(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
|BOSTON, Saturday, February 3.|
The following letters, are copied verbatim et lieratem from original
West Springfield, Jan. 25, 1787.
I HAVE dispatched Capt. Walker with my resolutions, Have ordered Colo. Parsons,
to treat, with Gen. Sheppard and in case Gen. Sheppard does not comply with
the terms, shall put all the Troops under my Command in motion to support my
demands, precisely at 4 o'Clock the time is prefix, But shall not expect them
to Come to Action this day
To Capt Shays
To Genll Shepherd or the Commanding Officer in Springfield Sir I Desire you
to Send My Dead and Wound men by My Flagg So that I can Burye My Dead Men and
Take Care of my Wounded if not my Wounded the Dead and the Names of the Wounded
by Lt Williams Who is the Bearer of this Flagg
I am yours
Daniel Shays Capt
Chickabury 27th Jan 1787
BY the flag that was sent to your Honour yesterday informs us that if the friends
of the Dead in Custody Sends in after them the Bodys Shall Be Rezined--
We the friends hereafter Subscribed for Each Dead Body humbly pray that the
Present flag may have Leave and liberty to fetch the Whole Number of the Dead
with them as in Duty Bound shall ever pray
Ezekiel Root} Solomon Root brother
Aril Webster} William Webster Brother
John Hunter} James Anderson friend
Jeremiah McMillen} Thomas Milllen Brother
was woun. & missing
Jabez Spycer} Thomas Crawfoot Father in Law
Commander of the County Hampshire Troops in Springfield
The following is a Copy of Shays's answer to General Lincoln's letter of the
Pelham, January 30, 1787.
To General LINCOLN, commanding the government troops at Hadley.
THE people assembled in arms form the counties of Middlesex, Worcester, Hampshire
and Berkshire, taking into serious consideration the purpose of the flag just
received, return for answer. That however unjustifiable the measure may be which
the people have adopted, is having recourse to arms, various circumstances hath
induced them thereto. We are sensible of the embarrassments the people are under;
but that virtue which truly characterizes the citizens of a republican government
hath hitherto marked our paths with a degree of innocence; and we with and trust
it will still be the case. At the same time, the people are willing to lay down
their arms on the condition of a general pardon, and return to their respective
homes, as they are unwilling to stain the land, which we in the late war purchased
at so dear a rate, with the blood of our brethren and neighbours, therefore
we pray that hostilities may cease, on your part, until our united prayers may
be presented to the General Court, and we receive an answer, as a person is
gone for that purpose. If this request may be complied with, government shall
meet with no interruption from the people; but let each army occupy the posts
where they now are.
DANIEL SHAYS, Capt.
Contact us for information about using this image.
The wording of this letter from Luke Day to Daniel Shays on January 25 is rather vague. Day may have meant that if Shepard did not comply with the terms he (Day) had sent that same day (January 25), then Shays should expect Day's troops at 4 pm that day as planned. The last line, however, suggests that Day thought the negotiations would extend long enough so that there would be "no action" on January 25. The accepted interpretation of this letter seems to be that Day was telling Shays they'd meet at 4 pm the next day (January 26.) As things turned out, Day did not rendezvous with Shays, perhaps because Day decided not to march until he heard from Shepard concerning his demands, or perhaps for other reasons. We can only guess as to why. In any case, Day's message was intercepted, so Shays was still operating under the assumption that Parsons, Day and Shays men would meet at 4:00 on January 25, when fatefully, Day and his men did not show up.
In this note to General Shepard, Daniel Shays requests that his dead and wounded men be sent to him under the flag of truce so that they can be either buried or tended to. If Shepard refused to send the wounded men, Shays wanted a list of their names. Shepard also received this request from friends and relatives with a list of five dead to be returned. Jeremiah McMillen, who is listed as wounded and missing, was not one of the four men who were killed. Root, Webster, and Spicer were killed immediately, and Hunter died later from his wounds. Daniel Shays replied to a letter he received from General Lincoln on January 30, 1787. Shays states that the people are willing to lay down their arms if a general pardon is granted. They will return to their homes to await word from the General Court in regard to their complaints. This letter reflects the same requests that were presented to Lincoln 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.
top of page
Letters to Capt. Shays and General Shepard published in the Hampshire Gazette
| publisher Hampshire Gazette
| author Luke Day
| author Daniel Shays (1747-1825)
| date Feb 14, 1787
| location Northampton, Massachusetts
| width 2.0"
| height 11.0"
| process/materials printed paper, ink
| item type Periodicals/Newspaper
| accession # #L04.088
Send an e-Postcard of this object