In The Story of Ocracoke Island, the authors write that "It is difficult today for those who know the peaceful somnolence of Ocracoke to picture the events of [the] Revolutionary days.... The part played by Occacock Inlet in the Revolutionary War was vital indeed to the armies of General Washington."
They go on to recount the events of April 14-17, 1776, when "the vessel Polly, which, when bound on a voyage from Edenton to Madiera, was captured...by one John Goodrich, commanding his Majesty's Ship Lilly...."
John Goodrich and his son, William, had earlier conspired to aid the Virginia Committee of Safety by procuring gunpowder from the West Indies for the patriots. After capture and "re-education" the Goodriches were convinced to affirm loyalty to the Crown. Captain Goodrich subsequently acquired command of the armed sloop Lilly and, on April 14 captured, and claimed as his prize, the patriots' merchant schooner Polly as it was sailing through Ocracoke Inlet. On the same day her Majesty's armed sloop, Fincastle, under command of the privateer, Lt. Wright, captured and plundered the Lilly.
Three days later, on April 17, five whaleboats full of armed Ocracoke Inlet pilots boarded the Lilly's tender. They captured the Lilly along with Capt. Goodrich and his crew. Goodrich was taken as prisoner to Charlottesville, Virginia, where he remained for at least eighteen months. The recaptured vessels were sent to New Bern and used by the revolutionaries as tenders for two North Carolina Navy brigantines.
You can read more here: http://www.carolana.com/NC/Revolution/revolution_ocracoke_inlet_1.html.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a history of Village Craftsmen (1970 - the Present). You can read the Newsletter here: