This article appeared in the March 12, 1770, edition of The Boston Gazette, and described the events of the March 5th "massacre." The soldiers were defended in court by Boston lawyer John Adams, the eventual second President of the United States. He argued they acted in self defense. Captain Preston and most of the others were found not guilty. Two soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter. Their hands were branded. They did not go to jail.
The town of Boston has seen a tragic example of the destructive result of letting soldiers live in peoples' homes in a time of peace. This is done, they say, to keep law and order and protect the public. But this has been causing trouble. There have been fights between the people and the soldiers. Mostly they are fights with clubs. Some soldiers have been hurt. It seems the soldiers are trying to start fights with people of the town.
On the evening of Monday, the 5th of March, several soldiers of the 29th Regiment were seen parading in the streets. They were waving swords and rifles with bayonets. They were abusing and wounding numbers of the townspeople.
A few minutes after 9 o'clock four youths, named Edward Archbald, William Merchant, Francis Archbald, and John Leech Jr., came down Cornhill together. They separated at a corner. Archibald and Merchant walked by the narrow alley leading to a barrack, where some soldiers were living. A soldier was swinging a large sword against the wall. There were many sparks. A mean looking soldier with a large club stood next to him. Edward Archbald warned Mr. Merchant to watch out for the sword. Just then the soldier turned round and struck Archbald on the arm, and then stabbed at Merchant. He pierced through his clothes inside the arm close to the armpit and grazed the skin. Merchant then struck the soldier with a short stick he had. The other soldier ran to the barrack and brought two more soldiers. One had a pair of tongs. The other had a shovel. He with the tongs chased Archbald back through the alley. He grabbed him and hit him over the head with the tongs. The noise brought people out into the street. John Hicks, a young lad, knocked the soldier down, but let him get up again. With more lads gathering, they drove them back to the barrack. In less than a minute 10 or 12 soldiers came out with swords, clubs, and bayonets. They attacked the unarmed boys. The young folk tried fighting back. Not being able to stop the soldiers who had rifles and swords, they ran off.
On hearing the noise, one Samuel Atwood came up to see what was the matter. Entering the alley from dock square, he heard the last part of the fighting. When the boys had run off he met the 10 or 12 soldiers rushing down the alley toward the square. He asked them if they were going to murder people? They answered Yes, definitely. Then two of them struck Mr. Atwood with a club. Retreating a few steps, Mr. Atwood met two officers and said, gentlemen, what is the matter? They answered, you watch and you will see. Immediately after, those soldiers appeared in the square, asking where were the trouble makers?
The officers moved up to King Street and there they attacked unarmed persons. There were loud cries and a lot of noise. They turned down Cornhill Street. They insulted and chased people to their own doors. Thirty or 40 persons, mostly lads, gathered in King Street. Captain Preston, leading some men with rifles, came from the main fort. The soldiers pointed their rifles, crying make way! They continued to push the people off and stabbed some with their bayonets. This caused loud shouting and, it is said, the people threw snow balls. On this, the Captain commanded the soldiers to fire; and more snow balls coming, he again said, fire! One soldier then fired, and a townsman with a club struck him over the hands with such force that he dropped his rifle. Rushing forward, he aimed a blow at the Captain's head which grazed his hat and fell pretty heavy upon his arm. However, the soldiers continued the fire one after the other, till seven or eight or, as some say, 11 guns were fired.
Three men were laid dead on the spot. Two more were struggling for life; but what showed even more cruelty, was an attempt to fire upon or stab with their bayonets the persons who tried to carry away the dead and wounded!
British Army Captain Pulled Soldiers Back
Mr. Benjamin Leigh, now manager in the Delph factory, came up and after some conversation with Capt. Preston told him to pull back his men, which he did. The dead are Mr. Samuel Gray, killed on the spot.
A black man named Crispus Attucks, who was born in Framingham. He was killed instantly.
Mr. James Caldwell, mate of Capt. Morton's vessel, was killed by two balls entering his back.
Mr. Samuel Maverick, a promising youth of 17 years of age, was the son of the widow Maverick. He was an apprentice to Mr. Greenwood, ivory dice-maker, badly wounded. He died the next morning.
A lad named Christopher Monk, about 17 years of age, an apprentice to Mr. Walker, shipwright, wounded; they say he will die.
A lad named John Clark, about 17 years of age, and an apprentice to Captain Samuel Howard of this town, wounded; they say he will die.
Mr. Edward Payne of this town, merchant, standing at his entry door received a ball in his arm which shattered some of the bones.
Mr. John Green, tailor, coming up Leverett's Lane, received a ball just under his hip.
Mr. Robert Patterson, a seafaring man, wounded; a ball went through his right arm. There was a great loss of blood.
Mr. Patrick Carr, about 30 years of age, who worked with Mr. Field, leather pants-maker in Queen Street, wounded.
A lad named David Parker, an apprentice to Mr. Eddy, the wheelwright, wounded in the leg.
The people were immediately alarmed with the report of this horrible massacre. The bells were set a-ringing, and great numbers came to the tragic scene. Their feelings were deeply felt but could not be expressed. While some were taking care of the dead and wounded, the rest were talking about what to do next.
The soldiers were ordered back to their barracks. They returned to their dwellings by 1 o'clock. At 3 o'clock Captain Preston was arrested, as were the soldiers who fired, a few hours after him.
Tuesday, the inhabitants met at Faneuil Hall and chose a committee of 15 gentlemen. They will meet with the lieutenant-governor. They will ask him to order the immediate removal of the troops.