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    Israel Putnam writes a hasty reckoning of the aftermath of the Battle of Lexington

    [Israel Putnam] Contemporary Copy Advising Colonel Williams to Raise Troops. One page, 7" x 12.25", April 23, 1775, Haddam. Immediately after receiving news on April 20, 1775, about the Battle of Lexington and Concord, Israel Putnam (1718-1790) left his successful farm and tavern in Pomfret, Connecticut, and rode to the nearby village of Lebanon to quickly consult with Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull. After receiving orders from the governor, Putnam, still in his farmer's frock, hastily rode overnight to Concord, Massachusetts, to try to aid the colonial militia. On his way, he stopped in Cambridge to consult with the Massachusetts Committee of Safety. After continuing his journey and arriving at Concord, he wrote the original of this contemporary copy on April 21 to Colonel Ebenezer Williams, also of Pomfret, a member of the Connecticut Committee of Safety. This copy, transcribed at "Haddam 23d April 1775. 5 O.Clock P. M." and attested by "James Hanetton/ [?] Brainerd", reads in part: "I have waited on the Committee of the Provincial Congress & it is there Determination to have a standing army of 20000 men from the new england colonies, of which it is supposed the Colony of Connecticut must raise Six thousand, & beg they would be on the Parade at Cambridge as speedy as may be, with conveniency, together with provisions & sufficiency of Ammunition for their own use-the Battle here is much as represented at Pomphret, except that there is more kill,d & a number taken prisoners-the Accounts are at present so confus'd that it is impossible to Ascertain the numbers exact-Shall inform you of the preceedings from time to time as we have new occurrences." Putnam adds, "Sr. being in hast I cannot write, desire a copy of this be transmitted to Govr. Trumbull." Secretarial notations follow Putnam's original text indicating previous copies sent--one to Governor Trumbull and attested by his son Joseph earlier on April 23rd.

    Five days after the original copy of this letter was sent to Colonel Williams, Putnam was appointed by the Connecticut General Assembly as brigadier general, the third highest ranking officer in the Connecticut militia at the time. A month later at the Battle of Bunker Hill, Putnam and Colonel William Prescott manned a noble defense, repelling two British frontal assaults before being forced to abandon their works. This notable piece of an early Revolutionary War communication is age-toned with some separation at folds. Very good.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    16th-17th Tuesday-Wednesday
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