SECRET ACTS, RESOLUTIONS, AND INSTRUCTIONS
EAST FLORIDA WAS INVADED 3 c/
United States Troops, Naval Forces, and Volunteers,
ItN 1812 AjD 1813;
TOGTBBE WITH TBH
AGENTS AND OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT,
SHOWING THAT THE PRETENDED REVOLUTION WA EXCITED BY THE AGENTS OF THE
UNITED STATES AS A COvER TO TO SEIZURE or THE PRovINCEI; AND THAT TUH
EXnCUTIV GOVHRNMHEI T HECRBTLY SANOTIHOED AND ABETTED THE SAID INVASION,
SIS JUTLTY HESPONSIBLH FOR ALL INHlmI WHICH EHULTED FTROM IT;
AND THAT ACTIVE HOSTILITIES WORE CARBIm ON TFOM MARH,
1812, UTIL THE MIDDLH OF MA, 1813. (ee Cntentms, sotpage.)
Coo ,er i-'dU" S
GEO. S. GIDEON, PRINTER.
Secret act, resolutions and instructions of 1811..................................... 3, 4, 5
Patriot war planned and.gotten up in Georgia.................... .................... 5, 6
Gen'l Matthews, the agent of the U. S., invades E. Florida, nnder pretence of a
revolution excited by himself...................... ...... ................................. 6 to 18
His official correspondence, movements and orders...................................... 6 to 18
His plot to invade E. Florida disclosed to the government by Major Laval...... 12, 13
Inhabitants forced to join the invaders................................ .............(Note) 15, 16
Matthews declares to the Secretary of State that all his acts werejustified by "con-
fidential instructions and conversations" of the President.......................... 18
Other disclosureby Major Laval.............................................................. 18, 19
Official correspondence of Commodore Campbell showing his co-operation with
Gen'l Matthews.............................................................................. 19 to 25
The British Minister notifies the Secretary of State of Matthews's revolutionary
proceedings in East Florida, on the 5th Sept'r, 1811.............................,..... 25
Governor Troup's note to Secretary Monroe, suggesting a plan to evade the re-
sponsibility of the invasion................................................................. 26, 27
Gov. Mitchell appointed to supersede Matthews as S. agent-instructions to
hold the country seized Mfatthews ................... ... ................................ 2T to 30
Correspondence, orders, &o., of Gov. Mitchell, and active prosecution of the
war by him till superseded by Gen'l Pinckney in Nov'r, 1812................... 31 to 50
Secret proceedings in Congress in June and July, 1812..........................(Note) 41, 42
Universaldesolation of East Florida, &c.......................................... (Note) 45, 46
Gov. Mitchell's acts approved by the President.......................................... 49, 50
Official correspondence of Col. Smith, the Commander of the U. S. forces, with
the U. S. agents, and the War Department, &c....................................... 51 to 60
Desolatiom of the country andflight of the inaitants ..................................... 55, 57
Gen'l Pinckney appointed to supersede Gov. Mitchell-his correspondence,
orders, &c...................................... .......... ...................................... 61.to 0
He condemns the conduct of the Government, and declares its obligation to
make indemnity ................................................................................. 61, 62
Measures for the active prosecution of the invasion during the winter of 1812,
'13, and for the siege of St. Augustine................................................... 63, 64
First overture for the withdrawal of the U. S. troops on the 26th March, 1813... 64
Orders for the withdrawal and acknowledgment that the occupation was by
order of the "E ecuive"................................ ............................. 66
Deetruction of property by the troops in the act of evacuating the country............ 68, 69
INVASION OF EAST FLORIDA, ke,
On 15th January, 1811, Congress passed a Joint "Resolutio in
relation to the occupation of Florida," as follows:
"Taking into view the peculiar situation of Spain and of her
Amerioan provinces, and considering the iofluenee whih the des-
tiny of the territory adjoining the southern-border of the United
States may have upon their security, tranquillity, and commerce,
On the same day was passed "An act to enable thea President of
Se. 2. That one hundred thousa dollars be appropriated for
as he may direct, for the protection and maintenance of the inhabi-
tants of the said territory in the full enjoyment of their liberty,
property and religion.*" Approved Jan'y 15th, 1811. (lb. Stat.
at L.,p. 472.)
On the 3d March, 1811, an act was passed to keep the aforesaid
resolution and act secret, by the non-publication of the same. (2 Stat.
at L., p. 666.)
On the 26th of January, 1811, instructions were issued by the
Secretary of State to "General George Matthews and Colonel John
McKee," reciting that the President had appointed them "jointly
and severally commissioners for carrying into effect" the aforesaid
act, and directing them to "repair to that quarter (Florida) with
all possible expedition, concealing from general observation the trust
committed to them, (you,) with that discretion which the delicacy
and importance of the undertaking require."
The instructions, like the act, had a double aspect-one, in case
of a voluntary surrender of the country by the governor or "local au-
thority existing there;" and the other, in case such a voluntary
surrender was refused; and, in the latter event, the commissioners
were instructed that, "should there be room to entertain a sus-
picion of an existing design in any foreign power to occupy the
country in question," they were to keep themselves "on the alert,
and on the first undoubted manifestation of the approach of a force
for that purpose," they were to "exercise, with promptness and
vigor, the powers with which they (you) are invested by the Presi-
dent to pre-occupy by force the territory to the entire exclusion of
any armament that may be advancing to take possession of it."
They were further instructed as follows:
"The conduct you are to pursue in regard to East Florida must
*The subject of the foregoing act and joint resolution, the occupation of Florida, was
brought before Congress by a confidential message of President Madison on the 3d Jan-
uary, 1811, which was considered in secret session in theHouse of Representatives, and re-
ferred, on the same day, to a select committee. On the 5th of January, 1811, the com-
mittee to whom the message was referred reported a bill "authorizing the President to
occupy the territory therein mentioned, and for other purposes." On the same day
the same committee reported the foregoing joint resolution.
In the passage of the foregoing act and joint resolution, and of the act of 3d March,
1811, ep he same by their non-publtion, the ye and nays were taken
noless thanthbirty times; butunder theexcitementof thst arfedng, they were all passed
by large ajorities, showing that the seizure and occupation of Florida was popular,
both h the Executive and Congress.
(See Supplemental Journal of te House of Representatives, 1st Ssion of the 12th Con-
gress, pages 489 to 526.)
he reInt.ded by the mcra o YouR owN mU NM on a close View
Under the aforesaid resolution, act, and instructions, and also
under certain 'mf ntial rtioi and coversatio," asGen'l
Matthews alleges, he proceeded to cite the re, on and revol-
tion of 1812 and '13 in East Florida,
There is reason to believe that considerable progress had been
made in exciting a revolution in East Florida, by secret agents of
thi ger ent, fore th passage of the resolution and act of
..s. e .n r ,. -'e. .. .
"in... sean a.rr..gemet hue... been st.d," e Grge J F
tl 1- U [ [i i.o. I i I[ i jI i i i .
employed on the frontier endeavoring to induce the inhabitants to
rebel and take the country for the United States; sometimes on Ahe
frontiers of East Florida, and sometimes on those of West Florida."
(Statement of Mclntosh'e case, p. 13.)
Archibald Clark, a citizen of Georgia, who joined Gen'l Mat-
thews, and a highly respectable gentleman, swore that "this ex-
pedition, called the Patriot War, was planned and gotten wp by
General Matthews in Georgia." (Ib. p. 15) There is much other
confirmatory testimony to the same effect, but I proceed to the
official corespondence of the agent of te Government.
GENERAL GEORGE MAWTTHE, in a letter dated at "St. Mary's,
February 25th, 1811," to the Secretary of State, says:
On the 14th May, 1811, General Matthews address the Secre-
tary of State from Frt Stoddert.
On the ilth tay, 1811, General Matthews addresses the decre-
On the 28th June, 1811, he writes Mr. Monroe, then Secretary
of State, from "Summer Cantonment, Point Peter," a military
post in Georgia, near the Florida border.
L, i L I ,- F, .,
the best class of inhabitants there vie~w it with -jut and dreadful
Ina eterfrm enra Mtte~ t te ecetryofStte
"Alpresent I do no allach nunli cmdi to the rusor resj oe Sting
-;;I F.iq etr ugs 3,111"heBs
"8lrsntdno aldrmierrrdi o ~I1mo c~etEg
The above letter to the Secretary of State, fully disclosing Gen-
eral Matthews's aAVOLUwOn~ Y DIaINs upod East Florida, wa
written more t sven months before the invasion as made. Not
to have checked them after such a notice, makes the Government a
participatoa in them.
I. i ., I i. l,,, R! 4.. ",A.. i ... .. .1 ,,
tho,- !1 M
S"I was induced to leave the Oantonm#t at Point Peter, and
visit thiU .- ,i- : --, ... ,, ,_'
,-' ., '. t., ,,I,,, "' :..., i *-
., 1, ,_ ... ... ...... ...f1 e 1 1- i
Z.. -,1, .... .. .1 o J-
l., i ri.l. m l ,, r6,,....- ., a.,l -ii~ii l ,,,. ,, t,,,
O. the lata M-eh, O 8aaat St. M ary's, General Matthews ad
d-essed thefta .. ng q..t ororder t C--doe ConpBel
mending The United Sates naval forces on thaat station:
"D- Sm: Th. business up.. hinh we hax. --ered role-
Mcutsha this time to select out of the swords andysosuh
On this letter, Commodore Ca~mpbell made the following en-
If, I -- -~ I I r l i l d
;~ i :. 4 F r. .1-r~. -
r .I I II r.. .-Mr- I III-a.i -IT 'Lvm i.l Lb
t; .. I.:. I -11 J. Mi Mhi,. iuv;a. Qt. t.
i .~.., v... I ., -- oi .1 11l to "do every-
h... -in Itry; and in
:,;- l r a lito Tesign and act m
1bul Lisuat. Col. Smilh re-
have beenreded to the United- States. The tired has ariivad wh~n
The letter addressed by General Matthews to Major Laval, on-
,cr dote of Point Peter, 13th March, 1812," and enclosed in
the foregoing letter to Secretary Monroe, is as follo a:
iii., ii; i- ~. -I -r ... .I....... ..
ri !.. i -i ii' .i -' ..:, 1- .. 11.I
m, E ,'' : a -- l, i. i I i i ~ I i L
tion of. the province, preoccupy, possess, and defend it for the
" 3d. Will you, in conformity with your solemn pledge and en-
gagement to Mr. McIntosh, in the presence of Commodore Camp-
bell and myself, permit the 50 volunteers to proceed and execute
the duty allotted to them in that engagement?
Thecrisis, to which you are not a stranger, must once more
cause me to urge your immediate answer."
In a letter to Major Laval, of TH 14TH MARDn 1812, the same
date as the above letter to Secretary Monroe, General Matthews
This leter is dated three dys before the attck of the pre tended
. ;,,- r ... ... / . ;.,.'/
patriots (but really American citizens, instigated by Matthews)
Major Laval refused to obey the requisition of General Mat-
thews, and reported the proceedings of General Matthews to the
War Department, on the 16th March, as will presently be shown.
On the 15th March, General Matthews addressed the following
letter or order to Commodore Campbell:
. i I .- I., I, i .
.t I.. ,,
.4 -: .
c .* o o -.
'On the l6thl Murch, 1812, Major Laval made a report to.the
War Department, from which the following we extracts:
L'Sm: By,& oncrrence of circumstances inconceivable .to w
the troobssurnier my co munq to act in concert to so bass, an
a. I II
w-11 V- %I, c~ "'.-riil~lb L,'?
United Stat.e. and the .at I l s if I did not (comply.) and
week, a the and a who name you see inI
On the 1 Mc 1812, Fernandina wa aken by the forcs
river, aided and covered by the naval force under Commodore
ay at all.
"This oasioned the General then to try another scheme. the
su.rende. ud ... p l,. I ie o Isenclose.
o. No 4 ad No. *- r butfei
weekMi. and the Doc. Nommd 55, a epu36tah Congr whoess- the ame'ou see i
primmediaely. of ate)
...t.. thstcu1h tiohn aptrtet in this letter. tam trit at 2
On the 17th March, 1812, Fernandina was taken by the forces
assembled by Gen'l Matthews on the Florida side of the St. Mary's
river, aided and covered by the naval force under Commodore
On the 16th March, and again on the morning of the 17th, the
Spanish post at Fernandina, on Amelia island, was summoned to
surrender, under the penalty, in case of forcible resistance, of bc
ing shown no quarter (See
Docw. o. 4 and No. r ; ; ... being
Mis. esiata Doc. No. 55, lst ses. 36th Congress--thepaVer lately
printed by order of thc Senate.)
On the surrender of the post, the pretended patriot flag was raised,
and on the next day a mock formality of-a pretended surrender by
the patriot forces to the United States took place, and the United
States troops tookformal possession, and raised the American flag.*
The statement of this transaction, given by Judge Bronson in his de-
cision in the case of Ferreira, pages 36, 37, and 38, is shown by cor-
respondence in the Departments to be literally correct.
In a letter, or report, from Gen'l Matthews to Secretary Monroe,
dated East Florida, Fernandina, March 21st, 1812," he says:
"Enclosed you have a copy of a letter, No. 1, from the consti-
tuted authorities of East Florida, dated the 17th March, requesting
me, as commissioner of the United States, to take possession of all that
tract of country lying between the rivers St. Mary's and St. John's,
including all-the islands between the same, which, agreeably thereto,
was ceded and surrendered to the United States, through me, on the
18th instant. The articles of cession I retain until the entire province
is CONQUERED, CEDED AND SURRENDERED to the United States, which
event is near at hand; and when accomplished&-will be.ceded agreea-
bly, or nearly so, to an enclosed copy of CONTEMPLATED ARTICLES.
"No. 2, which I submit to your inspection, and request that you
will favor me with such remarks as may be the result of your re-
flections on the subject. The 4th article, which makes the ports of
East Florida free until May, 1813, I judged to be sound policy,
apart from the reasons assigned therein, thinking that the British
government would be less liable to take umbrage or complain of our
taking the province. In addition, through that medium, the people
of the Southern States would be able to get clothing for their
negroes, and the Government, through the house of Panton &
Forbes, their supplies for the Indians; besides, it will afford a con-
siderable revenue to the Government, if we engage in a war with
Great Britain; and I suggest the query whether it will not be best
to extend it to May, 1814.
"*: T" ; [i*' .\'"-l !-, ... ,; : .. o,, ,, ,' ,, .', ceded to
the United States of America, under the express condition that the port of Fernandina
shall not be subject to any of the restrictions in commerce which, at present, exist in
the United States, but shall he open as heretofore to British and other vessels and pro-
duce, on paying the lawful tonnage and import duties; and in case of actual war be-
tween the United Stales and Great Britain, the port of ernandina shall be open to British
merchant vessels andproduce, and considered a Fw~ POTa, until theft of May, 1813."
tr tIe 'articles of capitulalin," see Williams's Hietry of Florida, page 194.
Uider date of the 6th Apr, 1812, the late Stephen Girard, of Phladelphia, filed in
the State Department a series of letters, dated the 20th and 21st of March, 1812, at
Amelia island, from the captains, supercargo, and consignee of his vessels, than lying at
that place to await the repeal of the embargo laws, giving substantially the same ac-
count of the attack upon and surrender of that place as that given by Judge Bronson.
Williams, in his History of Florida, pages 193, 194, fully confirms both statements.
B 'i "The 5th article, relative to THE TAKING PENSACOLA and Mobile,
is WITH A VIEW NOT TO COMMIT OUR GOVERNMENT IN THAT CONQUEST;
and I think it impolitic for us to permit them to remain in the pos-
session of the Spaniards.
Wi "The 6th article is with a view to cover and support your
letter to Mr. Foster, [the British minister,] as it relates to Florida.
(See the letter of Mr. Foster and Mr. Monroe's reply, evading
Mr. Foster's inquiries concerning the operations of Gen'l Matthews
in East Florida. American State Papers, Foreign Relations, vol.
3, pp. 543, 544. It is also in Mr. Archer's report in 1834.) *
"In consequence of Major Laval's revising to give me any sup-
port, and his extreme exertions to frustrate my plans, 1 was for
daysfearful they would be blasted; but, as God would have it, Lieut.
Col. Smith arrived the day before the surrender to the patriots, and
he cheerfully gave me every support, when requested to take peace-
bale possession, which was done on Wednesday, the 18th instant,
by fifty riflemen under the command of Lieut. Appling, whose
military appearance and officer-like deportment, together with the
appearance of the men, and the good order they observe, reflects
honor on their country, and commands respect from the Dons. *
"lIhave now to request that the companies of artillery and infantry,
and the arms, required in my last, may be immediately ordered here
to support and defend the station.
"1 have little reason to doubt, had Major Laval not defeated my
first plan, by refusing me aid, I would, by this time, been able to have
informed you of the cession of the whole of East Florida to the United
States; but I hope, in a few days, .to give you that agreeable intelli-
gence, for the patriots have crossed St. John's, and are in rapid
march for St. Augustine, and, I think, with a sufficient force to
reduce it effectually, if properly supported by Commodore Camp-
"Pray send on two or three armed vessels to lay of St. Augustine
and the coast of East Florida.
"Please to make my respectful compliments to the President, and
assure him of my warm support in every difficulty he has to en-
On the 28th March, 1812, Gen'l Matthews wrote Secretary
Monroe,. as follows, from Fernandina:
"I have received despatches of the 23d instant from the patriots.
They were joined by all the inhabitants on the St. John's, and be-
tween thence and St. Augustine,* and have assumed an organized
*The portion of the inhabitants who joined the U. S. troops and patriots wereforced
to do so. Williams, in his "History of Florida," page 195, says:
"The day after the capitulation, [of Amelia island,] Lieutenant Ridgeley was ap-
pointed by the director to take command of the place, and Col. Ashley, with three hun-
dred men, were marched towards St. Augustine by the Cow Ford, now Jacksonville.
From this place a detachment was sent to the Laurel Grove, to seize Zepheniah Kingsley, esq.,
form, and have also addressed me officially, assuring me that by
the 25th the country would be their to the walls of St. Augustine,
and they in readiness to cede it peaceably to the United States.
They speak confidently of the fall of the town and fort. *
"Col. ,Smith will proceedforthwith to occupy, hold, and
defend the districts ceded to the United States. I have required the
Commodore to order round the Vixen and two gun-boats, now in these
waters, to lay and weigh of the bar of St. Augustine, to bring to, ex-
amine, and detain all vessels bound in, having troops, or succores of
any kind, for the town or garrison, until, by signal or otherwise,
they shall be apprised that the fort is in possession of the patriots.
This request is in confornRity to that part of my instructions that re-
lates to PRE-OCCUPANCY. 1 have also transmitted to Captain Armistead
a requisition, founded upon my instructions, and have extracted that
part that was pertinent, and sent him a certified copy. My requisi-
tion isfor a company or half a company of artillery for this post.
"I have been much employed in regulating the police of this
place, and have the pleasure to assure you that my temporary ar-
rangements appear perfectly satisfactory to the inhabitants.
"I must now beg your attention to tny heretefore.earnest requests
:or the two companies, together with the arms that I have required.
I am also very desirous you should send on an engineer, as his
services may be much wanted.
"Make my respects to the President, and inform him that I hope
so to complete my mission as to meet his unqualified approbation."
In a letter to Commodore Campbell, dated "Fernandina, East
Florida, March 29th, 1812," General Matthews says:
"Besides, the presence of the Vixen and gun-boats, and their
intercepting all succors going to St. Augustine, and cutting off all
communication, while the Spanish forces possess the town and fort,
would greatly encourage the patriots, and droop the spirits of the
Spaniards. For these valuable reasons, and the attainment of the
grand object for which we started, 1 hope you will comply with the
one of the most able planters in Florida. When brought to headquarters, he was offered
his liberty and protection on condition of joining the patriots, and was threatened, in case of
non-compliance, with imprisonment and confiscation of his goods."
George J. F. Clarke, a gentleman of the highest respectability, testified, in the case of
Pons, that "a great many of the inhabitants joined the patriots on their way to St. Au-
gustine; they had no other resource, but were obliged to do so from a just regard to the
safety of their persons andproperty."
Zsphcniah Kingsley, in the case of Henry Yonge, testified that "the inhabitants were
forced to join the patriot standard." Gabriel riest testified, that "to all the condition was,
join, quit the country in there days." The good character of both these witnesses is
known to the senators and representative from Florida. Samuel Swearengen testified,
that "all had tojoin or run away. Three days were gien them to quit the country. In
this case their property was said to be confiscated." On this point any amount of testi-
mony might be cited from the Treasury records; and all the witnesses agree that joining
them was noprotection toproperty, and that the inhabitants were compelled to fly to St.
Augustine, Fernandina, or Georgia, for safety.
mode I took the liberty to point out in my last requisition. For
the reasons assigned for thus acting as I desire, viz., inspiriting
the patriots, dampening and dispiriting the Spaniards, and thereby
facilitating the fall of St. Augustine, several others obviously pre-
sent themselves, that arise out of my instructions, and critical
posture of affairs with England. *
"I should not be thus importunate, if I was not well assured that
the fort would surrender to the patriots, SHOULD tHEY (the vessels)
AFFORD THE CO-OPERATION I HAVE ASKED.
"I wish also that the gun-boats in St. John's may be kept in
motion, and that one may proceed to Picolata, and fire her morn-
ing and evening gun, as the effect tpon the Indians would greatly
serve the'patriotic cause."
On the 2d of April, 1812, General Matthews wrote Commodore
Campbell as follows, from Fernandina:
"On the 31st ultimo the commissioners executed the instrument
(of) cession, which Messrs. Craig and Delaney showed to you, and
I received, on'behalf of the United States, a cession of .the entire
province of East Florida, with the exception of the town and for-
tress of St. Augustine, which is now invested by the patriots, and
which they are pledged to reduce before they lay down their arms.
I have, therefore, to urge you to comply with my requisition of the
29th ultimo, and to add another gun-boat to the squadron that you
send round to Augustine. Besides facilitating the fall of Augus-
tine, and the other advantages that I pointed out in my last, I
could superadd many more reasons why I wish you to act with
promptness; but your own good sense will obviously point them
out. I shall leave this on Saturday for Picolata, and beg the favor
of an answer, that I may satisfactorily relieve the anxiety of the
patriots on my arrival at the camp."
On the 8th of April, 1812, General Matthews addressed the fol-
lowing order to Col. Smith, the commander of the United Stales
"UNITED STATES STATION, PICOLATA,
"April 8th, 1812.
"DEAR SIR: By virtue of the powers vested in as United States
commissioner, with which you are furnished a copy, Ihave to request
you to march to-morrow, or as soon thereafter as possible, to Moosa
old Fort, a military station in the vicinity of St. Augustind, wVth
the troops under your command, to hold and defend the same, and
the country adjacent, it being ceded to the United States by the
local constituted authorities of East Florida, and accepted by me
as United States commissioner. You will please to have such de-
taohment at this station as you deem adequate, to hold and defend
it for the United States. .
,"Lieut. Col. Tios. A. SMITH,
"Picolata Station." [Col. Smith was then at Picolata.]
In a letter to secretary Monroe, dated "East Florida, near St.
Augustine, June 22d, 1812," General Matthews says:
"I received your letter of the 4th April, (on) the 9th May,
wherein vou informed'me that the President of the United States
had revolved my appointment as commissioner to the Floridas, and
that my proceedings had met his disapprobation.
"If I thought myself justifiable in exposing to public view con-
dential instructiona and anversations, I have no doubt I could jus-
Major J. Lvl to the Secretry of Wr dted the 2d My, 1812,
S,., m-, I.... Ti i
...e Ltt. ,.- ittytht, k -o .th -egin, r tfr it td t
You wil please to accept my thanks for the expresseios of friend-
ship and esteem h contained in your private letter."
Here elpses the correspondence of General Matthews, as far as I
have been able to obtain copies at the departments.
To show that the revolution of 1812 and 't3, in Fast Florida,
originated with General Matthews, the agent and commissioner of
Major J. Laval to the Secretary of War, dated the 2d May, 1812
dt Point Peter:
I "sisaa : From the lapse of time since I had the honor to commu-
i ate to you the event which had and was about t6 take place
when Lieut. Col. Smith, of the rifle regiment, returned to tiis
S plac vii 'the 16th of March last, where I had been ordered by
GenealulHain pton to take i ommand in his place during his ab-
sene. u:The aubjeutofmy communications the plot against East
Florida by.General Matthews and.his confidential Jew, Col. J.
S Issac, in which they have almost tortrd me to deathto get me
to coincide'and coalesce with the troops of the United States then
under my command, to execute their infamous scheme, is sutfi-
o. n. I I e.
another Jew, 1. 1 1. to a vance, and
14 -W 16- c x-- 1.. I
r egul and vo u nteer
I:' !.r II.- it"I"1 I. ~ l ifttf.ff
ftftgftlftftftftdftftlftfttftftft.. .. -,
U i ~~. ~ ?
In a letter to the Secretary of the Navy, dated "LSt. Mary's,
Teb'y 29th, 1812," Commodore Campbell says:
to act, as occasion mzay quire.-
In a letter from the same to the same, dated "St. Mary's, April
I Ith, 1812," Commodore Campbell said:
SThe enclosed letter is correct; I wrote it in haste, without a
iu'o' ''who came up to the St. Manry's, on the 15th ultimo wit"
Letter f-.mth. comma~ndant of Amelia, requesting to be i.-
11 j 1. 1 L, 1 11~Lljl II
''""' II 1~11 11, 11 L
m tentions. *
S,-, f the Spanish
"UNl STA GUN-BOAT NO. 164,
"MarchI 1th, 1812.
.. .... ... i.v..... r .... ,
To show that Commodore Campbell did act under the au-
thority and in behalf of the Government of the Unitbd States, the
following extract is made from a letter written by him to the Se-
retary of the Navy, dated "St. Mary 1st March, 1812:"
1, at first, refused to comply with General Matthews's requisi-
tions; but on his producing instructions from the Presiden, of the
United States, likewise your orders to all commanders on
Tonav a l force intended to this station, with d act having orders toile au-
thority and in behalf of the Government of the P nitdd States, ta m
following extneract is made from a letssed with a belief tat the troops at
retary of tbe r avy, dated "St. oary's, bt 1st March, 1812:"
hourI, at first, refusappointed to compAgreeably with General Matthews's requisition
tiofns; but on15t, the boats proceeded istctions fiom the morningPresident of the 17th in-
tae New Otleahs station, and yoer letter to himself relative to the
naval fhrie intended to this stations with my not having orders to
tproae contrary, andtriots I gave a positive orders of the President para shot on
Point Peterxt whatere likewisver. The to measure hadin the desired effect of pre- an
any pretext whatever. The measure had the desired effect of pre-
S...-,: 1. I 1 .** would inevitably have been the eae, with
The orders of Commodore Campbell to the naval forces to assist
the United States troops and pretended patriots in the investment
and reduction of St. Agustine; also his report to the Secretary of
the Navy of the 16th April, 1812; also his reports of the 24th and
25th April, 1812, to the Secretary of the Navy, were as follows:
The patriots of East Florida having ceded to the United States
... i- te e .r t bt m e T t't a81
I ,Md. B. G. HiNsI t '
o in gun-boat No, .. 6,3
!i ~ 't "," l,' MA Y's, Ap,,, 16, 1812..
SI: My official communic: t f .. boats in the most adva yota-
Sbe ever repeated by me. To f i I ind myself thus unoffiecessity. ou
S1Uire.ate -bfr th tw "i by 'a w i
I of circumstance attending the fall of AmeliaI that cannot without
situated before the town of Fernandina by General hMatthews, will
be to me a source of regret and solemn consideration. Having
observed in my last the observations of General Matthews, I did
attempt to argue with that gentleman the following day on the
measures then going on against Amelia, to which he appeared in-
different, proceeding, as appeared to me, from an idea that his
requisitions were sufficient explanations on that head. I observed
that the public manner in which the patriots were to be assisted
by the gun-boats will be sufficient cause for England, as the ally
of Spain, to join with that nation and retaliate, which could be
readily effected on Amelia or in any of the waters near this place.
He replied, it would answer a very good purpose, that of bringing
on a war; that he held himself accountable for the transaction,
and felt confident of success. Taking into view the power he must
be invested with to enable him to act thus unreserved, with that of
his authority to demand naval assistance whenever he may think
proper, likewise his public declaration to Mr. Atkinson, messenger
from the commandant, that so completely'drew him from behind
the ear, and placed him in the most conspicuous point of view, that
dissimulation became no longer requisite to effect his purposes,
consequently placed me in the most unpleasant situation pqpsible.
It can scarce be credited by any man that had seen General
Matthews previous to the commencement sof the revolution that
he could have changed his appearance and manners to what they
have been since the 12th or 13th of March. From one of the most
grave, silent, and prudent men I ever knew, he is now more gay
and unreserved than any man of the station; he left Fernandina
on the 4th inst. for Picolata, observing to the people of Fernan-
dina that he was on his way to St. Augustine; that having con-
quered, he would proceed to Pensacola and Mobile, revolutionize
that country, and proceed to Mexico, and finally set himself down
These remarks, as I before observed, do not, I assure, you, sir,
proceed from dislike or any unfavorable cause; on the contrary, I
feel a high respect and friendship for the,General; ,hut. they are
merely to show the outlines of his conduct, which I am convinced
proceeds from his great desire to effect the business hoisnow en-
gaged in. He is sanguine beyond conceptill, .. ,
I have the honor to be, with great respect, sir,
Your very obedietswrvant,
HUGH G. CAMPBfiLL.
To Hon. PAUL H rTON.
Gun-boat 168 requiring a few articles that cannot'be procured
at this place, I have ordered her to Charleston, where herLdestipa-
tion will be about three days.
I am deprived at present of a clerk able of asstng e i
I am deprived at present of a clerk capable of aoisting me in
writing, which occasionally obliges me to delay writing; at other
times write in baste.
H. G.' C.
ST. MARY'S, April 24th, 1812.
To the SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:
SIR: Notwithstanding the unfortunate report made by the offi-
cers who were sent to explore the waters of St. Augustine, I shall,
as soon as circumstances will admit, endeavor to gain possession
of North river to enable us to co-operate with the troops of the
United States, whose flag is flying near that water, within three
miles of the fort; for that purpose the boats will be ordered on that
service, and to obey such requisitions as General Matthews may
think proper to make on them.
The North river must be entered by night, or in the day exposed
to a heavy fire from the fort, distant about I of a mile; the former
will be adopted, convinced the governor will not consent to the
boats passing in a quiet and peaceable manner.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, sir, "
Your obedient servant,
HUGH G. CAMPBELL.
To Hon. PAUL HAMILTON,
ST. MARY'S, April 25th, 1812.
To the SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:
SIR: The Vixen left this to-day for Charleston to procure a
new mainmast, topmast, and lower rigging, they being totally
unfit tbr sea service; nor is it surprising, when considered, that the
mainmast and rigging have been attached to her for nine years and
I informed you, by Lieut. Gadsden, of my intention to send two
gun-boats to North river, within the bar of St. Augustine, to co-
operate with our troops under Col. Smith that lay near that river,
and about three miles from the fort of St. Augustine, the patriots
about one mile in their rear. I was induced to this measure by the
repeated importunities of General Matthews, while the following
reasons, in my opinion, forbid the act: First, to gain anchorage
in the North river would require us to enter the harbor of St.
Augustine, where for a mile and a half the.boats would be exposed
to a raking fire from the fort previousoto their entering North
river, which wvbpald Mrig them near a point-blank shot of the foit,
and there be expose to a severe cannohade until they would gain
safe anchorage, which would require two and a half miles at least.
Admitting they anchored in safety, I cannot conceive their utility
then, unless General Matthews intended they should act offen-
sively, for they would certainly be exposed to a blockade, and
rendering them supplies would be very difficult.
Three of our boats are up the St. John's river; one at the bluff,
about fifteen miles from the entrance; the other at Picolata, to
which place I ordered the third, to relieve one on that station. I
expect them all to return in ten days; during that time I shall dis-
pose of those near me in support of the embargo laws.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, sir,
Your obedient servant,
HUGH G. CAMPBELL.
The Hon. PAUL HAMILTON.
To show that the Government of the United States was, at the
time, fully acquainted with the revolutionary proceedings of their
agent, General Matthews, in East Florida, in 1811, and 1812. i
make the following extracts:
In a letter from Mr, Foster, the British minister, to Mr. Mon-
roe, Secretary of State of the United States, dated September 5th,
1811, he said:
"SIR: The Chevalier De Onis, who has been, appointed minister
from his Catholic Majesty to the United States, has written to in-
form me that he understands, by letters from the governor of East
Florida, under date of the 14th ultimo, that Governor Matthews,
of the State of Georgia, was at that time at Newtown, St. Mary's, on
the frontiers of Florida, fbr the purpose of treating with the in-
habitants of that province for its being delivered up to the United
States Government; that he was, with this view, using every method
of seduction to effect his purpose, offering to each white inhabitant
who would side with him fifty acres of land, and the guarantee of
his religion and property; stipulating, also, that the American
Government would pay the debts of the Spanish government,
whether due in pensions or otherwise; and that he would cause the
officers and soldiers of the garrisons to be conveyed to such place
as should be indicated, provided they did not rather choose to enter
into the service of the United States."* *
In his History of Florida, Mr. Williams says:
"The invasion of Florida, under the direction of General Matthews, an accredited
agent of the American Government, excited the attention of the Spanish and British
ministers, and strong remonstrances were made to our Government by Don Quis and
Mr. Foster. In consequence of which, General Matthews received from Mr. )onroe a
letter, stating that the President disapproved of the invasion of Florida." ( Williams's
History of Florida, p. 196.)
