Bloody Butchery, by the British Troops: or, The Runaway Fight of the Regulars



Background Notes

Broadsides are single-sheet printed documents. They were frequently displayed or posted in public areas such as in taverns, outside meeting houses, or around municipal buildings. A variety of materials were printed on broadsides including poems, government proclamations, songs, and advertisements. Frequently they contained graphic images and a variety of typefaces and symbols. Although often printed on large pieces of paper, they could be of any size. A broadside may be compared to a poster or a handbill advertisement of today.

The American account of the events at Lexington and Concord is recounted in this dramatic broadside. Note the heavy black borders and the coffins that adorn the top of the broadside. Both the graphics and the inflammatory prose are designed to instill sorry and outrage in the reader and to inspire sympathy with the American cause of the rebellion.

This broadside depicts the British troops as attacking the Americans or "provincials" with a "savage barbarity" that included "shooting down the unarmed, aged, and infirm, they disregarded the cries of the wounded, killing them without mercy, and mangling their bodies." This broadside also exonerates the Americans, claiming that "not one instance of cruelty that we have heard of was committed by our victorious militia." Rather the Americans, "listening to the merciful dictates of the Christian religion. They breathed a higher sentiment of humanity."

This broadside was printed in Salem, Massachusetts by E. Russell. Russell was a Boston printer who moved to Salem in 1774 and published the Salem Gazette. However this paper was not successful. He moved to Danvers and then eventually returned to Boston. Isaiah Thomas, in his book The History of Printing in America (1970, Weathervane Books, New York), said, "The wife of her husband in the printing house. A young woman who lived in Russell's family sometimes invoked the muse, and wrote ballads on recent tragical events, which being immediately printed, and set of with wooden cuts of coffins, etc., had frequently 'a considerable run.'" It is unknown if this woman authored the elegy that appears at the bottom of this broadside.

Transcription of Primary Source


Being the PARTICULARS of the VICTORIOUS BATTLE fought at and near CONCORD, situated twenty miles from Boston, in the province of the Massachusetts-Bay, in New England, between two thousand regular troops, belonging to his Britannic Majesty, and a few hundred Provincial Troops ... which lasted from sun-rise to sun-set on the nineteenth of April, One Thousand Seven Hundred Seventy Five, when it was decided greatly in favor of the latter. Part of which has never before been printed. These particulars are now published in this form, at the request of the friends to the deceased WORTHIES, who died gloriously fighting in the CAUSE OF LIBERTY and their COUNTRY; and it is their desire that every householder in America, who are sincere well-wishers to the American Colonies, may be possessed of the same, either to frame and glass, or otherwise to preserve in their houses, not only as a token of gratitude to the memory of the deceased forty persons, but as a perpetual memorial of that important event, on which perhaps, may depend the future FREEDOM AND GREATNESS of the COMMONWEALTH of AMERICA. To which is annexed, A FUNERAL ELEGY on those who were slain in the battle. (The second edition corrected, with some editions.)

From E. Russell's Salem Gazette, or Newbury and Marblehead Advertiser, published on Friday, April 21, 1775.

