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Teachers' Guide Main Menu | Lessons: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11
Lesson 6
Numbers That Don't Add Up
Suggested Answers

3. Statistics Worksheet for the 1704 Attack on Deerfield

Source - The History of Philip's War

  • Date - 1829
  • Deerfield residents killed - 47
  • Deerfield residents captured -112
  • Attackers - not mentioned
  • Attackers killed - not mentioned

Source - The History of Deerfield, Vol. I, pgs. 293-294

  • Date - 1895
  • Deerfield residents killed - not mentioned
  • Deerfield residents captured - more than 150
  • Attackers - 200 or 250
  • Attackers killed - 3 and some Indians

Source - The History of Deerfield, Vol. I, pgs. 295-296

  • Date - 1895
  • Deerfield residents killed - 60
  • Deerfield residents captured - 100
  • Attackers - more than 250
  • Attackers killed - not mentioned

Source - A Half-Century of Conflict

  • Date - 1902
  • Deerfield residents killed - 47 or 53
  • Deerfield residents captured -111
  • Attackers- not mentioned
  • Attackers killed - 2 or 3, 30, more than 40, 11

Source - An Account of Those Killed and Wounded

  • Date - 1995
  • Deerfield residents killed - 47
  • Deerfield residents captured -109 or 112
  • Attackers - 300-400, 200 French + 142 Indians, 250
  • Attackers killed - 11, 30

4. Discussion within groups

5. Questions about students' findings:

a. The primary sources were written from memory after the fact; none were written at the time of the attack. Some numbers in the primary sources were purposely inflated for political reasons, and the secondary sources were written long after those who experienced the attack were dead. Sometimes people counted differently. For example, there were three Frenchmen living in town. Should they be counted as English captives? (They are.) Sometimes the number of Deerfield residents killed includes only the residents and sometimes it includes other English people in town at the time.

b. We know less about the numbers of Native Americans killed because they did not keep written records. The French did keep written records.

c. The later sources might be more reliable since there was time for more research to have been done. The sources that quote people who were alive in 1704 might be more reliable because those people were there. It is interesting to note that only the later sources estimate how many of the enemy combatants were killed, rather than stating exact numbers.

d. Important points - The French and their Native American allies attacked "the most northerly English settlement on the Connecticut River." Although Deerfield residents had received warnings of an attack, it still came as a surprise. A very large number of people were taken captive. While each side saw casualties, the English lost the most people. The French and their allies considered the attack a success.

It could be said that because the statistics are inconsistent, they should not be included in the important points. But it could also be said that even though the numbers don't agree, they help to illustrate some of the important points, such as showing that the attack was a success.

e. Conclusions People should look beyond the numbers to what might be more important; people should look at all the numbers and compare them to see what they reveal as a group; people should not count on any one source as being totally accurate.

 

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