Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ocracoke and the American Revolution

Ellen Fulcher Cloud has collected a prodigious amount of information about the history of Ocracoke and Portsmouth islands. In her 2006 book, Portsmouth, the Way it Was, she writes this about Ocracoke pilots in 1777:

"Ocracoke Inlet was one of the most important inlets of the Revolution. The British soon became aware of this, and in 1777 Ocracoke Inlet...was threatened when the British unsuccessfully attempted a blockade. Vessels continued to slip in with supplies and privateers were sneaking out. However the British were successful in capturing some of our vessels. On April 14 the British ship LILY, captured the vessel POLLY, and a privateer on the same day recaptured the POLLY and disarmed the LILY. The Pilots at Ocraocke Inlet showed their determination to keep the inlet open for shipping. For three days a group of armed pilots manned five whale boats, proceeded out of the Inlet and captured both vessels and took them to New Bern."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about the Unionist North Carolina State Government established at Hatteras in 1861. You can read all about it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092114.htm

6 comments:

  1. Kevin1:44 PM

    Philip, you left out the best part of the story! The Lilly was working in tandem with a British warship, the Fincastle, which was a few hours behind. When the Fincastle arrived in Ocracoke, they were unaware that the Polly had been captured, sent out a boarding party, and captured her all over again. Very thorough, those British!

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    1. Thanks, Kevin. I left out the best part because I didn't know it. But I have found several references on the Internet. Do you have a particularly good reference to share?

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  2. Kevin3:06 PM

    The reference is from a book you encouraged me to purchase a while back: The Outer Banks of North Carolina, by David Stick. In my edition the episode is covered in the chapter "The Revolution," pages 44-47 or so. And hey, check out the name of the 2nd Lt. of the Ocracoke Company, on page 48: James Wahob!

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    1. Thanks, Kevin. I am not at home right now, so I will take a look at that chapter again when I get back.

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  3. Anonymous5:06 PM

    Off-topic question, if I may, Philip: any recommendations re. fresh seafood on the island this time of year? Where to purchase? What's in season? I suspect James Barrie's all packed up for the year. We're Ocracoke-bound next week and would appreciate any tips you may be willing to share. Thank you--as always.

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    1. The Fish House (on the harbor next to the Jolly Roger restaurant) is still open, but with abbreviated hours. A new fish house, Native Seafood, opened recently. It is next to the bank, on Highway 12. James Barrie closed up in September.

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