Benjamin Church was the principal aide to Governor Josiah Winslow of Plymouth Colony. Holding the rank of captain, he fought during King Philip's War (1675–1678) on the New England frontier against the Wampanoag, Nipmuck and Podunk tribes of Indians. He is best known for his actions during this time in commanding a company of men independent of the governor's direct command. Church's men were the first colonial force successful in raiding the Indians' camps in forests and swamps. During previous decades, colonists were on the defense against the Natives, although relations were generally peaceful until 1675.
Church was eventually allowed to recruit Indians when traditional Army tactics of the times were unsuccessful. He persuaded many neutral or formerly hostile Indians to surrender and join his unit, where they operated skillfully as irregular troops. Some of these men had converted to Christianity in settlements before the war. These were known as Praying Indians. After being organized by Church, these troops tracked Indians into the forests and swamps and conducted effective raids and ambushes on their camps. During the Great Swamp Fight, Church was wounded while playing a leading role in the battle. The war soon ended after an operation by Church's company on August 12, 1676, when one of Church's Indian Rangers (John Alderman) killed Metacomet - the chieftain also known as King Philip. Upon inspection of Philip's body, Church is quoted as saying "a doleful, great, naked, dirty beast." Philip was then butchered in a manner standard with English punishment for treason, drawing and quartering.
Over the next 28 years, Church led five New England raiding parties into Maine and Canada against the French and Indians. During King William's War he carried out the devestating Raid of Beaubassin (1691), the Siege of Fort Nashwaak (1696) which was the Capital of Acadia, and the Raid on Beaubassin (1696) in Acadia, now holding the rank of major. Despite weighing approximately 250 pounds, he led his troops personally in killing inhabitants of Beaubassin, looting their household goods, burning their houses and slaughtering the livestock.
During Queen Anne's War, in retaliation for the Deerfield Massacre, Major Church raided Acadia in the Raid on Grand Pre (1704), Raid on Pisiquid (1704) and the Raid on Beaubassin (1704). Church took prisoners and claimed to have left only five houses standing in Acadia. One of the prominent Acadian prisoners he took in the Raid of Pisiquid (1704) was Noel Doiron.