On March 8 and 9, 1782, a group of Pennsylvania militiamen under the command of Captain David Williamson attacked the Moravian Church mission founded by David Zeisberger at Gnadenhutten. The Americans attacked the natives in retaliation for the deaths and kidnappings of several white Pennsylvanians. Although the militiamen attacked the Christian Indians, these Native Americans had not been involved in the previous incidents. The Christian Delawares had abandoned Gnadenhutten the year before, but some of them had returned to harvest crops that were still in the fields.
On March 8, the militiamen arrived at Gnadenhutten. Accusing the natives of the attack on the Pennsylvania settlements, the soldiers rounded them up and placed the men and women in separate buildings in the abandoned village overnight. The militiamen then voted to execute their captives the following morning. Informed of their impending deaths, the Christian Delawares spent the night praying and singing hymns. The next morning the soldiers took the natives in pairs to a cabin and killed them. In all, Williamson's men murdered twenty-eight men, twenty-nine women, and thirty-nine children. There were only two survivors, who informed the Moravian missionaries and other Christian Indians as to what had occurred.