American History: Major John Pitcairn

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Major John Pitcairn was a British officer during The Battle of Lexington and Concord and the Battle of Bunker Hill.

He was a Captain in the French and Indian War and was promoted to Major in 1771, three years before he arrived in Boston. He was a popular British officer among the rebels and British regulars.

American History: Major John Pitcairn

In the skirmish at Lexington he that was the commanding officer of the regulars when the first shot was fired. He is criticized for his undisciplined actions and for shouting conflicting orders to the provincials led by Captain John Parker and the Regulars. Confusion ensued and shots were fired and the American Revolution had begun. Many believe Pitcairn could have avoided the conflict at Lexington if he had been more patient.

His actions at Lexington, although criticized, does not take away from his exemplary service throughout his military career. The major bravely led the charge at Bunker Hill and was shot in the head. He fell backwards into his own son’s arms. He was one of the many casualties on that fateful day.