In Blackbeard's Wreckage, Proof of Terror

Cannons fired bags of nails, to maim people but leave ships intact
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2011 6:28 AM CDT
Blackbeard's Ship, Queen Anne's Revenge,
A 3,000 pound anchor from the wreckage of Blackbeard's flagship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, is recovered from the ocean where it has been since 1718, on Friday, May 27, 2011 in Beaufort Inlet, NC.   (AP Photo/The News & Observer, Robert Willett)

(Newser) – Blackbeard's ship, Queen Anne's Revenge, now being explored by marine archeologists off the coast of North Carolina, is giving up more than just its treasures, it's also revealing the infamous pirate's terrifying tactics. And what researchers are finding are an ingenious array of improvised weapons, designed to injure and incapacitate as many people as possible, while leaving ships and their valuable cargo intact, reports the Telegraph. The wreckage has yielded cannon that fired canvas bags filled with glass, nails, and spikes, or batches of nine-inch bolts—devastating to humans, but not so much to ships.

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"These weapons would terrorize the enemy," said the expedition's leader. “This vessel is heavily armed but the crew are not using that many cannonballs. Mostly, they seem to have used these improvised missiles that can be used to take out the crew or disarm the other ship’s sails." But more than just maiming people, Blackbeard's goal appears to have been to win without fighting at all. "Their aim was to capture a ship by intimidation and leave it in pristine condition," said one expert. "They didn’t want to damage the ship or its cargo." Click to see what else has been raised from the wreckage. (Read more Blackbeard stories.)

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