The Great Swamp Fight
Ironically, a swamp along Fairfield’s coast became the setting for the final, violent episode in the saga of the Pequot Indians, who fled their home territory in Mystic (Missituck), Connecticut, after the English massacred hundreds of women, children and older men by setting a village ablaze. The warriors were preparing to defend a fortification at another location on that fateful night of May 26, 1637. When they discovered the atrocity that had taken place in their village, shock and disbelief overwhelmed them and they fled westward, away from the territory of enemy Narragansetts and Mohegans, allies of the English.
Eventually the English found the Pequot survivors in an area inhabited by the Sasqua Indians, now part of Fairfield. Among the English who fought in “The Great Swamp Fight” in July of 1637 was Captain John Mason, the man responsible for the massacre in Mystic, and the strong-willed, arrogant Roger Ludlow from Windsor, Connecticut. Although the exact location of the battle is not known, it took place in the vicinity of Southport. Eighty to one hundred Pequots, along with their “hosts,” about two hundred Sasqua Indians, took refuge in the swampland and were surrounded by the English. The Sasquas and the Pequot women and children were allowed to leave the swamp, but the Pequot warriors remained, and most or all were killed in the battle that followed. Sassacus, a Pequot sachem (leader), and some of his followers had eluded the English, but met a gruesome fate at the hands of the Mohawks in upstate New York. The surviving Pequot women and children were captured and given to Indian allies of the English and to the Massachusetts Bay Colony settlers to become their servants or slaves.