In spite of the trustworthy source from which it came, Colonel Alden gave barely any heed to this warning message. He declared that the threatened danger was but an idle rumour, that all would be well, and that he would take every precaution for the safety of his people. On November 9 spies were sent out in different directions with a view to getting fuller information. One body of these went boldly down the Susquehanna, where their own carelessness brought about their undoing. At nightfall they lit a fire, and, wrapping themselves up snugly, had gone fast asleep. But to their astonishment, as they rubbed their eyes in the light of morning, they were surrounded by a party of Indians, were bundled off as prisoners of war, and hurried into the presence of Brant and Butler, who extracted much useful information from them. In the light of this information plans were made for an immediate attack on the settlement in Cherry Valley. The settlers were still unsuspecting, when, on the evening of November 10, the enemy arrived within a mile of the fort and crept to the summit of a hill densely shaded by evergreens, and hid themselves from sight. The snow was fluttering down, but towards morning this had changed to a drizzling rain, and the air was thick and murky. Groping their way forward as silently as possible, they stole upon the slumbering cluster of habitations. Just as they came near the edge of the village, a settler was seen riding in on horseback. An Indian fired and wounded him. But the man clung to his horse and pressed on heroically to sound the alarm. Before rushing to the onslaught, the Rangers, under the immediate command of Butler, paused a moment to see what damage their powder had taken through the wet. This moment was fatal for the settlement, for the Indians now rushed on in advance and sped into the doomed village like hounds let slip from their leashes.
The savages were now beyond control, and Brant knew that even he could not stay the slaughter. Fiercest of all were the Senecas, who tomahawked and slew with the relentless fury of demons. But the War Chief thought of the family of a Mr Wells, whom he knew and hoped that he might save. He took a short cut for this settler’s house, but the way lay across a ploughed field, and as he ran the earth yielded under his feet and he made slow progress through the heavy soil. When he came to the house, he saw that it was already too late. The Senecas and other Indians with them had done their work. Not one of the inmates had escaped the tomahawk.