In Mr. Monroe's reply to the foregoing letter, dated the 2d No-
vember, 1811, no notice is taken of these declarations as to the
conduct of its agent, General Matthews, nor is any denial of them
made. It is an irresistible inference they could not be denied. At
any rate, the British minister's letter brought the knowledge
home to the Government of the United States.
This omission is referred to by General Matthews in his letter of
the 21st March, 1812, to Secretary Monroe; and the "6th article"
of the cession therein referred to, (on p. 15 of this paper,) was
probably intended to obviate it. That omission is referred to by
the leading patriots as conclusive evidence that this Government
sanctioned the proceedings of General Matthews, of which it thus
had early and certain official notice. (This letter of Mr. Foster
and Mr. Monroe's reply are attached to Mr. Archer's report, on
which the act of 26th June, 1834, was passed; it may also be
found in the 3d vol. of American State Papers, Foreign Relations,
pp. 543, '4, '5.)
General Matthews's design of revolutionizing East Florida was
sufficiently indicated in his letter to Mr. Monroe of the 3d August,
1811, (p. 7 of this paper.) That design was, undoubtedly, com-
municated to Senator Crawford at the interview named in his
letter to Mr. Monroe of the 14th October, 1811, (p. 8, ante,) and
by Mr. Crawford communicated to this Government.
There is other conclusive evidence of this knowledge, in a note
from Governor Troup, of Georgia, then a member of the House of
Representatives, to Mr. Monroe, Secretary of State, written on the
back of a confidential letter from Florida to Governor Troup, in-
forming him of the intended revolution in East Florida, and of a
"plan," arranged by General Matthews and the writer, "to take
the fort of St. Augustine and the governor," (of East Florida.)
The note is as follows:
"Dua Sm: Since I left you, it has occurred to me a new aspect
may be given to the subject of the letter received this morning.
J. f. M., [the writer of the confidential letter,] having long re-
sided in the province, and bound'himself in the prescribed forms
of allegiance,.my be considered a subject of the King of Spain,-if
his party be made up. of Spanish subjects, as is by no means im-
probable,-at least, in great part. To a revolution of the Govern-
ment by Spanish subjects, nothing can be objected; but will it be
possible to keep out of sight the agency of .. .... .
'"-. M. TROUP."
The name intended by the seven dots is, beyond all doubt, that
- f of Ma ews-General Mathews, the agent of the Government.
Te original of this note, on file in the State Department, is en-
dorsed by Mr. Monroe in his own proper handwriting.
The open and undisguised manner in which General Matthews
had acted and committed this Government was, undoubtedly, the
cause of his dismissal, and of the disavowal of his acts. This is
fully proved by the fact that the Government, after having thus
dismissed that officer, and apparently disavowed his proceedings,
through the operations and diplomacy of a more prudent and art-
ful agent, (General D. B. Mitchell, of Georgia, appointed in place
of General Matthews,) retained possession of East Florida, (except
the city and fortress of St. Augustine,) for more than twelve months
longer, and until the disasters of Bonaparte in Russia, and the ex-
pulsion of the French from Spain, made the withdrawal of its
forces, and the restoration of the province to Spain, an act of im-
perative State policy.
In the letter of Secretary Monroe, appointing General Mitchell,
(or Governor Mitchell, for he was then governor of Georgia,) dated
the 10th April, 1812, the Secretary admitted, (though it has been
denied by the opponents of these claims,) that "the troops of the
United States have been used to dispossess the Spanish authority
by force, instead of an amicable surrender by the governor, or
other local authority;" and added:- "I forbear to dwell"on the de-
tails of this transaction, because it is painful to recite tHem."
In the same letter the Secretary firthet 'saidf: '"'close yon
an order from the Secretary of Waro' the'omnikdd r f the troops
of the United States to evacuate the country, when ziiquested so to
do by you, and to pay the same respect in futhire'tfi'0oti'6rder, in
fulfilling the duties enjoined by law, that he'hf&ifte Io0 to that
of General Matthews."
This is certainly an admissionof General Matthewa"'le lthority.
This letter contained the following important quaialhfi iw s'tte
duty of restoring the province to Spaid, and submiitedo'e* ibg
'/^ ^ ^^ ^t^ / L1 i
>//t t-v'gn CfsCc
to the discretion of Governor Mitchell, in the exercise of which he
managed to hold the country for thirteen months longer, viz:
"In restoring to the Spanish authorities Amelia island, and
such other parts of East Florida as may have been taken possession
of in the name of the United States,.there is another object tp
which your particular attention is due. In the measures lately
adopted by General Matthews to take possession of that territory,
it is probable that much reliance has been placed by the people
who acted in it on the countenance and support of the United
States. It will be improper to expose these people to the resentment
of the Spanish authorities.* It is not to be presumed that those
authorities, in regaining possession of the territory in this amicable
modde from the United States, will be disposed to indulge any such
feeling towards them. You will, however, come to a full under-
standing with the Spanish governor on this subject, and notfail to
obtain from him the most explicit and satisfactory assurance re-
specting it. Of this assurance you will duly apprize the parties
interested, and of the confidence which you repose in it. It is
hoped that, on this delicate and very interesting point, the Spaniish
governor will avail himself of the opportunity it presents to evince
the fiiendly disposition of his government towards the United
So far as Spain was concerned, a stronger example of the arro-
gance of power over feebleness, and of the barbarous and shock-
ing principle, that might makes right," cannot be found in the
history of the world. This Government had, under secret laws
and instructions, and by subornation of treason, invaded and seized
the province of East Florida, and subjected its inhabitants to all
the horrors of civil, servile, and a barbarous Indian war, without
even the pretence of a pretext, and in violation of the most solemn
treaty stipulations, the details of which, its chief secretary admit-
ted, were painful to recite;" and, yet, the humiliating condition
to the restoration of the territory, imposed upon an ancient and
proud, but then embarrassed nation, an early ally of the United
States, was, that the injury and indignity should be'continued,
until that injured nation should consent to annul her laws by com-
*This is an ofcial recognition, both of the fact of Gen'l Matthews's promises (of pro-
tection and indemnity) to the people who were forced to countenance the revolution
originated by him, and also of the obligations of the United States resulting from them.
Nothing but the strongest sense of this obligation could justify the explicit instruction
which follows this recognition by the Secretary of State.
The fact of Genedal Matthews's promises to the people of protection of property, and
indemnity for injury suffered from the revolution, is disclosed in many parts of this offi-
cial correspondence, and proved by the testimony of a great number of respectable wit-
nesses on file in the Treasury Department.
pounding that treason, in order to "evince her friendly disposi-
tion" towards the ungrateful nation which had thus invaded her
territory, and insulted her sovereignty and honor. (See General
Pinckney's letter to Mr. Monroe, p. 61.)
* It will be seen, from a letter of Governor Mitchell to the Secre-
tary of War, dated the 20th of April, 1412, before he had received
his appointment as General Matthews's successor, that he-was, in
fact, an ally of General Matthews in all his illegal designs upon
East Florida, before his appointment. (See that letter, post, p.
By a letter written after his appointment, dated "St. Mary's,
2d May, 1812," to the Secretary of State, he drew from the Secre-
tary the following additional letter of instructions addressed to
DPAsTxuT oR STATE, May 2~th, 1812.
"Sm: I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 2d in-
stant, from St. Mary's, where you had arrived in discharge of the
trust reposed in you by the President, in relation to East Florida.
. "My letter by Mr. Isaacs has, I presume, substantially answered
the most important of the queries submitted in your letter, but I
will give to each a more distinct answer.
By the law, of which a copy was forwarded to you, it is made
the duty of the President to prevent the occupation of East Flori-
da by any foreign power. It follows, that you are authorized to
consider the entrance, or attempt.to enter, especially under exist-
ing circumstances, of British troops of any description, as the case
contemplated by the law, and to use the proper means to defeat it.
"An instruction will be immediately forwarded to'the com-
mander of the naval forces of the United Steadnthe neighbor-
hood of East Florida, to give you 'ny ".,ej w 4.wase.ofemer-
gency, which you may think necesay n .
"It is not expected, if you fo ti withdraw the
troops, that you should interfereto cr to surren-
der the country, or any part of it, to th pities.i r The
United States are responsible for thqir owni not for
the inhabitants of East Florida. Indeed,'in c.nh ce of the
compromitment of the United States to the ihtin have
been already instructed not to withdraw the i i a yu
find that it may be done consistently with theiranto re-
port to the Government the result of ydur confernces tb the
Spanish authorities, with your opinion of their views, holding, in
the mean time, the ground occupied.
"In the present state of our affairs with Great Britain, the
course above pointed out is the more justifiable and proper.
I have the honor, &c.,
("Signed) JAMES MONROE."
[Vide this letter, attached to Mr. Archer's report, also in 3 State
Papers, ut sup.]
This.letter confers upon Governor Mitchell all the authority
assumed by General Matthews, and makes him an invader, with
the army and navy under his orders, and only subject to his own
It was stated by the Spanish authorities, declared by General
Matthews to the Secretary of State, and is proved by a cloud of
witnesses, and denied by no one, that the patriots were too weak
to take any portion of East Florida without the aid of the army
and navy of the United States; but by the directions of this letter,
after the country had been reduced, the Spanish posts taken, the
patriots intrenched in the country, and the Spanish power weak-
ened and demoralized by that army and navy, the patriots (mostly
composed of citizens of the United States, Georgia and Tennessee
militia, volunteers, marauders, &c.) are to be left in possession
of the country, to fight the Spaniards, when the army and
S navy are withdrawn. Having taken possession of the country by
our arms, and turned it ovei to the pretended patriots, (but really
American banditti," as they were properly denominated by the
Spaniards,) this instruction of the Secretary of State assumes that
we are in no wise bound to restore it to the Spanish authorities,
from whom we wrested it. If these patriots were too weak to pro-
tect themselves against the resentment of the Spanish authori-
ties," we were to withhold the country from the rightful sover-
eign, and maintain the unjust conquest, for their protection. If,
however, we had made them strong enough to hold the country,
against its rightful owners, they were to be permitted to do so!
Well did Judge Bronson say, in the case of Ferreira, in allu-
ding to this invasion, (p. 41,) that it is an episode in the gene-
ral history of the nation, which, as an American citizen, I could
have wisbed might remain unwritten."
The troop .were npt withdrawn.uitil the middle of May, 1813.
In the meantime, large bodies of militia and volunteers, and ad-
venturers, and public robbers, rushed into the country, and plun-
dered and destroyed everything. In the language of Colonel
Smith, in his letter to Governor Mitchell, of the 22d September,
1812, (which is no fiction, as Mr. Bayard supposed,) the country
became "a wilderness!" The siege of St. Augustine went on;
Indian wars were provoked and waged;.military posts were estab-
lished throughout the country, and the work of destruction and
robbery went on, until, to borrow again from the language of
Judge Bronson, (which was thought to be extravagant by those
who had not looked into this history,) "the desolation of the Car-
natic by Hyder Ali was not more terrible and complete."
And when the regular troops of tke United States were finally
withdrawn in the middle of May, 1813, the irregular, robbing
volunteer allies of the United States forces, were left in the coun-
try, to continue the work of robbery and devastation, as shown by
the evidence on pages 8 and 9 of the printed statement of the case
of Zepbeniah Kingsley, such as the bands of Col. Alexander and of
Captains Ray and Cofre, the two last named of whom were volun-
teers from Georgia, who, up to the time the United States troops
were withdrawn, had co-operated with them, (see the testimony of
Bowdon, p. 8;) and the first named of whom, Judge Bronson
says, (p. 7,)
Were a mere banditti or horde' of men, not even claiming to
.act under the authority of our Government, or any other, but who,
taking advantage of the weak and defenceless state of the pro-
vince, and the previous disturbances of the country, undertook to
plunder on their own hook."
These statements are fully sustained by the o :ffiL coxrespond-
ence of the agents and officers of the United Stat4,,which took
place after the dismissal of General MattebUM aap4,thi- avowal of
his acts, and the appointment of Gavnqimu;,fiel.ias his suc-
cessor. ,. :
In a letter from Governor Mitchell to tht e tay: of War,
dated "Executive Department, Georgia, Milledgnlle, 20th April,
1812," he informs the Secretary that- -1 .
"On the 14th of last month, an opposition to ethfanish au-
thority, with a view to change the government o0 the p sincee of
East Florida, commenced, and on the 17th the fort Oai Amelia
island surrendered to the revolutionists, or patriots, asthey call
themselves. In a few days after this, the patriots proceeded to SV.
John's and possessed themselves of the military posts in that part
of the country, and transferred the whole to the United- States,
whose troops are now in possession of them; and St. Augustine is
the only post in the province, on the Atlantic side, which remains
in the possession of the old government. The patriots are now
before that place, which, by my information, refuses to surrender,
and the fbrce before it is supposed to be incompetent to compel
them, unless they are reduced by want of provisions.
"It is understood that a gentleman, who has been and now is
acting as a commissioner on the part of the United States, had
pledged the government to the patriots, that if they would erect
the standard of revolt, they should be supported and aided by a
considerable number of regular troops. *
"In a letter from the United States commissioner of the 3d of
this month, then in the vicinity ofthe patriot camp, a copy of which
I have seen, he expresses his fears that the United States troops
now there are incompetent to retain possession of the province, and
he has made a requisition on this State for the hssitance of two
hundred and fifty men. It is also reported, and generally be-
lieved, that if St. Augustine does not immediately surrender, re-
inforcements to the extent of seven hundred regular troops are
expected and will arrive.
"Government are no doubt in possession of a more complete and
general detail of all the circumstances attending this transaction
than I can possibly give. What, then, must be
our situation, if St. Augustine shall be reinforced- by seven hun-
dred regular troops? Although the American troops
do not march with the patriots to the charge, yet they follow'their
steps, and occupy every place surrendered to them by that authority.
May we not, therefore, calculate, if St. Augustine is not taken, but
reinforced, that retaliation may be the consequence, and the effects
of that retaliation may be direful to Georgia? *
"In the prosecution of any measures which may have been, or
may hereafter be adopted by the Government upon this subject, the
zealous co-operation of Georgia may be relied upon, if required.
"A prompt and decisive course in regard to East Florida has
become so indispensable, in my estimation, not only for the safety
of Georgia, but for the honor and interest of the Union, that I
must request that you will communicate the contents of this letter
to the President."
Such was the zeal of the agent selected by the United States to
succeed General Matthews; and two days after the date of the
above letter he received his appointment and instructions, and
immediately repaired'to St. Mary's, on the frontier of East Florida,
from whence h'd addressed a letter to Mr. Monroe, Secretary of
State, under date of "May 2d, 1812," which drew from the said
Secretary the modified instructions of the 27th May, 1812, herein-
befbre set forth.
In this letter Governor Mitchell informs the Secretary of State
that "the United States have been made a party [to the invasion or
pretended revolution in East Florida] by the indiscreet zeal of their
commissioner." He also informed the Secretary, "that Captain
Campbell, who commands here, has been discharged from-the orders
of General Matthews, and is not directed to render any aid in
executing the intentions of the Government under the powers trans-
ferred to me," (him.)
The answer of the Secretary of the above date assured Governor
Mitchell of the assistance of the naval forces, and directed him
not to "interfere to compel the patriots to surrender the country,
or any part of it, to the Spanish authorities," but, "in consequence
of the compromitment of the United States to the inhabitants, *
not to withdraw the troops, unless it may be done consistently
with their safety," "holding, in the meantime, the ground occu-
pied," which was the whole of East Florida, as stated by Governor
Mitchell, except the town and fortress of St. Augustine.
By a letter dated "St. Mary's, 4th May, 1812," Governor Mitchell
informed the acting governor of East Florida that the President had *
commissioned him "tocommunicate with you (Governor Estrada) on
the transactions which have recentlytaken place in East Florida, and
in which the forces of the United States have been used;" that he
was authorized to assure him "that these transactions were not auo
thorized by the Government;" that he hastens "to make.the eomi
munication, under the fullest confidence that it'will be re'ietd as
evidence of the friendly disposition of the bo rernment qftbic te
States to that of Spain, and of their d"si.p ainiamand pre-
serve, uninterrupted, that harmony which hatsB long subsisted
between the two nations." He sends his 'ai- .I ..,Ci01 Oul Cth-
bert, with this letter, who will, if Goveri:. EL--l,-a seires it,
wait for and bring his answer, which is requested iyriTting."
"In the meantime, if he (Governor Estrada) is dispose td .k
any verbal communications to him (Governor Mitchell,) with the
view of conveying his sentiment in that way, on any point re-
garding the business, Governor Estrada may have reliance upon
the said aid-de-camp's honor in executing his wishes in that re-
This is the exact substance of Governor Mitchell's first letter to
the governor of East Florida.
There is no explanation of or apology for the high national
offence conceded to have been committed, and no promise of (or
allusion to) the withdrawal of our troops, then in possession of
all East Florida, except the city and fort of St. Augustine.
Under date of "St. Augustine, May 9th, 1812," Governor Es-
trada acknowledged the above letter of Governor Mitchell, and
"Spain has procured to herself the reputation of scrupulously
adhering to good faith in the fulfilment of her engagements, and
cannot believe that she has given reason (cause) for the insulting
treatment which this province of East Florida, under my care, has
"On seeing the gazettes of the United States announcing the
disapprobation of the hostile conduct of General Matthews and
Commodore Campbell, a belief was entertained that the retiring
(withdrawal) of the troops of the United States was to be expected
as the first step consequent on this disapprobation, until which
event it is impossible to proceed to treat; and a protest is now
made (as before) verbally to Col. Cuthbert as to any occurrences
which shall have happened, as I do not recognize any authority
other than that of Spain, this side of the dividing line established
by the treaty of peace, limits, and navigation, of the 27th October,
1795." (See Senate Misc. Doe. No. 55, 1st Sess. 36th Congress,
The law of nations required the immediate and unconditional
withdrawal of our troops from the Spanish territory which they had
violated, as the only legitimate evidence of the sincerity of the dis-
avowal of the act. This was all the letter of the Spanish governor
required. A just "satisfaction" for any injury that resulted from
the unlawful act to herself or her subjects was also due to Spain
and her subjects by the law of nations.
In a letter dated St. Mary's, 16th May, 1812, Governor Mitchell
informed Secretary Monroe of this correspondence with the acting
SSpanish governor, and sent him a copy of the same, and said:
"I am now preparing to send my aid-de-camp a second time to
him, with a proposition to withdraw the United States troops upon
receiving the assurances required by the Government. That such
assurances will not be given I have some reason to believe. The
reason I did not make the proposition to withdraw the troops in
the first instance, was to afford time to receive your answer to my
last letter, [that of 2d May afoiesaid,] in which I expect your di-
rections as to the course I shall pursue in case the Spaniards are
unable to leave St. Augustine to reoccupy those places now in pos-
session of the American troops.
"The present situation of the province of East Florida is a very
peculiar one. The patriots [then headed by Col. Smith with his
regulars, and Captain Campbell with his vessels] have blockaded
St. Augustine, and are now before it, and consider themselves as
having been in possession of all the rest of the province until their
transfer to the United States.'.
He then describes the situation of Amelia island, and says:
"In consequence of this state of things the negroes in the pro-
vince have become insolent, and have recently committed some vio-
lent outrages upon the property and persons of some of the inhabi-
tants. Indeed the province may justly be said to be in a complete
state of civil war, anarchy, and confusion, and may have in unfor-
tunate tendency to promote mischief in Georgia."
He also informs the Secretary in the same letter that he has de-
tained in Florida a Captain Williams and his detachment against
an order transferring him, which order he says, if complied with,
"would have compelled me to draw assistance and relief from the
militia of Georgia;" also, that Commodore Campbell had, at"his
request, stationed "two gun-boats in the St. John's."
As this letter notified the Secretary that he had "reason to be-
lieve" that the "assurances required by the Government, of im-
punity to Spanish subjects who had been forced to countenance the
revolution, would not be given, the modified instructions of the
Secretary, of the 27th May, 1812, to hold the country until such
assurances were given, was equivalent to aniorder not to withdraw
On the 11th of June, 1812, the newly appointed ivil and mili-
tary governor of East Florida, Kendelan, notified Governor Mitch-
ell, by a letter of that date, of his arrival and entrance upon the
duties of his office, complained of the capture of Farhandina, &c.,
"As the regular troops of the United States are in possession of
the aforesaid territory, and encamped in the vicinity ofehis city,
(St. Augustine,) all of which [ias done] I understand by orders
of General Matthews, notwithstanding outrespective governments
are on the best terms of peace and friendship, your
excellency must consider that my duty don't allow me the toler-
ance of a single instant (to) the continuance of the said troops in
theprovince undermy charge,and consequently (although with pain)
I shall be obliged, if they do not withdraw, to take disagreeable
measures, the sole blame of which must be attached to the promoters
of so unjust an aggression; and therefore, in the name of my august
sovereign, Ferdinand the Seventh, and of the Spanish nation, I
invite your excellence's first step tb be to order the aforesaid troops
that are under your command to withdraw from the Spanish terri-
tory in eleven days from this date, not in the least doubting bit
your excellency, well convinced of the powerful motives which I
have for exacting this demonstration of your sincerity, will readily
carry it into effect, as it is so interesting to humanity and the hap-
piness of the frontier.
"Your excellency may be well persuaded that under all other
aspects and circumstances I would wish to render you my services;
and be assured of the high consideration, &c.
"This will be delivered to your excellence by Mr. Joseph M.
A rredondo; and I beg your excellency will be pleasedto return by
him your answer as soon as possible, granting him a passport fbr
Governor Mitchell acknowledged and answered Governor Ken-
delan's communication bya letter'dated "St. Mary's, 16th June,
1912," and said:
"On the 9th of last month I made a communication to the gen-
tleman then acting as governor of East Florida, in which I de-
clared in the name of the Government of the United States that the
use made of their troops in the late transactions in East Florida
"Immediately after making this frank declaration, which I pre-
sumed to believe ought to have been received as evidence of the
friendly disposition of the United States Government'to that of
Spain, and before I had time to reply to the answer I received, an
attack was made upon the troops of the United States by a party
from St. Augustine.
'"This attack being made at a moment when I was proceeding
to'offei, and had in part offered, the most sincere and friendly ex-
plauatias on the part of the United States for the part they had
apparently taken in the late transactions ihEast Fldrida,-preeluded
all further efforts on my part to continue the correspondence, be-
lieving' te I iatith t'ws' an indignity wantonlyy offered to the
honor aritl'iniftydPthe government I represented.
"Under the'aiidslioh Whlich this titsadtibn was calculated to
produce, and which you, as a man of honor and a soldier, can
readily conceive, I am persuaded you do bot expect me either to
withdraw the troops, or to make any propositions for that purpose,
until such explanation is given for the attack made upon them as
will evince the'sincerity of the desire you express, of seeing the
harmony of the two countries preserved, and be consistent with
the honor of the United States to receive.
"In the meantime should your excellency proceed, as you inti-
mate you will, to acts of hostility upon the United States troops,
after the expiration of eleven 'days from the date of your letter,
without having satisfied the just expectations of the President as
to the cause of the attack made upon them, of which I have
already spoken, be it so; I shall regret the circumstance, but you
alone will be answerable for'all theconsequences which may result
from such a proceeding. I can make any sacrifice of my indi-
vidual feeling when placed in competition with the welfare and
happiness of my country; but the honor of the nation can never,
not for one instant, be called in question.
"I can assure your excellence, with the greatest sincerity, that
if you commence hostilities with the intention of driving the
American troops from their present situation,you will'then find by
experience that the forbearance of the United States, hitherto,.
has proceeded neither from the want of power nor provocation,
but from considerations arising out of the present unusual and
critical situation of the Spanish monarchy, and a sincere desire to y
avoid hostilities with a nation with whom they have been so long
in harmony "
This blustering letter of the cunning Scotch governor was de-
signed to raise a feigned issue to serve as a pretext for holding on
to East Florida. This is substantially conceded in his letter to
Gen'l Pitekney'of the 17th Decmnber, 1812 (post;) see .also his
letter to Secretary 4onroe, of the 17th July, 1812, p. 40; also of
the 19th September, 1812, p. 43; .
In his reply to this letter of Governor Mitchell,the governor of
East Florida, under date of "St. Augtutinat; 3d Jahh; '1812;"
"I will give your excellence an upequivo my
desire to remove all doubts, and such trflin s ofght
never to exist between friendly contiguous gove~rnme-d arhn,
without hesitation, to your excellency, that' can., qiothin gm
the attack which you say was made front. this pl4.oitheeral
troops, that ought to cause the lest, complaintfBayng o.ui
at present of how they have invaded the sovereignty oft
ish territory, and how they haoe ,trampled the, prii gieand
shelter of our homes, all [which, I .wish to pass over, and only
assure your excellency that the party from St. Augtistine had not
the most distant idea of committing hostilities against the Ameri-
can troops. A number of seditious persons who were disturbing
the peace of the country, occupied and fortified a house on Moosa,
from which they could overlook the operations of this place, (St.
Augustine,) and impede the free use (navigation) of the creeks
belonging thereto; and, above all, the constant sight and proximity
of them were very insulting to the loyal inhabitants of this city.
In such circumstances the honor of the government and its indis-
putable right to punish severely those who, without shame, so far
forgot their duty, was what so justly made my predecessor decide
on sending a small party to dislodge the rebels, as was done.
"It would be offering a high insult to the American name,
even to think that their troops would take part in favor of those
committing sedition; but, if any, ill-guided and forgetful of their
duty, have united with the revolutionary mob, they would, with-
out doubt, receive a part of the punishment intended for others.
In such case all the blame must attach to those who meddled in
what did not concern them. Under this firm conceit conceptionh]
your excellence may, if you please, charge yoir troops with what
has happened to them.
"Your excellency will be pleased to observe the candor and good
faith I have made use of on my part; it therefore rests with your
excellence, if faithful to your promise, to order your troops, with-
out delay, to evacuate the province under my command, as an indis-
pensablemeasurewhichought to precedeevery other communication,
and without which, (by) making your excellence's offers null,
will cause that want of confidence which destroys all good faith,
and leads to fatal consequences; none of which can attach to the
Spanish nation, whose sincerity goes hand in hand with the valor
and stability which characterize her." (For a better translation
see miscellaneous Senate Doc. No. 55, 1st sess. 36th Cong.,,pp.
Instead of accepting this frank assurance that "the party from
St. Augustine had not the most distant idea of committing hos-
tilities against the American troops,"-a disclaimer there was,
under the circumstances, no obligation to make-Governor Mit-
chell, under date of "St. Mary's, July 5th, 1812," said:
"I entertain too high an opinion of your character, and too
much respect for y6ur judgment and patriotism, to believe, for a
moment, that you would consider an indignity of the nature of
the one complained of, as '"a trifling dispute," and (am) therefore
constrained to believe that you have not been correctly informed
of the facts.
"The truth is, the troops were stationed on the bank'of the
river, and occupied the house of Moosa, to which you refer, and
the patriots were several hundred yards in their rear, and not -
within gun-shot of the river; neither was it possible for the troops
to impede the free use of the creeks or other water-courses leading
to or from St. Augustine, since theyhad neither boats nor cannon;
and, in fine, they were making no demonstration of hostility,
other than their presence afforded, and furnished no particular
reason for an attack at that time, more than at any other time
previous; and if theii situation enabled them to overlook the
operations in St. Augustine, it equally enabled those in that place
to know all the facts I have stated. The declaration, therefore,
that the' party from St. Augustine had not the most distant idea
of committing hostilities against the American troops, is so oppo-
site to the facts, that I must believe that, as you were not in the
province at the time, you have been deceived, and that the
communication which I made previous to that attack had not ob-
tained confidence with those at that time in authority in St.
"When you state that if faithful to my promise, I will withdraw
the troops, without delay, from the province under your command,
I am induced to believe that you have not favored me so far as to
give my last letter an attentive perusal; in that I state my full
persuasion that you did not expect me either to withdraw the
troops or to make any proposition for that purpose, until such ex-
planation was given for the attack made upon them, as would
evince the sincerity of the desire you had expressed of seeing the
harmony of the two countries preserved, &c., &c. Now, sir, I
have already shown that the explanation you 'ave given is in di-
rect opposition to facts, and does not embrace the point upon which
an explanation was required or expected.
"I assure your excellency that when I embarked in this business,
it was with the most sincere desire to adjust all differences which
had arisen in consequence of the previous transaction in the province;
and had my first efforts been met by corresponding ones, and with
equal sincerity, on the plrt of those-then in authority in St.
Augustine, I have no doubt but every difficulty.would -have been
long since adjusted. That was, however, pot tIe case,;and for the
consequent delay I am no wise chargeable, asy,more than I can
be for the final result.
"There is, however, another subject whi'ch"the.'ctapdor (1) that
characterizes the United States requires me to preifit to your con-
sideration; I mean the black troops which you have in your service.
[General Jackson had such at New Orleans.] Youn certain know-
ledge of the peculiar institution of the southern section of the Union
in regard to that description of people, one might have supposed
would have induced you to abstain from introducing them, into the
province, or from organizing such as were already in it; the con-
trary I am well assured is, however, the fsot, and I may venture to
assure you that the United States will never tolerate their remain-
ing in the province. It will readily occur to you also, that the
war now existing between this country and Great Britain imposes
upon the United States the necessity of a vigilant regard and at-
tention to what passes in a neighboring province-and more espe-
cially the fact to which I have called your attention; neither will
it escape your observation, that for the use made of these troops,
you alone will be responsible."
The new matter introduced into this letter, to wit, the "black
troops," and the"war with Great Britain," discloses a consciousness
that the attack at Moosa was not a sufficient excuse for a refusal
to withdraw the troops of the United States from East Florida.
This was Governor Mitchell's last letter to the Governor of East
Florida, and yet it will be seen that in no one of his. letters ad-
dressed to that functionary did he name one of the main causes
for holding on io the country, viz: the pardon and protection of such
of the inhabitants as had been induced by threats, or promises of
the protection of the United States, to countenance the invasion.
That was really the only ground which could have been urged,
under his instructions, for not withdrawing the troops, and yet it
is not named to the Spanish governor. That other motives and
objects did exist, is abundantly disclosed by his subsequent corres-
.In a letter to the Secretary of State, (Mr. Monroe,) dated "St.
Mary's, 17th July, 1812," only eleven days after his last letter to
the governor of East Florida, he said:
"By letters which I have received from members of the State
delegation in Congress, I have been induced to believe that an act
would have passed as soon as war was declared, authorizing the
President to take possession of the posts yet occupiedby the Spaniards
in the two Floridas; and by some expressions in your communica-
tions, these expectations were confirmed. Under these impressions
I have remained here, making every preparation for that event;
[not for withdrawing the United States troops, as he would fain
have made the governor of East Florida believe.] You may there-
fore judge of my surprise and mortification at the information I
have received by this evening's mail, that the Senate had rejected
the bill which bad been passed by the House of Representatives,
for the purpose of authorizing the immediate occupancy of the
*On the 19th of June, 1812, the'day after the declaration of war against England, on
motion of Governor Troup, a Representative in Congress from the State of Georgia, a
resolution was passed, in secret session in the House of Representatives, instructing its
proper committee "to inquire into the expediency of authorizing the President of the
United States to occupy East and West Flrida, without delay."
On the 22d of June, 1812, the said committee "presented a bill authorizing the Presi-
dent of the United States to take possession of a tract of country lying south of the Missia-
sippi Territory, of the State of Georgia, and for other purposes, which was read the first
time, when a question was taken, whether the subject-matter of the said bill required
secrecy, and passed in the affirmative-yeas, 71; nays, 44. The said bill-was then read a
second time, and committed to a committee of the whole House to-morrow, and the doors
were then opened." On the 25th of June, 1812, the saidbillwas ordered to be engrossed
and read a third time, by yeas 70, nays 48; and on the same day, a motion to postpone
final action having been negatived, the said bill was engrossed, read a third time, and
passed. "Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Troup were appointed a committee to carry the said bill
to the Senate, and inform them that this House have passed the same, in confidence, and
request their concurrence therein, and the doors were then opened."
On the 26th June, 1812, Mr. Randolph moved to remove the inunction of secrecy from the
said bill, and the proceedings had upon it; which motion the House refused to consider.
On the same day a resolution was passed by yeas 78, nays 38, requesting the President
"to lay before the House, confidentially, or otherwise, full information of all the proceed-
ings that have been had under and by virtueof the actof Congress (of the lth January,
1811) entitled "An act to enable the President of the United States, under certain con-
tingencies, to take possession of the country lying east of theriver Perdido, and south of
the State of Georgia and the Mississippi Territory, and for other purposes;" "and also
copies of all instructions that may have been issued by the executive branch of this gov-
ernment under the said act." On the final passage of this resolution the yeas were 58,
On the 1st of July, 1812, a message was received from the President, in compliance
with said resolution, as follows:
"To the HousE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES:
"In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the twenty-sixth
of June, I transmit the information contained in the documents herewith enclosed."
The documents enclosed were--st, the instructions of Secretary Monroeto General
Matthews and Col. McKee, of the 26th January, 1811; 2d, the Secretary's letter of recall to
General Matthews of the 4th April, 1812; 3d, the Secretary's letters of appointment ad
instruction to Governor Mitchell of the 10th April and 27th May, 1812.
On the 3d July, 1812, the House was informed; bya committee of tolS.hators, that the
Senate had rejected the said bill. On the same day Mr. Randolph renewed:his motion to
remove the injunction ol secrecy from the said bill, but the Houseref~sedotionodider the
motion, by yeas 22, nays 58. -'
On the 6th July, 1812, the injunction of secrecy v-a removed from said bill fid al.,
from the act and joint resolution of the 15th January 18il, ail l rom th'att.fre nan.d
letters of the Secretary of `l~ sa,::...m panyO Lthe President' messageblohe of rJly,
1812. (House Journal, 1 .5 !. .i .,yrJr, 416 lo 46.) t .
The provisions of the said bill were as follows: ..
"Be it enacted, ec., That the President be, and he is htr.by, aathorijed wu.ocppy and
hold the whole or any part of East Florida, including A n!a oland, and also those ps ri
of West Florida which are not now in the possession sE. under the jurisdition of th-
See. 2. "That for tie.purpose of occupying and holding the cotry re of
affording protection to the inhabitants under the authority of the United States the
President may employ such parts of the military and naval force of the asited States a
he may deem necessary. 1
Sec. 3 appropriates $100,000 "for defraying the necessary expenses, and'fo be ap-
plied for the purposes aforesaid, under the direction of the President."
Sec. 4. "That until further provision shall be made by Congress, the President shall
be, and he hereby is, empowered to establish within the country he may acquire by this
"Enclosed you will receive copies of a correspondence which has
taken place between the new governor of East Florida and myself;
and by it you will perceive that I have carefully avoided making
any proposition for withdrawing the troops, under the fullest con-
viction that such a step was not intended; and I feel that it is a
duty I owe to the United States, and Georgia in particular, to
assure you, that the situation of the Garrison of St. Augustine
will not admit of the troops being withdrawn. They have armed
every able-bodied negro within their power, and they have also
received from the Havana a reinforcement of nearly two companies
of black troops! An additional correspondence to that now enclosed
has taken place between the governor and myself, in which I have
called his attention to the introduction of this description of troops;
and it is my decided opinion that if they are suffered to remain in
act a temporary government, the civil and military authorities of which shall be vested
in such person and persons as he may appoint, and be exercised in such manner as he may
direct: Provided, that he shall take due care for the preservation of social order, and for
securing to the inhabitants the enjoyment of their personal rights, their religion, and
their property; and provided, also, that the section of country herein designated-that
is situated to the eastward of the river Perdido-may be the subject of further negotia-
tion." (Ex. Journal, vol. 2, p. 292.)
The proceedings of the Senate on the foregoing bill were as follows:
On the 27th June, 1812, the bill was read a second time; and referred to a select com-
mittee. On the 30th June the committee reported the bill without amendment.
On July 1st, 1812, "the instructions of the President of the United States on the sub-
ject, communicated by the committee to whom the said bill was referred, were read, and
a motion for amendment was submitted by Mr. Crawford."
On Thursday, July 2d, 1812, Mr. Crawford's amendment was offered as follows:
"And be itfurther enacted, That if the United States, in the prosecution of the presentt
war against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, should obtain possession of
the British Provindes in North Atnerica, or either of them, that the President of the
United States be, and he is hereby, authorized and empowered to establish within the
same a temporary government; and the military, civil, and judicial powers thereof shall
be vested in such person and persons, and be exercised in such manner as he may direct,
for the protection And maintenance of the inhabitants of such province or provinces, in
the full enjoyment of their property, liberty, and religion: Provided, that the principles
upon which such temporary government shall be established shall form no obstacle to
the restoration of peace between the two nations."
This amendment to the said bill was adopted in the Senate by ayes 20, noes 10.
A further amendment, "That this act be not printed or published, unless directed by
the President of the United States, any law or usage to the contrary, notwithstanding,"
was also adopted in the Senate by a vote of 23 ayes to 7 noes.
The bill was then passed to a third reading-ayes 15, noes 13. And on the question
"shall the bill pass as amended," it was determined in the negative-ayes 14, noes 16.
(Jo. Journal, vol. 2, pages 292 to 295.)
A single change in favor of the bill would have tied the Senate, and given the casting
vote to the Vice-President.
As the amendment in relation to the British Provinces was supposed to have defeated
the bill in the Senate, a belief was entertained that it would be passed without that
amendment at the succeeding session, as the correspondence shows.
With the knowledge of the intended proceeding in Congress, which Governor Mitchell
states in his letter to the Secretary of State, and in view of his letters to the Spanish
governor, while engaged in his declared preparations to take possession of Florida in an-
iicipation of the expected action of Congress to that end, the conduct of this agent of the Gov-
ernment cannot be too strongly characterized by pronouncing it Irapous / beyond example!!
the province, our southern country will soon be in a state of insur-
rection. In addition to which, I have not the least doubt but
that they will soon be farther reinforced by the same kind of troops
from the Vritish West Indies.
These may be considerations of little import-in the'opinion of
those gentlemen of the Senate who voted against the bill, but they
are of vital interest to every man in the southern States, and will,
I am confident, be so considered by the President, and met with
"I have ordered such reinforcements to the support of Colonel,
Smith as I deemed necessary to enable him to maintain his ground,
and to prepare him either to meet any reinforcements which might
be received by the Spaniards, or to take possession if ordered.
"Under present circumstances, I shall leave this for Milledge-
ville, by Savannah, in a few days, Should any imperious circum-
stances require my presence at a future day, I will return, unless
the President shall deem my attendance unnecessary.
I cannot, at this moment, make up a detailed~gmount of my
expenses, or the expenses incident to the transportation of troops,
&c.; but it shall soon be sent on. In the meantime, I have drawn
for my expenses here."
Let this letter be contrasted with those to the governor of
Having prevented the withdrawal of the troops from East Florida,
filled the country with volunteers to prey upon the substance of the
people, and thereby insured the continuance of the war upon this
defenceless province, Governor Mitchell retired to Milledgeville,
some three hundred miles distant from the frontier of East i0brjda,
and left the work of destruction robbery and plier, to'go on
without restraint or control. Bd ii. .i .i .u.1i, iA.LAh L t -
tinned to hold his office as the ar.l ..i' i'. Cc.al '&at
In a letter from Governor i'rUwrn t m SPsiftry Iepr.ppnj -1
Executive Department, Geoo: ,i. BUfl Bi B "Itl* rta rr
1812," he said: '
"If you will advert to your ir *** -. hn t aU.I .J 10
May, you will readily discover lie L: -4r1 m.E .ui,
In these despatches, you oxpir-oat aiir.-:- e, P
that I am not to abandon thosq iw,' in k I4it 6 b.d i..m
with-General Matthews under hLa cr,.itra..r *'P esti o COet
gress, and the powers given hi~ so.1 *-t. was r6fLaa*n r
ground, &c., with a variety of r b;r ef r ui I fmoSrdai .r
and explicit for me to underst:,. '*.u .- P. rUM- rr, r .
troops without further orders from the Govewrnmnt. *
The necessity of reinforcements became evident beyond all.doubt,
and I congratulated myself that, about tlat very time, [the attack
at Moosa, &c.,] the volunteers from Savannah had arrived at St.
Mary's, and were, ina a few days, with Colonel Smith, by which
his camp was made perfectly secure. -
The last detachment are still with Colonel Smith, in Florida;
but the time for which they engaged will expire the last of this
There are, I am informed, between two and three hundred re-
cruits now in the middle and lower parts of Georgia, doing noth-
ing. Will you pardon me fbr suggesting the idea of ordering them
under Colonel Smith? They might very well supply the place of
the volunteers whose time is nearly expired."
These "recruits" were a specimen of many who entered East
Florida during this period for the purpuso of plunder, but under
the specious name of patriots.
In another letter of the same date, (19th of September, 1812,)
from Governor Mitchell to Secretary Monroe, lie says:
Nothing could be more unfortunate or more injurious in its
consequences to this section of the Union than the rejection of the
hill by the Senate, which was intended to authorize the President
to take possession of the Floridas; had it passed, Augustine would,
long er8 this, have been in our possession, and, in all probability,
without the sacrifice of a single life; and once in our possession,
there is no probability that any European power would ever at-
tempt to retake it. *
"Independent of this, what would be the situation of Amelia,
if it was evacuated by the American troops ? The entrance to it
from the ocean is at St. Mary's bar, and the waters of St. Mary's
river would betothmon to the Spaniards, and consequently to the
British, as well as ourselves. The bar is a very fine one, of easy
entrance, with twenty-four feet water. The statement of these
simple facts will unfold to your view what our situation would be,
was the place evacuated. *
"Although the circumstances I have stated may be said to pre-
sent a local view of the subject only, yet, in my opinion, it goes a
great way in support.of those general views which the Government
have of the subject, and on which they founded strong expectations
that Spain would have consented to an amicable transfer, subject
to future friendly negotiation. From what I have
already said, you no-doubt anticipate the faot that I have not
withdrawn Colonel Smith and his detachment; but I trust you will
at the same time do me the justice to believe that I shall not suffer
any sacrifice of thAi detachment, either as to health or the enemy.
I have given to Colonel Smith, who is!a judicious, vigilant, and
brave officer, discretionary orders to act as circumStances may
occur. 1 trust the President will not send any
peremptory order to recall the troops, but that he will let us gain a
little time, and probably some circumstances may arise out of our
present situation that will bring us relieft-[i. e. from the pressure
of the acknowledged obligation to withdraw them.]
uI a letter from Governor Mitchell to Secretary Monroe, dated
"Milledgeville, 13th October, 1812," he says:
"The affairs of East Florida have assumed, within a few weeks
past, a very serious and alarming aspect. As I had the honor to
state to you in a former letter, the governor of St. Augustine has
succeeded in stirring up the Seminole Indians (a part of the Creeks)
to a state of open hostility with us. They have broken up the set-
tlements on the St. John's, have driven off the people's slaves and
stock of every description, and destroyed what tey could not carry
off. Colonel Smith had determined, un-
der the discretionary orders which I had given him~i in consequence
of his men having become sickly, and the departure of the volun-
teers, to remove to a healthy position on the St. John's; and only
a few days before he began to put that.determination into execu-
tion, his party, escorting the provision wagons, were attacked by
a motley set of black and red savages. Colonel Smith is now,
however; both in a secure and healthy situation, but his force is
weak when every man under his command is fit for duty. Under
the present circumstances, if Colonel Smith was withdrawn, or
compelled to retire from the province, it would be attended with
the most fatal consequences to Georgia; and, indeed, nothing short
tof the whole military strength of the State being, brought to act
against the Indians and negroes, would, in my opinion, save her
from the very worst evils imaginable. To reduce the State to such
a situation, cannot, I am certain, be either the intention qr the
interest of the General Government, andI shall, therefore, confi-
dently hope that the Secretary of War will be required to order
the United States commanding officer in Georgi order all the
disposable force here, under Colonel Smit. Could a company of
artillery be possibly spared, they wild, of vast importance to
this command. Whatever additional forceimay be ordered, I hope
and trust it will be under an officer iferior in point of grade and
date of commission to Colonel Smiut, for he has borne the brunt
for a long time, and in justice to his feelings and merits, he is en-
titled to command the troops that may be in that province, until
the business is settled. By next mal I expect to have it in my
power to send you some documents from the Indians themselves,
that part of them who profess frieddtip for the United States."
The Florida Indians were Spanish subjects, and if the United
States would not withdraw their troops, who had unlawfully in-
vaded the Spanish territory, the Spanish governor had a right to use
those Indians.to expel the invaders, and the United States was re-
sponsible for all consequences.
This letter of Governor Mitchell to the Secretary of State is
dated the 13th of October, 1812. In a letter from Colonel Smith
to the War Department, of "July 30th, 1812," he says: "The
Governor of Georgia having ordered upwards of two hundred vol-
unteers to join me, and authorized me to chastise the Indians, I
am making arrangements for that purpose, and expect by the end
of August to have destroyed all their towns in East Florida."
It was but natural that the Indians seeing these preparations
should anticipate them: If the United States, by its agent and
commissioner, General Matthews, had not excited the revolution
of 1812, and invaded the province by its naval and military forces,"
it is manifest these Indian hostilities and depredations would not
have occurred; and hence Secretary Woodbury favored the passage
of a law by Congress to indemnify the Spanish sufferers. (See Ex.
Doe. No..68, 2d sess. 28th Cdng.) No allowance was ever made
for Indian depredations, however, except where the attack was
proved to have been. drawn upon the property by the occupancy of
The agent and.commissioner of the United States, aided by its
armyandnavy, was acting under a secret law andsecretinstructions.*
He informed the inhabitants the United States had determined to
"take possession of the province by conquest." He promised
protection and safety, and even rewards, to those who countenanced
Mr. Z. Kingsley' plantation, "Laurel Grove," was besieged and destroyed by the In-
dians, and his negroe and cattle carried away, in consequence of such military occupa-
tion by Col. Newnan, when on an expedition against the Indians.
Williams in his History of Florida says:
"Col. Newnan, inspector general of Georgia, was a volunteer among the Georgia
troops in Florida. He solicited permission to march at the head of a party of volunteers
and attack the Seminoles in their towns. Permipsion was granted him, though with
considerable hesitation, as it weakened the posts at Davis's creek and New fHope. One
hiiudred snd ten men, many of whom had been discharged, volunteered their services
in this Fpsdition. About twenty of them wes' marines from Captain Williams's com-
pany; the balance were from Humphrey's rifeineni snd Fort's infantry. They rendez-
voused ;, E[._.-rd Grove, the seat of Mr. Kingsley;' (Pga 198.)
On t .' Mr. Williams says: "'Mr. Kingsley'splantation was besieged [by the, In-
dians]for nine months; about forty negroes and all his cattle were stolen. These injuries
were again retaliated on the loyalists. They also took every species of properly they could
carry off, and burnt and destroyed houses, fruit trees and elrop of every description. Eist
Florida became a scene of .universal desolation, from which she has never yet recovered."
his proceedings, and threatened banishment from the province and
confiscation of property against those who should oppose him.
(See statement of the case of McIntosh, and decision of Judge
Bronson, pp. 36, 37.) The Spanish troops were driven from the
posts occupied for the protection of the settlements, and closely be-
sieged, both by land and sea, in St. Augustine, and all succor cut
off. If they obtained assistance from Great Britain, or any other
power, the act of Congress subjected the whole country to military
capture. The American troops, regulars, volunteers, and patriots,
had possession of the whole province, "except the city and fort of
St. Augustine." Any attempton the part.of the Spanish inhabi-
tants to aid the Spanish governor and cause was certain destruc-
tion from the invaders: To countenance the revolution of General
Matthews, which was the only means of avoiding imprisonment,
bapihment, 'and confiscation of property, subjected~ them to the
penalty of treason towards Spain, and 0 liability to be treated is
rebels. Such was the unhappy condition of a large portion of the
Inhabitants of East Florida during the whole period of the inva-
sion. Instead of being relieved when Governor Mitchell succeeded
General Matthews, the evils of their condition were greatly aggra-
vated by the introduction of large bodies of undisciplined volun-
teers, and every kind of military adventurers to be found on an ex-
tensive and wild frontier, who, yielding to the excitement of the
'times, and assuming the name of "patriots," destitute of necessary
supplies, and without the restraints of military law or discipline,
roamed over and ravaged the country, and finally provoked an In-
dian war, which completed the entire,desolation of, the province,
and compelled the inhabitants to seleaafet by fght to the islands
on the coast, or to Georgia. '., '1 4..
This official correspondence furbisa.ealIl 40 ikf 'ctr this
sad picture; and it cannot be ,.- i "- rltr.l .-
ernment to attempt to find a I- - :..>l m ojiMtnagri s.,tiii
which attaches to her acts, in r :-,,~ 1 ,a ad i ta ;- .
eral calamity, all of which had their fatal origin it hitW et laws,
instructions, and agents; in her unjust policy, an4d mi~madireed
military power. .
It will be observed that, accord to the above letter of G(Oernor
Mitchell to W Secretary of Stateitthe 18th October, hehadmade
partizans and allies among the Florida Indians who "professed
friendship fbr the United States." These were fit coadjutors for
his idle "recruits" in the patriotic work of devastation.
To show the terrible state and extent of the Indian difficulties
occasioned by the invasion of East Florida in the fall of 1812 the
following extracts are made from a letter of Governor Mitchell to
Secretary Monroe under date of "Milledgeville, 19th October,
1812," in which he said:
"I have received from Colonel Hawkins, the agent for Indian
affairs, residing among the Creeks, the papers, ot which the en-
closed are true copies. By these it would appear as if the Span-
iards at Pensacola and St. Mark's were in the daily expectation of
assistance from the British, and of large supplies of arms and am
munition for the Indians. I think we are, in the present situation
of affairs, bound to believe their own declarations, and if we do we
have reason to regret the words of the act of Cyngress which re-
strain us until there is an actual attempt to take posession;- fbr,
as I have before observed, in these seaports the attempt and the
occupancy, as respects the British, are the same thing. *
I have as yet taken no other steps on this subject than
mere precautionary ones to guard against any sudden irruption by
these savages on our frontier; but should they make their appear-
ance on this side of our boundary, or near it, in a menacing and
warlike aspect, the President cannot be surprised if I order them
l pursued into their own territory, for I cannot think of suffering
them to come into ours. If they are determined upon hostilities-
and I have no doubt but they are, (I mean the Seminoles)-it will be
far better for us to meet them in their own towns, and punish them
there, than to wait for their approach or arrival among our settle-
ments. [The Indian war we had provoked, and the
murders and desolation consequent, were to be confined to Flori
da, and to that end the Spanish boundary was to be totally disre-
garded. Indeed, at this time the United States claimed to be in the
lawful possession of all East Florida, "except the city and fort ol
"I sent to demand that those who had committed the murders on
the St. Mary's, of which I informed you in a former letter, should
be given up to the ciVilauthority of Camden county, there to take
theit trial, and I received no other satisfaction than that they re-
ceived nothing from the United States, and that their head man,
Paine, [General Newnan, the commander of one of Governor
Mitchell's corps of Georgia volunteers, had killed his father in
Florida,] was at war with the Americans, and was then out on the
St. John's and St. Mary's with a war party from he Lochaway
and Alligator towns. .We have therefornothingc expect, but
that they will do us all the mischief they can if we do not antici-
pate their intentions by meeting them in their own territory. *
"I have no doubt, if we do not get possession of Augustine be-
fore the expected British fleets arrive upon our coast, btt that they
will throw troops into both Aigustine and Pensacola; and if they
do, the situation of the southern section of the Union will be a
deplorable one indeed. *
"1is" (Col. Smith's) "expectations of taking Augustine are
founded on the belief that the measure will be authorized as soon
as Congress meets, if the hostilities already commenced by the
Spaniards should not be considered as authorizing it sooner, and
on the reinforcements which he may receive. Under
the present circumstances and aspect of affairs, I shall endeavor
to have a force organized under the orders of Col. Smith, and
ready to execute any order the President may think proper to give,
either before or after any decision which Congress may again make
upon the subject.
"The last sentence in Col. Smith's letter corroborates the in-
formation 1 have received fromtother quarters, of the determined
hostility of the Florida Indians to us, and I am perfectly confident
* tliat nothing short of chastisement in their own towns will restrain
"These details concerning the Indians have no direct reference
to the instruction under which I act for the Goveinment; but,
inasmuch as they have in some measure grow out of the oafairs of
Florida, by the intrigue and arts of the Spanish officers, and the
peace of Georgia is likely thereby to be disturbed, I have thought
it but proper to apprize the Government of all circumstances of
any importance which occur from time to time on this frontier."
The dreadful condition to which East Florida had been reduced
by the course pursued by Governor Mitchell, (and, probably, the
aspect of political affaire in Europe--prrticularly 4.i Spai,) in-
duced the Government to dispense r.- hh:s Crinl 4..Y, .i
Major General Thomas Pinokney, kt. sinmOnDini Lh. aii.L *L
division of the army of the United tiil, **a peo d my1-i .
In answer to a letter from Secretry Monol #inria. r ri.. of
this change, Governor Mitchell, inder ai- .i MiUledgvr 2d
November, 1812," said:
'"In acting upon the instructions I received ilN the PrraI I. br
on the subject of East Florida, my utmost .l.-.r. -e -. u i -
give them effect; and in all cases arising out of cirmat4 s to
which those instructions related, but did not specificall p vide
[for], my best judgment was exercised. res-
dent having approvedmy conduct upon the present occasion, is the
utmost gratification I could possibly receive.
"It was my intention, upon receipt of your answer td my letters
of the 19th September, accompanying which was a fill statement
of my account and vouchers, to have respectfully suggested the
propriety of appointing another person whose situation would
enable him to bestow more attention upon a subject of so much
importance than I possibly could, engaged as I am with the duties
attached to my present appointment in the State; and I receive
with real pleasure the intimation of the intention of the President
to commit the affairs of Florida to the management of Major
General Pinckney. Hismilitary situation, experience and talents,
render his appointment in every respect proper, and you may be
assured that every information which I possess, or may hereafter
possess, will be communicated to him with pleasure. As I now
consider my agency closed, I have drawn for the balance of my
In answer to a call by General Pinckney on Gooernor Mitchell,
for information as to the state of the negotiations between him and
the governor of East Florida for the withdrawal of the American
troops, Governor Mitchell, under date of "Executive Department,
Georgia, Milledgeville, 17th December, 1812," said:
"It is also proper for me to observe that, independent
of the reason assigned in my first reply to Governor Kendolan
for not withdrawing the troops, I was partly influenced by the
expectation of war with England, and, consequently, a detlnrina-
ti on on the art of our.Government to take possession o/fthe Floridas,
to decline, in my second reply to that gentleman, making any
proposition to him for withdrawing the troops, and to insist on a
more explicit and ample acknowledgment for the insult offered
the Government in the attack upon the troops. I was also induced
to this course from the information which I derived from the verbal
communications which took place between my aid, when in Augus-
tine, and the person then in authority there, and those made to
myself by the agent employed by Governor Kendelan in carrying
his despatches to me, and my answers. From these, it was evident
to me that the government of Augustine would not consent to any
arrangement which should provide for the safety of those residents
of the province who had embarked in the opposition to their gov-
ernment, under the assurance of protection from the United States;
and our Government was equally determined not to withdraw the
troops, but upon such conditions as should render the residence
of those persons in Florida perfectly safe from the resentment of
the Spaniards, as well in their persons as properties."
In thus confessing the truth, this smooth and wily agent of the
Government confesses his own falsehood and duplicity in his cor-
respondence with the Spanish governor, in assigning as his reason
for not withdrawing the troops, the pretended attack upon them
at Moosa, for which Governor Kendelan made the most ample
explanation;-in pretending an honest purpose to withdraw the
troops and restore the provincdto Spain, while, in fact, no such
purpose existed. The pretence that the Indian disturbances were
excited by the Spaniards, who Ald everything to lose by them, is
equally unfounded. All the cosiespondence goes to show, that if
there had been no invasion, there would have been no Indian
Before proceeding to the coffespondence of General Pinckney,
attention is asked to that of Col. T Smith, the commander of
the United States troops in East Florida.
In a letter, to the War Department, dated "'Poiri Petre; 27th
March, 1812," he said:
"Since my communication of the 18th instant [the day Fernan-
dina and Amelia island were taken,] I have had an interview
with Mr. Bessent, the collector ot the port of St. Mary's, who
has, to promote the public service, agreed to make me such ad-
vances as exigencies may require, until further advised. I re-
ceived, a few minutes since, the enclosed requisition from General
"The moment a sufficient number of boats can be procured, I
will embark all the effective force under my command for St.
John's, with the view of occupying and defending such military
posts to the southward of itas I may be officially informed lve
been surrendered, by the local authority of r.r ..*.-j|, i. i.tar i.,I --1
States. Captain Williams will he left,witi. It -..mr.rr. -andEi ht-
command, at Fernandina. Ifit is 0terL. 'LIhf. 4.il I ti
Executive that I should at., i :.or p .r .1. tre 'I-rt.e- -.il
Matthews may require,oBl ;* .d rq a l **,
to be advised of it as soon as .ti.
This is the officer who had volunteer.. L,. ul &ndea M1.1I i'- .i..
and his patriots from Georgia, assisted t .' ~ ..a.ft r ,.iIl
gun-boats, to take Fernandina awd .al .t .l.I Jla 96 i aI',r
Laval had refused. HA writes rather ..ly. IPlt I r
War Department, but with sufficient r I I._ .4, -. Ip It. A. V.
ernmpnt on its guard. *
In a letter dated "Moosa Old Nre 14th April, 1812,"' t ad
S;ii ;it ,
dressedd to "William ,Eutis, Secretary of War, Washington
city," he said:
"I was unable to procure transport for the detachment under
my command until the 1st instant, on which day I embarked for
Picolata, but owing to the violence of the wind, and the boats be-
ing bad, I was unable to reach until the 7th. On the 8th I drop-
ped down the river, in compliance with enclosed requisition [see it
at p. 17] of General Matthews, to Six Mile creek, which I ascended
about six miles. I deposited our little stores under a sergeant's
guard, and proceeded to this place, which was occupied by the
patriot forces. They delivered me peaceable possession on the
12th, at 4 o'clock, at which time I hoisted the American flag. On
the following morning, soon after the troops were dismissedat re-
veille, a gun-boat, at the distance of about three-quarters of a
mije, fired four shot immediately on the detachment, two of which
passed within a few feet of some of the men. The moment our
flag was hoisted and the troops prepared for action, they ceased
firing, and sheered off. This post is within two and a half miles
of St. Augustine, and in full view. I think the situation a bad
one for defence, and will take a new position in a day or two.
General Matthews sent a flag to their lines to-day, which was pe-
remptorily ordered back. From present appearances I have little
doubt but ere this reaches you, we shall have had (an) action.
The governor has sent to Havana and Nassau for reinforce-
ments, which it appears are daily expected. Should they arrive, I
shall be compelled to fall back, but will oppose them at every de-
file, until the Georgia volunteers can come to my aid. Wagons
or carts to remove our stores cannot be procured; I shall conse-
quently have to destroy them, if I have to give ground. As the
contract I made for the supply of rations in EastFlorida will he a
losing one to the contractor, I have nd expectation of being able to
get him to furnish longer than the time contracted for, (31st May.)
The officers with me are active, but the number (4) is so small,
that I experience great inconvenience, and I wish the public ser-
vice may not suffer on that account, a it is impossible for them,
for any length of time, to pay proper attention to the many duties
that at present devolve on them. I beg leave to recommend Mr.
John Findley, of Washington, Georgia, for an appointment in the
regiment of riflemen."
Under date of "Encampment before St. Augustine, 16th May,
1812," Col. Smith, in a letter to Goveraqr Mitchell, gives the fol-
lowing account of the firing upon ohr troops at Moosa, which was
treated by the latter as so grave a matte, in the correspondence
with Governor, Iendelan. Ho said:
"A schooner, mounting two twenty-four pounders, and others
of smaller calibre, with four launches filled with men, and mount-
ing each a six-pounder, sailed up the North river; the schooner
anchored oft the mouth of the creek upon which Fort Moosa is
situated, (our advanced post;) the launches proceeded up the creek,
protected by the fire of the schooner. The guard had orders to
remain until the walls of the house in which they were should be
penetrated by the enemy's fire. Leaving a small body of men, I
expected that the retreat of the main body of the guard would de-
coy the Spaniards, and an opportunity would have been offered for
the effectual use of our small arms. The stratagem had the de-
sired effect; but, unfortunately, the sergeant left in the command
fired too soon. The Spaniards immediately halted and commenced
their cannonade again; the detachment retreated; the Spaniards
landed under cover of their cannon and set fire to the house. .* *
"Deemidg my former situation unsafe, I have retreated a iele
and a half, where I shall maintain my ground.
"A detachment was sent a few days ago to St. Mary's for pro-
visions and arms. Should they be intercepted, the troops will
suffer much. I hope your excellence will take sndh measures as
to insure their safe arrival. It is obvious that our situation is ex-
tremely critical, should the Spaniards be reinforced and this late
success embolden them to venture another attack.
"The time has arrived when I hope your excellency is fully em-
powered to render us that assistance of which we stand in so much
need. I must observe that we are wholly destitute of artillery,
which would be absolutely necessary in case of a siege. A batter-
ing train may be had from Savannah. I need not again express
how necessary it is for the utmost expedition to be used in the ex-
ecution of any measures which your excellency may think proper to
adopt. From the reports which I have heard in circulation, Amelia
claims the most vigilant attention. If the province is to be evaau-
ated, that place must be maintained until the'loment.
"P. S. At Point Petre there ie a.pme a ims dP ammunition
subject to your excellency's order", : ,
In a letter to General (then QO~)allaadmSlWctWarhingtor,
dated "Camp before St. AngustiwelA4t1t li',tBh eln'ith
"Your esteemed favor of the 1 th M?& TW*ih day s
since. I am so pressed for time, that I c(Aw..si"i r M n .uii,
of our movements in this quarter, by tl I,--..al Ipj..itril. I
will, however, ere long; tire you with 1.-fml traimc .,
In a letter from the Spanish governo-. K.r.-.liat, l tl r.
Colonel Smith, dated "St. Augstine, 12thJune, 18iLra eai&d
"I pray you to retire with the troops uadneroar com-
mand, to the other side of the river St. John's, without affording
any protection, active or passive, to the revolvers of this province,
who, under the protection of the United States arms, dare to
commit disturbances of all kinds against the loyal subjects of it."
To this request Colonel Smith made the following reply:
"'UNTED STATES ENCAMPMENT,
June 13th, 1812.
"To his Excellency S'BASTIAN KENDELAN,
Governor Proprietary, Politic and Military, &c., do.
"SIm: In reply to your excellence's communication of yesterday,
I have to observe, that my instructions command me to maintain
my present position. To prevent the effusion of blood pending the
negotiation with his excellency Governor Mitchell, I must request
tha no parties may be sent from the town, as I shall feel myself
obliged to repel any force which may appear without'the reach of
your cannon." (Mis. Senate Doe. No. 55, let sees. 36th Cong.)
In a letter from Colonel Smith to Major A. H. Nicoll, adjutant
and inspector United States troops, Washington city, dated 30th
July, 1812, he said:
"Your favors of the 19th and 26th June, and llth July, have
been received. Two of the officers (Lieutenants Patterson and
Laval) reported absent with leave, are somewhere in North and
South Carolina, but at what particular places I am unable to ascer-
"I have ordered the men belonging to the companies composing
this detachment at Fort Hawkins to join me; those in South
Carolina being ordered to their present station by the officer com-
manding the district. I have considered that an order from me
would be irregular, and perhaps not respected.
"The Indians have commenced hostilities in
my rear. On Saturday, the 26th, they killed a white man and
five negroes, and made thirty-two prisoners on the north side of
the St. John's. On the following morning they killed two men in
four miles of lmy camp. The governor of Georgia having ordered
upwards of two hundred volunteers to join me, and authorized me
to chastise the Indians, I am making arrangements fbr that purpose,
and expect by the end of August to have destroyed all their towns
in East Florida."
The Spanish troops having been driven from the posts on the
St. John's and elsewhere, and closely besieged in St. Augustine,
the whole country was left exposed to the depredations of the In-
dians, marauding Georgia patriots, and volunteers. When General
Matthews, with his Georgia patriots and United States troops,
entered East Florida, in March, the country was protected by the
Spanish posts, and universal peace and prosperity prevailed, in
the month of July, just as the crops in that country were matured,
the work of universal destruction commenced, as the necessary
consequence of this unlawful invasion. With such irregular and
undisciplined forces as entered Florida, collision with the Indians
and an Indian war were inevitable.
Under date of "Camp before St. Augustine, 21st August, 1812,"
Colonel Smith, in a report to the Adjutant General at Washington,
"I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your several
communications of the 21st, 22d, 23d and 24th ultimo.
"The person alluded to in my letter of the 22d June is still with
me, and has not received official information of his appointment.
Should he rove to be the person appointed on the 12th. March,
and arranged to the 18th regiment, I will take the earliest oppor-
tunity of giving the information to the department.
"The Indians continue to commit depredations in my rear, almost
every day; they have burnt and destroyed the improvements on a
number of plantations, and carried off a great number of slaves.
"The inhabitants are all removing to the islands, many of them
having been reduced in a few hours from affluence to almost beg-
"I have been unable to fulfil my promise of the 30th ultimo, in
consequence of the great delay experienced in getting the arms
from Savannah. If the contractor does not fail to supply (of which
I am fearful,) the volunteers will proceed to execute that-promise
in a fewdays." *
I omit the slander upon .'r K ..i... (that he paid the
Indians for scalps,) which is .. i .. .. r ,: ~ id 'upd meirhear-
say or rumor, and has not a partipla.pfyii~gypto a si plitbbut
is conclusively repelled by the moderation airij ieetineed by
him in his correspondence and other Is. tArouLut I it. uole of
this trying period; also by the high l4afl of hbl, &a ,. i as an
officer and a gentleman, as certified riF uhb On 6tlai-.. com-
missioner. (See General Mitchell's l-rYll ti .rI Jhnu-i 1812,
ante.) This, like the many other false rmprs of tt period, (the
"black British regiment," &c.,) was undoubtedly fabricated for
political effect, or to justify the invasion or the conduct 9f the in-
The following letter from Colonel Smith to Governor Mitchell,
under date of 22d September, 1812, is that, the existence of which
was questioned by Senator Bayard. Of this an entire copy follows,
"DEPOT, DAVIS'S CREEK,
"20 miles north of St. Augustine,
"22d Saptember, 1812.
"Sin: The period has at length arrived when it is absolutely
necessary to order a respectable reinforcement to aid me in the re-
duction of St. Agustine, and the destruction of all the Indian set-
tlements in this province, or that we should be withdrawn; the
latter would be to me the most painful movement of my life, and I
hope your excellency will order the force necessary to effect the
former as soon as possible.
The escort, with the provision wagons, under the command of
Capt. Williams, was attacked on the 12th inst. by a party of In-
dians and negroes, from St. Augustine, to the number of fifty or
sixty; Captain Williams's command consisted of a non-commis-
sioned officer and nineteen privates, besides drivers. Captain
Fort, of the Millodgeville volunteers, was with the party. The at-
tack was made at the Twelve-mile swamp, between 8 and 9 o'clock
at night, and lasted about twenty-five minutes. The result was
unfavorable to se, having lost our wagons, had both the officers
and six privates wounded, (Captain Williams in eight places, and
I fear mortally,) and the non-commissioned officer killed.
"Captain Williams and Fort acquitted themselves highly to
their honor, and would have been victorious beyond a doubt, if
either of them had escaped for a few minutes, as an order had been
given to charge, and the enemy began to give ground. The In-
dians fled the second fire, yelling like devils. I would have made
an effort to take St. Augustine immediately, hut my detachment is
so reduced by disease, that I cannot furnish the necessary camp
"I expect to remove to a healthy position on the St. John's in a
few days, and if the volunteers (gone at present against the Lotch-
away towns) will consent to serve to the fall of St. Augustine, I will
procure, without delay, the necessary transport and supplies, and
invest it closely, the moment that three or fbur hundred additional
men can be raised for that service. The volunteers have been very
unhealthy-as many as one hundred and five on the sick list at
a time, and I am fearful that I shall not be able to get more than
one hundred and twenty of my detachment on their legs in time.
"Captain Neeley died on the 20th instant; his men have acted
like veterans, without shoes, or, indeed, clothing of any kind; they
have always been ready for any duty they were ordered on. They
would be infinitely more serviceable if they could be clothed. I
hope your excellency will devise some plan by which they can be i
supplied, as the laws of the United States do not provide for cloth-
ing volunteers. The following is the plan I have in view, if a re-
inforcement is sent on. My detachment, one hundred and twenty;
volunteers, one hundred and fifty-then wanting three hundred,
making five hundred and seventy, to be disposed of as follows: F
twenty at Picolata; forty at the depot at Six-mile creek, IL block-
house to be thrown up; forty at the Big swamp, with a block-house,
being about half way; two hundred aind fifty on the neck formerly
occupied by me, with two field-pieces to prevent boats going up
the North river; two hundred and twenty, with the heavy pieces,
and a strong redoubt, opposite the lines of Solana's Ferry; 'this ar-
rangement will prevent any communication with the Indians, and
secure the convoys with provisions; if they should be supplied by
the British, it will then be an easy matter to destroy the town,
and see what effect that will produce.
There should be an allowance for sick, lame,,and lazy, as$ a
smaller force capable of duty will got secure the fall of the place.
"The Dons did not-attempt to mtolesb nte on my .way to this
place. I commenced the movement about tena o'clock, and set fire
to my huts, which was no doub a pleasing sight-tothemr
"The inhabitants have all abandoned their houses, with as
much of their movables as they could carry with them; some
have stopped on Amelia, but I believe the greater part have gone
to Georgia. The province (never thickly settled) will soon be-
come a wilderness.
"A Spaniard,* who escaped from the Indians, informed me that
they intended, to attack St. Mary's as soon as they had given uis s
little employment here; they made an attack some 'time since on
Picolata, but were beaten off; they succeeded, however, in bltnin'g
the trading houses, with what was in'them.
"I have the honor to be, sir, with high resptet,
"Your ob't 1er't;
*T. A. SMITH,
"Lsta. Co:. R.flemn .
"His Excellency DAVID B. frrcHLL.
"Governor .: Geforgi. nMtb i0tle." *
On the same day Col. Smith ma% the fblloiNg. o&AI report
of this affair to the War Departmnat; ,' i .
"DEPOT, DAyvSS CUnzI '. -.
"20 miles north of St. a*: t
I '.2dSepqritpSfl. .
"SIR: After having remained-before St. Augustine n ery six
*It seems the Indians attacked Spaniards as well as American. '
months, I have at length been compelled, by disease and the want
of provisions, to fall back to this place. Nearly half my detach-
ment are on the sick report, and unless I can employ some skilful
physicians, the deaths must be numerous. We are indebted to
the attention and skill of Dr. Hall for the preservation of many
men; he is unfortunately among the sick. Doctor Dusounbrry
knows nothing of his profession, and I am, fully persuaded never
would have received an appointment if he had presented in person
his letters of recommendation. The escort with the provision
wagons was attacked by a party of negroes and Indians from St.
Augustine, on the 12th instant. Their number must have been
between fifty and sixty. The escort consisted of a non-commis
sioned officer and nineteen privates, commanded by Captain Wil-
liams, of the marines. Captain Fort, of the Milledgeville volun-
teers, was with the party; the attack was made between 8 and 9
o'clock at night and lasted about twenty-five minutes, The result
was unfavorable to us, having lost our wagons, had both officers
and six privates wounded, (Captain Williams in eight places, and,
I fear, mortally,) and the non-commissioned officer killed. Cap-
tains Williams and Fort acquitted themselves highly to their
honor, and there is no doubt but if either had escaped a few min-
utes longer, our little party would have been victorious. An order
had just been given by Captain Williams to charge as he tell,
which was heard by the enemy and they began to give way. Cap-
tain Fort renewed the order to charge, which was not obeyed,
though the men behaved well in other respects.
"I intend to remove to a healthy situation on the St. John's, in
a day or two, Where we can get our supplies without difficulty, until
a reinforcement is ordered on. The expedition against the Indians
has failed, from the following causes, viz: Delay in getting arms,
want of provisions, the entire failure on the part of the patriots to
furnish the transport promised by them, the detachment being
very unhealthy, and there being considerable discontents among
them. They [the 'patriots'] are all on their return to Georgia,
except about ninety that are with Colonel Ncewnan, near Picolata;
they will also return in a few days to their homes.
"I have the honor to be, sir,
S "With high respect, your ob't serv't,
"(Signed) T. A. SMITH,
'Lieut. Colonel Riflemen.
"THoMAS H. CusnrN, Esq.,
"Adj't General U. S. Army, Washington City."
A true copy.
E. D. TOWNSEND,
A. G. O. Ass't Adijt Gen'l.
March 27, '60.
On the 7th of October, 1812, Col. Smith made the following re-
port to the War Department:
"HoLLIoNswoRTi, 7th October, 1812.
"Sm: Herewith I have the honor to transmit you the monthly
return for September 12th, of the troops under my command. I
regret that it was not in my power to give you a more favorable
report of the health of the detachment.
"Contrary to my expectations, Col. Newnan left Picolata on
the 24th ult. for the Lotchway towns, with seventy-five of his own
men, (the remainder of the detachment refusing to prolong their
tour of service,) eighteen men of Newley's volunteers and twelve
patriots. I was not informed of his movement until some days
after he had commenced his march. He had proceeded within
seven miles of the first town, when on the 27th he met a party of
Indians, upwards of one hundred, all mounted. They appeared
much surprised at seeing him, and immediately dismounted, form-
ing the line of battle and advancing a few paces. Newnan or-
dered the charge; the Indians remained firm until the volunteers
were within fifty paces of them, when they broke and made off for
the swamps, which were on three sides of the battle-ground. The
fire of the Georgians did great execution. KingPaine fell in this
action, but his body was rescued by his warriors. This engage-
ment lasted from 11 a. n. to 3 p. m. The Indians lost twenty or
thirty killed and wounded, with all their baggage, including pro-
visions. Just before night of the same day, the action was re-
newed with great obstinacy on the part of the Indians, who had
received a large reinforcement from their towns, but were again
repulsed, with great loss. Newnan, finding his situation ex-
tremely hazardous from the increasing number of the enemy, who
began to surround him on all sides, and unable from his wounded
either to advance or retreat, threw up a small breastwok, in which
he defended himself until the4t] ...-. TI.. T.. i.. i a',tL .7
to harass him day and night, E,,i n., % rli t . mcid ra ,
impression upon him, shot his hl *.. wiinwaltr tCI i. brtI w. -
ment, a messenger was despatol 1 i me r; %ij FLwrr...i i,
his guide was not good, which rr;..rd Qhe~ Qru. .* i -
From my helpless condition, I .*jl u i e =b puL *aL i I
was required; however, twenty-r..- i-in.L et s ~na .1. I
stantly despatched to his relief, with provisions. -
"Unfortunately, on their arrival, which wa owta4sight of the
4th, the company evacuated, nor could they'tell rtire Newnan
had gone to. They returned without accomplishing the object of
their expedition. An express again arrived on fehM6tbw in-
formed that the Indians had continued daily their fire, lhut with-
out effect; that, on the 4th, from the perfect silence which had
reigned in Newnan's camp for one or two days previous, the In-
dians believed the work deserted, and approached within fifty
paces of it, when they were so roughly handled as occasioned them
to retreat with precipitation, having sustained considerable loss.
Newnan then decamped without molestation, and retired ten miles
on the Picolata road, where he awaits the arrival of provisions and
horses, of which he is much in need. Fifteen men, being all that
could procure horses able to perform the service, were despatched
to his relief. We have heard of his having lost five killed and
seven wounded. The Indians, in the different engagements, could
not have lost less than sixty killed and wounded. Too much
praise cannot he bestowed on this detachment for their intrepid
conduct. I flatter myself the severe cheek which they have re-
ceived will keep them quiet awhile. If not, it will be absolutely
necessary to send a sufficient force to destroy all their towns in the
province, for the security of our own frontier.
"I have the honor to be, sir,
"With high respect, your ob't servant,
"T. A. SMITH,
"Lt. Colonel Riflemen."
A true copy.
E. D. TOWNSEND,
A. G. O. Ass't Adj't Gen'l.
March 28, '60.
In the "return of killed and wounded," which accompanies this
report, the force under Newnan is stated to be composed of the
following "Georgia volunteers" and "Georgia patriots," viz:
"Captain Humphrey's company of riflemen; Captain Fort's com-
pany of Georgia militia; Captain Coleman's company of Georgia
militia; Captain Cone's company of Georgia patriots."
Captain Cone was one of those patriots who, like Col. Alexan-
der and Captains Ray and Love, continued in East Florida long
alter the United States troops were withdrawn, "to plunder on
their owu hook." (See the testimony in the cases of Zephenial
Kingsle and James Cashen.)
O the operations of the "Georgia patriots," and of the Tennessee
and Georgia militia, but little is said in Col. Smith's official cor-
respondence with the Department. The Georgia patriots and
volunteers were so numerous in the.fall of 1812 as to have overrun
the whole inhabited portion of the province, as may be seen by
the details of their destructive operations, disclosed by the evidence
reported by the United States judges to the Treasury Department.
The following extracts or copies from the correspondence of
Major General Thomas Pinckney, who was appointed to supersede
Governor Mitchell, show that the military occupation of East
Florida continued during the whole of the winter of 1813, and
without the restraints of the personal presence and command of
this excellent and honorable military character.
In a letter addressed to Secretary Monroe, dated "Headquarters,
Charleston, 14th November, 1812," General Pinckney said:
"I received, on Tuesday last, the letter you addressed to me of
the 3d of this month.
"I am sensible of the honor resulting from the confidence re-
posed in me by the President, in committing to my management
the direction of our concerns in Eset Florida. The importance
of this trust, and my present situation, require that I should ex-
plain what I conceive to be the natetrw my agency.
"1 understand it to be a branch of my military duty and not a
separate diplomatic appointment, and that its functions are to be
executed upon the same principles that various cnventions re-
lating to the occupation or surrender of ports and territories are
formed and executed by military officers; and as such, my best
endeavors shall be exerted to carry into effect the objects of my in-
"I understand, distinctly, that it is the determination of the
President not to withdraw our troops from East Florida, unless
satisfactory assurances shall have been previously given by the
government of East Florida that the Spanish subjects concerned
in the revolutionary movements conneoled with the measures adopted
by General Matthews shall not be molested on that account, either
in their persons or property."
Being unwilling to peril his reputation by any seeming sanction
of the course previously pursued, he addressed, under the same
date, the following private letter to &Scretary Monroe, viz:
"HEAD4UARTs S, CHAKLEBTON,
"14th Nov'r, 1812.
"DEAR SIR: I am apprehensive that, as some of my communica-
tions to the Department of War contained expressions of the anxiety
I felt, and interest I took, in the situation of Col. Smith, the Presi-
dent may have imagined that myopoinion concerning our relations
with East Florida is different from that which I entertain. It
would not become me, in an official letter, to controvert any of the
principles upon which the President may conduct any of our foreign
relations; but when, after giving the subject the best consideration
in my power, my opinion is at variance with the course pursued,
and 1 find myself the agent to carry these measures into effect,
candor dictates that this opinion should be stated. The President
is the constitutional repository of the public will with respect to
our foreign relations; and, in the situation in which I am placed,
his instructions shall receive from me implicit obedience. At the
same time, you will much oblige me if you will let my sentiments
be respectfully communicated to him, that he may determine how
far be will confide this agency in the person impressed with them.
My opinion is, that we are not justified in withholding any part of
the province of East Florida, upon the ground that the Spanish
government refuses to pardon the offences committed against it by
their subjects. It is true that these persons were encouraged in
their conduct by the agent of the United States, although un-
authorized as to that point, and it therefore becomes the duty of
the United States, by all amicable means, to have them reinstated
in their former situation; but amicable means failing, the redress,
if practicable, should come from the unauthorized agent who has
occasioned the mischief; but if this cannot be obtained, an obliga-
tion may result to the United States to indemnify, from their own
fund, those who suffer by the misdoings of their acknowledged
agent. But I do not understand that, because we cease to injure
the Spanish government, an obligation attaches to them to comply
with our demand that they should forgive subjects criminal to them.
If they be not, then, bound by any moral tie, or the acknowledged
laws of nations, to comply with our requisition on this subject, I
cannot perceive the justice with which we can punish them for
their non-compliance. The above argument, you will please to
observe, sir, applies merely to the present occupation of East
Florida, because the Spanish government refuses to pardon their
revolutionists. With respect to the general grounds of complaint
of our government against Spain, I do nut possess sufficient infor-
mation to form a correct judgment; but it does appear to me, that
if we have sufficient cause to proceed to this kind of reprisal-but
are withheld from exercising that right by the present situation of
Spain-oor forbearance should he complete; and that, whenever
we mean to avail ourselves of our right, we should be prepared,
effectually, to support it.
"I trust, my dear sir, that my motive for making this informal
communication will not be misunderstood; and I am happy in be-
lieving that I shall have due credit from you, when I assure you of
the continued attachment of
"Your faithful servant,
(Signed) "THOMAS PINCKNEY.
The obligation of the United States to indemnify such of the
Spanish subjects as had been induced by the threats and promises
of General Matthews to join him, conceded by General Pinckney,
is an obligation anterior to and independent of the treaty, founded
upon the conduct and promises of its authorized agent, General
In another private letter to Secretary Monroe, dated "Head-
quarters, Charleston, 24th of December, 1812," General Pinckney
"A paragraph in the National Intelligencer informs us that Dr.
Eustis has resigned, and the management of the War Department
devolves on you, ad interim. Although this intelligence be not
official, yet I think it sufficiently authentic to induce me, in this
manner, to address you on business belonging to that department.
