Printed Material

William Shepard to James Bowdoin Regarding Attack on Arsenal

Date: February 7, 1787
Creator: William Shepard
Publisher: Hampshire Gazette
About this artifact

On January 26, 1787, General William Shepard wrote this account of the action at the Springfield Arsenal that happened the day before. He makes a point that aids were sent several times to meet with Shays in order to head off any confrontation. After being told not to approach any further, Daniel Shays ordered his troops to keep marching toward the Arsenal. When the Regulators were about 100 yards from the Arsenal, General Shepard ordered the artillery to fire. The first shots were warning shots, but they did not have the desired effect of stopping the approach. The next shots put the column is a state of confusion, and finally the howitzer loaded with grape shot was aimed, and fired into the middle of the column. This shot was killed four Regulators. Shepard makes a point of telling the Governor that he could have killed most of the Regulators as they retreated, if he had so desired. The also printed a copy of the demands delivered to Shepard by Luke Day on January 25. William Butler began publication of the Hampshire Gazette on September 6, 1786, in Northampton, Massachusetts. The mission of the newspaper was to inform the public about the issues pertaining to the ongoing conflicts. Butler was decidedly on the government side of the issues.

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Courtesy Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield, MA