So, you’ve come seeking adventure and salty old pirates, aye? Sure, you’ve come to the proper place…
Those immortal words are from Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean and serve as a welcome warning to those who have arrived for what lies ahead. This week we take you back to the city the British used to refer to as America’s “Nest of Pirates”, Baltimore.
In Fells Point, Baltimore’s immersive old port section, the history seems to come up through the cobblestone in the streets. Walk along its roads and you could swear you hear the whispers of privateers conspiring to raid a British merchant vessel coming from one of the numerous taverns. Has the brash Captain Thomas Boyle come back to add to his tally of sunken British ships?
Captain Boyle was perhaps America’s most famous and feared privateer captain. He commanded the clipper Chasseur, a ship born and bred in Baltimore, the city that boasted America’s largest privateer fleet during the War of 1812. With it he wreaked havoc upon British commerce. During the war, while taking many prizes along the coast of Great Britain, he even sent ashore a proclamation to the crown that declared a blockade of the entire conutry…by only his ship! Yes, we can imagine the good Captain taking great pride in his own sense of humor. Soon Fells Point and all of Baltimore would refer to the Chasseur as the “Pride of Baltimore”.
Now I can’t say this for certain, but Captain Boyle, or at least the large majority of those who served under him, probably enjoyed a mug or two of grog after a long voyage. If he were around today, I would point the good captain in the direction of the Wharf Rat. It is certainly a place where a group of privateers could grab a few pints and make the rafters roar.
Posted by: David McBride @ American Public House Review