Lexington and Concord — Deposition of Benjamin Cooper and Rachel Cooper

May 19, 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 #23 was given by Benjamin Cooper and Rachel Cooper, who testified about British atrocities during the Battle of Menotomy.

Lexington and Concord, Depositions

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

Deposition No. 23

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Testimony of Benjamin Cooper and Rachel Cooper About the Battle of Menotomy

Cambridge, May 19, 1775

We, Benjamin Cooper and Rachel Cooper, both of Cambridge aforesaid, and of lawful age, testify and say,

that in the afternoon of the nineteenth day of April last, the King’s Regular Troops, under the command of General Gage, upon their return from blood and slaughter which they had made at Lexington and Concord, fired more than one hundred bullets into the house where we dwell, through doors, windows, &c; 

then a number of them entered the house where we and two aged gentlemen were, all unarmed. 

We escaped for our lives into the cellar; the two aged gentlemen were immediately most barbarously and inhumanly murdered by them, being stabbed through in many places, their heads mauled, sculls broke, and their brains beat out on the floor and walls of the house. And further saith not.

Benjamin Cooper
Rachel Cooper

Witnesses to the Testimony

Middlesex, May 19, 1775

The above named Benjamin Cooper and Rachel Cooper appeared, and after due caution, made solemn oath to the truth of the above deposition by them subscribed.

Before me,

Jonas Dix, Justice of the Peace

Interesting Facts About the Deposition of Benjamin Cooper and Rachel Cooper

  • 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.
  • Benjamin and Rachel Cooper were tavern owners in Menotomy.
  • They said the British troops fired more than 100 bullets into their home.
  • The Coopers were in the building, along with two older men.
  • The British troops entered the building.
  • The Coopers took shelter in the cellar and the British killed the two men.
  • 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 Benjamin Cooper and Rachel Cooper
  • Date May 19, 1775
  • Author
  • Keywords Battles of Lexington and Concord, Deposition No. 23, Benjamin Cooper and Rachel Cooper, Battle of Menotomy eyewitness
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date April 18, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 12, 2024

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