A stolen pillow causes a skirmish and slaughter – Henry Hudson, 1609

This account from the memoirs of Henry Hudson is one of the most vicious bow vs. musket battles I’ve found.

The people of the Mountaynes came aboord us, wondring at our ship and weapons. We bought some small skinnes of them for Trifles. This after-noone, one Canoe kept hanging under our sterne with one man in it, which we could not keepe from thence, who got up by our Rudder to the Cabin window, and stole out my Pillow, and two Shirts, and two Bandeleeres. Our Masters Mate shot at him, and strooke him on the brest, and killed him. Whereupon all the rest fled away, some in their Canoes, and so leapt out of them into the water. We manned our Boat, and got our things againe. Then one of them that wamme got hold of our Boat, thinking to overthrow it. But our Cooke took a Sword, and cut off one of his hands, and he was drowned. By this time the ebbe was come, and we weighed and got downed two leagues, by that time it was darke. So we anchored in foure fathomes water, and rode well.

The second, faire weather. At breake of day wee weighed, the wind being at North-west, and got downe seven leagues; then the floud was come strong, so we anchored. Then came one of the Savages that swamme away from us at our going up the River with may other, thinking to betray us. But wee perceived their intent, and suffered none of them to enter our ship. Whereupon two Canoes full of men, with their Bowes and Arrowes, shot at us after our sterne : in recompence whereof we discharged sixe Muskets, and killed two or three of them. Then above an hundred of them came to a point of Land to shoot at us. There I shot a Falcon at them, and killed two of them : whereupon the rest fled into the Woods. Yet they manned off another Canoe with nine or ten men, which came to meet us. So I shot at it also a Falcon, and shot it through, and killed one of them. Then our men with their Muskets, killed three or foure more of them. So they went their way…

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