Lexington and Concord — Nathanael Parkhurst, et al

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 #8 was given by Nathanael Parkhurst, and others, 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. 8

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

Testimony of Nathanael Parkhurst, et al, About the Battle of Lexington

We Nathanael Parkhurst, Jonas Parker, John Munroe, Junr, John Winship, Solomon Pierce, John Muzzy, Abner Mead, John Bridge, Jun Ebenezer Bowman William Munroe 3d, Micah Hager, Saml Saunderson, Samuel Hastings & James Brown of Lexington in the County of Middlesex and Colony of Massachusetts Bay in New England & all of lawfull age do Testify and Say that on the morning of the nineteenth of April Instant about one or Two O’Clock being informed that a number of Regular Officers had been riding up & down the Road the evening & night preceding & that some of the Inhabitants as they were passing had been Insulted by the Officers and stoped by them; and being also informed that the Regular Troops were on their march from Boston in order (as it was said) to take the Colony store then deposited at Concord. 

We met on the Parade of our Company in this town; After the Company had collected we were ordered by Capt John Parker (who commanded us) to disperse for the present and to be ready to attend the beat of the Drum and accordingly the Company went into houses near the place of Parade. 

We further Testify and Say that about five o clock in the morning we attended the beat of our Drum and & [sic] were formed on the Parade. We were faced toward the Regulars then marching up to us & some of our Company were coming to the parade with their backs towards the troops and others on the parade began to Disperse when the Regulars fired on the Company before a gun was fired by any of our company on them. 

They killed eight of our company & wounded several & continued their fire until we had all made our escape.

Nathanael Parkhurst

Lexington 25th April 1775 

  • Abner Mead 
  • Jonas Parker
  • Samuel Saunderson 
  • John Bridge Jr 
  • John Munroe, Jun
  • Samuel Hastings 
  • Ebenezer Bowman 
  • John Winship
  • James Brown 
  • William Munroe 
  • Solomon Pierce
  • Micah Hager 
  • John Muzzy

Witness and Certification of the Testimony

I Nathanael Gorham Notary & Tabellion Publick by lawfull authority duly admitted & sworn hereby certify all whom it doth or may concern that William Reed Josiah Johnson & William Stickney Esquires are three of his Majesties Justices for the County of Middlesex and that full faith and 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 Ano Domini one thousand seven hundred & seventy five

Nathaniel Gorham, Noty Pubk

The foregoing instruments are true copies in witness whereof I have hereunto set my name and seal 

Middlesex April 25th 1775 
Nathanael Parkhurst
Jonas Parker

Interesting Facts About the Deposition of Nathanael Parkhurst, et al

  • 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.
  • The witnesses in this deposition were members of the Lexington Militia.
  • Around 5:00 a.m., they heard the drumbeat and returned to Lexington Green, per their orders from Captain John Parker.
  • The British marched toward the Lexington Militia.
  • When the Lexington Militia started to disperse, the British fired.
  • Some of the Lexington Militia had their backs turned to the British when the shots were fired, starting the Battle of Lexington.
  • 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 — Nathanael Parkhurst, et al
  • Date April 25, 1775
  • Author
  • Keywords Battles of Lexington and Concord, Deposition No. 8, Nathanael Parkhurst, 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 12, 2024

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