Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/United States/Putnam, Israel
Putnam, Israel, was born at Salem, Mass., Jan. 7, 1718, removing to Pomfret, Conn., in 1739. Courage, strong will, and knowledge of men rather than of books soon made him a leader among his neighbours; and his shooting of a wolf by torch-light in a cavern in which she had sought refuge has almost become a nursery story. In the French and Indian war he became one of the most renowned of the “rangers” or partisan soldiers, who fought the Indians with their own weapons; and at the end of the war he had reached the rank of lieutenant-colonel of the Connecticut troops. At the outbreak of the revolutionary war, one of the four major-generals commissions was given to Putnam. He was an active leader at Bunker Hill, commanded at New York, and in the battle of Long Island, and was put in charge of the Hudson river defences in 1777, being the first to see the strategic importance of West Point. He died at Brooklyn, Conn., May 19, 1790.—See Lives by Cutler, Humphreys, and Peabody.