The Boston Massacre

By | Mar 5, 2012

It was a snowy day on March 5, 1770 when British Troops, which had been dispatched to Boston to keep order, had a deadly confrontation with local patriots. Private Hugh Montgomery was struck down onto the ground by a thrown club. He fired his musket into the air and — as he later admitted to one of his defense attorneys — yelled “Damn you, Fire!” All but one of the other soldiers shot their weapons into the crowd.

This event was dubbed The Boston Massacre by Samuel Adams.

In total five Americans were killed with eleven men hit. Samuel Gray, mariner James Caldwell, and an African American sailor named Crispus Attucks died instantly. Seventeen-year-old Samuel Maverick, hit by a ricocheting musket ball, died a few hours later. Two weeks passed before thirty-year-old Irish immigrant Patrick Carr died.

One of the most famous depiction of the incident was an engraving of Paul Revere. Although many times Revere has been credited with the creation of the imagine, he actually copied it from a painting by Henry Pelham.

Much to everyone’s surprise John Adams, who already was a leading Patriot with plans to run for public office, decided to defend the British soldiers who had been arrested.

At the trail which began on November 27, 1770 Adams argued that the soldiers were endangered by the mob and had the legal right to fight back.

The jury acquitted six of the soldiers. Two of the soldiers were found guilty of murder because there was evidence that they fired directly into the crowd, but the sentence was reduced to manslaughter because of a loophole in British Common Law by proving to the judge that they could read from the Bible. Two privates were found guilty of manslaughter and punished by branding on their thumbs.


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1 Comment so far
  1. Derek March 5, 2009 12:18 pm

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