Blackbeard’s Final Fight

by Dylan DeMichiel /
Dylan DeMichiel's picture
Oct 23, 2013 / 0 comments

After a long day of exploring Ocracoke Island and scanning the gift shops, my family and I decided to head back to the campground we were staying at. As soon as we returned to our tent, I crawled inside and fell asleep. When I woke up, the sun glinting in my eyes, I could hear waves crashing instead of my parents talking. Startled and scared, I sat up and tried to figure out where I was. I realized that I was no longer in my tent, but lying on a beach! I saw the ocean waves crashing upon a shore of brown sand, cluttered with broken shells and split apart logs. How did I get here?


As I walked with trepidation down the coastline, I came upon a long-bearded man, dressed in torn clothes, washed up on shore. I ran up to him, wondering if he was okay. In an attempt to offer my assistance, I got down on my knees and pulled gently on his long black, tangled hair.  As I lifted the man’s sopping wet head, he sat up and coughed out what seemed like gallons of salty sea water. Stunned, I scrambled away from him. When I turned to look back, I noticed a shiny steel sword hanging from his side. The man looked over, pulled out his sword - brandishing it toward me - and slowly stood up.


“What be yer name?” the man questioned.


Never before being confronted by a man with a sword, I stuttered, “D-Dylan.”


“Ahoy there, matey! My name is Blackbeard. The greatest pirate of all time!”


I looked up at him in amazement. Blackbeard was actually standing right in front of me! Blackbeard, born Edward Teach in 1680, is known as one of the most intimidating pirates that ever sailed the sea. I rubbed my eyes, thinking that I was still dreaming, but when I opened them again, he was still there. Realizing that I was standing in front of a legendary pirate, I looked him over. He was clad in a black pirate hat, long tattered pants, knee-high boots, with two pistols hanging by his waist, wearing a long blue button up coat.



Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons: Defoe, Daniel; Johnson, Charles (1736 - although Angus Konstam says the image is circa 1726) "Capt. Teach alias Black-Beard" in A General History of the Lives and Adventures of the Most Famous Highwaymen, Murderers, Street-Robbers, &c. to which is added, a genuine account of the voyages and plunders of the most notorious pyrates. Interspersed with several diverting tales, and pleasant songs. And adorned with the Heads of the most remarkable Villains, curiously engraven on Copper, London: Oliver Payne, pp. plate facing p. 86


“You can’t be Blackbeard. He’s been dead for hundreds of years!” I exclaimed.


“I don’t feel dead,” Blackbeard joked.


“But I know for a fact that you’re dead,” I argued. “Everyone knows that Blackbeard was killed in a fierce battle!”


“Well, I guess you were lied to, matey, because Blackbeard the Pirate is not dead,” he said, a crooked smile on his face.


“If you are for real, then I have so many questions to ask you!” I blurted out.


“Well, let’s save the chit-chat for later,” he stated. “I need to find me ship and get back out to sea. Are you coming, or are you just gonna stand there staring at me?”


I looked at him, astonishment in my eyes. I was actually going to ride on a real pirate ship! Of course I was going to follow him. This was Blackbeard after all! We started walking down the beach. We came upon a set of bushes set up high in the dunes. It was as if Blackbeard himself had planted them there, because when he pushed back the leaves, it revealed a hidden path.


“Right this way, me boy,” Blackbeard said.


The path was long and winding. It appeared to have no end and was surrounded on both sides by overgrown brush, logs, and swept up shells from long ago. I was scared to follow him, but I had no choice. I wanted to see where Blackbeard was leading me. I slowly followed the sandy path until it opened up into a large harbor. In front of me appeared the wide open ocean. Sitting in the waters, almost calling us by name, was Blackbeard’s ship.


“Arr,” Blackbeard sighed, “Queen Anne’s Revenge. She’s a beaut, she is!”


I knew, from my history books, that this 300-ton vessel sitting in front of me was built in England in 1710. It was originally named the Concord, and sailed as a slave ship until it was captured in 1717, near the island of Martinique. Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard, became the captain and renamed the ship Queen Ann’s Revenge. He added 40 guns and cannons to his flagship so that he could attack merchant ships along the coast of Africa and throughout the Caribbean.


“WOW!” was the only word that seemed to escape from my mouth.


“And you get to come aboard!” Blackbeard taunted, excitement in his voice.


I smiled and happily jaunted toward the boat. The gangplank was thrown down and I almost skipped up to the ship. I was actually going to sail with Blackbeard! I couldn’t contain my excitement. As I boarded, I was almost knocked off. There were crew members running around everywhere, getting ready to set sail. Blackbeard followed me up the gang plank, and amid the hustle and bustle of the crew members, as soon as they spotted him they stopped what they were doing and the ship fell eerily silent. “Continue preparations!” he shouted angrily at his crew.


The crew members went back to what they were doing and in no time we were sailing. I ran to the ship’s wheel where Blackbeard was steering the ship. As he meticulously pirated the sea waters, I leaned over the edge of the Revenge. I could feel the saltwater spray of the ocean splashing against my face, the cool breeze of the ocean wind flowing through my hair.  I felt nothing but sheer joy and excitement! I was on the high seas, sailing with none other than Blackbeard himself.


