Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Peter Salem Shoots Major Pitcairn at Bunker Hill

Bunker Hill was the scene of a brave deed by a Negro soldier. Major Pitcairn was commander of the British forces there. The battle was fierce; victory seemed sure to the English, when Pitcairn mounted an eminence, shouting triumphantly, "The day is ours." At this moment the Americans, stood as if dumfounded, when suddenly, with the leap of a tiger, there rushed forth Peter Salem, who fired directly at the officer's breast and killed him. Salem was said to have been a slave, of Framingham, Massachusetts. General Warren, who was killed in this battle, greatly eulogized Crispus Attucks for his bravery in Boston, and had he not been stricken down so soon, Peter Salem would doubtless also have received high encomiums from his eloquent lips.

Negroes not only served in the War of the Revolution, but individual coloured men are still remembered, in the tradition of that time, for the daring exploits in which they engaged. In Trumbull's celebrated historic painting of the battle of Bunker Hill, one of the conspicuous figures is a Negro by the name of Peter Salem, who is said to have been responsible for the death of Major Pitcairn, of the British Marines, who fell just as he mounted the Patriots' redoubt, shouting, "The day is ours!"

Peter Salem was a private in Colonel Nixon's regiment. He was born in Framingham, and was held as a slave until the time he joined the army. Colonel Trumbull, who, at the time of the battle, was stationed with his regiment in Roxbury, and saw the action from that point, has introduced the figures of several other coloured men into his canvas.

Peter Salem Shoots Major Pitcairn at Bunker Hill

This Image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1923 are copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1923, in this case 1891, are now in the public domain.

This file is also in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris), and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from December 31 of that year.

The names of the image’s engravers, Daniel T. Smith and Paul R. B. Pierson, are seen at the bottom of the image. “Smith-Pierson”
were engravers in Boston from 1855-1856.

TEXT CREDIT: The story of the Negro: the rise of the race from slavery, Volume 1 Author: Booker T. Washington. Publisher: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1909. Original from: Harvard University. Digitized: Dec 19, 2007. Subjects: African Americans, Afro-Americans, Black race. Slavery.

TEXT and IMAGE CREDIT: A school history of the Negro race in America from 1619 to 1890 combined with the history of the Negro soldiers in the Spanish-American War : also a short sketch of Liberia. Black culture collection. Author: Edward Austin Johnson. Edition revised. Publisher: Isaac Goldmann, 1891 Length 400 pages. Subjects: Social Science › Ethnic Studies › African American Studies. African Americans. Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies, Spanish-American War, 1898

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