Pirates, Privateers, and Rebel Raiders of the Carolina Coast

By Lindley S. Butler

296 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 32 illus., 6 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4863-0
    Published: June 2000
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7256-2
    Published: December 2015
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-2598-0
    Published: December 2015

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North Carolina possesses one of the longest, most treacherous coastlines in the United States, and the waters off its shores have been the scene of some of the most dramatic episodes of piracy and sea warfare in the nation's history. Now, Lindley Butler brings this fascinating aspect of the state's maritime heritage vividly to life. He offers engaging biographical portraits of some of the most famous pirates, privateers, and naval raiders to ply the Carolina waters.

Covering 150 years, from the golden age of piracy in the 1700s to the extraordinary transformation of naval warfare ushered in by the Civil War, Butler sketches the lives of eight intriguing characters: the pirate Blackbeard and his contemporary Stede Bonnet; privateer Otway Burns and naval raider Johnston Blakeley; and Confederate raiders James Cooke, John Maffitt, John Taylor Wood, and James Waddell. Penetrating the myths that have surrounded these legendary figures, he uncovers the compelling true stories of their lives and adventures.

About the Author

Lindley S. Butler, professor emeritus of history at Rockingham Community College, is a volunteer diver with the North Carolina Underwater Archaeology Unit and historical consultant on the Queen Anne's Revenge Shipwreck Project.
For more information about Lindley S. Butler, visit the Author Page.


"Butler vividly recounts the deeds of this group of men, chronicles their lives and ultimate fates and, in general, provides an eminently readable and accurate tale of the region's rascals."--Publishers Weekly

"In this compact and breezy survey, [Butler] examines the lives of eight pirates and sea raiders who operated along the Carolina coast between the early eighteenth century and the end of the Civil War. He treats his characters with objectivity, although a bemused affection frequently shines through. This is an informative and enjoyable work of regional history."--Booklist

"By combining. . . biography and maritime history, and by emphasizing drama and adventure, [this book] will surely appeal to many general readers, especially those who already have an interest in its place, people, and topics."--Journal of Southern History

"A clarifying document that debunks certain popular myths . . . while verifying others and illuminating fascinating details that have been elided from the mythology."--Oxford American

"Lindley Butler brings . . . our state's maritime heritage to life."--Winston-Salem Journal

"[This book] will appeal to a wide audience. Not only are the subjects intriguing, but Butler writes felicitously, turning the right phrase. . . . The sea and its freebooters, rogues, and patriots come alive at the pen of one familiar with maritime life and schooled in the historical context of his subjects."--American Neptune