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On this date in 1775, several Blacks participated in the famous, but misnamed, Battle of Bunker Hill.
This episode in the Revolutionary War actually took place on Breed’s Hill, across the river from Boston, Massachusetts. More Blacks than had previously been thought fought with the colonial troops, according to a Revolutionary War historian, who says that 103 Blacks and Native Americans fought with the colonial force. Among them were Salem Poor, Peter Salem, Caesar Brown, Prince Estabrook, Grant Cooper, Prince Hall, and George Middleton.
Peter Salem and Salem Poor were especially noted as heroes. Brown and Estabrook were killed. Peter Salem was credited with shooting the British commander Major Pitcairn and forcing the British troops to regroup. This gave the smaller colonial force time to retreat rather than surrender. Middleton led an all-Black company called “the Bucks of America,” which was presented with a company banner by John Hancock after the battle.