Peter Salem was the hero of the Battle of Bunker Hill.  He was born to a slave mother, October 1, 1750 at Framingham, Massachusetts.  His owner was Jeremiah Billnap.  Billnap sold Salem to Major Lawson Buckminister, who set he free in 1775.

Salem spent five years serving in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary war, and was the one single hero that saved hundreds of American lives that day, including the life of his commanding officer.

John Trumble painted the pictures which appear in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C.  One of those pictures is the Battle of Bunker Hill.  Pictured in that painting are a group of British soldiers grabbing General Warren, with swords to his neck.  There are a number of other soldiers pictured.  But over to the extreme right are two soldiers: Thomas Grosvenor, and Peter Salem - the black man in the picture.

The battle was going in favor of the Americans; but they ran out of ammunition.  As a result, the British overran the Americans, and they scattered.  However, Salem sought out the British commander, John Pitcairn, and killed him; and that sent the Brithish into disarray.  The Americans had time to regroup as reinforcements arrived; allowing for an American victory.

Peter Salem received 14 commendations from the Continental Army for his many acts of valor.  He also received special recognition from the Continental Congress and from severl state legislatures.  He literally saved hundreds of lives that day.

After the war, he married, and built a cabin in Leicester, Massachusetts; spending the rest of his life as a cane weaver.  He is also noted as a man of great faith in God.

He died August 16,1816, and was buried in the Old Burying Ground Cemetery at Framingham, Massachusetts.  The city erected a momument to him in the cemetery.

By-the-way, Salem was only one of more than two dozen black Americans who fought side-by-side with their white neighbors at the Battle of Bunker Hill.  Some of them were:
* Phillip Abbot - killed in that battle
* Barzillai Lew
* Saem Poor
* Titus Corbain
* Alexander Ames
* Cato Howe
* Seymour Burr
And others.

Without the support of black Americans in the Revolutionary War, America would look much different today.

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