On this day, March 5, in 1770, British troops fired on an unruly mob and killed five citizens in what is now known as the Boston Massacre.

The first to die in the dramatic shooting was a former slave, Crispus Attucks, who is considered the first casualty of the American Revolution.

British Captain Thomas Preston and seven soldiers were arrested and charged with murder. John Adams, later one of the nation's Founding Fathers and a U.S. president, defended the troops at their subsequent trials, placing the blame on the imposing 6-foot-2 Attucks.

Preston and five soldiers were acquitted, which further inflamed the public. Two soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter and were branded on the thumb with a hot iron.

-- Scott McCabe