Lexington and Concord — Deposition of Benjamin Tidd and Joseph Abbot

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 #6 was given by Benjamin Tidd and Joseph Abbot of Lincoln, 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. 6

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

Testimony of Benjamin Tidd and Joseph Abbot About the Battle of Lexington

We Benjamin Tidd of Lexington and Joseph Abbot of Lincoln in the County of Middlesex and Colony of Massachusetts Bay in New England of lawful age do testify and declare that on the morning of the nineteenth of April Instant about five o’clock being on Lexington Common and mounted on horses we saw a Body of regular Troops marching up to the Lexington Company which was then dispersing. 

Soon after the regulars fired first a few guns which we took to be pistols from some of the Regulars who were mounted on horses and then the said Regulars fired a volley or two before any guns were fired by the Lexington Company. 

Our horses immediately started and we rode off and further say not. 

Benjamin Tidd

Lexington April 25th 1775 

Joseph Abbot

Witnesses to the Testimony

Middlesex Ss April 25th 1775

Benjamin Tidd & Joseph Abbot above named being duly cautioned to testify the whole truth made Solemn Oath to the truth of the above Deposition by them subscribed.

Wm. Reed

Josiah Johnson

Wm. Thickney

— Justices of the Peace

Certification of the Testimony

Province of the Massachusetts Bay Charlestown

I Nathl Gorham Notary & Tabellion Public by Lawfull authority duly admitted & sworn hereby certify all whom it doth may concern that Wm. Reed Josiah Johnson & Wm. Thickney Esqrs are three of his majesties Justices of the Peace for the County of Middlesex and 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 and seventy five

Nath Gorham, Noty Publick

Charlestown May 2, 1775

The within instruments are true copies in witness whereof I have hereas to set my hand & seal.

Interesting Facts About the Deposition of John Robins

  • 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 Tidd lived in Lexington.
  • Joseph Abbot lived in Lincoln.
  • Around 5:00 a.m. on April 19, Tidd and Abbot were on horses when they saw the British troops marching into Lexington.
  • Tidd and Abbot saw the Lexington Militia disperse.
  • Tidd and Abbot said the British officers fired their pistols first.
  • 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 Tidd and Joseph Abbot
  • Date April 25, 1775
  • Author
  • Keywords Battles of Lexington and Concord, Deposition No. 6, John Benjamin Tidd, Joseph Abbot, Battle of Lexington eyewitness
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date April 18, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 28, 2024