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    [Battle of Bunker Hill]. Four Letters concerning the controversy surrounding the service of General Israel Putnam at the Battle of Bunker Bill. All letters are dated between April 19, 1818, and May 31, 1818, and are part of an effort by the general's son, Daniel Putnam, to counter accusations of dishonorable conduct, mainly hurled from General Henry Dearborn and aimed at the military service and reputation of General Putnam at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

    The first letter is from Thomas Grosvenor (two pages, April 19, 1818) to Daniel Putnam of Brooklyn, Connecticut, the driving force behind the effort to clear his name. Grosvenor, writes, "I now state what came under my observation at the Battle of Bunker Hill at the commencement of the revolutionary War." He reports that he was under the command of General Putnam and "ordered to march on the Evening of the 16th of June AD 1775 to Breeds Hill," where they made preparations to "deter the advance of the Enemy." General Putnam, Grosvenor writes, was "extreamly active and . . . inspired confidence by his Example." After being ordered to "take Post at the rail fence . . . to the bottom of Breed's Hill," each man was furnished with "Gun powder & forty eight Balls." When the British line appeared, both sides "commenced Firing. . . . They gave way & retired in disorder out of Musket Shot leaving before us many killed & wounded." Grosvenor continues with many more details, but his objective is to write of the honorable actions of General Putnam, which he does at the end of his letter.

    The second letter is also from Thomas Grosvenor (one and one-third pages, May 11, 1818), to General Nathaniel Terry in response to "the publication in the Portfolio which had been put into my hand by a friend and subsequently at the request of Col. Daniel Putnam I have given a narration of the facts that some under my immediate observation at the Battle of Bunker Hill . . . [concerning] the character of General Putnam. . . . Col. Putnam has collected for publication a variety of testimony which full proceed the noble Character of his Father and no doubt will overthrow the groundless assertions of General Dearborn." Grosvenor, again as expected, writes very highly of the actions of General Putnam.

    Judge Samuel Putnam, a relative of Israel and Daniel Putnam, writes the third letter (two pages, Northampton, May 19, 1818) to Daniel stating that after he read General Dearborn's account of the Battle of Bunker Hill, he "pronounced it most unwarrantable. . . . The Libel upon the Memory of your father excited feelings of unalterable indignation. You must permit me to rejoice with you that you have been able to give a complet refutation of the slander." The judge ends by thanking Daniel for rescuing the reputation of General Putnam.

    Judge Judah Dana, a grandson of Israel Putnam writes the final letter (two pages, May 31, 1818) to his uncle, Daniel after receiving a copy of Daniel's "excellent letter in answer to Gen. Dearborn's unaccountable narrative of the battle of Bunker Hill." Judah writes of doing all he can do to aid Daniel's worthy cause. In closing he writes, "Every exertion is making to bolster Dearborns reputation & statement, but both must sink to infamy, if we do our duty, the public, our country have an interest in the reputation of Gen. P."

    All pages have age toned and bear usual folds-some with weakness and minor separation at the folds. Some stains and minor tears exist. Also included is one transmittal sheet addressed to "Hon. Nathaniel Terry / Hartford," docketed, "From Hon. Thomas Grosvenor / May 11, 1818."


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2013
    17th-18th Thursday-Friday
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