Militant Boston


Charles Emery Stevens (1815-1893) Anthony Burns: a history (Boston, 1856)

In May of 1854, slave catchers captured Anthony Burns in Boston. While held at the courthouse, an abolitionist mob led by Lewis Hayden, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, and others attempted to rescue the fugitive by battering down the doors with a fence rail. In the melee, a pistol shot struck and killed James Batchelder, one of the courthouse guards. In response, a large contingent of soldiers escorted Burns out of Boston and back into slavery which triggered a massive abolitionist protest. This image depicts the military escort of Burns from Boston.

*48-423 – Gift of J. Dellinger Barney, 1948.