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Fort William and Mary, New Hampshire

Fort William and Mary, New Hampshire

FORT WILLIAM AND MARY, NEW HAMPSHIRE. 14-15 December 1774. Fort William and Mary guarded the mouth of the harbor at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Alerted by a message from the Boston Committee of Correspondence (carried by Paul Revere on 13 December 1774) that Major General Thomas Gage was planning to reinforce the fort and secure its munitions, Samuel Cutts and his colleagues on the Portsmouth Committee of Correspondence decided to forestall Gage and remove the gunpowder from the custody of the single officer and five men who guarded it. On the afternoon of Wednesday, 14 December 1774, four hundred men carted away about one hundred barrels of gunpowder and shipped it up the Piscatequa River to safety in Durham. The next day a party of men from Durham led by John Sullivan marched to Portsmouth and with local help again took control of the fort, removed the lighter cannon and all the small arms, and sequestered them with the gunpowder in Durham. The munitions proved invaluable in arming New Hampshiremen in 1775.

SEE ALSO New Hampshire, Mobilization in; Sullivan, John.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Parsons, Charles L. The Capture of Fort William and Mary, December 14 and 15, 1774. Concord, N.H., 1903. Reprint, New Hampshire American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, 1974.

                              revised by Harold E. Selesky

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