Portsmouth, a city, port of entry, and one of the capitals of Rockingham co., New Hampshire, the only seaport in the state, situated on the S. side of- the Piscataqua river, 3 m. from the sea and 54 m. N. by E. of Boston; lat. 43° 5' N, Ion. 70° 46' W.; pop. in 1850, 9,738; in 1860, 9,335; in 1870, 9,211. It stands on a beautiful peninsula, formed by the Piscataqua. Its quietness and quaintness, and the pleasant drives and fine beaches in the vicinity, render it a favorite summer resort. It is supplied with water from a distance of 3 m. by works constructed by a company formed in 1799, and has a good fire department. It has railroad communication with Boston, Portland, and the principal points in the state, by means of the Eastern, the Portsmouth, Great Falls, and Conway, the Portsmouth and Dover, and the Concord and Portsmouth lines. The harbor can accommodate 2,000 vessels, is particularly safe, and has sufficient depth at low water for the largest class of ships. It is much frequented as a port of refuge, and the rise of the tide and strength of the current keep it always free from ice. The principal entrance is between the mainland and the E. side of Great island, and is defended by-Fort McCleary on the former, and Fort Constitution on the N. W. point of the latter.
The United States navy yard is on Continental or Navy island, on the E. side of the Piscataqua, within the limits of the town of Kittery, Me. It has extensive ship houses, one of which is 300 ft. long, 131 ft. wide, and 72 ft. high; large sheds for timber, a rigging loft, machine shop, etc. The balance dry dock is 350 ft. long by 105 ft. broad, and has 24 pumps worked by two steam engines. The value of the foreign commerce of the district for the year ending June 30, 1874, was $41,568, almost entirely imports. The number of entrances was 54, tonnage 9,794; clearances 62, tonnage 9,369. The number of vessels belonging in the district was 74, tonnage 14,502. The manufactures are of considerable extent, and include cotton fabrics (Kearsarge mills, with 26,000 spindles), hosiery, ale and beer, boots and shoes, carriages, medicinal cod-liver oil, copper and brass foundery products, sleighs, soap, leather, etc. Ship building is also carried on. There are four national banks, with an aggregate capital of $950,000; a trust and guarantee company, with a capital of $200,000; and two savings banks, with deposits to the amount of $2,750,-000. Sessions of the United States courts for the district of New Hampshire are held here.
The public schools comprise separate high schools for boys and girls and 13 grammar and primary schools, of which part are graded and part ungraded. There are also a commercial college and a young ladies' seminary. The Portsmouth Athenaeum, with a fine three-story brick building, has a reading room, a library of more than 11,000 volumes, and cabinets of minerals and natural history. The mercantile library association has 2,000 volumes-Two daily and three weekly newspapers are published. There are 10 churches viz.: Baptist, Christian, Congregational, Episcopal, Freewill Baptist, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Second Advent, Unitarian, and Universalist. - Portsmouth was settled in 1623, incorporated as a town in 1633, and as a city in 1849. It was the capital of the colony and state till 1807, except during the revolution, when the seat of government was at Exeter.
Portsmouth, a city, port of entry, and the county seat of Norfolk co., Virginia, on the W. bank of Elizabeth river, opposite the city of Norfolk, with which it is connected by ferry, and at the terminus of the Seaboard and Roanoke railroad; pop. in 1850, 8,122; in 1860, 9,496; in 1870, 10,492; in 1875, 13,598, of whom 4,120 were colored. It is on level ground and is regularly laid out. The harbor is one of the best on the Atlantic coast, and is accessible by the largest vessels. Gosport at the S. extremity of the city is the seat of a United States navy yard, dry dock, and naval hospital.
Lines of steamers run to Boston, Providence, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, and other points. The principal shipments in 1874 were 242,551 bales of cotton, 9,968,400 ft. of lumber, 2,180,000 oak staves, 57,253 barrels of naval stores, 13,869 tons of pig iron, and about 300,000 barrels and boxes of early vegetables, valued at $1,250,000. There is a considerable wholesale trade in coal, fertilizers, groceries, and liquors. The principal manufactories are one of cars, one of carriages, one of barrels, a grist mill, and two saw mills. There are two banks, an insurance and banking company, three hotels, two academies, 12 public and 41 private schools, a daily newspaper, and 13 churches, viz.: 4 Baptist, 2, Episcopal, 5 Methodist, 1 Presbyterian, and 1 Roman Catholic.