A French and Indian War Hero
|Put saved by a French officer|
near Glen Falls, NY 1758
Connecticut and stoked an industry), and as far west as Detroit. In an era when a 100 mile journey could mean your life, this was no small feat. His exploits during the French and Indian War were legendary in colonial America. His capture and brutal torture by the Indians particularly resonated at a time when such an eventuality was every frontier American's worst nightmare. Ironically, a French officer saved him from the worst depredations and death. Later on, he was released but soon joined the British attack on Cuba, where he helped capture the famed Spanish fortress, El Moro.
The Siege of Boston
|Bunker Hill: Old Put is on the far left|
The Battle of New York
|Major General Israel Putnam|
Fighting on despite Ill Health
After the New York campaign, age and illness slowed him down, precluding another major field command. But later in the war, Putnam had a lead role commanding Continental and militia forces "in observation" from the North (now Hudson) River to western Connecticut. A large British contingent under New York Royal Governor Tryon invaded Connecticut in February 1779.The Loyalist and British forces savaged the eastern Connecticut in a blitzkrieg like fashion, burning farms and towns while trying to root out rebels.
The famed Horseneck Escape
While trying to block the British advance near Greenwich, Connecticut, Put's small force of observation was surprised by an enemy column with cavalry in the van. Caught in the act of shaving that cold morning, Putnam saw the oncoming British column before his scouts did. Dropping his straight razor and brandishing his sword, he leaped to his horse and rallied his men, avoiding their capture by a whisker (so to speak). British dragoons and the notorious Delancey Tories galloped after the general while his men escaped. After a long and desperate chase, he escaped in a dramatic fashion by riding his horse over a precipice and down a very steep and icy defile. The astonished enemy reined in at the edge and vainly emptied their pistols at Old Put. Putnam waved back his sword with taunting words to the frustrated British, whose balls whizzed past him. One of the bullets is said to have pierced his military cap.