll march in order, and each man leave his pack;
That we may briskly fight them when they make their attack."

They came unto this Indian, who did them thus defy,
As soon as they came nigh him, two guns he did let fly,
Which wounded Captain Lovewell, and likewise one man more,
But when this rogue was running, they laid him in his gore.

Then having scalped the Indian, they went back to the spot,
Where they had laid their packs down, but there they found,
     them not,
For the Indians having spied them, when they them down
     did lay,
Did seize them for their plunder, and carry them away.

These rebels lay in ambush, this very place hard by,
So that an English soldier did one of them espy,
And cried out, "Here's an Indian”; with that they started out,
As fiercely as old lions, and hideously did shout.

With that our valiant English all gave a loud huzza,
To show the rebel Indians they feared them not a straw:
So now the fight began, and as fiercely as could be,
The Indians ran up to them, but soon were forced to flee.

Then spake up Captain Lovewell, when first the fight began,
"Fight on my valiant heroes!  you see they fall like rain."
For as we are informed, the Indians were so thick,
A man could scarcely fire a gun and not some of them hit.

Then did the rebels try their best our soldiers to surround,
But they could not accomplish it, because there was a pond,
To which our men retreated and covered all the rear,
The rogues were forced to flee them, although they skulked
    for fear.

Two logs there were behind them that close together lay,
Without being discovered, they could not get away;
Therefore our valiant English they travelled in a row,
And at a handsome distance as they were wont to go.

'Twas ten o'clock in the morning when first the fight begun,
And fiercely did continue until the setting sun;
Excepting that the Indians some hours before 'twas night,
Drew off into the bushes and ceased a while to fight.

But soon again returned, in fierce and furious mood,
Shouting as in the morning, but yet not half so loud;
For as we are informed, so thick and fast they fell,
Scarce twenty of their number at night did get home well.

And that our valiant English till midnight there did stay,
To see whether the rebels would have another fray;
But they no more returning, they made off towards their home,
And brought away their wounded as far as they could come.

0f all our valiant English there were but thirty-four,
And of the rebel Indians there were about fourscore.
And sixteen of our English did safely home return,
The rest were killed and wounded, for which we all must mourn.

Our worthy Captain Lovewell among them there did die,
They killed Lieut.  Robbins, and wounded good young Frye,
Who was our English Chaplain; he many Indians slew,
And some of them he scalped when bullets round him flew.

Young Fullam too I’ll mention, because he fought so well,
Endeavoring to save a man, a sacrifice he fell:
But yet our valiant Englishmen in fight were ne'er dismayed,
But still they kept their motion, and Wyman's Captain made,

Who shot the old chief Paugus, which did the foe defeat,
Then set his men in order, and brought off the retreat;
And braving many dangers and hardships in the way,

They safe arrived at Dunstable, the thirteenth day of May.

To How Stands the Glass Around?