I received by the last mail a copy of the contract for furnishing
provisions for the troops in East Florida. It is, I And, confined
(and I think with propriety) to the 31st May, as our business ill
that quarter ought to be finished by that time. This, with the
general purport of my instructions, indicates the probability of an
attack upon St. Augustine. But Christmaa has arrived, and we
are not in the state of preparation I could wish. It is with the
hope of obtaining your aid in such arrangements as may accelerate
our campaign that I now address you. Our principal deficiencies
relate to the number, discipline, and equipment of our troops, and
sufficient munitions of war for the investment and siege of St. Au-
"With respect to munitions of war, I am making every
exertion in my power to furnish a sufficient battering train from
the ordinance destined for the defence of this harbor, and I hope
to have carriages fit for that service ready in the course of five
weeks from this time; but we shall require a large supply of pow-
der, shot, and shells, according to an estimate from Major McCree,
our engineer, which was forwarded by the last mail. *
"A letter from Col. Hawkins informs me thatthB hostile Indians
in Florida sue for peace. I have directed General Flournoy to
concert measures with Colonels Smith and Newnan for an effective
attack upon them, as it will be of importance to have our rear and
communications secure against them. If, however, they should
agree to such terms of peace as may be dictated by the President,
thatexpedition may be spared. *
"I am still without an answer to my letter to Governor Mitchell;
as soon, however, as I can collect such a force as may afford the
means of supporting any application 1 m ma make to Governor
Kendelan, I will proceed to Florida."
General Pinckney had previously informed the Government that
the Spanish governor was not bound by "any moral tie," nor by
"the laws of nations, to comply with our requisition;" "force,"
therefore, was his only alternative in fulfilling his instructions.
In a letter to Secretary Monroe, dated "Headquarters, Charles-
ton, 29th December, 1812," General Pinckney said:
"On considering these documents, [those received from Governor
Mitchell, being his correspondence with G6vernor Kendelan,] and
reviewing my instructions, it does not appear to me to be necessary,
under present circumstances, to have any further negotiation with
the governor of East Florida; he has not sent an answer to the
letter of Governor Mitchell, of the 6th of July last [ante]; if he shall
do so, I will make such reply thereto as my instructions shall
warrant. But if I were now to renew the negotiation, and offer to
withdraw our troops, on certain conditions, and Congress should
shortly determine to occupy the province, the transaction would
bear the character of bad faith. *
"I am using every exertion to prepare for the siege of St. Au-
gustine, as if the order to occupy the whole of East Florida had
"Presuming that it is not the intention of the
President to recommend to Congress the occupation of East Florida
until we shall be prepared to enforce the measure, I am desirous
of furnishing you with data, whence you may calculate the proba-
ble arrival of that period.
"My present impression, in reviewing alLcircum-
stances, is, that we shall not be prepared to commence the siege
before the middle of March, but I will forward, occasionally, such
information pf the progress of our preparatory operations, as will
best enable you to estimate their termination."
Having forced Spain, by these war-like preparations, to yield
what she was not bound by "the law of nations to comply with,"
General Pinckney, in a letter dated "Headquarters, Charleston,
March 26th, 1813," and addressed to the governor of East Florida,
"The President of the United States having appointed me to
command the troops in the southern States, and committed to me
the management of their concerns withte province of East Florida,
I have the honor ot making known to your excellency the trust
which has been reposed in me, and to assure you of the pleasure
it will afford me to concur with you in placing on the most
amicable footing these important interest;, and in furtherance
of this intention, I have to inform you that Mr. Onis has com-
municated to the Secretary of State an act of amnesty for the
insurgents of Florida who have been induced to revolt by an agent
of the United States, whose proceedings, in that respect, were un-
authorized; and I have to request your excellency to inform me
whether you are prepared to proceed in conformity to the above
mentioned act?" (Miscellaneous Senate Doc. No. 55, 1st session
36th Congress, p. 90.)
On the 31st March, 1813, the governor of East Florida made an
affirmative reply to GeneralPinckney, (Ib. p. 91); and, accordingly,
in a letter to Governor Kendelan, dated "Savannah, April 7th;
1813," he said:
"I received this day your excellence's letter of the 31st March,
and in answer thereto I have the honor to inform you that the
troops of the United States will be speedily withdrawn from the
province of East Florida, for which the preparatory order has been
already issued; and that I shall set out this day to proceed on my
route to St. Mary's, where I can have the satisfaction of a more
expeditious communication with your excellencyt" (Ib. p. 9.1.)
The governor of East Florida, in a letter to General Pinciney,
under date of "St. Augustine, Florida, April 16th, 1813," said:
"I have this moment received your letter of the 7th instant, in
consequence of which I pray you to do me the honor to conmuni-
cate to me, previously, the day you may determine upon to with-
draw from the river St. John's, and Amelia island, the troops
under your command, that I may order that those of mine [my
command] may occupy, on the same day, those points, with the
view of preventing any excess that might be attempted by any
one or more of the rioters upon the properties and persons of the
inhabitants of this province, which, I think, may be prevented.
If you think proper, those that are upon the said river should
evacuate first, that from thence i-may provide for sending the
garrison destined to Amelia island, and that neither one nor the
other point should be for one moment without a gatrisot, to caise
the good order, to whioh you and'`hyself afpits,t b bi kept.
"As I have no doubt of the iStel t h tybirt6Wof (irthl rlast
speedy tranquillity on the borders I dare supiomae you willintbt-
pose your authority to prevent Ia. 1,:r,. r.i ai o ars',.-,
vagabondsfrom the State of Geor n -.l.'r!..j aemo B l Eba .. ,.
tented persons who there yet may be,'wib 'rtis dte'dr r of
things, remaining in this territ&ry'll; b0aitsl thiv aesses to
which such a class of people might, ordtIai"toS id might
compromit that peace which ought to maea bkth'na tUries hanppyl]
and, consequently, disturb the good harmony asitattesoL happily
between the two powers."
This, though so badly translated as hardly tW bef'ifalligible,
is a strong appeal to General Pinekney for assistance to put a stop
to the depredations of those irregular, marauding bodies of men
who had been introduced into the country during the agencies of
General Matthews and Governor Mitchell, under the specious name
of "Patriots," and for whose acts the United States was clearly
responsible. It will he seen that this reasonable appeal was not
properly responded to.
In a letter from General Pinckney to Governor Kendelan, under
date of "St. Mary's, April 16th, 1813," (the same date as the above
letter of Governor Kendelan,) he said:
"I had the honor of addressing your excellency from Savannah,
on the 7th of this month, to inform you that, in consequence of
your communication of the 31st of March, the troops of the
United States would be speedily removed from East Florida; and
having arrived at this place, with the intention of carrying this
measure into effect, I again despatch my aid-de-camp, Mr. Morris,
to be the bearer of my respects to your excellency, and to inform
you of the arrangements made for the above purpose." (Ib., Sen.
Doe., p. 93.)
The order of General Pinckney for the withdrawal of the United
States troops from East Florida, addressed to Major Manning, was
"ST. MARY's, 16th April, 1813.
"SIR: You are hereby directed to withdraw the troops .of the
United States under your command from Camp New Hope, on the
29th of this month, and convey them, by water, to Point Petre,
on the St. Mary's river.
"You will bring with you all the ordnance, ammunition, and
stores belonging to the United States, and afford, if required, a
guard for the protection of the stores of the contractor, which he
will have to remove.
"1 have given to Major Massias instructions for the evacuation
of Fernandina, which will not be executed until the troops under
your immediate command have reached Point Petre.
"The removal of the troops from East Florida is not to be con-
sidered in the light of the evacuation of an enemy's territory, but
as restoring to a state of neutrality a territory which our Executive
deemed expedient to occupy, until the government of that territory
should comply with a reasonable requisition made to them. This
requisition having been complied with, the territory must be con-
sidered as restored to its neutral character; therefore, in withdraw-
ing the troops, you will prevent the removal or destruction of any-
thing appertaining thereto; and, in general, conduct the move-
ment in that liberal mode which will do honor to the discipline and
correct principles of the army.
"You are neither to give assistance to the agents of the Spanish
government, in any attempts against the revolutionists, nor are
you to assist the latter in any operations against the Spaniards,
but you may afford to such of them as wish to withdraw their
property from Florida, such assistance as may be in your power.
"On your arrival at Point Petre, you will report yourself to
headquarters at St. Mary's.
"By command of the general.
(Signed) "FREDERICK KINLOCH,
"The orders to the officer commanding at Fernandina were
similar to the above, mutatis mutandis.
"To MAJOR MAnnma,
8th Infantry, Commanding United States
troops, Camp New Rove, East Florida."
This order contemplates leaving the revolutionistss," "who."
(in the language of General Pinckney's letter of the 26th March,
1813, to Governor Kendelan,) "had been induced to revolt by an
agent of the United States," in full and unmolested operation (so
far as this Government was concerned) in East Florida, after the
withdrawal of our troops, notwithstanding an act of amnesty and
full pardon of those revolutionists had been required as a sine qua
non to the withdrawal of our troops.
The order also contains a full confession of the truth, viz., that
East Florida had been occupied by our troops, because'it was "a
territory our Executive deemed expedient to occupy." As General
Pinckney had conceded, in his private letter to Mr. Secretary Mon-'
roe, of the 14th November, 1812, (4nt ) ~tttBAh grfandlof auch
occupancy was neither supported by moral tghifaor!h.bh aw of
nations, this order must have been f0ansaB*ytd ~lt ri..i
conformity to, instructions : -. I Irom ttlu .rnm4B *t
In a letter from General i Lu -.j L, t. c &r.j M or *, dated
"St. Mary's, 23d April, 1813," hesid: .
"On the 8th December, 1812, I.reeived a AlUtattruction;
ofwhich the following is an extract: 'Under eslh atuimstance,
therefore, thh President thinks it due to the injuratllht. anad i-
terests of the United States, as well as to their honor, to maintain
the ground on which you now stand,'&o." '-$,
In a letter from Governor KendBlan to General Pinlekr; dated
"St. Augustine, Florida, April 26th, 1813," he said:
"In answer to another of yours of the 18th instant, which has
also been delivered into, my hands by your aid-de-camp, Morris,
I have the honor of saying, that the pardon promulgated in this
city on the 15th of last month is general and unlimited; whero-
fbre all those who may wish to avail themselves of it will be cher-
ished and protected, forgetting all thathas passed." (Ib., Senate
Doe., p. 95.)
In a letter from Govrnor Kandelen to General Pinckney, dated
"St. Augustine, Florida, April 28th, 1813," he said:
"I enclose to you the within letter, which was delivered to me
on the evening of the 25th by your aid-de-camp, to be forwarded
to the commander of the United States troops stationed upon the
river St. John's. When he arrived there at seven in the morning
of the 27th, they (the troops) had already embarked, leaving the
place of their encampment in flames, a circumstance which you
and myself were desirous of preventing, with the view that it
would facilitate (furnish) for the present convenient lodgings for
the garrison under my command, who were to occupy it on the
"This, sir, is of little consequence, and I thereby (therefore)
should not have troubled you by mentioning it were it not for the
circiulstances of their having consigned also to the flames the ma-
chinery and houses of the inhabitants, Hollingsworth and Creagh,
Stwo of the claimants,] which compels me to call your attention to
favor the persons injured." (Ib. Senate Deap, p. 96.)
These incendiary acts, and this wanton destruction of private
property, were committed by United States regular troops, under
the command of United States officers, in the very act of evacuating
the country under an amicable arrangement -between the public
authorities of the two nations. This official document but con-
firms the evidence reported by the United States judges, and is a
fair illustration of the spirit of bitternessand destructiveness which
had been infused into every description of our troops; and if such were
its fruits among the disciplined troops of our regular army, some
idea may be formed of the excesses committed by the undisciplined
roving.bands of patriots and militia who overran the country.
The outrages complained of by the Spanish governor are fully
confirmed by General Pinckney in his letter of 8th May, 1813, to
Secretary Monroe. (See p. 69.)
In a private letter from General Pinckney to Secretary Monroe,
dated "St. Mary's, 29th April, 1813," he said:
"The result of my observations is, that it would be advantageous
for the United States to purchase East Florida from the Spaniards
at a much higher price than it would at first appear to be worth,
and that we should receive ample interest for the money expended
by the augmentation of our finances, the increase of our military
force, and the tranquillity of a considerable portion of our country.
"The duty on imported goods forming our principal financial
resource, the simple view of the waters connected with this river
and the towns of St. Mary and Fernandina, which, though still
considerable places, have been, the one created and the other aug-
mented, by circumstances connected with the evasion of our com-
mercial arrangements, will be sufficient to convince the most in-
credulous of the impossibility to prevent defalcations in that source
of revenue while Florida is possessed by a foreign power."
This is cited as confirmatory of the great commercial advantages
possessed by East Florida during the existence of our embargo and
I also quote the following passage from the same letter of Gen'l
Pinckney to Secretary Monroe, to show that volunteers from Ten-
nessee, as well as from Georgia, operated in East Flbrida, viz:
"Permit me to bring to your recollection two Indians and an
old negro taken prisoners by the detachment under Col. Smith,
composed of United States troops and Tennessee volunteers,"
In a letter from General Pinckney to Secretary Monroe, dated
St. Mary's, 8th May, 1813," [erroneously copied 8th April,] he
"I have the honor to inform you that the last of our troops were
withdrawn from Fernandina on Thursday last. *
"I was desirous by these directions [the orders to Major Man-
ning] to avoid the appearance of being forced to retreat from an
enemy's country, and in consequence of the amnesty to the insur-
gents, which I presume was granted it consequence of the inter-
position of our government, I thought conciliatory conduct due
to the occasion. Unfortunately the troopswere withdrawn from St.
John's on the 26th, instead of the 29th of April. *
In consequence of the above mistake some ill-disposed person set
fire to the temporary barracks which had been erected, and to some
buildings of the neighboring planters, concerning which I enclose
a correspondence between the governor of East Florida and my-
"Since the expedition conducted by Col. Smith against the
Locheway (Alachua) settlements of Creek Indians, some small
parties of Georgians or Florida insurgents are reported to have
gone to those settlements, and have driven cattle from thence into
Georgia. As these settlements are within the territory of Spain
so far as concerns unauthorized citizens of the United States, such
incursions may be considered as illegal; but you will much oblige
me, sir, by informing me whether it is the wish or intention of our
government to prevent such transactions; and if so, what ate the
means which will be resorted to, and whether I shall at all inter-
fere, and in what manner, therein.
"1 am given to understand that a representation will probably be
made to me by the Spanish government on this subject; I should
therefore be particularly gratified to be able to explain the inten-
tions of our government relating thereto.
"I enclose the copy of an important communication from Col.
Hawkins, the superintendent of Indian affairs in the Creek nation,
not knowing whether it may have reached you in a direct chan-
In that communication to General Pinckney Colonel Hawkins
"I advised the chiefs of the lower Creeks to send a detachment
of warriors, not less than 50, nor exceeding 100, to co-operate with
their brethren of the upper Creeks. These were commanded by
one of our most distinguished warriors, Mr. Wm. McIntosh."
This is cited as additional evidence, to show that the agents of
the United States not only excited, but controlled the Indian war.
In a letter from General Pinekney to Secretary Monroe, dated
"Headquarters Sixth District, Point Peter, 10th June, 1813," he
"General Harris, one of the persons called East Florida patriots,
has informed me, in confidence, that he has lately returned from a
mission undertaken by those persons to the East Florida Indians,
with whose chiefs he had a conference at one of the towns of the
friendly Creek Indians, whereat the hostile Indians expressed great
desire to be at peace witj the patriots; in consequence whereof,
he had appointed the 13th of next month for the period at which
a deputation trom the patriots would meet the chiefs of the Ala-
chun tribe, within their boundary, for the purpose of making a
treaty. This circumstance lie mentioned to me, with the idea that I
might be authorized and willing to treat, at the same time, on the
subject of a peace between these Indians and the United States.
I told him that I had no authority to treat for peace, but would
communicate what he said to my government, which I have the
honor of now doing."
Looking to the date of this letter, it confirms the evidence taken
before the United States judges, that "patriots" (Georgia patriots)
were left in full operation in East Florida when the troops were
withdrawn; but for the injuries they committed after the with-
drawal of the United States regular troops, (though the direct con-
sequence of their introduction into the country by the agents of
this Government,) no compensation has been made under the re-
strictions of the acts passed to carry the treaty into effect; while
the treaty itself contains no such restrictions, being limited only
to the injuries actually suffered from the invasion.
It is thus shown, beyond all possible question, by the authentic
official records of this Government, that the pretended revolution
in East Florida in 1812 and 1813 originated with the authorized
agents of the United States; and that the invasion and desolation
of that provincein those years, in violation both of our treaty and
the law of nations, were carried on and consummated under its
secret laws, instructions and agents, and by its military and naval
forces; and that in all stages of these dreadful proceedings, from
the beginning to the end, they had the open or secret sanction of
The official departmental copies, from which the foregoing copies
and extracts have been taken, will be placed before the Senate and
,House of Representatives.
CHARLES E. SHERMAN,
Attozeys for Claimants.
WASHIGTOw, October, 1860.