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    Peter Salem

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    Do you know of a person named Peter Salem? You may not know him because he is one of our unsung patriots or forgotten heroes that helped support the struggle for independence. Peter Salem was born during the 1750s, in Framingham, Massachusetts.He was an African American slave, but had bee given his freedom in exchange for enlisting in the provincial army during the American Revolutionary War. But he was noted for great bravery at the battle. Peter Salem is believed to have killed British Major John Pitcairn, in the redoubt and at the height of combat.
    In one of John Trumbull's famous painting Batter of Bunker Hill, it shows Major Pitcairn dying under the British flag. Many people believe the African American stabbing the Major is Peter Salem. The painting faced east, which meant that Peter Salem would have been one of the last to retreat north, after being overwhelmed by British soldiers. Most of the American losses were during this retreat. After this, William T. Alexander mentioned, "At the battle of Bunker Hill, Peter Salem, also a colored man, who so gallantly manned and defended the slight breastworks, shot dead Major Pitcairn, of the British Marines, who, in the final struggle, had scaled the redoubt and shouted 'The day is our own!' and was commanding the patriots to surrender, thereby probably gaining the battle."
    On June 17, 1775, at a crucial moment in the battle, when British major John Pitcairn, had rallied the disorganized British troops and prepared a counterattack, Salem, shot the major through the head just after he yelled "The day is Ours." Peter Salem had battled Pitcairn, and his forces earlier at Lexington, and was glad to have dispatched the hated major as he did. After the British lost their leader, they lost their nerve, and their battle.
    Peter Salem had joined Edgell's minutemen company. On June 17, 1775, Salem fought at Bunker Hill where he is remembered for shooting and killing British Major John Pitcairn through the head as he was rallying the British troops. Soon afterward, soldiers of the New England army raised money to reward Salem for his bravery and the hero was presented to Gen. Washington.
    During the Bunker Hill battle, Peter Salem had ordered the colonists to surrender. They didn't listen to Salem, so in return Salem shot him in answer. During the confusion, the Americans were able to take the field. Pitcairn died of his wounds.

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