Archive for Beaufort

The Lost Letter: Beaufort Pirate Invasion, August ’14

Posted in Event Journal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2015 by creweofthearchangel

By Alice Mason Sterling

Alice Mason Sterling

Dearest Sarah, my most beloved Stepdaughter,

I pray this Letter finds you and Sean in good health and that Sean’s Studies prosper. Father is most proud of him as am I. I write an Account of our most recent Journey to see your Father. Though the Times I spend with him are often infrequent and all too short, I treasure each and everyone of them. As I know ye love him and see little of him as well, I will impart several Pages, copied from my Journal, so that ye may see that he is well and continuing to help keep the Colonies protect’d.

Wednesday, August 6

Upon Sightings of Pirates in the coastal Waters, and credible Rumors of their Intent to attack the small Town of Beaufort, North Carolina, the Crewe of the Archangel made Plans to travel to Beaufort and assist the Townsfolk and local Militia in defending the Town.

Kitty and I arriv’d to-day, traveling under the Protection of Quartermaster Jack Roberts. Master Gunner Dorian Lasseter and his Indenture Josephine Legard arrived soon after. The Bosun’s Mate, Mitchell O’Sionnach, travel’d in their Company. We spent the several Hours raising Canvas and laying out the Camp, then took our evening Meal at an Establishment in Town.

My Husband and Stepson, Captain John Sterling and Joshua Merriweather Sterling, made port late this Evening. We are quarter’d near the Gaol and Pillory, which will make Captain Sterling’s Work all the easier once the invading Rabble are conquer’d and the Pirates brought to Justice. And surely they will be.

Thursday, August 7

The Captain and the Ship’s Officers spent the morning in Meetings with the local Authorities, making Plans for the defense of the Town. Later a pouring Rain drove us to the shelter of the the awning near the Quartermaster’s tent , where a rare hour of leisure allow’d for pleasant Conversation. All in all we were grateful for the Rain as it provid’d relief from the Heat and plaguing Mosquitoes.

Once the Downpour abat’d Josephine, O’Sionnach, Kitty and I ventur’d to a nearby burying Grounds. Though somber, I found it a quiet and lovely Place, with great twisting Oaks providing a green Canopy overhead.
20140807_155826 I could not help but wonder how many more Markers would be add’d in the coming Days if the Pirates did indeed attack.

Much to my relief, my Maid Charlotte Cole arriv’d late in the Afternoon, along with the Captain’s Steward Fionnan Murtaugh. Dr. Jerome Geiger arriv’d several hours later and our Company is now complete.


Friday, August 8

This Morning dawn’d warm and humid as the ones that preced’d it. The final setup and preparations within the Camp were seen to, with further Tents add’d for our Supplies and storage. At the Entrance to Camp the wither’d remains of a dead Pirate swing from a Noose. A gruesome sight, but hopefully one that will serve as warning to those who would follow the same Path.

With the Laundress’ inexplicable absence, Kitty and I took up the task of doing the crew’s Wash while Charlotte carri’d on with lace-making.

Charlotte Cole

The Smoke from Josephine’s Brazier waft’d pleasantly through the Camp as she prepar’d her Herbs and apothecary supplies, should they be need’d. Across the camp Dr. Geiger organiz’d his surgical Instruments and arrang’d them in a rather ghastly Display. O’Sionnach tend’d to the maintenance of Block and Tackle and the Master Gunner ensur’d that the crewe’s arms were ready to use at a moment’s notice. Fionn look’d after the Captain and continu’d work on the Archangel’s Flag, the Captain’s personal Ensign, while the Quartermaster oversaw the running of the Camp and our Supplies and my Husband continu’d with the battle Plans.

In the afternoon the Crew made a display of arms alongside the local Militia. The firing of the great Guns and the small Arms alike bolster’d the confidence of the Townspeople, who were understandably apprehensive at the threat of Invasion. Many of the Townsfolk visit’d our Camp after the Demonstration, taking interest in our tasks and our methods of operation within the Camp.

