Archive for Beaufort Historical

Beaufort Pirate Invasion 8-10 August

Posted in Event Journal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2013 by creweofthearchangel

Excerpts from the Journals of Alice Mason and Mae Harrington
Alice Mason and Mae Harrington

Alice Mason
Thursday

After a long but uneventful journey, we are docked in the town of Beaufort. Credible reports of invading ships from Spain led the captain to make this detour. The townspeople welcomed the arrival of reinforcements against the Spanish pirates and have been most accommodating. Other ships already wait in the harbor, lines and sails prepared for the invasion, whenever it comes.

Being civilians, the laundress Mae Harrington, Kitty, and I were some of the last to disembark the Archangel and arrive in camp. Already present were Mr. Dorian Lasseter the Master Gunner, Josephine Legard his indentured, Matthew Black Horse the heathen pilot, Mr. Adam Cyphers the blacksmith, Sean Merriweather and Joshua Merriweather, Dr. Gerome Geiger, Mr. Mitchell O’Sionnach, Fionntan Murtaugh the captain’s steward, and of course, Captain John Sterling himself.
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The night is humid and heavy, the heat of the day lingering long after the sun has set. Kitty and I, together with the unsettling laundress, have been given temporary quarters in an unused portion of the goal until our tent can be readied on the morrow. T’is time we got some rest, but I will be sleeping with one eye open…

Mae Harrington
Friday

My eyes open to sunlight filtering through the bars of the gaol windows. Mistress Mason and the child have begun to stir, and I hear the sounds of the camp awakening outside. I arise and dress quickly. Hurrying down the stairs and out of the gaol, I encounter the steward. Fionn directs me to where our cargo was unloaded the previous night, and I sort through crates until I locate my belongings, as well as those of Mistress Mason and Kitty. With the assistance of a few members of the crewe, our tent is quickly erected and our belongings stowed away.

Now the day’s work begins in earnest.
487968_201140483388648_1991909703_nCaptain Sterling, Mister Lasseter and the men-at-arms are engaged in checking and rechecking the state of their weapons and discussing plans of action. The steward is preparing breakfast and tidying the Captain’s tent.

Mlle. Legard is at work with her herbs, laying in stock any medicines that may be needed after the battle. Likewise the good doctor is taking stock of his implements and preparing for an influx of the wounded.

Mistress Mason settles herself on a cushion beneath the shade of a tree with a delicate bit of sewing as Kitty explores the encampment. 581751_10151796609088497_1698029913_nHaving suffered an injury to the knee prior to our departure, the Blacksmith reclines on a rug and keeps us company as we go about our duties. I enlist the help of the heathen guide and one of the midshipmen to fill the large washtubs and call for dirty laundry.

As the day wears on, there is a constant stream of both militia and civilians through our camp. The reputation of the Archangel’s Captain and crewe has indeed preceded us. Gunners stop to admire our great guns and ask questions as to their operation and care, civilians walk past with wide-eyed children clinging to their hands, curiosity eventually prodding them to say a few words or ask questions. The doctor’s instruments, the heathen’s trappings, ship’s navigational equipment, the games played to pass long voyages at sea, even the mundane methods of laundry are of great interest to some. Kitty drew smiles and laughter when she decided that my tub of clean water was the ideal place to escape the heat and dust.
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The hours pass quickly. As the evening approaches, a call for entertainment is made throughout the encampments. The best talents are nominated to represent each crewe, and a stage is set up. The steward, Fionn, has a magnificent singing voice and is elected to represent the Archangel’s crewe. Singers, musicians, poets, actors…a diverse lot of entertainers join together and give us a most enjoyable evening.

Dinner1003508_201137613388935_651941966_n is a quiet affair. Tomorrow will most likely bring a battle, and rest is needed. We sit together in groups of twos and threes, talking quietly until the call for lanterns-out is given.

543412_10151805320263497_209061262_nMae Harrington
Saturday

Saturday morning broke hot and humid. All over the encampment preparations for battle continue. Breakfast is hurried, appetites are small. Mid-morning, the boom of a distant cannon echoes across the water, and a shout goes up. Spanish warships have been sighted far out in the bay and are advancing toward the town with great speed.1176244_10151805228993497_1000591672_n Mistress Mason, Kitty and I bid the Captain and gunners farewell as they gather their weapons and hasten to join the other defenders along the waterfront. Long hours pass with no news of how the battle fares. 1174745_10151805316268497_1901944436_nShouts, the boom of the great guns and staccato bursts of fire from the small arms provide a persistent background to our mornings’ work. At long last the noise subsided, and our crew returned bringing tidings of victory. The Spanish are defeated, those remaining alive have returned to their ships and fled, and the handful taken prisoner are swiftly confined in the gaol. 1000941_10151805322838497_1335752218_n

Alice Mason
Saturday

There is much celebrating after the battle, with music and dancing all along the waterfront. Due to my Turkish attire no doubt I was invited to participate in one of the dances for the amusement of the militia and townsfolk, and found that I enjoyed it a good deal, though I am certain the captain did not approve.
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The festive mood lingered even hours later, when the captured pirates were brought forth to be hanged. Captain Sterling as the proper authority heard the men plead for their lives. The first two were pardoned, 535869_618261141527606_1726804475_nhaving been pressed into service by the pirates. The third was not so fortunate. 1174982_618264384860615_1972795270_nAn Irishman by name of Laughlin Tierney, he was defiant from the start. When offered a final request he asked for a tankard of water, of which he only drank a small portion and then flung the greater part into Captain Sterling’s face. After that little time was wasted. 1186861_618267444860309_1640788118_nrobinAmid the raucous demands of the crowd, the crate that supported the man was kicked from beneath him and he danced about on the end of the line before finally hanging slack.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent about our duties. Numerous townsfolk still filtered through the camp, discussing the events of the day amongst themselves and with various crew officers. As the sun began to sink lower and the heat of the day began to ease, everyone gave themselves to more pleasurable amusements. The captain arranged a game of Skittles, or Nine-Pins, with the Merriweather boys and Kitty and it was difficult to tell whom enjoyed the game most. skittles game tupMost of the crew gathered to watch, and afterward we all sat down to another fine meal prepared by the townsfolk.

That is always the best part of any day, when the crew and passengers such as myself and Kitty sit together at the captain’s table, to fellowship and enjoy the harmony we find amongst ourselves. Even the captain and I have learned to put aside our differences for those couple of hours, and the conversation and laughter flows freely. 1150258_201741913328505_1748179776_n

As night came on the weather glass indicated incoming weather, so the camp was a flurry of activity as tents were secured, belongings covered, and all made ready for the storms. In the end there was only a little rain instead of the squall line that we feared, but for the duration of it the majority of the crew sheltered in another unused portion of the goal, to continue the fellowship begun at the dinner table until it was time to retire for bed.

Alice Mason
Sunday

Today we are to return to the Archangel and continue on our voyage. The day is as sweltering as the two previous. By mid-morning trunks are packed and tents lowered. When all the canvas is folded and stored away we say our final goodbyes to the townsfolk. The noon hour passes before we finally go on our way in the afternoon, leaving this small town that has found a place in all our hearts. 935937_10151796661063497_1558886659_n1170771_201295210039842_431509565_n734345_10151803396053497_1107213202_n

Copyright8/2013S.W.Permenter/J.Ashing
With special thanks to Diane Shultz for the use of her photographs.

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