Putnam knew well not only how to build fortifications, but also how to command, maintain law and order, care for all, make right the rule, and win admiring confidence and love. In what I have written I have said much about Bunker Hill, as well as Prospect Hill, because they really go, together as making a single whole. They are so vitally connected with each other that in the best sense they cannot be considered apart. The one story runs into the other, and the latter derives its true significance from the former. It is quite curious or noteworthy how afraid Prescott writers are of the bond between the two, and how prone they are to stop with the battle and to make little or nothing of what took place just after the retreat. Frothingham says in a foot-note that Putnam ‘retreated with that part of the army that went to Prospect Hill and remained here through the night!’ Dr. George E. Ellis, warm friend and grandiloquent eulogist of Prescott, and mortal enemy and vehement abuser of Putnam, leaves the latter out of the account altogether, after having caricatured his matchless service at the rail fence, and simply says this: ‘The British lay on their arms all night at Bunker's Hill, discharging their pieces against the Americans, who were safely encamped upon Prospect Hill at the distance of a mile!’ H. B. Dawson, historian and Englishman, who could never forgive Putnam for rending the American colonies from the British empire as he thought he did, and calls him ‘traitor’ and whatever else of the kind, does not even mention him or Prospect Hill after his long account of the engagement! The reason for all these slights or all this belittling or obscuration is obvious. The ‘supreme direction’ which Bancroft allows Putnam in the retreat, and which he certainly exercised then and on Prospect Hill, and the recognition and reinforcements which he received from headquarters while he was there, are so strong an argument that he was chief before, that such men as Frothingham, Ellis, and Dawson do not like to follow him thither and face the inevitable conclusion that he was also supreme commander of the American forces in the Battle of Bunker Hill, as he himself repeatedly said he was whenever occasion required him to say it; and as innumerable soldiers who fought under
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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 .
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