General Israel Putnam was known for his battle scars and reckless bravery. He had fought against the French in the French and Indian War and was captured by the Caughnawaga Indians during a campaign in New York and was about to be roasted alive before a French officer rescued him.
Putnam also led a regiment at the Battle of Fort Ticonderoga in 1759 and also at Montreal. While serving in the British expedition of Cuba in 1762, Putnam survived a shipwreck and helped the British capture Havana.
He was the Revolutionary War's Davy Crockett.
Israel Putnam's Military Career
The veteran soldier acquired some wealth shortly before the American Revolutionary War.
He had learned how to profit from his farmland, and he also owned a tavern. As a war hero and a well-liked one at that, bringing in customers to his tavern was not hard.
Many men loved to throw back a few pints with Old Put and bash the Stamp Act (which he opposed) and talk about the latest happenings of the Sons of Liberty (which he helped found)
It is said that General Israel Putnam left his plow in the middle of the field when he heard the news of Lexington and Concord. He rushed to the scene and joined the militia at Cambridge. Soon after the battle, Boston, Massachusetts, was under siege by the colonials. Israel Putnam was among those in the siege as well.
Battle of Bunker Hill
For all his bravery, he is most remembered for his role in the Battle of Bunker Hill. He and William Prescott were the two officers at Bunker Hill.
Putnam, although he was not a good tactician, was popular with the men, and he used his charisma to increase morale.
There was not a man among him that would question his bravery, and very few men had his experience in active duty, so he was the logical choice to lead. Bunker Hill was the best moment in his military career.
He, Prescott, and the men beat the British advances back twice and inflicted heavy casualties. It wasn't until the ammo ran low that the men retreated.
Battle for New York
If Bunker Hill was Putnam's high point, then the Battle of Long Island was his lowest moment. Due to being ill, Nathanael Greene was replaced, and Israel Putnam was put in command. Putnam was outflanked, out-maneuvered, and out-smarted in the Battle for Long Island.
It was obvious that he was past his prime as a commander, and George Washington transferred him after the defeat.
Washington never blamed him for the loss, but it was clear that Old Put was out of his league. Putnam served as a recruitment officer, and his popularity and charisma made him successful.
In 1777, Putnam was brought before a court after his abandonment of Fort Montgomery and Fort Clinton. He was found not guilty. In 1779, Putnam had a debilitating stroke that would take him out of military service for good.
General Israel Putnam died in Brooklyn, Connecticut, in 1790. He was so popular that his tomb quickly ran down due to all the visitors.