Lexington and Concord — Deposition of John Bateman

April 23, 1775

In the aftermath of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress ordered depositions to be taken from eyewitnesses. The Congress was trying to prove the British fired first at Lexington. Deposition #13 was given by John Bateman, a British soldier, who testified the British fired first at the Battle of Lexington.

Lexington and Concord, Depositions

The Battle of Lexington by William Barnes Wollen (1910). Image Source: Wikimedia.

Deposition No. 13

Please note that section headings and spacing have been added to make the text easier to scan and comprehend.

Testimony of John Bateman About the Battle of Lexington

I John Bateman belonging to the fifty second regiment commanded by Coln. Jones on Wednesday morning on the nineteen day of April instant was in the Party marching to Concord being at Lexington in the County of Middlesex, being nigh the meeting house in said Lexington there was a small party of men gathered together in that place when our said Troops marched by and I Testify & Declare that I heard the word of command given to the Troops to fire, and some of said Troops Did fire and I saw one of said small party lay Dead on the ground nigh said meeting house, and I testify that I never heard any of the Inhabitants so much as fire one gun on said Troops

John Bateman

Witnesses to the Testimony

Middlesex, April 23, 1775

the above named John Bateman voluntarily being previously cautioned to relate nothing but the truth made solemn oath to the above Deposition by him subscribed

Before us —

John Cuming
Duncan Ingraham

{ Justices of the Peace

Certification of the Testimony

Province of the Massachusetts Bay, Charlestown

I Nathaniel Gorham Notary and Tabillion Public Duly admitted and sworn Do certify that John Cummings & Duncan Ingraham Esqs are too of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the County of Middlesex & that full faith & credit is to be given to their transactions as such; in witness whereof I have hereunto affixed my name & seal this twenty sixth Day of April one thousand seven hundred & seventy five

Nathaniel Gorham, Notary Public 

the foregoing instruments are true copies as in Witness whereof I hereunto set my name & seal

Interesting Facts About the Deposition of John Bateman

  • Joseph Warren of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress wanted the depositions gathered as quickly as possible, so he could send them to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, and Benjamin Franklin in London.
  • Franklin was the Agent for Massachusetts and acted as its representative. Warren wanted Franklin to have eyewitness accounts that could be used to help gain sympathy for the Patriot Cause.
  • John Bateman was a member of the 52nd Regiment.
  • Bateman said he heard one of the officers order the men to fire, and they did.
  • Further, he said that none of the inhabitants of Lexington fired on the British troops.
  • The notary public, Nathaniel Gorham, went on to serve as the 8th President of the Continental Congress (June 6, 1786–February 2, 1787).

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations, including APA Style, Chicago Style, and MLA Style.

  • Article Title Lexington and Concord — Deposition of John Bateman
  • Date April 23, 1775
  • Author
  • Keywords Battles of Lexington and Concord, Deposition No. 13, John Bateman, Battle of Lexington eyewitness
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 13, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 12, 2024