They found about ten persons round the sentry,
while about fifty or sixty came down with them.
‘For God's sake,’ said Knox
, holding Preston
by the coat, ‘take your men back again; if they fire, your life must answer for the consequences.’
‘I know what I am about,’ said he, hastily, and much agitated.
None pressed on them or provoked them, till they began loading, when a party of about twelve in number, with sticks in their hands, moved from the middle of the street where they had been standing, gave three cheers, and passed along the front of the soldiers, whose muskets some of them struck as they went by. ‘You are cowardly rascals,’ they said, ‘for bringing arms against naked men;’ ‘lay aside your guns,1
and we are ready for you.’
‘Are the soldiers loaded?’
inquired Palmes of Preston
‘Yes,’ he answered, ‘with powder and ball.’2
‘Are they going to fire upon the inhabitants?’
asked Theodore Bliss
‘They cannot, without my orders;’ replied Preston
while ‘the town-born’ called out, ‘Come on, you rascals, you bloody backs, you lobster scoundrels, fire if you dare.
We know you dare not.’4
Just then Montgomery
received a blow from a stick thrown which hit his musket; and the word ‘Fire,’ being given, he stepped a little on one side, and shot Attucks
, who at the time was quietly leaning on a long stick.
The people immediately began to move off. ‘Don't fire,’ said Langford
, the watchman, to Kilroi, looking him full in the face; but yet he did so, and Samuel Gray
, who was standing next Langford