- "And we should live forever on castles in the sky. You wield your blade like a man, but your mouth like a child. And more will die now because of that..."
- ―John Pitcairn's last words.[src]
Pitcairn, raised in Scotland, left in 1746 when he enlisted in the Royal Marines as a Lieutenant, to assist in the growing tension between the French and British in Colonial America. Eventually, he was promoted to the rank of Captain and began working reconnaissance jobs for the military. By 1754, Pitcairn had become a member of the Templar Order.
- "I assume you've good reason for causing all this madness? What is it you require of me?"
- ―Pitcairn after being rescued by Haytham and Lee.
Using his contact with the British Rite of the Templar Order, Pitcairn proved himself a valuable asset as a possible co-conspirator for the newly created group in the British American colonies. Early in 1754, Commander Amherst arranged for him to be moved to the Copp's Hill Battery in Boston to assist the other Templars.
While in Boston, General Edward Braddock noticed Pitcairn's unauthorized presence and had him arrested and charged for desertion and treason. Haytham Kenway and Charles Lee arrived, revealing that both Lee and Pitcairn were in Haytham's service under Templar orders. Braddock reluctantly consented to give Lee to Haytham, but bitterly denied releasing Pitcairn and forced him to remain under his command.
In a plan to retrieve Pitcairn, Lee followed and pretended to be an angry citizen against the Redcoats, provoking Braddock into a chase by throwing horse manure on him. Lee lured Braddock and his men to a dead end, which allowed him, Haytham, and Pitcairn to attack and eliminate Braddock's patrol. Haytham spared Braddock, leaving him humiliated and furious as Pitcairn accompanied Haytham and Lee to Green Dragon Tavern.
Pitcairn joined Haytham's fold along with William Johnson, Thomas Hickey, Benjamin Church and Lee. At the tavern, Haytham proposed his plan to infiltrate Southgate Fort, murder Silas Thatcher, a notorious slaver, and free the Kanien'kehá:ka slaves. By freeing the captive slaves, Haytham would be able to gain favor with the Kanien'kehá:ka in order to gain information that would lead them to the mysterious precursor site.
Using a cart as a roadblock, Pitcairn and the others proceeded to ambush a slave convoy, killing the escorts, before disguising themselves in their uniforms and transporting the cart to the fort. Inside Southgate Fort, Haytham stealthily freed the slaves while Pitcairn blended with and distracted the guards. However, upon realizing that the slaves had escaped, Silas raised the alarm. To this, Pitcairn and the others triggered a battle, fending off the guards while Haytham and Church killed Silas, allowing them to free the remaining slaves.
Over the next several months, Pitcairn resumed his service in the British military in Canada for the French and Indian War. In July of 1755, Pitcairn rejoined his Templar brothers in Lexington to participate in Haytham's plan to assassinate Braddock. As agreed, Pitcairn attacked Braddock's expedition to Fort Duquesne, and in the resulting chaos, Haytham assassinated Braddock, eventually learning of the location to the precursor site.
Soon after, Haytham inducted Lee into the Templar Order and altered their mission into establishing a permanent presence and influence in the British American colonies. During this time, Pitcairn remained in the British Army, where he earned his reputation as a peacekeeper during his career and was promoted to the rank of Major by 1771.
The Battles at Lexington and Concord
- "Disperse, you damned rebels! Lay down your arms and disperse!"
The American colonists eventually rebelled against the British rule, escalating to the point of armed conflict, to which the colonists formed their own military force, the Continental Army, otherwise known as the Patriots. Pitcairn led the British Army to Lexington and Concord in order to seize the rebel weapons and to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock, the Patriot leaders, intending to negotiate a diplomatic solution.
Pitcairn and his forces marched into Lexington where he ordered rebels to leave, to which most of them fled, before Pitcairn made the first attack that forced the rebelling colonists to retreat to Concord. While en route to clear the remaining opposition, Pitcairn was halted by the Patriots, where they made their stand from across a river.
With only one bridge to travel across, Pitcairn had his men form firing lines to shoot down the rebels from afar; however Ratonhnhaké:ton, an Assassin, directed the opposing militia. As a result, Pitcairn suffered heavy losses and was forced to retreat and the continued conflict delayed Pitcairn's chances of a peaceful settlement.
The Battle at Bunker Hill
Shortly after, the Continental Army led an assault on the city of Boston, led by General Israel Putnam. Pitcairn remained safely inside the city while a pair of British frigates provided cannon fire from the harbor, keeping the Continental Army at bay on Bunker Hill. Ratonhnhaké:ton once again assisted the Continentals, to which he was able to reach and sabotage the ships, forcing Pitcairn out of the city and to an encampment on top of Moulton's Hill, where he continued to command his troops. Completely unaware that Ratonhnhaké:ton was nearby, Pitcairn stationed himself out into the open, watching the battle as it unfolded.
- "It seems we are well and truly at war... A pity, that. For it's a war we did not ask for. A war we did not wish... And why would we? We're killing our brothers down there – and for what? Duty? Honor? Liberty and justice as the Yanks claim? No. Clinton, Pigot. To me. We must ready the next offensive."
- ―Pitcairn to his troops.
Ratonhnhaké:ton was able to evade the firing lines, where he advanced and infiltrated the camp undetected, before he finally assassinated Pitcairn.
With his last words, Pitcairn stated that he wanted to make a truce with the rebels and blamed Connor for his death, stating that it would only worsen the war. As he perished, the Assassin took a letter from Pitcairn's body and fled the area, ultimately uncovering the Templar assassination plot of George Washington.
Personality and characteristics
Pitcairn was a keen soldier and strategist from years of experience and service in the British military, but was not a militant man like Edward Braddock was, instead prizing peace above many other things. He also had strong leadership qualities and charisma, and as a result, he was well liked by his troops and even respected by his enemies. This earned Pitcairn's reputation as a peacekeeper, hence he was sent to peacefully settle the colonist rebellion.
Similar to William Johnson, Pitcairn had a genuine concern for the lives of the soldiers on both sides of the conflict, and desired to settle the conflict with few casualties. He was likewise devoted to the Templar ideology, and dedicated to his role as a peacekeeper. Hence he aimed to replace war with diplomacy, in the hopes to avoid a massively destructive war. Pitcairn believed that the British needed to stay in power over the British colonies, since they had the greater position of authority, and were more likely to preserve order and peace.
- Historically, Pitcairn was shot and killed by Peter Salem, a freed slave serving in the Continental Army.
- In real life, Pitcairn was not killed in his camp, he died when he was shot by Salem while leading the final charge of the British Army at Bunker Hill. This could be seen in the The Death of General Warren painting. Also, he had a son who discovered an island in Asia that is named as Pitcairn Island, after his son.