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Backs Against The Wall Essay

2165 words - 9 pages

hoping to raise the attention of someone within the compound. As he pummeled the steps he yelled, “Turn out the main guard”. At this point, Captain Thomas Preston and his men made their way to Private White at the Common House placing themselves in a defensive position with Private White in front of the rioting crowd. Captain Preston according to his deposition on March 12, 1770 stated, “I suffered my troops to go to the spot where the unhappy affair took place without loading any their pieces, nor did I ever give orders for loading them”. Captain Preston and his men at this point had made their way to White with fixed bayonets and from all accounts only Private White had a weapon ...view middle of the document...

Here stood eight or nine soldiers with fixed bayonets and from Captain Preston’s deposition, no loaded weapons, accept that of Private White who had loaded his as he ran for backup.
This mob was not backing down and was growing stronger and louder as the night dragged on. At some point out of the crowd, a club or stick was thrown toward the soldiers. The club struck Private Hugh Montgomery knocking him to the ground with his rifle. Montgomery was startled as he was struck and knocked off balance to the ground, however like any good soldier he was quick to come right back to a defense position. As Montgomery came to his position, his weapon went off killing Crispus Attackus and African-American sailor who was part of the crowd that night. The shot killed Attackus instantly, and the shot from Montgomery musket started a folly of fire from several others soldiers. When this happened, several others in the crowd were shot. Two of these colonists died there on King St, while two others died several days later from the wounds they received.
There are only a couple reasons why Private Montgomery would have fired his weapon when he got up. First, in all of the excitement and pressure from the crowd he may have accidently pulled the trigger. However, Captain Preston indicated none of the soldiers had loaded weapons, so when did Montgomery or any of the other soldiers load there weapon? Private White was the only soldier who had said he had loaded his weapons yet, there is no testimony or eyewitness that mentions that he fired his musket. To this author there seems to be several issues to the stories that are relayed throughout history. However, the best way to understand any situation is to get as close to the event as you can. With the Boston Massacre we have a unique opportunity in the fact that we have the transcripts of the trial and can look at what each person said and what they witnessed that night.
The citizens of Boston were in a uproar at the killing of the first three individuals and wanted the soldiers to pay for murdering these citizens. They wanted the soldiers arrested and thrown in jail for what taken place, the bantering that had happened between the soldiers did not call for the killing of what would eventual be five innocent people in the minds of those harassing the British soldiers that night. Within hours of the shooting, there was a warrant out for Preston and his men. Captain Preston had to make a decision on how he would handle this delicate situation before him. He would either have to devise a plan for him and his men to escape back to Britain escaping a possible lynching by American colonist or hope that if they allowed them to have a trial it would not be a mock trial and they would end up with a similar outcome. Captain Preston felt that turning himself and his men in would be the smart choice in this particular case.
These British soldiers now had a uphill battle they faced. They were being...

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