|A Liberty Tree---Chapter Eighteen
||[Nov. 23rd, 2006|09:14 am]
A Patriot's Tale.
The incident began on King Street when a young wigmaker's apprentice called out to a British officer that he was late paying his barber's bill. The officer did not reply to the boy. When the apprentice remained quite vocal in his complaints an hour later, the British sentry outside the customs house called the apprentice to him and clubbed him on the head. The apprentice's companions yelled at the sentry and a British sergeant chased them away. The apprentices returned with more townspeople, shouting insults at the sentry and throwing snowballs and litter.|
A sergeant sent a messenger to the Main Guard for reinforcements. The Officer of the Day, a Captain Preston, dispatched a corporal and six privates, all grenadiers of the 29th Regiment of Foot, and he followed soon after. The mob had grown in size and continued throwing stones, sticks, and chunks of ice. A group of sailors and dockworkers arrived carrying large sticks of firewood and pushed to the front of the crowd and directly confronted the soldiers. As bells rang in the surrounding steeples, the crowd of Bostonians grew larger and more threatening.
In the midst of the commotion, a private was struck down onto the ground by a thrown club. He fired his musket into the air and yelled "Fire!" All but one of the other soldiers shot their weapons into the crowd.
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