Unformatted text preview: Document A: Thomas Preston (Modified)
Captain Thomas Preston was an officer in the British army. While in jail, he wrote
this narrative. A British tax collector brought this account to London on a ship that
left Boston on March 16, 1770. The account was then re-printed in Boston
newspapers in June 1770 after copies of the London newspaper were brought to
At about 9 some of the guards informed me that people were gathering to attack the
troops. On my way there, I heard the crowd threaten the troops. About 100 people
went towards the Custom House where the king's money is kept. They immediately
surrounded the soldier there and threatened him. I was told that they were going to
carry off the soldier and probably murder him. I immediately sent an officer and 12
men to protect both the soldier and the king's money. I followed them to prevent, if
possible, any problems. I feared that the officer and soldiers might be provoked by
the insults of the rioters. I told the troops to go out without loading their weapons and
I never gave orders to load them.
The mob still increased, striking their clubs together, and calling out, “Come on you
rascals, you bloody backs, you lobster scoundrels, fire if you dare.” At this time I was
between the soldiers and the mob, trying to persuade them to leave peacefully.
Someone asked me if I was going to order the men to fire. I answered no, saying
that I was in front of the guns, and would be shot if they fired. While I was speaking,
one of the soldiers was hit with a stick, stepped a little to one side, and instantly
fired. When I turned to ask him why he fired without orders, I was struck with a club
on my arm.
The soldiers were attacked by a great number of heavy clubs and snowballs were
thrown at them. All our lives were in danger. At the same time, someone from
behind called out, “Damn your bloods — why don't you fire?” Instantly three or four
of the soldiers fired and then three more fired in the same confusion. The mob then
ran away, except three unhappy men who instantly died. When I asked the soldiers
why they fired without orders, they said they heard the word fire and thought it came
from me. This might be the case as many of the mob called out fire, but I told the
men that I gave no such order. My words were, don't fire, stop your firing.
Source: The Case of Capt. Preston of the 29th Regiment, Public Advertiser
(London), April 28, 1770
provoke: to make someone angry
persuade: to convince someone to do something
damn your bloods: an insult in the 18th century STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu Document B: Samuel Drowne (Modified)
On March 12, 1770, Boston residents held a town meeting, which was how local
government decisions were made. At the meeting, the colonists appointed a
committee to produce an account of what happened March 5th to send to officials in
London because they wanted to influence the way the events of March 5th were
portrayed. Drowne was one of 96 residents of Boston to give sworn testimony to
justices of the peace about what happened between the British soldiers and
residents of Boston. These accounts were taken by ship to London on April 1, 1770. Samuel Drowne of Boston, of lawful age, testified that about nine o’clock of the
evening of the fifth day of March he saw about 14 or 15 soldiers of the 29th
regiment, some were armed with swords or bayonets, others with clubs or fireshovels. They came upon the people of the town and abused some and violently
assaulted others. Most of the townspeople did not even have a stick in their hands to
Most of the soldiers went to King Street. Drowne followed them, and saw them
fighting with people there. Drowne thought that there were no more than a dozen
people there. When the soldiers arrived, most of the people left. Some of them were
first assaulted by the soldiers. Then the soldiers went towards the main guard
house. At the same time, five soldiers and a corporal armed with guns came out of
the guard house. By this time, there were two hundred people on King Street.
Drowne saw Captain Preston, whom he knew well, with a number of soldiers armed
with guns near the Custom House. Drowne believed that most of the crowd left after
seeing the armed soldiers. No more than twenty or thirty remained on King Street.
Those who remained were mostly sailors and other persons who were poorly
Several of them dared the soldiers to fire. Drowne then heard Capt. Preston say to
the soldiers, “Damn your bloods! Why don't you fire?” The soldiers did not listen and
Preston immediately said “Fire.” The soldiers fired randomly.
Source: Summary of the sworn testimony of Samuel Drowne, March 16, 1770. STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu Boston Massacre Images
What do you see in this image?
I see the smoke from the chimney in one of the buildings down the street from the battle, as well as the moon risen
up above in the sky. The massarce appears to happening in front of an offical building. That the soldiers are
advancing as the colonist try to flee the battle, along with two of the colonist dragging one of ingured away from
the battle. I also see gunpowder collecting as smoke form the soldiers guns firing. What evidence does it provide about what happened at the Boston Massacre?
This image provides evidence that the Boston Massacre happened in the evening as it was
mentioned in the accounts that is was at 9 o'clock. The Massacre happened in front of an
ofiical house or office. That as the soldiers fired the townspeople ran, leaving three dead men
behind them also mentioned in the account.
What do you see in this image?
I see that as the troops are firing, the remaing colonist try and grab their fallen brethen while the rest rey to flee the
massarce. I also she that on of the colonist looks as if he is throwing someting at the soldiers or is asking for a
cease fire in attempt to help his felllow town's men. I also see some sticks or clubs that the colonist had, along with
the general giving the signal for only the front line to fire. What evidence does it provide about what happened at the Boston Massacre?
