THE NEGRO SOLDIER'S CONTRIBUTION IN THE
WARS OF THE UNITED STATES
By Rev. W. Spencer Carpenter, Pastor of Allen A. M. E.
Church, Philadelphia, Pa.
AS A SOLDIER, the American Negro equals any
soldier in the world, and this fact will be admitted
by any unbiased historian or student of, this
world's events in time of peace or of war. When,
on March 5, 1770, the roar of British musketry in
Boston awoke the suffering colonists to the
knowledge that American Independence was
born, history opened her book of freedom, and,
with the blood of martyrdom, wrote on its pages as the purchase-
price of American liberty, the name of a Negro, Crispus Attucks,
who was the first American to fall, the first American to die for the
making of this country free.
In 1775, when the Revolutionary War began, the Negro took his
place beside the white man in the ranks and fought until the war
ended. Not less than three thousand Negroes were enlisted under
Gen. Washington, and, according to a foreign officer who was with
Burgoyne at the time of his surrrender, "no regiment could be seen
in which there were not Negroes in abundance." In this war Con-
necticut raised a Negro battalion and Rhode Island raised an entire
regiment of Negroes, emancipating them before she would permit
them to fight for freedom.
At the battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775, the Negro soldiers
fought side by side with their white comrades, and although the British
troops won that battle, they paid dearly for their victory. At one
moment when victory hung over the British troops, Major Pitcairn,
their leader, mounting an eminence, cried, "The day is ours!" Not
this, however, for a Negro soldier, Peter Salem, rushed forth, and,
with deliberate aim, fired at Major Pitcairn and killed him. If, instead
of being unmarked, the Bunker Hill Monument at Charlestown, Mass.,
held inscribed the names of its heroes, the name of Peter Salem would
head the list.
Another Negro who participated in the Battle of Bunker Hill was