The Bloody Massacre Perpetrated in Kings Street Boston On March 5Th 1770 By a Party of the 29Th Regiment Digital History ID 2373|
Credit: Library of Congress
Media type: engraving
Museum Number: LC-USZC4-4600
Annotation: This engraving by Paul Revere depicts the Boston Massacre of 1770. British soldiers under Captain Thomas Preston fired on a Boston crowd, killing five and wounding six. In a subsequent trial, in which John Adams defended the soldiers, all but two of the soldiers were acquitted of murder.
A young Boston artist, Henry Pelham, half-brother of the celebrated portrait painter John Singleton Copley, depicted the event. Boston silversmith and engraver Paul Revere closely copied Pelham's image, and often gets credit for it. Pelham and Revere both added several inflammatory details, such as Captain Preston ordering his men to fire and another musket shooting out of the window of the customs office, labeled "Butcher's Hall." Another discrepancy arose because of how artist Christian Remick hand-colored some prints: the bright blue sky is out of place with the quarter moon or dark shadows on the left side of the image. The riot occurred after nine o'clock on a cold winter night.
Notice too the absence of snow and ice on the street, while Crispus Attucks-- a black man lying on the ground closest to the British soldiers-- is shown to be white.
Some copies of the print show a man with two chest wounds and a somewhat darker face, matching descriptions of Chrispus Attucks, a black man who was the first person to die in the Revolutionary War; others show no victim as a person of color.
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