‘assumed’ it on the retreat, saying that, ‘acting on his own responsibility, he now for the first time during the day assumed the supreme direction. Without orders from any person, he rallied such of the fugitives as would obey him, joined them to a detachment which had not arrived in season to share in the combat, and took possession of Prospect Hill, and there encamped that very night.’ And with the historian this was the last of ‘Old Put.’ But where, in God's name, was Prescott? If he was the supreme commander in the battle, who but he at that awful crisis in the fortunes of the day should have taken the ‘supreme direction’ of affairs, ‘rallied’ the breaking and wasting forces that had fought like demigods all along that open and extended line, and twice vanquished the haughty and powerful foe, and then have led them off the field to a place of safety? What! when the fierce fight at the fence had saved him and his men from capture, fly from his fort as soon as chance permitted, and he to, headquarters in the distance, and leave an ‘interloper’ and ‘intermeddler,’ a ‘coward’ and a ‘traitor’ to assume the ‘supreme direction’ and take charge and care of the central and remaining body of the army, who were tired and torn with almost incredible service for their country! And was that the military conduct for one who had been chosen as the chief commander? Or did he or any one else ever cause the alleged rude and reckless usurper of his supreme command to be duly punished for his lawlessness and audacity? And why not? Why? Because he was chief at the retreat and at Prospect Hill, just as he was chief at the beginning of the battle and all through it. He ‘assumed’ nothing after the fight that he had not assumed before it and the fact that he was supreme after the conflict ended is incontestable proof that he was supreme from the first; and this lends an increased interest and attractiveness to the Somerville eminence and its surroundings. For, without him and his selection of the place for encampment, and his ‘supreme direction,’ what would have become of the recent celebration, and who would have ever heard the eloquent speeches of Mayor Glines, Governor Bates, Lieutenant-Governor Guild, and Mr. Ayer? Would the flag of the crosses and the stripes, to say nothing of the Connecticut
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Literary men and women of Somerville .
Charlestown School in the 17th century.
Historical Sketch of the old Middlesex Canal .
The Prospect Hill Park Celebration.
Israel Putnam and Prospect Hill .
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.