Today is the 245th Anniversary of the infamous Boston Massacre. The incident took place even before the American Revolution officially began, but was a key event that ignited the flames of anger leading to that war.
Snow was still on the ground that freezing day in Boston in 1770, much as it is now. The King’s Army had already occupied the city for two years in hopes of quelling riots that broke out in protest to the increased taxes levied by King George and the British Parliament. The American Colonists were frustrated and angry. Tensions between the soldiers and the 16,000 residents of Boston were already high.
Finally, on March 5 of 1770, a young British private on guard duty responded to an insult flung at his commanding officer by hitting a young colonist in the face with the butt of his musket. Anger erupted and a large mob began throwing snowballs and further insults at the sentry on duty.
Captain Preston arrived with eight other Redcoats to extract the young private from the mob. Fury followed as well as the hurling of rocks and more snowballs. When a club was thrown at another soldier, hitting him in the face, witnesses said he responded by firing his musket into the crowd. Some say his firearm discharged as he fell to the ground. Regardless, more shots were volleyed and, when the smoke from the gunpowder cleared, five Americans lay dead or dying.
American Patriots used this tragedy as propaganda to incite further resentment toward the Parliament and King George. Although the shots fired at Lexington, Concord and Menotomy Village were not heard until April 19, 1775, the first shots of the American Revolution were actually fired on a frigid cold night in Boston, 245 years ago today.
In commemoration of the event, numerous activities and reenactments will be held on Saturday, March7, 2015. For further information, you can check out the calendar. Click here
To read an award-winning novel about the first day of the American Revolution, check out Fields of the Fatherless. Click here