Boston Massacre - Edward Crafts


Edward Crafts involvement in the Boston Massacre will be explained below, Edward encounted British Soldiers that evening. In turn, Edward was called as a witness in the hearings following the Boston Massacre. His testimony was to attest to why only 6 shots were fired and 11 hits we recorded.

"I Edward Crafts, of lawful age, testify and say, that on Monday evening the fifth instant, between 11 and 12 o'clock, Mr. Joseph Ayers met me at my gate, and I asked him where he was going. He answered to call Mr. Thomas Theodore Bliss to attend at the council-chamber, to give evidence of the captain's giving the soldiers orders to fire on the inhabitants. On leaving Mr. Bliss's door, there passed by us two corporals with about twenty soldiers with muskets and fixed bayonets, and on their observing our moving towards the town-house, the soldiers halted, and surrounded us, saying we were a pack of damn'd rascals, and for three coppers they would blow our brains out. One of the corporals (viz. Eustice) gave orders for one half the soldiers to cock, and the rest to make ready. On which we told them, we had nothing to say to them, but were on other business. The corporal, Eustice, struck Mr. Haldan, then in company, and turning to me aimed a blow at my head with his firelock, which I took upon my arm, and then, with all his might he made a pass at me with his fixed bayonet, with full intent to take my life, as I thought. This I also parried with my naked hand. Then a soldier step'd out from among the rest and presented his musquet to my breast, and six or seven more at about 8 or 10 feet distance also presented. Upon this I called corporal McCan, who came to me with a drawn sword or cutlass in his hand, and pushed the gun from my breast, saying, this is Mr. Crafts, and if any of you offer to touch him again I will blow your brains out. Corporal Eustice answered and said, he is as damn'd a rascal as any of them. The next evening about dusk coining by Rowe's barrack, I saw corporal McCan who saved my life. He asked me if my arm was broke? I answered no. He said the gun with which Eustice struck me was broke to pieces. And continued, you would have been in heaven or hell in an instant if you had not called me by name: One man in particular would have shot you, seven more presented at you ! He also said, his orders were, when the party came from the guard-house by the fortification, if any person or persons assaulted them, to fire upon them, every man being loaded with a brace of balls. And further I say not." EDW. CRAFTS.


Quoting Source:

How Could Six Shots Hit Eleven People?

On King Street that 5th of March, there were eight soldiers, each with one musket that he could fire only once before reloading. Witnesses testified that Pvt. Edward Montgomery shot into the air, and that the soldier on the other end of the line (probably Cpl. William Wemys) didn’t fire. So that leaves six shots into the crowd.

Crispus AttucksYet there were eleven people killed and wounded. Even considering that a musket ball fired at point-blank range would go right through someone’s body, that’s a lot of damage for six balls. Furthermore, Crispus Attucks had twin wounds on his chest, as Dr. Benjamin Church described in his autopsy report.

The most likely explanation is that the soldiers each had two balls in their muskets. Those guns worked more like shotguns than like modern rifles. When gunpowder ignited inside the tubes, it pushed out whatever had been tamped down in there—one ball, two balls, buckshot, nothing but powder (called “snapping” the gun).

In fact, we have evidence of soldiers elsewhere in Boston that night being ordered to put two balls into their muskets. On 17 March, future American artillery captain Edward Crafts (younger brother of coroner Thomas Crafts) told the town’s investigation that the day after the Massacre he’d talked with a “Corporal McCan”—probably Hugh McCann of the 29th Regiment.

McCann reportedly told Crafts that on the night of the 5th:

his orders were, when the party came from the guard-house by the fortification [on the Boston Neck], if any person or persons assaulted them, to fire upon them, every man being loaded with a brace of balls. ”Brace” is an antique synonym for “pair,” usually used these days in the context of hunting. Folks of the late eighteenth century seem to have liked the alliteration of “a brace of balls,” since it shows up in other newspaper stories.

So those eleven people on King Street were probably felled by twelve balls.

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