On the fifth day of March, 1770, a lone guard standing watch at the customs house was attacked by an angry mob. The crowd was throwing snowballs and rocks at the sentinel, who had called for help. To his aid ran a corporal and seven soldiers, and they loaded their weapons (Murrin, 2002, P. 190). A captain by the name of Thomas Preston commanded the soldiers to slowly maintain control and drive the crowd back, using their bayonets. The crowd began to tease and aggravate the soldiers, until one of them slipped and apparently fired his weapon (Murrin, 2002, P. 190). A soldier, apparently not Preston, yelled fire and the soldiers began firing upon the crowd. They initially killed five, two died eventually from mortal wounds, and six later recovered from their injuries. Thomas Preston and six soldiers were tried, but four soldiers and Preston were not convicted. The remaining two were branded on the thumb and released, their charge: manslaughter. This encounter marked the failure of Britain's first attempt at military coercion (Murrin, 2002, P. 190).
The Townshend duties, which placed taxes on paper, lead, paint, and tea imports, were passed by parliament in 1767. A boycott of the taxes by the Americans angered authorities, who in turn asked for military backing to intimidate Americans into paying taxes. The first of over four thousand troops arrived in October of 1768 (US history, 2002). There was more than just the problem of the redcoats" presence in Boston, to the local residents. The Soldiers were making very little as it was, so they began searching for part time jobs to fulfill their needs. In doing this, the redcoats were stealing work needed by the colonists (US history, 2002). .
Citizens and soldiers were fighting more often; the climax of their battles was on March 5, 1770, the Boston Massacre. A sentry on duty at the Customs House on King Street, present-day State Street, and a local merchant were arguing.