Today in Military History: Feb. 4, 1787, Shays’ Rebels Ambushed

A satirical cartoon, The looking glass for 1787. A house divided against itself cannot stand. Mat. chap. 13th verse 26. Courtesy, Library of Congress.

On February 4, 1787, General Benjamin Lincoln and his troops ambush a group of rebels, lead by Daniel Shays, in Petersham, Mass. The rebels of Shays’ Rebellion were a group of of debt-ridden Massachusetts farmers and citizens who had previously staged an attack on the armory in Springfield, Mass., containing major U.S. arsenal supplies.

Former Revolutionary Army Captain, Daniel Shays, led 1,400 men against the armory on Jan. 25. But Maj. Gen. William Shepard took hold of the armory defending the precious supplies and defeating the uprising citizens. 

The rebellion is credited with opening the American people’s eyes for the need of a new national government.  Formal negotiations followed the rebellion resulting in the drafting of the Constitution of the United States, ratified by Mass. the following year.