Black Beard

Black Beard's Ship

born 1680---died 1718

A native of Bristol, England, Edward Drummond Is thought to be a learnered man born into a well-to-do family. After becoming a pirate he called himself Edward Teach. Considered by most, to of been the boldest & most notorious pirate infesting the waters of England's southern colonies in the early 1700's. His infamous deeds spread his name on both sides of the Atlantic.

Captain Blackbeard served in Queen Anne's War, which lasted from 1702-1713. In the latter stages of the war he served as a privateer, sailing out of Kingston, Jamaica to prey on French ships for Britain.

When the war was over, Captain Blackbeard, signed on with the pirate crew of Captain Benjamin Hornigold, sailing out of New Providence in the Bahamas. He proved a himself to be a formidable & fierce pirate, & requested he be given command of the captured French ship, the 'Concorde'. Hornigold obliged. Captain Blackbeard became its captain in 1717 & renamed her the 'Queen Anne's Revenge'. The ship had already been outfitted with 20 guns, but Captain Blackbeard increased her firepower to 40 guns.

Captain Blackbeard's reputation began with his first attack as captain. This battle was with the large merchant ship, the 'Great Allen', off St. Vincent. After a lengthy battle Captain Blackbeard took the ship, plundered the cargo, burned & sank it. His next encounter of record indicates he may have defeated the 'Scarborough', a mighty British Man-of-War armed with 30 guns. If true, the 'Scarborough' escaped, but Captain Blackbeard's reputation was made. He also took the Sloop 'Adventure' during that battle, which became an important ship in his pirate fleet.

To enhance his reputation, Captain Blackbeard, designed his appearance to reflect a forboding & formative appearance. He was tall, had a powerful physique & a bushy black beard from which he took his name. Before battle he'd braid his beard into little pigtails & tie them with colored ribbons. Immediately before battle he would light several long, slow-burning matches & tuck them under his hat, allowing wisps of smoke to curl up around his face. He outfitted himself with daggers, a cutlass & pistols that were primed, cocked & ready to fire.

Captain Blackbeard victimized ships from the Caribbean to New England. According to legend he used several hideouts in North Carolina & that Ocracoke Inlet was a favorite. An anchorage inside Ocracoke Inlet is still known as 'Teach's Hole.'

In May 1718, perhaps Captain Blackbeard's most outrageous attack was upon the city of Charleston, S.C., which was the busiest & most important port in the South. Captain Blackbeard's fleet gathered outside the entrance to the harbor & took several merchant ships, capturing gold, slaves & other valuables. He also took a member of Govenor Robert Johnson's council hostage & sent one of his lieutenants into town to get medicines & other supplies. The pirates paraded boldly through the streets, the captured populace were robbed of money & other possessions.

Captain Blackbeard seemed to have had a mutually profitable relationship with North Carolina's Govenor Charles Eden. Eden & some of his associates are believed to have shared in some of Captain Blackbeard's booty. Because of this they tended to look the other way.

Virginia's Govenor Alexander Spotswood feared Captain Blackbeard would continue his pirating even though he had been pardoned by Govenor Charles Eden in June 1718 & was in semi-retirement. Pirates continued to attack along the Atlantic Coast & some of the larcenies were thought to be Captain Blackbeard's work. Since it seemed clear Govenor Eden was not going to interfere with Captain Blackbeard's operations, Spotswood convinced the British military, the Virginia Assembly & some of Eden's opponents to aid him in capturing Captain Blackbeard, & put a price of 100 pounds on his head.

On November 22nd, 1718, Blackbeard met his death in a fierce battle off Ocracoke. Governer Spotswood leased two sloops, with British commanders & crew. Blackbeard was caught by surprise, short handed, & tricked to doing battle on the attacking vessel. On the blood soaked deck of the small sloop sent to attack the pirate, Lt. Robert Maynard confronted Captain Blackbeard. Each pulled pistols & fired upon meeting. Captain Blackbeard missed his mark while Maynard's shot plowed through Captain Blackbeard. They continued to fight with swords, as Captain Blackbeard moved in to finish him off with his cutlass, a British seaman joined the fight & slashed his throat, but Captain Blackbeard fought on, in spite of bullet wounds & gashed neck, as yet another seamen joined in for the kill. Even while being stabbed, he cocked a pistol to continue the fight as he fell dead. His head was then cut off & hung from the bowsprit of Maynard's ship.

He never took marriage seriously & during his lifetime he had fourteen wives & fathered forty children. In 1691, he & a sizeable crew landed at Lunging Island in the Isles of Shoals off Portsmouth, New Hampshire. There he buried a large treasure of silver bars which has never been discovered.