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Biographies Unit Biographies

Israel Putnam 1718–1790
Revolutionary War General

There is a old story about Israel Putnam that may be legend, but it shows what he was like: When news of the Battle of Lexington reached Connecticut, Putnam was plowing his fields for spring planting. Upon hearing the news, he rushed off to defend his country without even stopping to unhitch the horses.

Israel Putnam was an officer in the Connecticut militia and was later appointed general in the Continental Army. He commanded troops at the battles of Bunker Hill and Long Island, and led the defense of Philadelphia. Putnam was not a brilliant general. No one, however, was braver or tougher. He survived capture by the Haudenosaunee (haw dah nohn SAW nee) Indians in the French and Indian War. He survived a shipwreck off the coast of Cuba. Ordinary Americans loved Israel Putnam. To them, he was a hero of the Revolution, not for what he did but because he was a loyal and brave American.

Comprehension Check

Why did Americans admire Israel Putnam?

Critical Thinking

What person do you consider to be a hero? Describe the qualities that make him or her heroic.