4 Boston Massacre Facts For Kids
The Boston Massacre is an incident that took place back in 1770. British Army soldiers that were protecting and supporting colonial officials shot and killed 5 civilians and injured 6 others. This shooting took place in Boston and was the result of tension that had been building between the population and the soldiers stationed in this area. There are a lot of facts surrounding the Boston Massacre that are not widely known.
Here is a closer look at some of the most interesting Boston Massacre facts:
1. Was it All Over a Wig?
One little known piece of information involving the Boston Massacre, is what actually started the killings. Some say that the entire confrontation was sparked by Edward Gerrish, who was an apprentice for a wigmaker. Many historians believe that Gerrish called out to an officer on duty and told him that he had not yet paid his bill. This officer was Captain John Goldfinch. Who knows, the Boston Massacre could have been provoked by a dispute about a wig.
2. Did Preston Give Command to Shoot?
Many believed that it was officer Preston who gave the command to shoot the civilians, but this was not proven during trial. Even though Paul Revere made a famous engraving showing Preston raising his arm in command, this was likely not the case. The trial proved that Preston was actually in front of the guns and in between his men and the protesters. This means that he was not the one giving the orders to shoot.
3. Unusual Defense
During trial two of the British regulars defending themselves used a very perplexing defense to have their charges minimized. Their defense was known as Benefit of the clergy and basically rested on the fact that they were barely literate enough to read the bible. Even though their charges were lessened using this unique defense, they were both branded with the letter M on their thumbs. This act was done to keep them from using the same defense at a later time.
4. How Many Were Arrested and Tried?
After the Boston Massacre Captain Preston and 12 British soldiers were arrested. However, only 8 of them were actually tried for the murder of the protesters. Those four suspects that were let go could not be proven to have actually shot into the crowd from the window of a Customs House. This was alleged by witnesses, but no evidence was found to make charges.