History for the Rest of Us

Blackbeard – Captain Edward Teach

Blackbeard – Captain Edward Teach

Jul 22, 2013

TEACH, Captain Edward, or Thatch, or Thach, alias Drummond, alias Blackbeard. Arch-pirate. A Bristol man who settled in Jamaica, sailing in privateers, but not in the capacity of an officer. In 1716, Teach took to piracy, being put in command of a sloop by the pirate Benjamin Hornigold. In 1717, Hornigold and Teach sailed together from Providence towards the American coast, taking a billop from Havana and several other prizes. After careening their vessels on the coast of Virginia, the pirates took a fine French Guineaman bound to Martinico; this ship they armed with forty guns, named her the Queen Ann’s Revenge, and Blackbeard went aboard as captain. Teach now had a ship that allowed him to go for larger prizes, and he began by taking a big ship called the Great Allen, which he plundered and then set fire to. A few days later, Teach was attacked by H.M.S. Scarborough, of thirty guns, but after a sharp engagement lasting some hours, the pirate was able to drive off the King’s ship. The next ship he met with was the sloop of that amateur pirate and landsman, Major Stede Bonnet. Teach and Bonnet became friends and sailed together for a few days, when Teach, finding that Bonnet was quite ignorant of maritime matters, ordered the Major, in the most high-handed way, to come aboard his ship, while he put another officer in command of Bonnet’s vessel. Teach now took ship after ship, one of which, with the curious name of the Protestant Cæsar, the pirates burnt out of spite, not because of her name, but because she belonged to Boston, where there had lately been a hanging of pirates. Blackbeard now sailed north along the American coast, arriving off Charleston, South Carolina. Here he lay off the bar for several days, seizing every vessel that attempted to enter or leave the port, “striking great Terror to the whole Province of Carolina,” the more so since the colony was scarcely recovered from a recent visit by another pirate, Vane. Being in want of medicines, Teach sent his lieutenant, Richards, on shore with a letter to the Governor demanding that he should instantly send off a...