“So, where are we heading, Captain?” I asked eagerly.


“Just to the other side of the Beaufort Inlet,” he replied.


After several minutes of glorious sailing in the North Carolina waters, another ship appeared in the distance. I asked Blackbeard if the oncoming ship was friend or foe. He gazed through his long telescope and grinned ever so slightly. “Arr, that’s the Adventure. She’s gonna help us there, she is, Matey!”


“Blackbeard, you have to turn around,” I screamed at him. “The Adventure is not going to help you. This is going to be your death. We must go back, I command you!”


He snickered at me, replying, “Blackbeard don’t take no orders from nobody!”.


I ran around the deck calling for help, for I knew that this was going to mean the end for Blackbeard. It was only a matter of time before his head would be brutally chopped off.


With an evil glint in his eyes, Blackbeard shot me a slight backward glance and then deliberately ran the Queen Ann’s Revenge aground as we entered the inlet.  I feared for Blackbeard, for I knew what was coming next! The main mast had cracked and broken timbers from the ship’s hull floated uselessly in the ocean. As panicked cries filled the air, he ordered the crew to transfer all of the ship’s supplies onto the Adventure, which was now positioned directly beside us. We scurried onto the ship as well, as Blackbeard took command and ordered some of the crew members to remain on the land of the inlet, promising to come back for them, which of course he never did.


I joined Blackbeard on the Adventure, even though I was scared and wanting to return home. He promised me that we were going to find treasure and that I should stay with him so he could show me. We sailed the ocean for many sun-drenched days, while Blackbeard spent his nights drinking and merry making.


On a cool fall day in November, we spotted the Jane, heading directly toward us. This was a ship captained by Robert Maynard, a respected member of the naval forces. Upon spotting this, Blackbeard immediately ran to the bow and ordered his crew to fire shots. During the brief battle, several of the Jane’s crew took shelter under a trap door in the decking. As the shots ceased and the air was filled with smoke from gunfire, the Jane came up alongside the Adventure. Assuming most of the crew was dead, Blackbeard seized the opportunity to climb aboard.



Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons: Paine, Ralph Delahaye (1922) "Cover" in Blackbeard, Buccaneer, Pennsylvania, United States: The Penn Publishing Company


I followed, not knowing what else to do. He thought he had killed most of the crew, but as soon as he boarded the vessel, they jumped out of hiding and battled ensued. Out of ammunition, Maynard and Blackbeard began to fight with their swords. I screamed at Blackbeard and tried to warn him that one of Maynard’s men was coming. “What do I do?!” I yelled, trying to be heard over the chaos.


“Matey, that doesn’t matter now,” Blackbeard cried, “I need to tell ye where me treasure is! It’s hidden right at…” 


Suddenly, a soldier joined the fight and cut Blackbeard’s neck with the stroke of his broad sword. Gasping for air, Blackbeard cried, “Well done, lad!” At that, the soldier replied, “If it not be well done, I’ll do it better.” He swung his sword one final time, cutting off the head of the infamous pirate Blackbeard. I was shocked and hid behind a barrel, as Maynard stumbled over to the decapitated head of Blackbeard, held it up from its hair, and declared that he would hang it on the bowsprit of his sloop, in order to present it to the Colony of Virginia. I felt sickened to see the gruesome death of a man that had been nothing but kind to me.


Head of Blackbeard

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons: Ellms, Charles (1837) "The Life, Atrocities, and Bloody Death of Black Beard" in The Pirates Own Book, Massachusetts, United States: Samuel Nelson Dickinson


Blood was gushing everywhere!  I turned and saw a soldier with a sword coming right for me. Fearing that my head was going to be chopped off next, I jumped out of the way of his blade and suddenly found myself in my sleeping bag. Could this really be just a dream, I pondered. It couldn’t have been a dream! I was there! I sailed the high seas with Blackbeard. I tried to warn him of his demise, but he wouldn’t listen to me. I felt the salt water on my face and the wind in my hair, this couldn’t be a dream. Could it?


I stayed awake all night, tossing and turning in my sleeping bag, trying to recount everything that had occurred. At daybreak, I returned to the exact spot on the beach where Blackbeard and I had entered the secret trail. The bushes were gone, and there was no sign of anyone walking in the sand or on the dunes. Our path to the harbor had disappeared.


I slowly walked back to my campsite, uncertain of what I had just experienced. I stumbled upon a bump in the sand. As I leaned over to pick up a small box of glistening gold coins, my attention was pulled out to sea. I heard the voice of Blackbeard summon me by name.


“Dig, Matey, Dig. The treasure lies beneath you, Dylan. Dig”.


As the sound of Blackbeard’s voice faded away, I fell to my knees and began to dig for Blackbeard’s hidden treasure.





Dylan DeMichiel is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program



Experiencing Blackbeard's final days, firsthand - and finding treasure

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