On Tuesday evening the eighteenth instant, a body of soldiers under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, to the amount of about eight hundred men, embarked from Barton's-Point in Boston about eleven o'clock, crossed Charles river, landed at Phip's farm in Cambridge and marched immediately to Lexington, near twelve miles from Boston. At sunrise, they observing between thirty and forty inhabitants exercising near the meeting house, the commanding officer ordered them to lay down their arms and disperse, which not being directly complied with, he "damned them for a pack of rebels," ordered his men to fire upon them and killed eight men on the spot, besides wounding several more. The army then proceeded to Concord, drew up on the parade near the meeting house, during which time the inhabitants from the neighboring towns collected and took possession of the adjacent hills, about eleven o'clock firing began on both sides which lasted nearly an hour, when the regular troops began to retreat, the provincials closely pursuing them to a bridge at a small distance which the rebels took up as they passed; they then renewed the fire and some were slain on both sides. But the regulars still retreated and the provincials pursued them down to Lexington where the regulars, about three o'clock in the afternoon, met with a reinforcement of about twelve hundred men under the command of Earl Percy, with two brass field pieces, they then renewed the attack upon the provincials, but soon thought proper to retreat towards [missing] provincials pursued them into Charlestown, where they arrived about [missing] immediately an advantageous [missing] Bunker's-Hill, about a mile [missing] the provincials now discontinued the pursuit. The loss on either side [missing] not been able to ascertain, but it is about one hundred regulars killed and fifty wounded, among which were [missing] officers. Two officers and a number of soldiers were taken prisoner. On the side of the province, we hear that thirty-five were slain and several wounded. The above is as particular an account of the engagement as can at this time be [missing] in the present confused state of the province.
We hear an officer and his servant, with two pairs of pistols, were yesterday taken and secured by our people at Roxbury, on their way to Castle William.
SALEM, April 25
Last Wednesday, the nineteenth of April, the troops of his Britannic Majesty commenced hostilities upon the people of this province, attended with circumstances of cruelty not less brutal than what our venerable ancestors received from the vilest savages of the wilderness. The particulars relative to this interesting, by which we are involved in all the horrors of a civil war, we have endeavored to collect as well as the present confused state of affairs will admit.
On Tuesday evening a detachment from the army, consisting, it is said, of eight or nine hundred men, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, embarked at the bottom of the common at Boston, on board a number of boats and landed at Phips Farm a little way up the Charles River, from whence they proceeded with silence and expedition on their way to Concord about eighteen miles from Boston. The people were soon alarmed and began to assemble in several towns before daylight in order to watch the motion of the troops. At Lexington, six miles below Concord, a company of militia, of about one hundred men, mustered near the meeting house. The troops came within sight of them just before the sunrise and running within a few rods of them, the commanding officer accosted the militia in words to this effect "Disperse you rebels - Damn you, throw down your arms and disperse." Upon which the troops huzz'd and immediately one or two officers discharged their pistols, which were instantaneously followed by the firing of four or five of the soldiers and then there seemed to be a general discharge from the whole body. Eight of our men were killed and nine wounded. In a few minutes after this action, the enemy renewed the march for Concord, at which place they destroyed several carriages, carriage wheels, and about twenty barrels of flour, all belonging to the province. Here about one hundred men going toward a bridge of which the enemy were in possession, the latter fired and killed two of our men, who then returned the fire and obliged the enemy to retreat back to Lexington, where they met Lord Percy with a large reinforcement, with two pieces of cannon. The enemy now having a body of about eighteen hundred men made a halt, picked up many of their dead, and took care of their wounded. At Menotomy, a few of our men, belonging to the detachment from Lynn-End attacked a party of about twelve of the enemy, (carrying stores and provisions to the troops) killed two of them, wounded several, took six prisoners, shot five horses and took possession of their arms, stores, provisions &c and without any loss on our side. Among those who were killed was a lieutenant who went with the provisions for his recreation and to view the country, the officer of the guard who generally attends on such occasions being only a sergeant. The enemy having halted one or two hours at Lexington, found it necessary to make a second retreat, carrying with them many of their dead and wounded, who they put in chassis and on horses they found standing in the road. They continued their retreat from Lexington to Charlestown with great precipitation and notwithstanding their field pieces, our people continued the pursuit, firing at them until they got to Charlestown Neck (which they reached a little after sunset) over which the enemy passed, proceeded up Bunker's Hill, and soon afterwards went into town under the protection of the Somerset man of war of seventy four guns.
In Lexington, the enemy set fire to Deacon Joseph Loring's house and barn
Mrs. Mulliken's house and shop, and Mr. Joseph Bond's house and shop, all of which were consumed. They also set fire to several other houses, but our people extinguished the flames. They pillaged almost every house they passed by, breaking and destroying doors, windows, glasses &c and carrying off clothing and other valuable effects. It appeared to be their design to burn and destroy all before them, and nothing but our vigorous pursuit prevented their infernal purposes from being put into execution. But the savage barbarity exercised upon the bodies of our unfortunate brethren who fell is almost incredible. Not content with shooting down the unarmed, aged, and infirm, they disregarded the cries of the wounded, killing them without mercy, and mangling their bodies in the most [missing] manner.
We have the pleasure to say that not withstanding the highest provocations by the enemy, not one instance of cruelty that we have heard of was committed by our victorious militia, but listening to the merciful dictates of the Christian religion, they breathed higher sentiment of humanity.
By an account of the loss of the enemy, said to have come from an officer of one of the men of war, it appears that sixty-three of the regulars and forty-nine marines were killed and one hundred and [missing] were wounded. In all, two hundred and fifteen. Lieutenant Guild of the [missing] regiment, who is wounded, and Lieutenant Potter of the marines, and about [missing] soldiers are prisoners.
Mr. James Howard and one of the [missing] discharged their pieces at the same instant and each killed the other.
The public most sincerely sympathizes [missing] friends and relations of our deceased brethren, who generously sacrificed [missing] fighting for the liberties of their country. By the [missing] ungrateful tyrant [missing] present generation who will [missing].
The above account [missing]. We can only add that the town of [missing] brave countrymen who have flown to our [missing] them assistance in the extirpation of our [missing].
On the nineteenth of [missing] the British troops at Menotomy, as [missing] his country's rights the good, the pious, and friendly Mr. Daniel Townsend of Lynn-End. He was a constant and ready friend to the poor and afflicted, a good advisor in case of difficulty and an able mind and fierce reprover of those who were out of the way. In short he was a friend to his country, a blessing to society, and ornament to the church of which he was a member. He has left an amiable consort and five young children to bewail the loss.
Lie, valiant Townsend in the peaceful shaded-We trust
Immortal honors mingle with thy dust
What! Tho' thy body struggled in the gore
So did thy Saviour's body long before!
And as he raised his own, by power divine
So the same power shall also quicken thine
And in eternal glory mayst thou shine.

On Thursday the twentieth past, the bodies of eleven of the unfortunate persons who fell in the battle were collected and buried at Medford. And on Friday, the bodies of Messrs. Henry Jacobs, Samuel Cook, Ebeneezer Goldthwait, George Southwick, Benjamin Deland, jun., Jonathan Webb and Perley Putnam of Danvers, who were likewise slain fighting in the Glorious Cause of Liberty and Their Country on the nineteenth of April, were respectfully interred among their friends in the different parishes belonging to that town, their corpses being attended to the place of internment by two companies of minute-men from that place and a large concourse of people from this and the neighboring towns; previous to their internment an excellent and well-adapted prayer was delivered by the reverent Mr. Holt of that place.
Same day the remains of Messrs. Azabel Porter and Daniel Thompson of Woburn, who also fell victim to tyranny, were decently interred at that place, attended by a multitude of persons who assembled on the occasion from that and the neighboring [missing]. Before they were interred, a very suitable sermon and prayer was delivered by the Reverend Mr. Sherman. Lieutenant Joseph Knight of the fifth regiment died in Boston the next day after the engagement of his wounds he received [missing] same. He was greatly regretted, being esteemed one of the best officers [missing] King's troops.
Lieutenant Hull, of the regulars, died of his wounds Wednesday last at the provincial hospital. His remains were next day conveyed to Charlestown, attended by a company of provincials, and several officers of distinction and there delivered to the order of General Gage. Twenty-three wounded soldiers lately died at the Castle.
Lieutenant Hawkshaw was wounded in the cheek and it is tho't he will not recover.
Lieutenant Gore was wounded in the arm. About 12 other officers are wounded.
We can assure the public, from the best authority, that our brethren, of all the colonies which we can yet have heard from are from and unshaken in their attachment to the common cause of America, and that they are now ready with their lives and fortunes, to assist us in defeating the cruel designs of our implacable enemies.
We have received no particulars between General Gage and the inhabitants ob Boston. It is certain that the people have given up their arms. Very few of them have, however, been permitted to leave the town, notwithstanding the promise of the General.
[Column end]

The following is a list of the Provincials who were killed and wounded
Belonging to Lexington
1*Mr. Robert Munroe
2*Mr. Jonas Parker
3*Mr. Samuel Hadley
4* Mr. Jonathan Harrington
5*Mr. Caleb Harrington
6*Mr. Isaac Muzzy
7*Mr. John Brown
8. Mr. John Raymond
9. Mr. Nathaniel Wyman
10. Jedidiah Munroe
1. Mr. John Robbins
2. Mr. John Todd
3. Mr. Solomon Pierce
4. Mr. Thomas Winship
5. Mr. Nathan Farmer
6. Mr. Joseph Comer
7. Mr. Ebenezer Munroe
8. Mr. Francis Brown
9. Prince Easterbrooks
(a Negro man)

11. Mr. Jason Russell
12. Mr. Jabez Wyman
13. Jacob [missing]
Missing (supposed to be on board one of the men of war)
Mr. Samuel Frost
Mr. Seth Russell

14. Deacon Haynes
15 Mr. [missing]

16. Captain James Miles

17. [missing] Jonathan Villson

[Town name missing]
18. Captain Davis
19. Mr. [missing] Horsmer
20. Mr. James [missing]

