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Thrilling Incidents In American History

• Title
• Preface

Revolutionary War
• Opening Of The Revolution
• The Boston Massacre
• Affair of the Sloop Liberty
• Affair of the Gaspee
• The Tea Riot
• The Boston Port Bill
• The First Continental Congress-Consequent Parliamentary proceedings
• Organization of the Minute-Men
• Patrick Henry-Second Provincial Congress-First Military Enterprise
• Battles of Lexington and Concord
• Battle of Bunker's Hill
• Capture of Ticonderoga
• Second Continental Congress-Washington's Appointment
• Siege of Boston
• Incidents at the Evacuation of Boston
• Burning of Falmouth
• Arnold's Expedition to Quebec
• Siege of Quebec, and Death of Montgomery
• Scenes at Quebec during the Siege
• Expedition against Charleston
• The Declaration of Independence
• The Battle of Long Island
• Washington's Retreat through New Jersey-Capture of General Lee
• Battle of Trenton
• Battle of Princeton
• Capture of General Prescott
• Battle of Brandywine
• Battle of Germantown
• Battle of Red-Bank
• Attack on Fort Mifflin-Retirement of the Army to Valley Forge
• Battle of Bennington
• Murder of Miss M'Crea
• Battle of Stillwater
• Battle of Bemis' Heights, and Retreat of Burgoyne
• Capture of Forts Clinton and Montgomery
• Surrender of Burgoyne
• The Treaty with France
• Attack on Savannah, and Death of Pulaski
• Storming of Stony Point
• General Sullivan's Campaign against the Mohawks
• Tarleton's Quarters
• Battle of Camden, and Death of De Kalb
• Arnold's Treason
• The Loss of the Randolph
• The British Prison-Ships
• Capture of the Serapis
• Putnam's Feat at Horseneck
• Battle of Eutaw Springs
• Wayne's Charge at Green Spring
• Capture of the General Monk
• The Mutinies
• Battle of the Cowpens
• Capture of New London
• Massacre of Wyoming
• Surrender of Cornwallis

War With France
• Capture of L'Insurgente
• The Constellation and Vengeance

War With Tripoli
• Burning of the Philadelphia
• Bombardment of Tripoli
• Loss of the Intrepid
• Expedition of General Eaton

Second War With England
• Battle of Tippecanoe
• Capture of the Guerriere
• Tragical Affair of an Indian Chief
• Battle and Massacre at the River Raisin
• Captain Holmes's Expedition
• Capture of the Caledonia and Detroit
• The Wasp and Frolic
• Gallant Conduct of Lieutenant Allen at the Capture of the Macedonian
• Capture and Destruction of the Java
• Siege of Fort Meigs
• Capture of York, and Death of General Pike
• Defence of Sackett's Harbour
• Defence of Fort Stephenson
• Battle of Lake Erie
• Battle of the Thames
• Gallant Action of Commodore Chauncey under the guns of Kingston Citadel
• The Sacking of Hampton
• Capture of the Peacock
• Massacre at Fort Mimms
• Surrender of Weatherford
• Battle of Niagara
• BattIe of New Orleans

War With Mexico
• Battle of Palo Alto
• Battle of Resaca de la Palma
• Capture of Monterey
• Battle in the Streets of Monterey
• Thrilling Scenes in the Battle of Buena Vista
• Bombardment of Vera Cruz
• Battle of Cerro Gordo
• Battles of Contreras and Churubusco
• Storming of Chapultepec

The Boston Massacre
The Boston Massacre


I N 1768, three British regiments arrived in Boston, for the purpose of assisting the governor and civil powers in maintaining peace. This greatly increased the discontents of the colonists, who looked upon the soldiery as a standing army, sent to enforce unjust legislation. Mutual jealousies produced unfortunate disputes, which increased to such an extent as to threaten the most serious consequences. Each day..gave rise -to new occurrences which augmented the animosity. . Reciprocal jealousies soured the tempers of the opposite parties, and were followed by mutual injuries. Events were verging to a crisis-dark and fearful.

At length, a private of the twenty-ninth regiment, passing along. (March 2d, 1770) near Mr. John Gray's rope-walk, was driven away by the populace in consequence of having resented some insulting words. He returned soon after with a dozen soldiers, between whom and the rope-makers an affray ensued, which terminated in the defeat of the former. In the after noon they armed themselves with clubs, and were on the way to renew the action, but were stopped. Many of the townspeople were so enraged at this, as to determine on a renewal of the engagement the following Monday. The Rev. Dr. Elliot was informed of this on Saturday, and also that the city bells were to be rung on that day in order to bring the inhabitants together. It does not appear that any militia were called in before the attack upon the people, or that any regular plan was formed for compelling the British troops to move from the town. On the other hand, it is absurd to suppose that there was a settled plot for employing the soldiers to massacre the inhabitants. Yet that some design was in progress, previous to the attack, is evident from the subsequent evidence of Lieutenant-Colonel Marshall :-" The bells were ringing, and the people began to collect as they do at the cry of fire. I had a mind to go out; but I had a reluctance, because I had been warned not to go out that night!"

