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She then relates how he and other blacks, slave and free, joined the war to achieve their own independence. Malcolm juxtaposes Peter's life in the patriot armies with that of the life of Titus, a New Jersey slave who fled to the British in and reemerged as a feared guerrilla leader. A remarkable feat of investigation, Peter's biography illuminates many themes in American history: This is the biography of Peter Nelson.

Born into slavery and sold as a toddler to a childless white couple in Massachusetts, Peter joined the fight for American freedom at the age of twelve. His personal history illuminates race relations in New England, the coming of war to a small town, and the experiences of black soldiers as they fought on both sides in the Revolutionary War battles that followed.

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Malcolm seamlessly captures the intersection of personal, political and military strategy. History buffs will revel in Peter''s never-before-told story, which makes a vivid addition to Revolutionary War literature.

It seemed like a more intimate relationship than you would find in the South. People tended to have one or two slaves to help in the house. They lived in the house, ate and worked with the family. Only in church was there a rigid separation.

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Because there were so few and they were so integrated in the community, there was less opportunity for them to have their own culture and society. Why they fought on the American side is a real question.

New England had only 5 percent of the slaves in the country, but half of all those who served in the Continental Army. The army offered freedom [later in the war] to slaves who would fight for three years, yet there were a number who were already fighting on the patriot side. They were integrated into the army and fought side by side [with whites], and were treated the same.

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It was much more the traditional band of brothers, which didn't happen again until the Korean War. It was exciting to find things, but frustrating at times because there were gaps, no first-hand accounts by Peter.

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I would love to have had a diary. One wishes one could time-travel back and ask questions.

Peter's war : a New England slave boy and the American Revolution in SearchWorks catalog

I felt as though I had his footsteps, but not his voice. Local Search Site Search. Why did this story capture your interest?