On Nov. 13, 1821, Captain Barnabas Lincoln and his crew, including a Newfoundlander, set sail from Boston aboard the schooner Exertion. They were bound for the Cuban town of Trinidad loaded with foodstuffs and furniture.
They had no idea what they were in for, but the tome-like title of the skipper’s 40-page account, completed in April 1822, pretty much sums it up:
Narrative of the Capture, Sufferings and Escape of Capt. Barnabas Lincoln And His Crew, Who Were Taken By a Piratical Schooner, December, 1821, Off Key Largo; Together With Facts Illustrating the Character of Those Piratical Cruisers.
Lincoln wrote his account, he said, largely because pirates had “infested” the southern coasts of the United States.
“If this narrative should effect any good, or urge our...