Beaufort Pirate Invasion, 2012

Josephine’s Journal
The Account of an Indentured Servant’s Adventures
with the Crewe of the Archangel

Beaufort Pirate Invasion,
August 10-11 2012

Standing tryal

When word of an anticipated pirate invasion in Beaufort reached Captain Sterling of the private ship of war Archangel, he decided to make a voyage to the Carolina colony to fend off the verminous pirates and to protect the port towne of Beaufort. Dorian Lasseter, the Master Gunner aboard the Archangel and the holder of my Indenture papers, has a cottage in the colony on the water less than a day’s travel from Beaufort, and plans were made to anchor near the cottage, rest there for the evening, and travel overland to Beaufort so as not to alert the pirates to our presence.

The air was humid as the crewe members arrived at our cottage on 8 August with one pressed man and one new indenture. Able Seaman Fionntan Murtaugh (Fionn for short), our Native American Pilot Matty Black Horse, the new pressed man, David and the indenture Deborah, were the first group to arrive, later followed by Captain Sterling and the two Midshipmen Sean and Joshua Merriweather. The others had remained on board to protect the ship. I quickly made a hot dinner for everyone, cold drinks were provided, and joyful conversation continued into the early morning hours. The new armament was examined and attack plans discussed. We were determined that the towne of Beaufort would not fall to the pirates. Sleep finally came over the
crewe near two o’clock in the morning.

On the morning of Thursday, 9 August, after I made a warm, filling breakfast, we left the cottage with our necessary items for camp and travelled south to Beaufort, arriving before noon. We set up camp near the old gaol, so as to be near the holding place of the pirates we might capture after the invasion. The camp assemblage took very little time, allowing us all to wander into towne for a hot meal and some refreshing drinks. The weather was rather warm and humid, and the activity of the day had taken its toll on all of us.

The Master Gunner, standing, “Joseph” and the smithy Adam Cyphers in camp

The local establishment, Clawson’s 1905 Restaurant, graciously provided us with our needs and the crewe agreed that the meals were delicious.

That evening, the leaders of the towne provided us with information regarding amenities that they could offer to us, the defenders of their homes. Those of us partaking in the battle itself then walked to the waterfront where battle plans were drawn for all present to hear and understand. It being necessary that we have enough man power to ward off the invading foes, I took on the identity of an able-bodied seaman, going by the name of Joseph, in order to help the Master Gunner run the guns. This happens from time to time when other circumstances cause a small number of men to be available. Being rather exhausted after a long day of preparation, the crewe retired to camp that evening for what we hoped would be a restful night sleep before the battles were to begin. Mother Nature, on the other hand, had other plans for us.

Sometime before dawn on Friday, the sky opened and pelted the towne with wind and rain. The bright flashes of nearby lightning strikes were blinding, and the resulting thunder shook the ground. A quick consult of the weather conditions indicated that it was a passing front and other than a lack of sleep, wet canvas, and soggy ground, we should not receive anything near as severe as what the tornado brought to camp several months back during a stop in Virginia. The weather aside, sleep returned for a short while before we all awoke to prepare for the day’s events.

The pirates were not expected to attack until Saturday, but word reached our ears somewhere around midday that the towne had been turned over to the pirates.

Sean Merriweather keeping watch for pirates

In the confusion that followed, the Master Gunner was taken by the pirates to be hanged. The Captain quickly hatched a plan to rescue Dorian from the noose, a plan that required the help of every member of the crewe.

Pressed man, David Atlas, “posing” as one of the hangman’s assistants

Sean Merriweather and I positioned ourselves near the courthouse from where the Governor would be proclaiming the sentence. Matty Black Horse was to help work the hangman’s rope, and Fionn positioned himself behind the crowd to clear a path for the rescued and rescuers to escape. Captain Sterling dressed as a parson, and Joshua Merriweather provided the basket with one last “drink” for the prisoner. When the drink was brought forward, Captain Sterling pulled two pistols from the basket. The hangman was shot and Dorian was lowered to the ground. Sean and I ran to the top of the courthouse steps to hold the Governor hostage with a knife to the throat. The plan went off without a hitch, and we all escaped to the camp without being captured or threatened further.

Our informants indicated that the pirate reinforcements were to arrive the next day by sea, so plans were made for the counter attack by land. Before retiring to our tents for the evening, the crewe and others who had come to fight in the invasion as well were treated to a local talent show. Our own Fionn along with Wilhelmina of Blackbeard’s Crewe performed a duet of Maid on the Shore and Matty Black Horse performed on the drum..

Master Gunner and Josephine watching the talent show

Fionn looking strangely familar …

It was an enjoyable evening, celebrating the successful rescue of the Master Gunner and relaxing before the battle that expected the next day.

The following afternoon, after a long period of soaking rain in the morning, the guns were moved out to the waterfront, in expectation of the pirate attack. The militia was formed up and prepared to join should the pirates make it onto land. Dorian, Matty and I worked the swivel guns from land, firing upon the pirate Double Dutch who appeared in his small boat heralding the coming attack, and then firing upon the Meka II, captained by the pirate Sinbad, as she made a pass at the towne. Unfortunately, the gunfire was not enough to dispel the pirates and the militia was called in to finish defending Beaufort. Captain Sterling bravely led the militia against the invading pirates who were led by the notorious, Mantise Savalle( Steve Wetzel of the Shadow Players.) Captain Sterling and the militia were successful in ending the battle and capturing several pirates who were taken to the gaol to await a tryal and possible hanging.

Captain Sterling accepting the pirates’ surrender

The pirates were guarded at the gaol by Fionn, and viewed by the townsfolk who had come to observe the criminals who had attempted to invade the towne. Around four in the afternoon, the Governor was summoned to perform the tryal on the stairs of the courthouse. It seemed that the Governor was caught off guard, as he appeared at the door in his bed clothes.

Captain Sterling waking the Governor for the tryal

Several moments later, he reappeared dressed in proper attire. I joined with Fionn in guarding the prisoners as they pled their cases to the Governor. Two of the pirates were released due to acceptable excuses regarding their status in the towne; however the third was sentenced to hang. There was no attempt to save the prisoner, and the hanging was successful.

Free to go

The towne was once again safe from the threat of pirate invasion.

On Saturday evening, dinner was provided by the local leaders, and a celebration took place on the water front. Being exhausted from the battle, we stayed only a short time to celebrate, preferring to return to camp to relax and enjoy the meteor shower in the now cloud-free sky. Despite the damp and gloomy weather, the towne of Beaufort is once again safe from the invasion of pirates.

Anticipation is already growing for our next voyage north to Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania where we should arrive on September 15th of this year.


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