Rufus Putnam (1738–1824) Artist: John Trumbull (American, 1756–1843)


American Paintings and Sculpture

On view, 2nd floor, American Art before 1900

Rufus Putnam engineered the construction of many fortifications during the Revolutionary War, notably at Dorchester Heights during the winter of 1775–76 to force the British evacuation of Boston. Putnam commanded troops at the Battle of Saratoga and appears as the third figure from the left in the group farthest to the right in John Trumbull’s The Surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga (1832.7). After the conclusion of the war, Putnam superintended the Ohio Company, which was established to distribute western lands to settlers. In 1790, Geroge Washington appointed him judge of the Northwest Territory, an area that extended to the Mississippi River. This miniature was painted in New York City.


Oil on wood


3 7/8 × 3 1/4 in. (9.8 × 8.3 cm)

Credit Line

Trumbull Collection

Accession Number



18th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.

  • Helen A. Cooper et al., Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008), 102, no. 44, ill
  • Susan B. Matheson, Art for Yale: A History of the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2001), 18, fig. 15
  • Helen A. Cooper et al., John Trumbull: The Hand and Spirit of a Painter (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1982), 141, pl. 81-85
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

miniatures (paintings), portraits


generals men


Signed verso: "Rufus Putnam Esqr./Colonel of a Regiment in/the Service of the United/States of America. during/the War of their Independence/& present at the capture of/Gen. Burgoyne./Painted at New York/1790. by J. Trumbull."

Technical metadata and APIs


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