Pirates > Flying Gang > Charles Vane and Blackbeard Encounter

Charles Vane and Blackbeard Encounter

Golden Age of Piracy - Chapter Decoration

Background

Blackbeard and Vane's Crews - Pirates Own Book (1837)

Vane & Blackbeard's Crews - Pirates Own Book (1837)

From Blackbeard's hideout on Ocracoke Island it was very easy to spot ships traveling along the Atlantic seaboard. It was here that Charles Vane was spotted fleeing from Woodes Rogers and Benjamin Hornigold out of Nassau.

As soon as it was recognized it was Vane and his crew, Blackbeard invited them to Ocracoke to have a party. It is rumored that along with Charles Vane there was Israel Hands, 'Calico' Jack Rackham and their crews. As the party dragged on for more than a week it began to worry the other colonists. The Governor of Pennsylvania dispatched two sloops in order to capture the pirates, however they were unsuccessful. Other governors in the colonies were worried as well. Pirates from Blackbeard's crew began moving into the seaport towns in the Virginia.

Alexander Spotswood

See Alexander Spotswood

Edward 'Blackbeard' Teach - Alexander Spotswood Portrait

Charles Bridges - Alexander Spotswood Portrait (1736)

This caused the Governor of Virginia named Alexander Spotswood to issue a proclamation on 10 July 1718 that all former pirates must make themselves known to authorities, hand over their weapons and not congregate in groups. Despite having autonomy, the Governor Eden of North Carolina was not powerful enough to keep other governors from ordering military actions within his borders. While Eden and Blackbeard enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship, other Governors were plotting his downfall. His chief enemy at this time was Virginia governor Spotswood.

Spotswood relentlessly pursued information regarding Blackbeard's whereabouts and when he ascertained them he proceeded to plan a military strike across colony borders. He first started by getting the support of North Carolina military leaders, Edward Moseley and Colonel Maurice Moore. He also attempted to recruit the Crown by writing to the Lords of Trade suggesting it would be economically beneficial to see Teach removed.

Governor Spotswood personally financed the operation to capture and or kill Blackbeard, hoping to profit off of his immense wealth. He also ordered Captain Gordon of the HMS Pearl and the HMS Lyme to travel overland to assist lieutenant Robert Maynard of the Pearl in his approach by sea. Maynard was given two commandeered sloops to catch Blackbeard and the promise that Blackbeard's capture would yield a personal reward from Spotswood and the Assembly of Virginia, above and beyond what the Crown was going to pay for him. With financial incentive and the prospect of glory, Maynard set out to claim his prize.

Robert Maynard

See Robert Maynard

However this was going to be no easy job, he was going against Blackbeard himself. Maynard was in for the fight of his life. Robert Maynard took command of two additional armed sloops on November 17th and crewed them with sailors from the battleships. 33 men from the HMS Pearl along with Maynard took command of the largest sloop and named it Jane. 24 from the HMS Lyme took the Ranger that was run by Captain Hyde. The two sloops set sail from Kecoughtan at the mouth of the James River on November 17th.

Governor Spotswood was concerned that Eden was corrupt and ordered another team sent to his home in order to ensure cooperation in the matter. Spotswood had sent Brand and a small cadre of men including Colonel Moore and Captain Jeremiah Vail on order to squash any objection by North Carolina soldiers. The men arrived outside Bath on November 23rd, 1718 and informed Eden of what was going on. From here Brand sent two canoes down the Pamlico River to Ocracoke Island to check and see if they could find Blackbeard. Two days later they returned and informed Brand of what had happened.

Sources

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources