A precursor to the American Revolution in 1770. There was huge anti-British feeling in Boston and a large garrison of redcoats. The days before had witnessed many huge brawls between British soldiers and colonists. British soldiers were taunted by a crowd of American colonists. The crowd yelled that if the soldiers shot, they couldn't kill all the colonists, and chanted "Fire and be damned!" The soldiers got mad and fired upon the Americans. Five were slain. Paul Revere made a famous engraving immortalizing this event.

Despite public feeling, the radical John adams, future US president, agreed to defend the soldiers. Sam Adams, John's cousin, was the first to lead the cry for revenge, joined by John Hancock and Paul Revere. War would break out 5 years later.

Tradition says that these five were the first to die for freedom in the american Revolution.