Putnam, rufus

Putnam, Rufus (1738-1824) General, Surveyor: Putnam was born in Massachusetts, the cousin of Israel Putnam, who became a patriot general. Rufus Putnam completed an apprenticeship as a millwright and enlisted in the army, fighting against the French in the campaigns of 1757-60, and was later made an ensign. After the surrender of Montreal, he married and settled in New Braintree, pursuing farming while studying mathematics, in which he excelled, especially in applications to navigation and surveying. In 1773, he sailed to east Florida with a committee to explore land, and was appointed deputy surveyor of the province. Back in Massachusetts, he was made a lieutenant-colonel in one of the first regiments raised after the Battle of Lexington. His superior engineering abilities brought him to the attention of General Washington and General Charles Lee. Putnam went to New York in 1776 and, as chief engineer, superintended all the defences in that part of the country during the ensuing campaign. In August, he was appointed chief engineer at the rank of colonel, but left that position to take command of the 5th Massachusetts regiment. In 1777, he joined the northern army, serving with great credit at the Battle of Stillwater with the 4th and 5th regiments of Nixon's brigade. The next year, he joined his cousin, General Israel Putnam, in supervising the construction of the fortifications at West Point. Putnam was appointed to the command of a regiment in General Anthony Wayne's brigade, in which he served until the end of the campaign. Putnam worked as a commissioner in New York, adjusting the claims of New York citizens for losses incurred by the allied armies. In 1783, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general. Putnam served in the legislature, acted as an aide to General Benjamin Lincoln during Shay's rebellion, and was superintendent of the Ohio company, founding Marietta, the first permanent settlement in the eastern part of the Northwest territory. In 1789, Putnam was appointed a judge of the supreme court of the territory, and was U. S. commissioner to deal with issues related to Native Americans, concluding an important treaty with eight tribes at Port Vincent (now Vincennes) in 1792. He reported his proceedings to an assembly in Philadelphia, then retired his commission. Putnam was appointed Surveyor-General of the United States in October of 1793, and was a member of the Ohio constitutional convention in 1803. General Putnam was deeply interested in Sabbath-schools and missions and, in 1812, joined a group which formed the first Bible society west of the Alleghenies. At the time of his death, he was the last general officer of the Revolutionary army except the Marquis de la Fayette