The Battle of Pequawket took place in the 18th century during the colonial period of North America. It was fought during Father Rale’s War, also known as the Dummer’s War.
Father Rale’s War was a conflict that escalated because of the tensions between British colonists and Native Americans. On the side of the Native Americans, the Wabanaki Confederacy was the key belligerent. On the British side, New England colonies primarily participated in the war. The Battle of Pequawket was a small-scale fight in which around 35 colonists fought at one side and nearly 65 Native American Abenaki warriors at the other side.
The Battle of Pequawket took place on May 9, 1725. It was fought near present-day Fryeburg, Maine at a place called Pequawket, after which it was later named.
In 1722, Dummer’s War began. This war mostly consisted of raids by New England colonists and the Wabanaki warriors. The raids were carried out on the towns, villages, farms and settlements, also resulting in significant loss of life.
In 1724, a group of Native Indians ambushed and killed a few British colonists. In response, the New England province announced a bounty on killing the Native Americans. A volunteer group under John Lovewell decided to hunt the Native Americans and collect this bounty. Lovewell’s group fought the battle when it came across Abenaki warriors during one of its expeditions.
Lovewell’s raiding party originally started out with 47 men. Some of the men fell ill while others were left to erect and guard a fortification along the way. The rest continued their scouting journey under Lovewell’s command. On May 9, the raiding group came across an Abenaki warrior. At this time, the group numbered at 34.
The lone Abenaki warrior was killed by Lovewell’s group although not before he shot and wounded two colonists. At around the same time, two more Abenaki warriors spotted Lovewell and his men. These two warriors hid in ambush and attacked the group when it returned. In the first volley, 8 colonists were killed including Lovewell.
More Abenaki warriors joined the battle and soon many colonists were dead – the surviving men were outnumbered by the Indian warriors. The colonists slowly began to retreat and make their way back to the colony. They were repeatedly attacked on their way back but were able to fend off these attacks.
There was no definite victor at the Battle of Pequawket. Of the 33 colonists who participated in the battle, 13 were killed and another 9 were wounded. In the end, the colonial volunteers decided to retreat in the face of greater numbers. The casualties are not known on the Indian side.
However, among the known casualties was Chief Paugus who was the main leader of the Pequawket tribe. After the death of Paugus, the Abenaki left their settlement at Pequawket and decided to relocate to Canada.