This evening a display of talent was provid’d from amongst the Town and all present, with our own Mistress McDonough paying a visit and treating us all to a Song from her Homeland.

I will admit that this Account is not as coherent as it might be, given that the punch Bowl was pass’d not once but twice this evening as the Crewe sat together around the Table after dinner. T’is a fine thing to share such a fine Drink in such fine Company. Josephine provid’d a Dessert that we took turns cooking at the ends of sticks over the Brazier, something Kitty enjoy’d immensely. Now t’is late, and I shall retire with my Husband and pray for success and safety on the morrow.

Saturday, August 9

This morning we all feast’d upon a fine Breakfast serv’d by the Townsfolk, save for Quartermaster Roberts who remain’d behind to oversee the final preparations of a gallows that was built in case.

Well he did, for the threat of invasion by Pirates became a reality mere hours later. The gallows were mov’d to a public Square and their assembly complet’d before Crowds of curious onlookers shortly before the call to arms was given.
A solitary Pirate arriv’d in a small dingy, making bold Threats against the Town, and was driven off by a single Shot from one of the smaller Guns. Had that been all, the Town would have had an easy Day of it, but the persistent Pirates soon arriv’d in large numbers and the Battle began in earnest. The pirate ships fired upon the Town’s Defenders and were given Cannon Fire in return.
Running the guns

The Battle continu’d on Land as the Pirates took to disembark, but after a vigorous Defense by the Archangels, the Townsfolk, and the Militia, the Pirates were defeated.

Several Pirates were caught and put in the town Gaol, with two Irishmen going to a swift Trial and sentenc’d to be hang’d. As the Sky darkened and Rain began to fall in a light, steady Drizzle, the condemn’d were led forth and parad’d through the town Streets to the Square where the Gallows wait’d. The Procession was a somber one, with one Prisoner begging for his life and the other belligerent and violent, requiring Quartermaster Roberts to beat him frequently.
Captain Sterling overheard the younger prisoner’s pleas and allow’d him to argue for his Life, his Case being that a poor childhood and Poverty drove him to his crimes. He offer’d his skills as a Cobbler and was eventually grant’d a Pardon in hopes that he would better his future.

The second Prisoner, the vile O’Tierney, made no such pleas.
Instead he insult’d my husband in language that made my blood boil. God forgive me, I know vengeance is His alone, but there are times when I am glad to see justice done. With the noose already around his neck he assault’d Captain Sterling, taking my husband to the ground before Quartermaster Roberts could pull the prisoner away. As O’Tierney stood atop the block he request’d a final drink, which he then threw into the Captain’s face. The Pirate vow’d to see the Captain in hell, to which the Captain only laugh’d and remark’d, “I hardly think so,” and kicked the block from beneath the Pirate’s feet. He was hanged for his foul Murders of our innocent Sailors and other terrible Crimes.

With the Hanging concluded the Crowds gradually dispersed. The weary but victorious Crewe dismantled the Gallows and later sat together to partake of a fine Dinner in Camp. Another Bowl of punch and several Games of Whist lended to the celebratory mood.

Sunday, August 10

Parting from the Crewe is never easy, and many of us were already dreading the Farewells as we breakfasted together and began breaking up the Camp. The Rain held off until the very last, drenching many of us as the last Roll of canvas was placed onto the Carts. We took shelter in one of the Town’s Ordinaries and spent about half an hour discussing all that had taken place the previous Days. At last goodbyes were said and we broke company, taking solace in knowing that the Town remained safe and we would all soon assemble for another grand Adventure.

My Dear, I am happy to report that your Father sends his Love and will write to you and Sean, himself, as soon as he is able. I will end now, for I would see this Letter handed off to the Post before I and Kitty head for the Carriage back to Virginia.

We love you both and are eager to visit with you upon our return.

Your loving Mother,

Alice


Copyright August 2014 S. W. Permenter
Special thanks to the following photographers: S.W.Permenter, J.Otte, D.Tobin, C. Warner, M.Murillo

NOTE: Hangings are done by trained, experienced stunt people, followed by a safety demonstration. DO NOT TRY THIS ON YOUR OWN!

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