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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

April 19. 1777
On this day two years past the British marched out of Boston on Lexington and Concord to seize the powder and arms stored there. The Massachusetts militia stood their ground against the British regulars and pushed them back to Boston taking a bloody toll. A rider brought the news to Portsmouth early the following day, raising the alarm. I was at work at the boatyard when I heard the news. We could discern few details but there was more news in the New Hampshire Gazette the next day.

Ever since our raid on Fort William and Mary in December we surely expected hostilities to commence somewhere in New England. Now that it had happened the leaders in Portsmouth were concerned the British would attempt to take Portsmouth as well and they immediately mobilized our militia. Many of our young men went to Cambridge to join the seige under General Washington but I having a young family chose to remain in Kittery. In July I formally enlisted as a full time private in Captain Shapleigh’s company at Kittery Point where we stood watch over the north side of the approach to Portsmouth Harbor. I reenlisted into this company in November under Colonel Cutts. We continually expected an attack by British men o’ war but it did not happen. Perhaps our only excitement was in October when the British ship Prince George mistakenly entered Portsmouth Harbor thinking it was Boston. The ship came under the guns of Captain Salter at Fort Washington at Pierce’s Island and was promptly taken as prize by men from the fort. In January of ’76 I enlisted in Captain Salter’s company at Fort Washington and trained as mattrose learning how to handle heavy cannon.

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