By Christopher Roberson
The lives and service of Pvt. Jotham Webb and Pvt. Perley Putnam, two soldiers killed during the Battle of Lexington, were honored during this year’s Patriots’ Day ceremony at the Lexington Monument on April 16. Webb, 22, and Putnam, 21, of South Danvers, which is now Peabody, were part of a 350-man regiment under the command of Col. Timothy Pickering and Capt. Israel Hutchinson. On the morning of April 19, 1775, they marched 16 miles from South Danvers to Arlington to meet British forces under the command of Brig. Gen. Hugh Percy, Lt. Col. Francis Smith and Maj. John Pitcairn.
Rev. Bert White, chaplain of the Danvers Alarm List Company reenactment group, said that during the battle, Putnam found that the solider standing next to him could not reload his musket as he had broken his wooden ramrod. The solider happened to be Hutchinson’s son and Putnam’s best friend. Putnam took a bullet between the eyes as he was giving the metal ramrod to his friend.
Webb, who White said was “the best bricklayer in all of Danvers,” had gotten married two weeks before the battle and went into the fray in his wedding garb. “He wore his finest to fight the British and then was dead,” said White.
In addition to Webb and Putnam, five other men from South Danvers – Samuel Cook, Ebenezer Goldthwaite, Benjamin Daland, George Southwick and Henry Jacobs – made the ultimate sacrifice during the first battle of the war. “Danvers has the largest number of casualties on that day of any other community other than Lexington,” said Daniel Doucette of the Peabody Historical Society’s Executive Board, adding that memorial ceremonies have been held at the Lexington Monument for the past 21 years and “It’s become a very solemn and significant event for us.”
The bravery displayed by the seven men was remembered with a memorial wreath and three rounds fired by the Danvers Alarm List.