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Part of a series on the New England War.
The Battle of New Manchester, also sometimes referred to as the Massacre at New Manchester, was a major battle of the New England War. It was one of the few major battles of 1495, and killed over a three hundred citizens and over four hundred soldiers, with around five hundred major injuries.
At the time, the English were rapidly losing ground to the New English Freedom Army. With their supply lines in turmoil, they were desperate. They needed to send in supplies, even though most of the coast was under rebel control. The English needed to drop in reinforcements, and searched for the least defended port, in hopes of making a landing there. The orders were originally to capture it, and use it as a base in the future. However, with the English generals on ship becoming increasingly infuriated with the rebels, they changed the orders. The orders were now to burn it and build a new fort, in order to kill anyone who could possibly be associated with the rebels. Many of the English troops were all for this idea, and the generals prepared landings from the sea, as well as an attack force from the ground.
The rebels, however, had managed to intercept these plans through a captured English soldier. At this point in the war, New Manchester had been considered a location of minimal importance, resulting in only one hundred rebel soldiers nearby. The total population of New Manchester at the time was around four thousand. The invasion was planed using five hundred English troops, plus sailors to man the boats. The best strategy, the rebels decided, would be to defend and remove as many civilians from harm's way as possible.
The rebel force assumed their defense positions in the afternoon on April 17th, and began to evacuate civilians. After the fire began, the rebel line held. The attack was brutal. The Freedom Army tried to stop the English at the source, forming a battle front near the port of the town. As the rebel line was being crushed, an English General on the ships ordered to burn the town. British troops attempted to flank the rebels, which lead the rebels to sacrifice a large portion of their defense force to combat this attack. The English broke through the main lines, and finished setting fire to the city. In the end, around fifty rebel fighters escaped with their lives. However, the damage done to the British forces was also crippling, with at least 150 casualties. The civilian death toll was also horrifying; three hundred civilians had died.