north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

      Ocracoke Inlet, leading from the Atlantic Ocean into the Pamlico Sound, was an important entry point for shipping from the earliest days of the colony. The Tiger, the flagship of Sir Richard Grenville’s fleet, stranded in Ocracoke Inlet in June 1585 while trying to reach Roanoke Island and Sir Walter Raleigh’s colonists. The inlet appears on the Ogilby map of 1671, identified as “Ocock.” On John Lawson’s map published in 1709, the inlet has the present spelling.

      Edward Teach’s, aka “Blackbeard's,” career ended in 1718 at Ocracoke Inlet. There he encountered an armed contingent sent by Virginia Governor Alexander Spotswood and led by Lieutenant Robert Maynard. In a desperate battle aboard Maynard's sloop, Blackbeard and a number of his fellow pirates were killed. Maynard returned to Virginia with the surviving pirates and the grim trophy of Blackbeard's severed head.

      During the American Revolution, Ocracoke Inlet served ships supplying American troops. After a hurricane in 1846, when Hatteras Inlet and Oregon Inlet opened, Ocracoke Inlet lost much of its prominence. Extensive shoaling led commercial boats to use the other, deeper inlets.

      In the early stages of the Civil War, Ocracoke Inlet was protected by Fort Ocracoke, constructed on Beacon Island, about one mile inside the inlet. With the fall of Forts Hatteras and Clark in August 1861, Fort Ocracoke, also known as Fort Morgan, was abandoned. During the course of the occupation of coastal and eastern North Carolina, federal forces sank several schooners loaded with rocks in the inlet, blocking its use for the rest of the war.

Carl Goerch, Ocracoke (1956)
David Stick, Graveyard of the Atlantic (1952)
David Stick, The Outer Banks of North Carolina (1958)
Captain Charles Johnson, A General History of the Robberies & Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates (1998)
Hugh F. Rankin, The Pirates of North Carolina,/i> (1960)
William S. Powell, North Carolina Gazetteer (1968)
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north carolina highway historical marker program

Blackbeard the Pirate

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources