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Second Battle of Nipsachuck Battlefield facts for kids

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Second Battle of Nipsachuck Battlefield
Location North Smithfield, Rhode Island
Area 58.2 acres (23.6 ha)
NRHP reference No. 16000563
Added to NRHP August 22, 2016

The Second Battle of Nipsachuck Battlefield is a historic military site in North Smithfield, Rhode Island. A largely swampy terrain, it is the site of one of the last battles of King Philip's War to be fought in southern New England, on July 2, 1676. The battle is of interest to military historians because it included a rare use in the war of a cavalry charge by the English colonists. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.

Setting

The battle took place in a swampy area of what is now North Smithfield, with a hill to its west and a few small rises of solid land within the swamp. The swamp was, at the time of the battle, described by chroniclers as "a great spruce swamp".

History

By the summer of 1676, English colonists had gained the upper hand in King Philip's War, and the opposing American Indian tribes were generally in retreat. Many Narragansetts, based on southern Rhode Island, had fled to the Connecticut River valley after the Great Swamp Fight, a devastating assault on their central village by a combined English and Indian force in December 1675. In the summer of 1676, a band of approximately 100 Narragansetts led by female sachem Quaiapen returned to northern Rhode Island, apparently seeking to recover cached seed corn for planting. They were attacked by a force of 400, composed of 300 Connecticut colonial militia and about 100 Mohegan and Pequot warriors. The attacking forces had scouted the Narragansett position at the western edge of the swamp, and organized an attack over and around the hill to the west. A portion of the Connecticut militia were mounted dragoons, and the battle is believed to be one of the few in the war in which such forces actually saw mounted combat. The Narragansetts were driven into the swamp where many were killed, including Quaiapen and Stonewall John, the builder of Queen's Fort. Quaiapen's death spelled the end of organized Narragansett opposition in the conflict.

Archaeology

Due to the poor quality of the terrain, the battlefield area has escaped significant development, with only modest agricultural uses around its edges, and some residential development in the same areas. Archaeological investigation of the site (which is nearly landlocked by surrounding landowners) has yielded Narragansett domestic objects as well as lead shot, musket balls, and other military artifacts.

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