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One of the great heroes of the American Revolution, Israel Putnam has been forgotten by many people. This website is dedicated to providing information on his life. Whether you are writing a term paper on Israel Putnam, are a Revolutionary War buff, or just would like to learn more about the man described as "the General Patton of the Revolutionary War," you should find text and photographs of interest on this site.
DEATH AND GENERAL PUTNAM By: Arthur Guiterman
His iron arm had spent its force, No longer might he rein a horse; Lone, beside the dying blaze Dreaming dreams of younger days Sat old Israel Putnam.
Twice he heard, then three times more A knock upon the oaken door, A knock he could not fail to know, That old man in the ember-glow. "Come," said General Putnam.
The door swung wide; in cloak and hood. Lean and tall the pilgrim stood And spoke in tones none else might hear, "Once more I come to bring you Fear!" "Fear?" said General Putnam.
"You know not Fear? And yet this face Your eyes have seen in many a place Since first in stony Pomfret, when You dragged the mad wolf from her den." "Yes," said General Putnam.
"Am I not that which strong men dread On stricken field or fevered bed On gloomy trail and stormy sea, And dare you name my name to me?" "Death," said General Putnam.
"We have been comrades, you and I, In chase and war beneath this sky; And now, whatever Fate may send, Old comrade, can you call me friend?" "Friend," said General Putnam.
Then up he rose, and forth they went Away from battleground, fortress, tent, Mountain, wilderness, field and farm, Death and the General, arm-in-arm, Death and General Putnam.
"When he wheeled his horse into the main road towards Stamford, several British dragoons started to pursue him. He saw them coming. Over the frozen highway sped the General. The ring of steel-shod hoofs behind him told him how fast the enemy's chargers were gaining upon him. Onward the old hero spurred, while the flying horsemen lessened the distance between themselves and their prize. A fourth of a mile was passed in the mad chase, and then the road curved sharply toward the north and led round a steep declivity. Out from the highway the intrepid Putnam leaped his steed and dashed straight on towards the precipice and forced his horse over the brow and down the rocky height. His pursuers - one of them had just been within two lengths of him on the road - reined in their horses in utter astonishment at sight of the General's reckless feat, and, not daring to follow him down the dangerous steep, fired their revolvers at him as he went. An eye-witness of the exploit used to tell bow Putnam waved back his sword with taunting words to the baffled British, whose balls whizzed past him. One of the bullets pierced his military cap."
Livingston, William Farrand. Israel Putnam; Pioneer, Ranger, and Major-general, 1718-1790. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1901. 391-392.