Teacher's Guide: Lieutenant John Barker
  • This account comes from a diary, and as such needs to be read with an eye towards the fact that he was writing this account for his own posterity, not necessarily for public distribution
  • Diary was a daily recording of events as they transpired, as best we can tell
  • His account of April 19 was probably written within days of the events occurring
  • Was probably the senior man from the 4th Reg't of Foot (King's Own) on April 19, 1775 after the fighting as his superior, Lt. Gould was taken prisoner that day by the Provincials

Lieutenant Barker is famous for his diary which was published as The British in Boston in the 20th century. This book recalls the events as best as remembered by Barker on that day. That being said he certainly does color his entire diary with statements of personal opinion and disdain for not only the "country people" but for the leadership under which he serves, including Capt Laurie of the 43rd Light Infantry, Lt. Col. Smith of the 10th Regiment, and General Thomas Gage himself. Of the latter two Barker refers to Smith as a "heavy, fat man" and numerously refers to Gage as "Tommy". Barker's account is fascinating because it is very thorough, but there are sections where the reader wishes he would have included more information on certain events, and spent less time reciting army facts and orders. That being said this account with its flaws is one of the best accounts of the events in Boston and Massachusetts during 1774-1775.

To read a copy of the entire diary online, please use this link: