Over the winter of 1769-70, locals in Boston make life as uncomfortable as possible for the British Regulars occupying the city. Fights break out regularly. The local courts would not punish locals and the army would not punish soldiers for fighting. Street brawls become more frequent. A mob chases customs informer Ebenezer Richardson into his house and threatens his life. He fires into the crowd, killing a young boy.
A few weeks later, a British soldier on guard at the Customs House strikes a boy for being insolent. A mob soon forms, threatening the soldier. Another squad of soldiers attempts to rescue the guard, but soon finds itself surrounded. The situation flies out of control and the soldiers fire on the crowd, killing five and wounding several others.
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