What was the Boston Massacre?

The Boston Massacre America.

The Boston Massacre was a confrontation in Boston on 5 March 1770, where 5 rioters were killed by a party of 8 British soldiers.

The 8 British soldiers, under the command of Captain Thomas Preston, shot several of a crowd of three or four hundred who were harassing them verbally and throwing various projectiles.

One of these projectiles hit Private Hugh Montgomery, knocking him down and causing him to drop his musket. He recovered his weapon and discharged it into the crowd even though no command to fire was given.

He was later found guilty of manslaughter.

Private Hugh Montgomery was an Irish soldier who served in the 29th Regiment of Foot.

The other 7 soldiers then opened fire, probably assuming an order to fire had been given. Private Montgomery did shout the word “Fire” as he actually did fire the first shot.

Six of the soldiers were acquitted, and two were convicted of manslaughter.

A report by Mr. John Gillespie, determined that the colonists, armed with clubs, had planned the attack on the soldiers.

On 27 March 1770, the eight soldiers, Captain Preston, and four civilians were indicted for murder; the civilians were in the Customs House and were alleged to have fired shots.
The trial began on 27 November 1770, with John Adams defending the British soldiers.

John Adams was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, and served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801.

The Officer in charge, Captain Preston, was acquitted after the jury was convinced that he had not ordered the troops to fire.

John Adams referred to the crowd that had provoked the soldiers as “a motley rabble of saucy boys, negroes, and molattoes, Irish teagues and outlandish Jack Tarrs” and “the mob in Boston on the 5th of March that attacked a party of soldiers“.

An article on Crispus Attucks, the leader of the group that attacked the soldiers, is at www.pbs.org.

Crispus Attucks is recognised as the first to die in the American Revolution.

Crispus Attucks is thought to have been born around 1723 in Framingham, Massachusetts.
He died on 5 March 1770.

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