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Bacon's Rebellion

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1675]          THOMAS MATHEWS NARRATIVE                    19

prevent Excursions over the River, and at the same time
Murders being (likewise) Committed in Maryland, by whom
not known, on either Side the River, both Countrys raised
their Quota’s of a Thousand Men, upon whose coming before
the Fort, Th’ Indians sent out 4 of their great Men, who ask’d
the Reason of that Hostile Appearance, What they said more
or offered, I Do not Remember to have heard; But our Two
Commanders Caused them to be (Instantly) Slaine, after
which the Indians made an Obstinate Resistance, Shooting
many of our Men, and making frequent, fierce and Bloody
Sallyes; and when they were Call’d to, or offerd Parley, Gave
no other Answer, than “Where are our four Cockarouses, i. e.
Great Men?”

   At the End of Six Weeks, March’d out Seventy five In-
dians with their Women Children etc. who (by Moon light)
past our Guards, hollowing and firing att Them without Op-
position, leaving 3 or 4 Decrepits in the Fort.

   The next Morning th’ English followed, but could not, or
(for fear of Ambuscades), woud not Overtake these Desperate
fugitives. The Number we lost in that Siege I Did not hear
was published.

   The Walls of this fort were high banks of Earth, with
Flankers having many Loop Holes, and a Ditch round all, and
without this a Row of Tall Trees fastned 3 foot Deep in the
Earth, their Bodies from 5 to 8 Inches Diameter, watled 6
Inches apart to shoot through with the Tops twisted together,
and also Artificially Wrought, as our Men1 coud make no
Breach to Storm it, nor (being Low Land) coud they under-
mine it by reason of Water – neither had they Cannon to bat-
ter itt, So that ’twas not taken, untill Famine drove the In-
dians out of it.

   These Escap’d Indians (forsaking Maryland,) took their
Rout over the Head of that River, and thence over the heads
of Rappahannock and York Rivers, killing whom they found
of th’ upmost Plantations untill they Came to the Head of
James River, where (with Bacon2 and others,) they Slew Mr.

     1 And all so artificially wrought as [that] our men,” etc.

      2  Nathaniel Bacon, jr., was the son of Thomas Bacon of Freestone Hall,
Suffolk, England. He married in 1670 Elizabeth Duke, daughter of Sir Edward
Duke. He and his wife came to the colony in 1674, settling at Curles on the James, a short distance below Henrico. Of this marriage two daughters were
born in Virginia, one of whom died there. Mrs. Bacon, in a letter to her sister-
in-law, says that the Indians destroyed “a great stock of cattle and a good cargo
that we should have made there.” We know that Bacon left his wife very des-
titute at his death and that she married again, losing her second husband in 1679.
William Byrd, who lived near the Bacons, says that Bacon had lost three of his men, one of whom was the overseer, before he took any action.

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