Robert Hilyard was far from the most likely pirate. He was the captain of the schooner Lilly Margaret and costal trade had been hard of late. It was owing to this that he decided to try his hand at being a Buccaneer.
He consulted his men, and they too were up for the enterprise, and with the two small defensive cannon on board they decided that they needed to up their firepower. After hard work on small jobs afloat and ashore, they managed to scrape together sufficient funds for a ten-pounder to augment the ship’s two six-pounders.
When all was ready the Lilly Margaret sailed from Philadelphia in search of prey. She sited a cargo vessel off of Cape Hatteras and set out in pursuit. As she was drawing near, a massive fog bank swallowed the two ships, but the relentless Hilyard carried onwards. At first he could see its running lights, but soon after he lost track of his quarry.
As the sun rose higher, the fog began to break up and the Lilly Margaret caught glimpse of a vessel ahead of her to starboard. The crew rolled out the guns and prepared to call for the ship to prepare to be boarded.
Hilyard grabbed his long-hailer and announced his presence. “Ahoy, vessel – this is the Black Lilly.”
Before he could continue his demand a voice came from the fog, “Ahoy vessel this is the US Frigate Essex.”
Hilyard gulped and quickly responded, “Hallo Essex, can you tell us how far it is to Charleston?”
Charles always was a bit of an odd character. He was a hard worker though, and because of that the captain overlooked most of his eccentricities.
His tendency to speak with the stressed Rs of a Hollywood pirate got on the nerves of some of his shipmates though. What really did their heads in though was his “practices.”
And exactly what did he practice? Well things like climbing the mast. Yes, the 3 metre mast with no rigging. Worst of all, however, was his “mutiny drill,” where he would spend hours “walking the plank.”
“Uncle. Do you know that Dutch merchantman we passed this morning? It has turned and is following us,” young Ben Taylor reported. “It has taken down its flag and put up an odd black one instead.”
“Uncle Will” immediately ordered that the East India Company colours be lowered from his own gaff, and that the White Ensign be hoisted.
“Clear the decks,” he shouted, and the men of HMS Greyhound pulled canvas off of their “cargo” revealing the ship’s 18 guns. The ruse had worked again and yet another pirate was going to feel Commander “Uncle Will” Monroe’s Greyhound’s bite.
“Still waters run deep.” What an amazing metaphor. But out on the big pond, still waters are a godsend. “The Deep,” has her moments of calm, but Magellan got it wrong when he named the Pacific. This expanse of deep shows her temper far too often.
Well, that is what the still waters of Petty Officer Mike Sanchez’s mind were pondering as he checked the lifeline on his harness, and made his way from the gun deck of his destroyer. As he did, the vessel pitched headlong into a trough, and the bow disappeared into a next rising peak.