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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

How Nimble Captain Davenport Saved a Soldier

By Captain Edward Johnson (1599?–1672)

[From Wonder-working Providence of Sion’s Saviour in New England. 1654.]

THE SLAIN or wounded of the English were (through the mercy of Christ) but a few; one of them being shot through the body, near about the breast, regarding it not till of a long time after, which caused the blood to dry and thicken on either end of the arrow so that it could not be drawn forth his body without great difficulty and much pain, yet did he scape his life, and the wound healed.

Thus the Lord was pleased to assist his people in this war and deliver them out of the Indians’ hands, who were very lusty proper men of their hands, most of them, as may appear by one passage which I shall here relate. Thus it came to pass: As the Soldiers were upon their march, close by a great thicket, where no eye could penetrate far, as it often falls out in such wearisome ways, where neither men nor beast have beaten out a path; some Soldiers lingering behind their fellows, two Indians watching their opportunity, much like a hungry hawk, when they supposed the last man was come up, who kept a double double double distance in his march, they sudden and swiftly snatched him up in their talons, hoisting him upon their shoulders, ran into the swamp with him. The Soldier, unwilling to be made a Pope by being borne on men’s shoulders, strove with them all he could to free himself from their hands. But, like a careful Commander, one Captain Davenport, then Lieutenant of this company, being diligent in his place to bring up the rear, coming up with them, followed with speed into the swamp after him, having a very severe cutlass tied to his wrist, and being well able to make it bite sore when he set it on, resolving to make it fall foul on the Indians’ bones, he soon overtook them, but was prevented by the buckler they held up from hitting them, which was the man they had taken. It was matter of much wonder to see with what dexterity they hurled the poor Soldier about, as if they had been handling a Lacedæmonian shield, so that the nimble Captain Davenport could not, of a long time, fasten one stroke upon them; yet, at last, dyeing their tawny skin into a crimson color, they cast down their prey and hasted through the thickets for their lives. The Soldier thus redeemed, had no such hard usage, but that he is alive, as I suppose, at this very day.