Professional Research & Maritime Historian, Author, & Conservator

HMS Phoenix, 22 Feb-11 Apr 1718 log entries

HMS Phoenix, 22 Feb-11 Apr 1718 log entries

While the preceding passage appears in Quest for Blackbeard, the genealogies of various pirates will be explored in similar depth in Brooks’ Dictionary of Pyrate Biography, currently in the planning stages.

Brooks has over 35 years of experience in genealogical research, has worked as a professional genealogist, and lately studied in the Maritime Studies Program at East Carolina University as a professional historian.

His upcoming peer-reviewed article, “ ‘Born in Jamaica of Very Creditable Parents’ or ‘A Bristol Man Born’? Excavating the Real Edward Thache, ‘Blackbeard the Pirate’ “ in the July issue of North Carolina Historical Review includes the genealogy of the most famous pirate of them all!

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Bearing & Dist of Known head Lands last seen

Remarkable Observations &c

22 Feb 1717/8

Standing off & on of Harbour Island

Fresh gales and Squally Lay too all night att 6 this morning Saw Harbour Island bearing SSW 3 Leagues stood off & on till noon making of Signalls for a Boat but none appear'd

23 Feb 1717/8

Lying too off Providence Harbour

Moderate and fair bore away for Providence att 10 this morning was off that Harbour; where lay severall Ships & Sloops with Colours of all Nations Flying I then brought too & sent my Lieutenant a Shoar with a Flagg of Truce & his Majesties Royall proclamation of the Act of Grace

24 Feb 1717/8

Att Anchor in Providence Harbour

Ditto  Yesterday in the Afternoon my Lieutenant Returned aboard and Informed me that he was receiv'd by a great number of Pyrate with much Civility to whom he read Publick the proclamation and they accepted the same with a great deall of Joy  all their Commanders did the like and sent me Information that a Sloop call'd the Lark was att anchor att Bushes Key with a design to goe out upon the Account again where upon I made saill thither  I found under Saill with Resolution to push out Between the Shoals but after I had fired severall Shott att her she bore down to me so I sent my Lieutenant on board and took Possession of her  she had but 16 Men wch: pretended she for going into the Harbour to Surrender them selves to me and to Accept of his Maj:ties Pardon in the Evening prov'd little wind and Continued all night so that I did not gett into the Harbour till 7 this morning att which time I anchored in 3 fathom & was Saluted by two of the pyrates Ships; Some of thes Commanders and Ringleaders came on board and Informed me that my taking the Sloop had very much alarm all the Pyrates in Generall beleiving that the Men taking [taken] in her would be Executed therefore the Said Commanders Assured me that my Setting att Liberty these Prisoners would be a very great means to induce these People to Surrender and Accept the act of Grace; which I accordingly did and this Confirm'd them all of his Majesties goodness towards them.

25 Feb 1717/8


Squally with rain here we found 5 ships 3 of them from 18: to 36 guns also 9 Sloops which were Traders with these Pyrates but pretended they never did itt till the Act of Grace was Published one of the Dutch man of 36 guns & another of 26: one an English Pink one a Bristoll Gally & the other a French Ship of no Force

26 Feb 1717/8


Squally weather a great many pirates came on board & Surrender'd themselves and accepted his Majesties most Gracious Pardon & took my Certificates for their Protection to carry them to Government

27 Feb 1717/8


Fresh gales Severall Pyrates came on board & Surrenderd themselves

28 Feb 1717/8


Ditto a Sloop came in from Carolina Severall Pirates took Certificates

1 Mar 1717/8


Hard gales and Squally att 10 last night our anchors came home and the Ship Taild a ground att midnight hove off again itt being then high water and the wind abated the Pyrates sett one of the ships on fire this morning hoisted all our Colours & att noon fired 15 guns being his Royall Highness Prince of Wales birth day

2 Mar 1717/8


Moderate gales the Ship grounded att Low water these two Tides past

3 Mar 1717/8


Fresh gales 

4 Mar 1717/8


Moderate gales this morning Unmoored and new birth

5 Mar 1717/8


Three Sloops Sailed Severall of the pirates that took Certificates went them Passengers

6 Mar 1717/8


Ditto Last night John Nichols my Gunner Departed this Life

7 Mar 1717/8


Ditto fired 8 guns att the Buriall of my Gunner

8 Mar 1717/8


Fresh gales struck yds & topmast & got them up again

9 Mar 1717/8


Moderate gales and fair weather

10 Mar 1717/8



11 Mar 1717/8


Ditto Severall pirates for these ten past took my Certificate

12 Mar 1717/8

In Providence Harbour

Fair weather and moderate gales

13 Mar 1717/8



14 Mar 1717/8


Ditto  four Sloops sailed: for Carolina, Bermuders Rhode Island and Virginia Severall Pyrates that took Certificates went in them Passengers

15 Mar 1717/8


Moderate and fair 

16 Mar 1717/8



17 Mar 1717/8


Ditto two Sloop came in from South Carolina

18 Mar 1717/8


Ditto Last night 16 of the pirates went away in a boat to the W:ward with a Design to goe a pirating again

19 Mar 1717/8


Ditto this morning I had Information that 24 of the Pirates went away with a boat from the Shoar in order to joyn those that went the night before

20 Mar 1717/8


Ditto Loosd Foretopsaill for Sailing & made a Signall for all Masters of Merchant men

21 Mar 1717/8


Little wind this day the Pyrates in their boats took a Sloop come from Jamaica coming in to the Eastward

