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Portsmouth, N.H., December 17, 1774


Portsmouth, N˙H˙, December 17, 1774.

On Wednesday last a drum and a fife paraded the streets of Portsmouth, accompanied by several Committee-men and the Sons of Liberty, publickly avowing their intention of taking possession of Fort William and Mary, which was garrisoned by six invalids. After a great number of people had collected together, they embarked on board scows, boats &c˙, entered the Fort, seized the Gunpowder, fired off the Guns, and carried the Powder up to Exeter, a Town fifteen miles distant. The quantity was about two hundred to two hundred and twenty barrels; the day after, while the Governour and Council were assembled in the Council Chamber, between two and three hundred persons came from Durham, and the adjoining Towns, headed by Major Sullivan, one of the Delegates of the Congress, they drew up before the Council Chamber, and demanded an answer to the following question: Whether there were any Ships or Troops expected here, or if the Governour had wrote for any? They were answered that his Excellency knew of no forces coming hither, and that none had been sent for; upon which they retired to the Taverns, and about ten or eleven o' clock at night, a large party repaired to the Fort, and it is said they carried away all the Small arms. This morning about sixty horsemen accoutred, came into Town, and gave out that seven hundred more were on their march to Portsmouth, from Exeter, Greenland, New-Market, &c˙, and would be in that Town by eleven o' clock; their intentions, it is suspected, is to dismantle the Fort, and throw the Cannon, consisting of a fine train of 42-pounders, into the sea.