Putnam Goes to Lexington
The photograph at the left shows a Relief of Putnam at his plow. Above a doorway at the state capitol building in Hartford, Connecticut.
Putnam Leaves His Plow For Lexington
On Thursday morning, April 20th 1775, Putnam and his son Daniel,
who was then fifteen years of age, had gone into the field near the
tavern at Brooklyn Green to plow. They were busy at work when about
eight o'clock a messenger rode into the village in hot haste, with a
dispatch for Daniel Tyler, Jr. It was from the town clerk of
Worchester, Massachusetts, who had forwarded a copy of a letter
which he had received from the Committee of Safety at Watertown,
dated "Wednesday morning, Near 10 o'clock, April 19, 1775,"
announcing that the British had fired on the militia at Lexington,
had "killed six men and wounded four others," and were on their march into the country. Young Tyler hurried with the news to his
father-in-law in the field. In instant response to the alarm, Putnam - so wrote his son Daniel in after years - "loitered not
but left me, the driver of his team, to unyoke it in the furrow, and not many days after to follow him to camp." Without changing his
working clothers, the energetic patriot mounted a horse at the stable that he might himself spread the alarming tidings and also consult
with the militia officers and the committees of the neighboring towns of Windham County. He hastened to the home of Governor Jonathan
Trumbull at Lebanon, and received orders from him to go to Boston.
Meanwhile, about three o'clock in the afternoon, another dispatch reached Putnam's village, giving an account of the fight at Concord.
Colonel Ebenezer Williams of Pomfret, a member of the Connecticut Committee of Safety, forwarded the news by express to Canterbury and
elsewhere, urging "every man who is fit and willing" to come out for When Putnam returned home, two hours or so after the second dispatch
was received, he found hundreds of men gathered on Brooklyn Green ready to obey his orders. He told them that, according to the arrangements
which he had been making on his consultatory tour, military officers would soon arrive to direct their movements. It was now nearly sunset,
but without stopping to rest or to change the checkered farmer's frock which he had been wearing since he left his plough in the morning,
Putnam, indefatigable patriot that he was, started on a night ride for Cambridge. That he reached there the next day, and after consultation
with the Committee of Safety galloped on to Concord is evident from the letter which he wrote to Colonel Williams of Pomfret. He had
ridden not less than a hundred miles in eighteen hours.
TEXT ON BROOKLYN, CONNECTICUT PLAQUE:
IN THE FIELD BEHIND THIS STONE AFTER THE CLOSE OF THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WARS
RETURNING FROM MANY EXPEDITIONS TO TICONDEROGA, FORT EDWARD, QUEBEC,
MONTREAL, HAVANA, DETROIT, AND NEW ORLEANS LIVED COL. ISRAEL PUTNAM.
HERE, WITH HIS WIFE (2ND) MRS. DEBORAH (AVERY GARDINER) PUTNAM HE
DISPENSED A FAMOUS HOSPITALITY AT THE GENERAL WOLFE TAVERN. NEAR THIS SPOT
ALSO, APRIL 20, 1775, PUTNAM RECEIVED NEWS OF THE BATTLE OF LEXINGTON LEAVING
HIS PLOW IN THE FURROW WITH HIS SON DANIEL, HE RODE ONE HUNDRED MILES IN
EIGHTEEN HOURS. REACHING CAMBRIDGE THE NEXT DAY.
THERE SOON AFTER HE PLANNED AND ON JUNE 17, 1775, COMMANDED AT THE BATTLE
OF BUNKER HILL RECEIVING THEREAFTER FROM THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS
BY THE HAND OF WASHINGTON THE FIRST COMMISSION OF MAJOR GENERAL
(AND THE ONLY ONE UNANIMOUSLY VOTED) WHICH MADE HIM SECOND IN RANK TO
HIS CHIEF.PLACED BY THE TOWN OF BROOKLYN AND THE COLONEL
DANIEL PUTNAM ASSOCIATION INC. 1918 THE 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS BIRTH PATRIOT,
REMEMBER THE HERITAGES RECEIVED FROM YOUR FOREFATHERS
AND PREDECESSORS. PROTECT AND PERPETUATE THEM FOR FUTURE
GENERATIONS OF YOUR COUNTRYMEN.
The above article is taken from the book Israel Putnam,
Pioneer, Ranger, and Major-General by William Farrand
Livingston, The Knickerbocker Press, 1901.