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Date:10/21/2014 10:10:05 PM
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You see Sam peering through the telescope at a
ship off in the distance. He notices you as you take your perch. 'Ello! Aye, takes a perch & listens to the last that was ever heard from the good Captain Lafitte & his Baratarians. It was like this....

A fleet of eight ships left Barataria Bay in April of 1817. Its crews didn't look back. Many of his original colony, including brother Pierre & Dominque Youx followed Lafitte in search of a new port of call. They still called him bos.

They first docked in Santo Domingo, hoping to re-ingratiate themselves with the smugglers there in hopes of returning to the profession they knew best. But, the Hispanically-inclined government still remembered & resented the way the Baratarians had picked on its ships. They were told to leave.

Realizing it would be much the same throughout the Caribbean, they returned to the Gulf & settled on the deserted Galveston Island off Texas. Galveston was also owned by Spain, but Mexico, of which Texas was a province, was fighting for its independence. In return for being allowed to remain on the isle, Lafitte accepted a privateering commission from the Mexican revolutionaries to attack as many Spanish ships as possible. The booty would be his. It was like old times again.

Galveston Lafitte called it Campeche, its original name greatly resembled Grande Terre. His experience in settling up a smuggling operation engendered Lafitte to make lucrative contracts on the east coast of Texas through which he could transport his contraband inland to growing towns that required provisioning. One of his slave runners was a young adventurer & mercenary named James Bowie who would later reach hero status after dying at the Battle of the Alamo.

On Campeche, Lafitte built a fine, two-story brick haven called Maison Rouge (Red House) after the color he painted it. Half home, half fort, it offered excellent living quarters and rooms in which to entertain business partners, as well as a barracks for his men. Cannon barrels protruded from its upper portholes over the Gulf. Around it sprang the warehouses of trade, a slave quarters, cattle pens, taverns & frame cottages of his crew.

Lyle Saxon gives an excellent description of the village at its most active. "More buccaneers arrived, bringing their women with them; an ever-increasing number of traders came to the settlement; & there was a constant infusion of men of all nations gamblers, thieves, murderers & other criminals who joined Lafitte's colony in order to escape punishment for crimes committed within the borders of the United States. Numerous rich prizes were brought in, including several captured slavers loaded with Africans. 'Doubloons,' says one writer, 'were as plentiful as biscuits.'"

But, Campeche was not to last. The reasons were many.

For one, Lafitte had blundered in allowing too many fugitives-from-the-law to penetrate his new colony.
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