fell upon the fledgling settlement


Senior Member
Mandarin / the Shanghai Dialect

“Although northern Carolina, unlike the colony’s southern reaches, did not at first import large numbers of African slaves, both regions shared in the ongoing tragedy of bloody relations between Indians and Europeans. Tuscarora Indians fell upon the fledgling settlement at Newbern in 1711. The North Carolinians, aided by their heavily armed brothers from the south, retaliated……”

From “The American Pageant” by Thomas A. Bailey

Fall on:

to assault:The gang fell on their rivals with knives and chains.

fall on - WordReference.com Dictionary of English

Attack suddenly and viciously, as in They fell on the guards and overpowered them. [c. 140

fall on

Here is some information about Tuscarora War from Tuscarora War - North Carolina History Project:
When the founder of New Bern, Baron Christoph von Graffrenreid and Swiss colonists, “drove [Tuscarora] off a tract of land without payment in 1711,” the tribe responded by “raiding settlements.” Historian William Powell writes that it was “three days of slaughter” and the town of Bath survived only because a friendly local chief refused to join other Tuscarora.

I think “fall upon” means attack suddenly here. I would like to know whether it implies the attack is vicious. In other words, the writer is disapproving Tuscarora Indians. Or is “fall upon” neutral here?
  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think it's neutral. I think it just implies that they had the advantage in the fight. They had the element of surprise or superior numbers or both.
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