Coburn’s Pitch

Years ago, I wrote a rhyming poem about an incident at Bunker Hill described in Silas Coburn’s “History of Dracut.” The story is that Captain Peter Coburn of Dracut led a company of men from his town in the battle. He was shot by the British three times, in the arm, through his coat collar, and another time through his pants at the knee. He was lucky that day. The men with him described him looking like a scarecrow with his ripped clothes. The Dracut militia men kept firing, but the British redcoats had gained advantage on the hill. As the local fighters fell back, Captain Coburn picked up a fist-sized stone. A British officer was said to have shouted, “We’ve got you know.” In that instant, he was struck down by the stone Coburn had pitched at him.

Here’s the account from

Peter Coburn commanded a Dracut Company and led them to Lexington April 19, 1775. After seven days’ service, he returned home, and when, in June, the men were again called out, he, with his Company of Dracut men, were present at the Battle of Bunker Hill. He is said to have been the last man to speak to Gen. Warren before he fell. As the Americans were about to retreat a British officer sprang upon the breastworks and waved his sword, encouraging his men. Capt. Peter, hurling a stone, knocked him backwards, and then followed his men in the retreat.