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William Shepard to James Bowdoin Regarding Events at the Arsenal

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Springfield Jan.y 26. 1787


The unhappy time is come in which we have been obliged to shed
blood. Shays, who was at the head of about twelve hundred men, marched
yesterday afternoon about four o'Clock, towards the public buildings in
battle array. He marched his men in an open column by plattoons.
I sent several times by one of my aids, & two gentlemen, Captains
Buffington & Woodbridge, to him to know what he was after, or what
he wanted. His reply was, he wanted barracks, & barracks he
would have & Stores. The answer returned was he must purchase
them dear?, if he had them. He still proceeded on his march
until he approached within two hundred & fifty yards of the
arsenal. He then made a halt. I immediately sent Major
Lyman, one of my aids, & Capt Buffington to inform him
not to march his troops any nearer the Arsenal on his peril,
as I was stationed here by order of your Excellency & the
Secretary of War, for the defence of the public property, in
case he did I should surely fire on him & his men. A
Mr Wheeler, who appeared to be one of Shays' aids, met Mr. Lyman,
after he had delivered my order in the most peremptory manner,
& made answer, that that was all he wanted. Mr. Lyman
returned with his answer. Shays immediately put his troops in
motion, & marched on rapidly near one hundred yards. I then
ordered Major Stephens, who commanded the Artillery, to fire
upon them. He accordingly did. The two first shott he
endeavoured to overshoot them, in hopes they would have
taken warning without firing among them, but it had no
effect on them. Major Stephens then directed his shot thro'
the center of his column. The fourth or fifth shot put
their whole column into the utmost confusion. Shays made
an attempt to display the column, but in vain. We had

Letter from Majr Genl Shepard
Particulars of action at Springfield Arsenal
Jany 26 1787