21*Mr. Azael Porter
22. Mr. Daniel Thompson
10. Mr. George Reed
11. Mr. Jacob Bacon
12. Mr. [missing] Johnson

23. Mr. James Miller
24. Captain William Barber's son, aged 14

25. Isaac Gardiner, esquire

26. Mr. John Hicks
27. Mr. Moses Richardson
28. Mr. William Massey

29. Mr. Henry Putnam
13. Mr. William Polly

30. Mr. Abednego Ramsdell
31. Daniel Townsend
32. William Flint
33. Thomas Hadley
14. Mr. Joshua Felt
15. Mr. Timothy Munroe
Missing (on board the Admiral's ship)
Mr. Joshua Breed

34. Mr. Henry Jacobs
35. Mr. Samuel Cook
36. Mr. Ebenezer Goldthwait
37. Mr. George Southwick
38. Mr. Benjamin Daland, jun.
39. Mr. Jotham Webb
40. Mr. Perley Putnam
16. Mr. Nathan Putnam
17. Mr. Dennis Wallis

41. Mr. Benjamin Pierce

42. Reuben Kennison
18. Mr. Samuel Woodbury
19. Mr. Nath. Cleves
20. Mr. Wm. Dodge

21. Mr. [missing] Hemmenway

22. Mr. John Lane

(Those distinguished with this mark * were killed by the first fire of the enemy)

SALEM, N.E., Printed and sold by E. Russell at his printing office, removed next to John Turner, Esq., in the Main Street - At the same place may also be had, poetical remarks on the Bloody Tragedy of the Nineteenth of April 1775. Likewise, several small pieces on the times, among which is the most remarkable dream that ever was dreamed in New England.

A Funeral Elegy to the Immortal Memory of those Worthies who were slain in the battle of Concord, April 19, 1775

Aid me ye nine! My muse assist,
A sad tale to relate
When such a number of brave men
Met their unhappy fate
At Lexington they met their foe
Completely all equipped
Their guns and swords made glittering show
But their base scheme was nipped
Americans, go drop a tear
Where your slain bretheran lay
O! Mourn and sympathize for them
O! Weep this very day
What shall we say to this loud call
From the Almighty sent
It surely bids both great and small
Seek God's face and repent
Words Can't express the ghastly scene
That here pretends to view
When forty-two countrymen

Sure bid their friends adieu
To think how awful it must seem
To hear the widows relent
Their husbands and their children
Who to the grave was sent
The tender babes, nay those unborn
O! Dismal cruel death
To snatch their fondest parents dear
And leave them thus bereft
O! Lexington, your loss is great
Alas! Too great to tell
But justice bids me to relate
What to you has befell
Ten of your hardy, bravest sons
Some in their prime did fall
May we no more hear noise of guns
To terrify us all
Let's not forget the Danvers race
So late in battle slain
Their courage and their valor shown
Upon the crimson plain
Seven of your youthful sprightly sons
In the fierce fight were slain
O! May your loss be all made up
And prove a lasting gain
Cambridge and Medford's loss is great
Tho' not like Acton's town
Where three fierce military sons
Met their untimely doom
Menotomy and Charlestown met
A sore and heavy stroke
In losing five your brave townsmen
Who fell by tyrant's yoke
Unhappy Lynn and Beverly
Your loss I do bemoan
Five your brave sons in dust doth lye
Who late were in their bloom
Bedford, Woburn, Sudbury all
Have suffered most severe
You miss five of your choicest chore
On them let's drop a tear
Concord, your captain's fate rehearse
His loss is most severe
Come brethren, join with me in verse
His memory hence revere

O Squire Gardiner's death we feel
And sympathizing mourn
Let's drop a tear when it we tell
and view his hapless urn
We sore regret poor Pierce's death
A stroke to Salem's town
Where tears did flow from ev'ry brow
When the sad tidings come
The groans of wounded dying men
Wound melt the foulest foul
O! How it strikes thro' ev'ry vein
My flesh and blood run cold
May all prepare to meet their fate
At God's tribunal bar
And may war's terrible alarm
For death us now prepare
Your country calls you far and wide
America's sons awake
Your helmet, buckler, and spear
The Lord's own arm now take
His shield will keep us from all harm
Tho thousands 'gainst us rise
His buckler we must sure put on
If we would win the prize

Curator Notes

Ezekiel Russell (1743-1796)
Place of Publication: 
Salem, Massachusetts
51 x 39 cm.
American Antiquarian Society