This evidence proves that their was a fight between the soldiers and the colonist before the
soldiers started to fire and that the colonist turned to flee while trying to take the injured along
with them. The soldiers did bring backup when the colonist started a riot beginning to threaten
them and that there was an offical house or office in the background of where the gathering
How is Image 2 similar to Image 1?
Both image 1 and 2, show the church that is standing in the background of the battle, as well
as smoke gathering behind the soldiers who are firing. As well as how the colonist are trying to
escape the soldiers. The general is raising his had as a signal for the troops to fire.The colnist
are trying to carry on of their fallen people out, away from the troops firings. How is Image 2 different from Image 1? Image 2 is different from image 1 as the soldiers appear to be rooted in one spot while the
soldiers in image 1 appear to be advancing. The church or Town Hall, is drawn as if this
massarce is happening right in front of the building in image 1 where as in image 2 it looks as if
it's a couple streets away. Another difference is that in image 1 you can tell the massacre took
place at night while in image 2 their is no indication regarding the time of day as well as their is
no chimney smoke raising from the houses like image 1. Image 1 has no soldiers on the back
lines or weapons from the colonist like image 2. STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu Boston Massacre
Sourcing (Answer these questions before reading the document.)
1) Who was Thomas Preston? A captin of the 29th regiment for the Bristish Army
2) When was it written? This account was written while Preston was in jail
3) Why was it written?
He wrote this narrative to provide his account of what actually happened during the Boston
4) What do you predict this document will say?
I predict that this document will provide more insight about what actually happened that led
to the Boston Massacre Close Reading
5) According to this document, what happened at the Boston Massacre?
A mob arrived at teh Custom's House and surrounded the soldiers guarding the king's money, so the general gathered more guards not
having them load their weapons in order to protect the money and troops since they were being threatened.General Preston got in
between the mob and soldiers, as the mob started to yell out in hopes of provoking the troops, while Preston tried to end the riot. Soon
enough the mob started to attackthe soldiers but Preston refused to allow the soldiers to fire. The soldiers finally fired when they heard
someone call out fire, which followed by three more firing the mob started to run except the three men that had died instantly 6) According to this document, who was responsible for the Boston Massacre?
The mob because they were the one's who raised their clubs and snowballs onto the
soldiers when they were trying to end the riot Corroboration
7) How is this account similar or different from the accounts provided by the two images? This account is different because in the provided images the general could be seen as
raising a stick in the air signaling the soldiers to begin firing while the account states that the
general was in the middle of the mob trying to end the riot peacefully.
8) How trustworthy is this account of what happened at the Boston Massacre? Explain your
This account is trustworthy because General Preston was actually on the battleground's
along with the other men that had gathered. Being able to actually see what had happen,
that led to the riot becaoming a massacre STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu Document B
Sourcing (Answer these questions before reading the document)
1) Who was Samuel Drowne? one of the 96 residents of Boston
2) What kind of document is this? This document was testimony about the events that happened between
the British soldiers and the residents of Boston 3) When was this document created? This document was created on March 12, 1770 4) What do you predict this document will say?
I predicted this document would have provided another account about the actions between
the colonist and the British that resulted in the Boston Massacre
5) According to this document, what happened at the Boston Massacre?
According to this document the troops began to raid the streets filled with townspeople assualting some and violently abuse others while
the colonist couldn't defend themselves. The soldiers than headed to King street where they saw fighting. As the towns people left the
soldiers assualted them, before gathering with the remaing troops at the Custom House. The general then asked why they werent firing as
the colonist were daring them to no one replied he yelled "fire" and the soldiers randomly started to fire at the colonists. 6) According to this document, who was responsible for the Boston Massacre?
General Preston and his troops
7) What details about the Boston Massacre do Documents A and B have in common?
Document A and Document B retell the gatherinng in front of the Custom House between
General Preston and his toop as well as the colonist
8) What details about the event are different?
Document B decribes how General Preston, was behind the troops yelling "Damn you bloods- why don't you fire ?" since the soldiers
wouln't fire until he said "fire" where as Document A states that Preston was in the middle of the mob and troops trying to end things
peacefully while not giving the order to fire because he was in the middle and would be killed as well. 9) How is this account similar or different from the accounts provided by the two images?
This account is similar to the images provided as this account describes how the troops
began firing and that the colonist who were defenseless tried to get away from the soldiers
firing towards them. Reliability
10) How trustworthy is this account of what happened at the Boston Massacre? Explain your
I don't believe this account is trustworthy in telling what happened at the Boston Massacre
because it was mentioned in the account that this was during 9 o'clock in the evening and
that the narrator was watching from afar. So can not be certain that everything he say in
front of the Custom House is what actually happened. STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu ...
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