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Captain Eleazer Bennett’s Account of the events as recorded in 1849

My dear Sir,

     The account of the expedition to Portsmouth as narrated by
Capt. Bennett was noted[?] as follows:
     He was at the time in the employ of Gen. Sullivan in his
mills at Packers Falls.  Some time on the 15th Dec. 1774 Micah
Davis came up from Durham Falls and told him that the Gen. wished
him to come down & go to Portsmouth. And to go round among the
heighbors and get any body else he could to come with him, that
they were going to have some fun there.  That he immediately
started off to Langley's and to _______ [name unknown to author],
but could not persuade any one to accompany him, because they
were afraid that there might be some trouble.
     That there were some eleven or twelve in the party, as well
as he could remember, but he could not recollect their names
other than eight: Gen. Sullivan, Judge [Ebenezer] Thompson, Col.
Winborn Adams, Maj. Demeritt (of Madbury), Benjamin Small, John
Spenser, Micah Davis, and himself.
     They took a "two cord gondola" belonging to Maj. Ben Mathes
(who then lived in the old Capt. Paul house, but was too old to
accompany them) and manned it with three men on each side.  They
started from the old wharf some where between Gen. Sullivan's and
the Falls.  It was a bright moonlight but bitter cold, they
stopped a short time at Portsmouth where John Langdon with
another party joined them proceeding in.  They landed at the
fort, but could not bring the boat to within a rod of shore, the
water being so shallow.
     They waded through the water in perfect silence, mounted the
fort, tied the Captain, and frightened away the rest of the
soldiers, took one hundred b[arre]ls of gunpowder, brought them
down to the boat, again wading through the water, which froze
upon them.  As soon as they came on to the boat, they then made
their way back to Durham.
     A part of the powder was taken by Maj. Demeritt to his house
in Madbury, but the great part was stored under the pulpit of the
old meeting house near Durham Falls, and sent afterwards to
Charleston [Mass.] where it was used by the patriots in the
Battle of Bunker Hill.-------
     So soon as you can find leisure, I wish you would call on
Capt. Bennett and ascertain any other facts that he may have
since collected in relating to this adventure, so important in
the History of Durham.
     I hope that some of these matters may be preserved so that
our town may have all the credit she deserves. Should you publish
an account of the affair, please send me a copy, and oblige,

Sincerely,

BALLARD SMITH
Louisville
Sept. 8, [18]49

From: Durham Town Records (MC 149), Series IX (Miscellaneous), Box 1 folder 1.