22 Mar 1717/8


Ditto att 1 this morning sent my Pinnace Man'd & Arm'd to Surprize the Pyrates on board the above mentioned Sloop; but they being too Strong she was Oblidged after Exchanging severall small Shott to return'd on board I Summon'd the Inhabitants to Assist me in Surprizing these pirates but by their Actions; they Seem'd more inclinable to Assist y:m [them] then to Reduce them

23 Mar 1717/8


Fair weather and Small gales Last Evening I sailed in Company with 4 Sloops to see them safe off the Coast which was under apprehension of falling in the Pirates hands att 8 AM Spoke with a Sloop from Harbour Island & prevented here from being taken

24 Mar 1717/8

Att Noon Providence Harbour SSW Distance 3 Lgs

Ditto att 9 Last night parted Company with the said Sloops then stood off and on to prevent any Trade from going into Providence which if they had must unavoidably fall into the hands of the Pyrates this morning Saw the Pirates sloop among the Island with a Red Flagg att her Mast Head

25 Mar 1718

Providence SBW [South by West?] 4 Lgs

Small gales and fair weather stood off & on this 24 hours

26 Mar 1718

Booby Rocks SEbE 3 Leagues


27 Mar 1718

Providence So: 3: Lgs

Ditto this morning Spoke with a Sloop from Jamaca which now keeps me Company

28 Mar 1718

Att Noon Providence SWBS 5 Leagues

Little wind and fair weather I Yesterday Streched off the Harbour mouth of Providence and made a Signall for a boat, but none came off so I stood off to Sea again with the Said sloop in Company

29 Mar 1718

Att Anchor in Providence Harbour in 3 fathom the Castle SSE Hogg Island yst: [at?] NW

Little wind sometimes Calm this morning bore away for Providence the said sloop in Company att 10 anchored in 3 Fathom in same birth as formerly, Since I went out a Cruizing the Pirates Burnt the biggest of the Dutch Ships and the Bristoll Gally and the other Dutch Ship of 26 guns they sett adrift ashore on Hogg Island where she now has Bilg'd

30 Mar 1718


Ditto this morning Hesl'd ship and Scrub'd her

31 Mar 1718


Ditto This morning the Pirate sloop which is the Jamaca Sloop I formerly mention'd they had taken with their boats anchored to the Eastward of the harbour with a Sloop called the Lark which they had taken 2 days agoe off Harbour Island

1 Apr 1718


Ditto last Evening a boat came from the Pirates with several hands on board her  I fired Severall guns with round Shott & patridge att her to Command her a board Notwithstanding which she push'd a Shore

2 Apr 1718


Fresh gales and fair weather: Yesterday 2 Sloops appear'd coming in to the Eastward, where the Pirates lay att anchor which I expected to be the Sloops from Harbour Island bound on the Racks whereupon I Loos'd my Topgt. sailes and hoisted them with the Sheets flying and fired severall guns as signals to them to attack the Pirates but they proving to be trading sloops and so fell into the hands of the Pirates

3 Apr 1718


Fresh gales and fair weather

4 Apr 1718

In Providence Harbour

Moderate and fair Yesterday the Lark sloop on board of which the Pirates removed themselves weighed and hoisted a Black flagg att her Masthead not Long After they anchor'd of[f] the Point and ridd with the said Flagg flying in the night they put to Sea & was not Seen this morning

5 Apr 1718


Ditto this morning unmoard

6 Apr 1718


Fresh gales Yesterday moar'd This morning 3 Sloops came in from Harbour Island bound on the Racks

7 Apr 1718


Yesterday an accident happen'd by the neglect of the Carpenter and his people, who were healing some pitch in the Fore Castle which boiled over and sett the ship on Fire but was soon extinguished; I Confin'd the Carpenter for neither him self nor any of the Crew attended the pitch when on the Fire neither had any direction from my Self or any of his Superior Officers to make use of any att this time

8 Apr 1718


Moderate & fair att 6 AM made a signall for Masters of Merchant men

9 Apr 1718

Att Noon Providence So: 2 1/2 League

Ditto this morning made a signall for Masters of Merchant Men & to weigh att 10 Sailed but had the Misfortune to run aground coming out of the harbour on the Et:most Bank but in a small time back off again without receiving any Damage that we know off 5 Sloops sailed in Company with us 4 of which parted Company not Long after we came out which was bound on the Racks

10 Apr 1718

Providence Harbour So: 1/2 E 7 Leagues

Ditto  Last Evening spoke with a Sloop from Bermudus for providence att 7 AM not being able to weather Abbaco I tackt and stood to ye: S:ward

11 Apr 1718

Att Noon the South most part of Abbaco bore So: 62 Wt: Dist 22 M[iles?]

Ditto Yesterday PM Saw a Saill to the Westward to which I gavew chase att 3 came up with here: she prov'd to be French ship Piratically taken from the French & was now Loaden with hides; which Hornogold had also taken from the Dutch  I found in her in Possession of 15 Men; that were all Lately Pirates therefore I Seiz'd her for his Majestie took most of the Men out & Mann'd her out of his Maj:ts ship under my Command and then made Sail having given directions to my Gunner who I put in Commander of her to keep me Company and to Observe my Signalls according to the Instructions I gave him  She was called the John & Elizabeth

after 12 Apr 1718


[From here… Phoenix sailed north, past Abaco Island to Virginia, and then on to New York]