A book and poem written by Michael J. Geanoulis, Sr



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An article written for Harper’s Magazine by Ballard Smith in 1886 best illustrates the background and motivation for the book and poem, SHOTS NOT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD.

In the article Smith said: It is a curious fact the most important as well as the most dramatic incident immediately preceding the American Revolution - an incident, indeed, which directly precipitate hostilities - has but slighting mention in any of the histories. It may be well doubted whether even one in every hundred thousand Americans could recall any of the circumstances of this noteworthy event.

This was the attack upon Fort William and Mary in Portsmouth Harbor by a band of young patriots led by John Sullivan. The assault was made in December, 1774, four months before the battle of Lexington, and six months before Bunker Hill.

It was unquestionably the first act of overt treason. Singularly enough, however, Bancroft makes but a casual reference to it and in none of the histories is it given more than a paragraph. Yet its immediate consequences were not less momentous than those of Lexington. It was in fact the occasion of the conflict at Lexington, and it is more than probable that it saved Bunker Hill from proving a disastrous defeat, if not, indeed, a calamity fatal to further effort for freedom.

[The Gunpowder for Bunker Hill by Ballard Smith. Harper's New Monthly Magazine. Vol. 73 issue 434, July, 1886.]

With his book and poem, SHOTS NOT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD, Michael James Geanoulis, Sr. probes the reasons why those shots fired during the assault on the King’s fort in New Castle on December 14, four months prior to the defensive battles at Lexington, received but slighting mention in our histories. Geanoulis’ effort may well resurrect the importance of those shots; the fact that those venerable Maine and New Hampshire patriots of old were the first pavers of the road to independence and freedom for America; and that they put their unsung lives on the line to do it--right there in New Castle, New Hampshire.

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By Michael James Geanoulis, Sr.

Listen my children, and be aware,

The sins of King George were everywhere.

He sought to enslave and tax beyond reason,

To seize powder and arms in a snow-driven season.

But the spirit of patriots was all that George wrought.

For it’s true, they then knew, a war must be fought.

It mattered not, to Liberty’s Sons and Paul Revere,

That problems could rise and prove quite severe.

That ye olde Portsmouth and New Castle’s fort,

Were three score miles distant from ye Boston port.

And they but least cared, that travel on horse,

In the snows of December, was risky of course.

Most vital it was, if freedom be got,

New Hampshire be told, about the King’s plot.

They should if they could, preempt the King’s dash,

And seize for their own, that New Castle stash.

Not long after the arrival of Paul,

With his call for all to rise and stand tall,

Drummers drummed and runners ran,

To spread the news of his honorable plan.

From Kittery and Rye, from Dover and Brentwood,

By the hundreds they came, to help where they could.

They schemed and contrived to befuddle the Master,

Who sought to control those barrels of powder.

To ensure that instead, they’d be able to fight,

The upcoming war they thought proper and right.

So too, they knew, with gunpowder needed,

And knowing King George will likely advance,

To Fort William and Mary, they quickly proceeded.

Their future success they would not leave to chance.

It was freezing and snowing, that day in December,

When three hundred and more, rose as a member.

At first, they began with a subtle demand,

But the fort’s captain rejected the plan,

Firing braces of balls as his deadly rejoinder.

At that signal they came, like bees in a swarm,

Some wading ashore in waters not warm,

To face cannon and musket as possible fodder,

But since no one was hurt, ‘twas trivial bother.

That all escaped death, seemed like a clue,

Divine intervention came out of the blue.

To be candid and honest and perfectly frank,

Cannons and muskets fired at them point blank.

But the creator of lights was supportive, they said,

When the Crown was unable to paint the ground red.

Return fire came not from the rebels who saw,

Brute force would suffice though substantially raw.

They demanded and failed to get keys to the store,

But access was gained with the leverage they bore.

One hundred barrels of gunpowder they won,

With more arms next day for another ton.

From two days of raids at His Majesty’s fort,

Their quest for freedom had much more support.

This initial assault on the much-hated Crown,

Gave birth to America, a place of renown.

And so it is, we’re proud to remember,

And ever be glad to repeat this report,

That on two snowy days of ‘74 December,

The people had taken His Majesty’s fort.

Copyright © 2022 Michael J. Geanoulis, Sr.

All Rights Reserved

Exception: Non-Commercial Use by residents of Maine,

Massachusetts & New Hampshire.

Rev 4, 02/18/2023

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Michael J. Geanoulis, Sr.

PO Box 45

New Castle, NH 03854

Cell Tel: 603-436-8810 (text only)