Late in the fall of 1717, the pirates made their way to the eastern Caribbean. It was here, off the island of Martinique, that Blackbeard and his fellow pirates captured the French slaveship La Concorde — a vessel he would keep as his flagship and rename Queen Anne’s Revenge.
After crossing the Atlantic during its third journey, and only 100 miles from Martinique, the French ship encountered Blackbeard and his company. According to a primary account, the pirates were aboard two sloops, one with 120 men and twelve cannon, and the other with thirty men and eight cannon.
With the French crew already reduced by sixteen fatalities and another thirty-six seriously ill from scurvy and dysentery, the French were powerless to resist. After the pirates fired two volleys at La Concorde, Captain Dosset surrendered the ship. From there, Blackbeard and an eventual company of 300 would plunder the coast, using the waters near Ocracoke Island as a hideout.
300 years later, Blackbeard’s flag with the horned skeleton holding a spear and hourglass will fly aboard North Carolina ferries this year.
The state is recognizing the 300th anniversary this year of Blackbeard plundering along the coast until he lost his head in a battle at Ocracoke on Nov. 22, 1718.
“It will be a reminder for all of our passengers that they’re plying the same waters that Blackbeard sailed 300 years ago,” Ferry Division Director Harold Thomas said in a release.
The flag will fly on three ferry routes serving Ocracoke and the route between Bayview and Aurora, the release said.