Deerfield Raid

Deerfield Raid
Feb 29, 1704

The attack on Deerfield, Massachusetts, on February 29, 1704, was one of a series of battles in an international struggle known in Europe as the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1713). As part of that war, England and France fought for control of North America. The Deerfield attack was an effort by the French and Native Americans to halt the gradual expansion of English settlement and political domination in what we know as New England (where the war was known as Queen Anne's War). Jean-Baptiste Hertel de Rouville led a force of about 300 French and Native allies in the attack. Native forces included Kanienkehaka (Mohawk), Wendat (Huron), and W˘banaki (Abenaki, Pennacook, Sokoki, Pocumtuck, and others). The attack resulted in the killing or capture of more than half the town's residents. Forty-one English and six allies were killed, and 112 men, women, and children were captured and taken on a 300-mile forced march to Canada in harsh winter conditions. Of the Deerfield captives who survived the march, sixty-two eventually returned to New England, while twenty-six remained permanently in Kanienkehaka or French communities. The fate of three captives remains unknown. Among the captives were the Reverend John Williams and his family. Upon his return, Reverend Williams wrote an account of his captivity, "The Redeemed Captive Returning to Zion," which heightened awareness of the Deerfield raid for posterity.