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[98] him then and there, and military officers, statesmen, governors, lawyers, jurists, poets, scholars, clergymen, journalists, and college presidents and professors have said it for him for a hundred and twenty-eight years.

The battle ended, he was the one hero of the day. Immensely popular before, he was more than ever a favorite now. The country resounded with his praises. Toasts were drunk to his honor on both sides of the Atlantic. He and Washington dined often together, and were most intimate friends, and he who was ‘first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen’ gave his veteran companion successively the highest commands he had at his disposal; as when, under his authority, Putnam, with his troops, entered and took possession of Boston as soon as the British had been compelled to leave the city, and as afterward he was chief in the New York campaign, at Philadelphia, and elsewhere. Nor do we find that after the battle Washington or the public took any particular notice of Prescott whatever. Yet Prescott was a brave and faithful soldier, though previous to his command of the redoubt on Breed's Hill he had seen but little military service. Later he served under Putnam in New York, and undoubtedly performed his duty there as nobly as he had done it at the fort. During the war he quit the army and returned to the quiet of his own home at Pepperell, where he lived and died, respected and honored to the last by his friends and fellow-citizens and by the people at large. But the contention that when he was colonel of one of the regiments at Cambridge, just before he went with his detachment to Breed's Hill, and when he was surrounded by as many as eight generals and thirty colonels, a large proportion of whom, Putnam included, had had much experience and had gained high merit and distinction in previous wars, Prescott, with his then limited service and fame, was selected out of them all, and jumped over the heads of all these noted and scarred defenders of their country, to be the supreme commander in the daring enterprise close at hand, and in whatever conflict it might involve, is one of the most preposterous claims that ever challenged the attention or assent of sane or intelligent minds. To


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