Deputy U.S. Marshal James Batchelder

Deputy U.S. Marshal James Batchelder

United States Department of Justice - United States Marshals Service, U.S. Government

End of Watch Friday, May 26, 1854

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James Batchelder

Deputy Marshal James Batchelder was shot and killed at the Boston Courthouse while he and other deputy marshals were attempting to keep a mob of citizens from freeing a prisoner in Boston, Massachusetts.

The prisoner, Anthony Burns, was an escaped slave from Virginia and was about to be returned to that state.

A group of abolitionists attempted to keep the man in Massachusetts so he would not be returned to slavery, but when their legal pleas failed, they stormed the courthouse by breaking down the main door. Shots were exchanged between the group and the deputy marshals. Deputy Marshal Batchelder was fatally wounded. The other marshals were able to hold the group off.

A total of 18 people were arrested as a result of the incident. Three men were charged in connection with Deputy Marshal Batchelder's death. One was acquitted and charges were dropped against the other two after several mistrials.

After he was returned to Virginia by federal authorities, abolitionists purchased Anthony Burns' freedom and he returned to Boston in 1855. He moved to Canada where he became a pastor.

Deputy Marshal Batchelder had been deputized by the United States Marshal in Boston to provide guard duty at the courthouse. He was survived by his wife.


  • Age 24
  • Tour 1 day
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Massachusetts
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Acquitted

civil unrest

Most Recent Reflection

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DUSM Batchelder,
On today, the 170th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country.

BPA Mike Casey
United States Border Patrol(Retired)

May 26, 2024

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