This is an old American legend
The Dismal Swamp Ship
Among the buccaneers from the West Indies who afflicted the American coast, “Spadebeard” was one of the worst. He looked every bit the devil that he was. His eyes were like fire, his hair and beard were glossy and coal black, he was alternately treacherous and imperious.
He had fallen in with an English merchant-ship that had been separated from her convoy in a gale, and had turned her adrift after killing all of her crew and stolen all her treasure, for she was freighted with bullion.
Before the frigate which was her convoy could attack, he had run in behind the Virginia sandkeys and escaped. But heaven’s vengeance he could not thwart. An immense tidal wave swept against the shore. The pirate vessel was lifted upon it and carried inland, mile after mile, through the cypresses, and left among the tres when the tide flowed back.
There, in the Dismal Swamp, among bayous barely wide enough to give her passage, this shattered hulk is doomed to cruise forever. Her rigging and sails are gone, but swamp-moss has grown to her masts and spars in their place, and the crew, wasted to skeletons and gray with mold, still work the ship, reef in gales with dangling snakes, and yell oaths and blasphemies.
Spade-beard, with one arm off at the shoulder and a piece broken out of his head, copes with phantom enemies and fires silent broadsides of green light from rusty cannon into the melancholy woods. Pale gleams flit over the deck and shine through seams in the hull. This dreadful ship is usually seen in thunder-storms, at night, and is often struck by lightning, though never disabled. Guides and hunters in the swamp dread it beyond all other things of this world, for whoever meets it is doomed to death within a year.
Happy English learning!!