Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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LYMAN, Phineas, soldier, born in Durham, Connecticut, in 1716: died near Natchez, Mississippi, 10 September, 1774. He was bred to the trade of a weaver, but subsequently prepared for college, and was graduated from Yale in 1738, remaining there three years as tutor, and also studying law. After his admission to the bar he settled in Suffield, then a part of Massachusetts, and at once took high rank in his profession. Through his exertions Suffield was in 1749 added to Connecticut. He was for seven years elected to the upper house of the legislature, and during that period was repeatedly charged with important civil trusts. In March, 1755, he was appointed major-general and commander-in-chief of the Connecticut forces, 1,000 in number, that were sent against Crown Point, and in accepting he gave up the largest law practice in the colony. In the following summer a fort was built under his direction on the east bank of the Hudson, and was at first called Fort Lyman in his honor, although the name was afterward changed to Fort Edward. In the important battle that was fought at the head of Lake George, 8 September, 1755, the command devolved on General Lyman almost at the beginning of the action, Sir William Johnson, his superior officer, having been wounded and compelled to retire. Although Lyman fought gallantly for five hours and a half, frequently showing himself in front of the defences to encourage his men, he received no credit, his name not appearing in General Johnson's official report. In 1756 he was again placed in command of the Connecticut contingent, this time composed of 2,500 men, to operate against Crown Point, but the plan was finally abandoned. In the campaign of 1757 he was for a time in command at Fort Edward, and in 1758, at the head of 5,000 Connecticut troops, he shared in General Abercrombie's repulse, and was with Lord ttowe when he fell. In 1759 he was again commissioned major-general, and, at the head of 4,000 Connecticut troops, aided Gem Amherst in taking possession of Ticonderoga and Crown Point. He was also present at the reduction of Fort Louis at Oswego and the capture of Montreal. In 1761 he was ordered to Canada, and in 1762 he was sent with 2,300 men to assist in the capture of Havana, and subsequently placed in command of the entire provincial force during that unlucky expedition. At its close he was deputed by the surviving officers and soldiers to proceed to England and receive the part of the prize money that remained due. A company of "Military Adventurers " had also been formed by his exertions, chiefly composed of those who had served in the late wars, whose object was to obtain from the British government a tract of land on the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers. Soon after his arrival in England in 1763 a change of ministry took place, and so many obstacles appeared in the way of accomplishing his design that he remained abroad until 1772, unwilling to return home and admit failure. He was at last taken back by his son, the wreck of his former self, but not until he had obtained permission from the crown to settle on a tract of land twenty miles square east of the Mississippi and south of the Yazoo. The "Military Adventurers " having been reorganized, General Lyman began, in December, 1773, with a few companions, to make a preliminary survey. The party settled near Natchez, but Lyman soon died.
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