Lexington and Concord — Deposition of Edward Thoroton Gould

April 25, 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 #20 was given by Edward Thoroton Gould, a British soldier, who testified the British fired first at the Battle of Concord.

Lexington and Concord, Depositions

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

Deposition No. 20

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

Testimony of Edward Thoroton Gould About the Battle of Lexington and the Battle of Concord

I Edward Thoroton Gould of his Majesty’s own Regiment of Foot being of lawful age, do testify and declare that on the evening of the 18th Instant under the orders of Genl Gage I embarked with the Light Infantry & Grenadiers of the Line commanded by Col Smith & landed on the Marshes of Cambridge from whence we proceeded to Lexington; 

on our arrival at that place we saw a body of provincial troops armed to the number of about sixty or seventy men, on our approach they dispersed and soon after firing began, but which party fired first I cannot exactly say, as our Troops rush’d on shouting, huzzaing previous to the firing, which was continued by our Troops so long as any of the provincials were to be seen.

From thence we marched to Concord on a Hill near the Entrance of the Town. We saw another Body of provincials assembled, the light Infantry Companies were ordered up the Hill, to disperse them on our approach they retreated towards Concord. 

The Grenadiers continued the road under the Hill toward the Town. Six Companies of light Infantry were ordered down to take possession of the Bridge, which the provincials retreated over; the company I commanded was one, three companies of the above detachment were forward about two miles, in the mean time the provincial Troops returned to the number of about three or four hundred. 

We drew up on the Concord side of the Bridge, the provincials came down upon us, upon which we engaged and gave them first fire: This was the first Engagement after the one at Lexington; a continued firing from both parties lasted thro’ the whole day; I myself was wounded at the attached of the bridge, I am now treated with the greatest humanity and taken all possible care of by the provincials at Medford.

Medford, April 25th, 1775

Edwd Thoroton Gould

Lieut Kings own Regt

Certification of the Testimony

Province of Massachusetts Bay, Charlestown

I Nathaniel Gorham Notary & Tabellion Publick by lawful authority duly admitted & sworn hereby certify to all whom it doth or may concern that Thadeus Mason, Josiah Johnson & Simon Tufts Esqr are three of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace (quorum unus) for the County of Middlesex & that full faith & credit is & ought to be given to their transactions as such both in Court & out in witness whereof I have hereunto affixed my name and seal 

this twenty sixth day of April Anno Domino one thousand seven hundred & seventy five.

Nathaniel Gorham Notary Publ Seal

the foregoing instruments are true copies in witness whereof I have hereunto set my name & seal

Interesting Facts About the Deposition of Edward Thoroton Gould

  • 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.
  • Edward Thoroton Gould was a British soldier.
  • Under orders of General Gage, he was part of the expedition that landed at Cambridge and then marched to Lexington.
  • Gould said there were 60-70 men on Lexington Green as the British approached.
  • Gould did not know who fired first at the Battle of Lexington but said the British kept firing until the Lexington Militia was gone.
  • The British marched to Concord where Gould said they saw militia forces gathered on a hill.
  • Gould was with the troops sent to guard the Concord side of the North Bridge.
  • Gould testified the British fired first at the North Bridge, during the Battle of Concord.
  • Gould was wounded in the skirmish at the North Bridge.
  • Gould was taken to Medford where he received medical care from the residents.
  • 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 Edward Thoroton Gould
  • Date April 25, 1775
  • Author
  • Keywords Battles of Lexington and Concord, Deposition No. 20, Edward Thoroton Gould, Battle of Lexington eyewitness, Battle of Concord eyewitness
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 15, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 12, 2024