The Bloody Massacre perpetrated in King Street, Boston on March 5th, 1770 by a party of the 29th Regiment

Hand-colored print based on engraving by Paul Revere, silversmith and messenger for the Battle of Lexington and Concord in April 1775. Revere engraved the original depiction of the Boston Massacre within days of the attack, beating fellow engraver Henry Pelham by a few days.

An inaccurate portrayal of the actual event, the image was used as propaganda to drive the colonies closer to rebellion. It features the Old State House in the background and portrays British soldiers deliberately attacking a peaceful, unarmed people, massacring them. A sign above the Customs House reads “Butcher’s Hall”.

In reality, a crowd armed with rocks, clubs and snowballs, taunted and jeered the British soldiers standing guard outside the Boston Customs House. Many of the soldiers were moonlighting as dock workers, further enhancing anti-British sentiment. More troops were called and the panicked soldiers fired into the crowd, killing three and wounding six others who eventually died. The first to fall was Crispus Attucks, a former slave, who was both African American and Native American. He escaped his owner around 1750 and went to Boston to work in the maritime trades. Attucks helped lead the mob to the Customs House. His name became widely known as the first hero of the American Revolution. He is buried in Boston’s Granary Burial Ground along with John Hancock, Samuel Adams and Paul Revere.

The Boston Massacre, which followed years of unfair taxes and other forms of British tyranny in the minds of many colonists, pushed the American colonies closer to revolution.

Paper. L 25, W 19.4 cm
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, ARHO 1675