Realistic? Maybe not. But romantic, exciting and patriotic, definitely. And yet there were those who found this notion offensive.
None of the Jean Laffite aficionados was offended by this plot device, but Theodosia apologists were. Is there a double standard in play here? And why do people like having pirates as bad guys in historical novels set in the War of 1812, when it is the British who behaved badly toward the American public?