The Last Great Battle of BlackbeardThe story goes that Blackbeard, near the end of his infamous career, wanted to turn Ocracoke into a pirate haven. Hearing of this devilish plan the citizens of coastal North Carolina appealed to Governor Alexander Spotswood of Virginia for help. Lieutenant Robert Maynard of the Royal Navy sailed to Ocracoke, where he and his crew found Blackbeard's ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the channel. Maynard sent out two small boats to spy on his enemy. The boats were fired upon and the fearful pirate Blackbeard bore down on the larger vessel, the Ranger, which was under Maynard's personal command. The Ranger was swept with cannon fire because the British only possessed small arms with which to attack. Cleverly, Maynard ordered all of his men below to escape the murderous fire. Seeing an apparently helpless vessel, Blackbeard brought the Adventure alongside and personally led the charge onto the deck of the British sloop. He soon met Maynard face to face, but as Blackbeard charged, the commander grazed his skull with a pistol. A Royal marine dealt the pirate a terrible neck wound with his saber. Blackbeard fought with Maynard, until he finally fell dead at his enemy's feet. A later examination revealed that the pirate had suffered over thirty major wounds. In a grisly gesture, Maynard severed Blackbeards head from his body and hung the disfigured visage upon the bowsprit.
It can be said with some certainty that evil men often perform vicious and cruel deeds that return to haunt them at a later time. Some years before this terrifying battle at sea, Blackbeard is said to have fallen in love with a beautiful girl who rejected his love for that of a handsome seaman. To indicate her love of the man she had chosen, she gave him her ring to wear on his left hand. Some time later, Blackbeard attacked this sailor’s ship. The pirate recognized his rival and promptly cut off his hand. Placing the severed hand in an ornate silver box, he sent it off to the young lady. She fainted when she opened the box, and shortly afterwards died of a broken heart. There is an old Biblical teaching that reminds us that in this life we often reap what we sow. Blackbeard lived by his saber and eventually perished by the same instrument of torture and death.