Thursday, November 8, 2012
Ships: Queen Anne's Cannon
As this article from Hampton Roads notes, some of the more interesting guns were found to be loaded when hoisted up. This goes against naval philosophy of the time - the Royal Navy rarely if ever pre-loaded guns - and may point to a common practice among pirates of the Golden Age. Or perhaps this was simply a common practice of Blackbeard's.
Queen Anne's Revenge was sunk, not in battle, but after hitting a sandbar near the inlet where it now lies. This occurred in July or August of 1718 and Blackbeard met his end at the hands of Royal Navy pirate hunters the following November. There is no record that the QAR sank during a battle or chase, so we must imagine that the guns were loaded simply in preparation.
The cannon are now being kept in a warehouse at the ECU campus where they are taking a long bath in a sodium-carbonate solution to remove close to 300 years of seaworthy crust. Other items, including more guns, have been left in situ where they too are being cleaned by carefully place anodes which draw away the accumulated corrosion. As archaeologist David Moore puts it in the article: "We're using the bottom of the ocean as a conservation space."
A former French slaver, Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge was one of the larger and more elegant pirate ships of any era. She carried over 20 guns, had four decks, three masts and a spacious great cabin complete with gilt fixtures. Her loss must have been a sore trial for the man whose real name was Edward Teach.
On a final curious note, the article mentions that Edward's name may have been Thatch rather than Teach. That's one I have not heard before.
Header: Ocracoke Inlet Map by Henry Mouson c 1775 via Wikipedia