Between seven and eight o'clock. on the evening of the 5th, numbers of men came from the southern part of the town with sticks and other weapons ill their lands; at the same time about two hundred ran from the north section, armed in the same manner, and uttering loud execrations against the soldiers. Several parties collected in Dock Square, and about nine o'clock attacked some soldiers belonging to Murray's barracks. An officer immediately appeared, and with much difficulty succeeded in getting the troops under shelter, and restrained them from firing. Part of the mob dared the soldiers to fire; others cried fire, in order to draw more people toward them; and soon after the city be1ls commenced ringing for the same purpose.

As the soldiers were now under shelter, several persons endeavoured to persuade the mob to retire; but, instead of doing so, they commenced tearing up the stalls of the market place in Dock Square. After this they assembled in the street, and were addressed by a tall man, in a large cloak and white wig; after which they separated into three divisions, and proceeded by different roads to King Street.

Meanwhile an assault was made upon the sentry at the custom-house. It was commenced by a boy, who pointed to the soldier and exclaimed that he had knocked him down. On hearing this, about twenty young men called out, "Kill him! Kill him! Knock him down!" and came so near as to oblige the sentry to load his gun. The mob then pelted him with snowballs, pieces of ice, and other missiles, and dared him to fire. As they advanced he mounted the steps, and knocked at the door for admittance; but this not being opened, and the people pressing nearer, he called to the main guard for protection. Captain Preston, who was then officer of the day, being told that the ringing of the bells was the signal for the inhabitants to attack the troops, repaired to the main guard; and learning the situation of the sentry, despatched a corporal and six men, to protect both him and the king's chest in the custom-house. The soldiers marched with their pieces unloaded; followed by the captain, to prevent disorder. They were used as the sentry had been, and obliged to load for their own safety. The shouts, threats, screams, and yells of the mob, accompanied by the ringing of bells, alarmed the soldiers, who began exhorting them to keep off. At this moment, a gigantic mulatto, named Attucks, accompanied by about a dozen persons in sailor habits, reached the custom-house, gave three cheers, surrounded the soldiers and struck their guns with clubs, at the same time crying out, "Do not be afraid of them- they dare not fire - kill them, kill them - knock them over," &c. The mulatto aimed a blow at Captain Preston, struck down one of the guns, and seized the bayonet with his left hand. At this moment some one cried, "Why don't you fire?" and the words were scarcely uttered, before the fallen soldier sprang to his feet, levelled his gun, and fired. Attucks fell dead. In a few seconds another fired, and was followed by five in quick succession. Three persons were killed, five dangerously wounded, and a few slightly. The mob rushed back on all sides, but soon after returned to carry off the dead.

The whole town was immediately in commotion. Drums beat to arms, bells were ringing in all directions, and a constant cry was heard- "To arms! To Arms! Turn out with your guns!" The governor, Mr. Hutchinson, prevailed on the mob to rlisperse for the night; but on the following morning the whole / , town met in full assembly, and appointed a committee

Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams

to wait upon the governor with the following message "It is the unanimous opinion of the meeting that nothing can rationally be expected to restore the peace of the town, and prevent blood and carnage, but the Immediate removal of the troops." In. the afternoon the lieutenant-governor received a similar message from about three thousand p~ople. Mr. Samuel Adams, one of the committee, in his venerable gray locks, and with hands trembling under a nervous affection, told Colonel Dalrymple, "If you can remove the Twenty-ninth regiment, you' can also remove the Fourteenth; and it is at your peril if you do not !"

Governor Hutchinson replied, that nothing should ever induce him to order the troops away; but agreed to leave the matter to Colonel Dalrymple. After much altercation and tumult, the troops were removed.

On the 8th of March, the funeral of the first revolutionary martyrs took place. The shops were closed, and the bells of Boston, Charlestown, and Roxbury tolled in the most doleful manner. The different processions formed a junction in King Street, where the soldiers had fired. Hence they proceeded through the main street, accompanied by a concourse so large that the ranks walked six abreast, followed by a long train of carriages belonging to the principal gentry of the town.

On the 24th of October, Captain Preston's trial commenced, and was followed by that of the eight soldiers. All were acquitted except two, who were convicted of manslaughter. John Adams and Josiah Quincy, two of the most active popular leaders, acted as counsel for the prisoners. The result of this trial was in the highest degree honourable to our judiciary; demonstrating that amid all the tumult of passion, and deep sense of recent suffering, justice was still the only aim of the colonists.