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Anyone knows who you’re talking about when you mention Paul Revere. On the eighteenth of April in Seventy-five… One if by land, two if by sea…

And most anyone can tell you that the first action of the Revolutionary War took place in Lexington, Massachusetts.

But they’re wrong.

Paul Revere made a ride – his first ride – to Portsmouth on December 13, 1774, to warn the patriots there that the British were coming for the express purpose of removing munitions and artillery from Fort William and Mary – today’s Fort Constitution. And he rode sixty miles through a snowstorm to tell them.

The following day, though told not to, Portsmouth’s patriots climbed into gundalows, attacked the fortress, and hauled away the ordinance and artillery, much of which found its way to Lexington by the eighteenth of April.

And why don’t we know this? Because Longfellow didn’t write his poem about Portsmouth. But now the record’s been set straight…

 One Dollar American

Available in many of Portsmouth’s historic houses, and at the Discover Portsmouth Center

Nancy W. Grossman © 2013