Tag Archives: privateers

Grand Terre Island

The climatic action in Dewey Lambdin’s Alan Lewrie novel, The Captain’s Vengeance, takes place on Grand Terre Island.

Grand Terre, at the top of the above image (for orientation Barataria Bay is to the left and the Gulf of Mexico to the right), was a longtime haunt of pirates and privateersmen. Barataria Bay was virtually impossible to find unless you were looking for it.

Jean Lafitte, who has a cameo role in Lambdin’s novel, used Grand Terre as his base of operations until about 1814 when the US Navy became concerned with protecting commerce to its newly acquired Gulf ports. By 1815 the fact that New Orleans was under military government made Grand Terre and Barataria Bay unsuitable for pirates. Many of them decamped to Cuba and to Galveston, TX.


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Filed under Age of Sail, Alan Lewrie Novels, Geography, Naval Fiction

“…and some days the bear eats you.”


During wars of the Age of Sail merchantmen of all nations had to run a gauntlet of privateers. English ships in the West Indies and coming down Channel had to constantly on the lookout for the swift, heavily manned ships carrying letters of marque.

Privateers were a commercial venture and commerce only pays if you are alive at the end of the day. They trod that fine line between daring and recklessness, picked their victims carefully, and similarly broke off their attacks if they met stiff resistance. One must presume that in most cases a privateer would prevail once it had chosen its prey.

But sometimes not.

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Filed under Age of Sail, Naval Operations Ashore, The Rest of the Story