Revenge upon the Indians; an excerpt from “A Trewe Relacyon of the procedeings and ocurrentes of Momente which have hapned in Virginia” by George Percy


In this excerpt from “A Trewe Relacyon of the precedeings and ocurrentes of Momente which have hapned in Virginia from the Tyme of Sir Thomas Gates was Shippwrackte uppon the Bermudes Anno 1609 untill my departure owtt of the Cowntry which was in Anno Domini 1612,” George Percy describes the events at Jamestown in the spring of 1610, just after the Starving Time, until the end of summer. During this time, the colonists, led by Governor Thomas West, baron De La Warr, and Lieutenant Governor Sir Thomas Gates, attack the Indians in revenge for the deaths the previous winter, escalating what has come to be called the First Anglo-Powhatan War (1609–1614). Percy’s account was written in the mid-1620s but not widely published until 1922.


Then Sir Thomas Gates beinge desyreous for to be Revendged upon the Indyans att Kekowhatan did goe thither by water with a certeine number of men, and amongste the reste a Taborer with him. beinge Landed he cawsed the Taborer to play and dawnse and thereby to allure the Indyans to come unto him the which prevayled. And then espyeinge a fitteinge oportunety fell in upon them putt fyve to the sworde wownded many others some of them beinge after fownde in the woods with suche extreordinary Lardge and mortall wownds thatt itt seamed strange they cold flye so fur. The rest of the Salvages he putt to flighte. And so posseseinge himselfe of the Towne and the fertill grownd thereunto adjacentt haveinge well ordered all things he lefte his liefetenantt Earely to comawnd his company and then Retourned to James Towne ageine and Shorttly after did take his voyadge for England.

My Lord generall aboutt this Tyme sentt Capteine Howldcrofte to buylde a foarte in the woods, neare unto Kekowhatan. The which beinge finished my Lord named the same Charles foarte in honnor of our kings majestie thatt now is.

Also my Lorde sentt Sir George Somers and Capteyne Argoll in towe shippes into the Bermudes to make provissyon of hoggs and fishe for us. Sir George aryved there, where shorttly after he dyed, his men makeinge good profitt of amber griese and other comodeties Retourned for England. Butt Capteyne Argoll fayleinge of the place fell to the northward where he hapned upon some fishe the which haveinge Sallted and dryed Retourned therewith to us to James Towne ageine.

Sir Ferdinando Wayman aboutt this Tyme dyed whose deathe was mutche Lamented beinge bothe an honeste and valyantt gentleman. My Lord generall nott forgetteing oulde Powhatans Subtell Trecherie sentt a messenger unto him to demawnde Certeine armes and dyvers men which we supposed mighte be liveinge in his country Butt he Retourned noe other then prowde and Disdaynefull answers.

Whereupon my Lord beinge mutche incensed Cawsed a comission to be drawne, wherein he apointed me Chiefe Comawnder over seaventie men and sentt me to take Revendge upon the Paspaheans and Chiconamians and so shippeinge my selfe and my Sowldiers in towe boates I departed from James Towne the 9th of August 1610 and the same nighte Landed within thre myles of paspahas towne. Then draweinge my sowldiers into Battalio placeinge a Capteyne or Leftenante att every fyle, we marched towards the Towne haveinge an Indyan guyde with me named Kempes whome the provoste marshall ledd in a hande locke This Subtill salvage was Leadinge us outt of the Way the which I misdowteinge Bastinaded him with my Truncheon and threatened to Cutt of his heade whereupon the slave alltered his Cowrse and browghte us the righte way neare unto the towne So thatt then I comawnded every Leader to drawe away his fyle before me to beset the salvages howses thatt noene mighte escape, with a Chardge nott to geve the allarume untill I weare come upp unto them with the Cullers. Att my comeinge I apointed Capteyne William Weste to geve the allarume, the which he performed by shooteinge of a pistoll. And then we fell in upon them putt some fiftene or sixtene to the Sworde and almoste all the reste to flyghte. Whereupon I cawsed my drume to beate and drewe all my sowldiers to the Cullers, my Lieftenantt bringeinge with him the Quene and her Children and one Indyann prisoners for the which I taxed him becawse he had Spared them. his answer was, thatt haveinge them now in my Custodie I mighte doe with them whatt I pleased. Upon the same I cawsed the Indians heade to be Cutt of, and then dispersed my fyles apointeinge my Sowldiers to burne their howses and to Cutt downe their Corne groweinge aboutt the Towne. And after we marched with the quene and her Children to our Boates ageine. Where beinge noe soener well shipped my sowldiers did begin to murmur becawse the queen and her Children weare spared. So upon the same a Cowncell beinge called itt was agreed upon to putt the children to deathe the which was effected by Throweinge them overboard and shoteinge owtt their Braynes in the water. Yett for all this Crewellty the Sowldiers weare nott well pleased and I had mutche to doe To save the quenes lyfe for thatt Tyme.

Then sayleinge some towe myles downe the River I sentt Capteyne Davis ashoare with most of my Sowldiers my selfe beinge wearyed before and for my owne parte butt an easie footeman Capteyne Davis att his landeinge was affronted by some Indyans who spared nott to send their arrowes amongste our men butt within a shorte Tyme he putt them to flighte and landed without further opposition marcheinge aboutt fowrtene myles into the Cowntry Cutt downe their Corne burned their howses Temples and Idolles. and amongst the rest a Spacyous Temple Cleane and neattly keptt, a thinge strange and seldome sene amongst the Indyans in those partes So haveinge performed all the spoyle he cowlde, Retourned aboarde to me ageine and then we sayled downe the River to James Towne.

My Lord generall nott beinge well did lye a Shippboard. to whome we Rowed, he beinge joyfull of our safe Retourne yett seamed to be Discontente becawse the quene was Spared as Capteyne Davis towlde me, and thatt itt was my Lords pleasure thatt we sholde see her dispatched The way he thowghte beste to Burne her. To the firste I replyed thatt haveinge seene so mutche Blood shedd thatt day, now in my Cowld bloode I desyred to see noe more, and for to Burne her I did nott howlde itt fitteinge butt either by shott or Sworde to geve her a quicker dispatche. So Turninge my selfe from Capteyne Davis he did take the quene with towe sowldiers a shoare and in the woods putt her to the Sworde and althoughe Capteyne Davis towlde me itt was my Lords direction yett I ame perswaded to the Contrary.

George Percy pens "A Trewe Relacyon" describing the events at Jamestown in Fall 1609, the Starving Time during 1609-1610, and the colony's rescue, first by Sir Thomas Gates and then by Thomas West, baron De La Warre.
Lyon G. Tyler publishes George Percy's account of Jamestown from 1609 until 1612, A Trewe Relacyon. Percy wrote it in the mid-1620s as a rebuttal to the more popular version of events published by John Smith.
APA Citation:
Percy, George. Revenge upon the Indians; an excerpt from “A Trewe Relacyon of the procedeings and ocurrentes of Momente which have hapned in Virginia” by George Percy. (2020, December 07). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
Percy, George. "Revenge upon the Indians; an excerpt from “A Trewe Relacyon of the procedeings and ocurrentes of Momente which have hapned in Virginia” by George Percy" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (07 Dec. 2020). Web. 18 Jul. 2024
Last updated: 2020, December 07
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