The Battle of Ocracoke Inlet was the climactic battle between the Crew of the Adventure and the British Royal Navy. The battle was also known because during it, Lieutenant Robert Maynard supposedly managed to kill the fearsome Captain Blackbeard, making his "death" the best feat of his pirate hunting career.
After accepting a Royal Pardon from the Governor of Pennsylvania Alexander Sportswood, Edward Teach, better known as the fearless Blackbeard, apparently retired from piracy. However, he in reality continued his criminal exploits despite that. Operating in coastal waters, it was difficult for ships of the line to engage Teach in battle. Therefore, two smaller hired sloops were ordered by Lieutenant Robert Maynard to track down and destroy Blackbeard after departing from Spotswood, even offering a reward of £100, in addition to smaller sums for the lesser crewmembers.
On November 11, 1718, Maynard sailed from James River in command of thirty men from the HMS Pearl along twenty-five crewmen and a midshipman aboard the HMS Ranger. Eventually, Maynard found Blackbeard's crew anchored in a North Carolina inlet on the inner side of Ocracoke Island, on the evening of November 21. As such, Maynard and his crew decided to wait until the following morning as the tide would be more favorable. The Adventure, Blackbeard's ship, was ready for the attack.
Eleven days later, the battle took place. According to various legends and lore, Blackbeard ended up losing his life at the hands of Maynard. During the fight aboard Maynard's sloop, Blackbeard got engaged in a combat against Maynard and the British retaliated with about twenty musket balls and six cutlass, severely injuring the mighty Blackbeard. Eventually, Blackbeard–the pirate all pirates fear– succumbed to his wounds and fell to the deck, dead, seemingly ending his reign of terror once and for all and beginning the decline of the Golden Age of Piracy. Other lore actually told that after being killed, Blackbeard's lifeless body swam three times around his ship and subsequently climbed back onboard.
Despite the British victory over the battle and Maynard's recognition for having killed the most fearless pirate of the Seven Seas, even death was not the end for Blackbeard. Through unknown circumstances, Blackbeard managed to survive a grisly fate at Maynard's hands. He continued his pirate career avoiding the eye of the British, becoming involved in the dark arts such Voodoo and acquiring unimaginable artifacts such as the Sword of Triton.
Notes and references
- Walt Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Story of the Robust Adventure in Disneyland and Walt Disney World, p13.
- Though it wasn't directly mentioned, Adventure was the ship that Blackbeard was known to have sailed during the Battle of Ocracoke Inlet, which was indirectly mentioned in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
- Below Deck: An Interactive History Of Pirates
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
- "Blackbeard's history is definitely a legend, and like most legends, may or may not have a basis in fact." - Terry Rossio