FLORI DA' S
DISTRIBUTED AS A
LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY
Florida's Oldest Life Insurance Company
HOME OFFICE JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA
PENINSULAR LIFE INSURANCE
Our state of Florida is one of beauty and opportunity but many
of those who live here may not be aware of the rich and colorful
history of the Peninsular state.
This booklet was prepared to re-create in words and pictures
highlights of our state history. It was designed particularly for
youngsters but nearly everyone will find it interesting.
From Florida's Oldest Life Insurance Company, I hope you will
enjoy your copy of the Peninsular State Story.
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
PENINSULAR LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY
Just when the first white men came to Florida will
never be known. Legend says that Thorfin Karlsefni,
who attempted to plant a colony in Massachusetts,
the Vinland of the Vikings about 1000 A.D., heard
from the Indians of white-skinned men far to the
south. Early explorers of the North American con-
tinent found some Indian tribes with almost white
skins, blue eyes and features distinctly un-Indian.
Whether or not these were descendants of white ar-
rivals, the fact remains that maps like those of Andrea
Bianco show land strongly resembling Florida as
early as 1436. Sebastian Cabot reported that on his
father's voyage of 1497, two years after Columbus'
discovery, they sailed so far south that he "had the
Island of Cuba on his left hand", which means he
traversed the Straits of Florida and must have seen
the Land of Flowers some sixteen years before Ponce
de Leon. The exploits of the Spanish explorers and
the French colonists of Fort Caroline, as well as the
early Spanish settlements in Florida long before the
first Pilgrim waded ashore at Plymouth Rock or even
the first Englishman at Roanoke Island and James-
town, have been stressed much too little in the
teaching of American history. It is hoped that this
fine book, made available now through the courtesy
of the Peninsular Life Insurance Company, will make
Americans in general, and Floridians in particular,
conscious of our very early historical heritage and
the inspiration it gives to everyone.
Frank G. Slaughter
Prominent Florida Author
of Historical Fiction
DISCOVERY AND EXPLORATION
Man has always sought shelter in combat. In
times before man could even speak or write he
lived in caves or other places from which he
could go forth to kill game for food, take a wife,
or steal articles of beauty from his neighbors.
As civilization advanced man learned to pro-
tect himself behind wood and leather shields,
which he later made of iron and copper when
he learned to make things of metal. The suit
of armor became popular when knighthood was
in flower and even until the time of the discov-
ery of America, armor plate was used to protect
the body from injury.
Man also learned how to hide behind logs and
rocks while he loosed his arrows and spears. It
was a simple move to pile up logs and stones from
behind which many men could fight and with-
stand the attacks of enemies. Medieval landown-
ers built their homes as huge stone castles with
moats around them from which they could stand
off attack and live comfortably during a siege.
As man progressed in knowledge through the
centuries he learned to use implements of war
that would destroy log and rock walls. As new
weapons made their appearance, stronger walls
were built and the designs were changed to coun-
teract the effectiveness of deadlier weapons. The
Ballista and the Catapult made their mark on
history followed closely by the Ram, with which
gates were battered open behind a shield to pro-
tect the soldiers manning it.
Then men designed their castles with moats
and drawbridges which made the ram ineffective
and useless. Dirt was piled up in sloping em-
bankments to the edge of the moat so there was
very little wall presented to the catapults as a
target. The bastion was designed so men attempt-
ing to scale a wall were brought under a mur-
derous crossfire and were therefore discouraged
in their efforts to take the castle.
When gunpowder was invented and intro-
duced to the western world around the 12th
century, men began to adapt it to their prob-
lems of warfare. The oldest known use of gun-
powder was, strangely enough, an idea that is
heard much of today-germ warfare. The first
cannons were made like huge iron baskets which
were loaded with gunpowder to a certain mark
and then filled to the brim with all the filth of
the camp-animal carcasses, garbage, and other
types of refuse was used-which was fired over
the walls of the castle in the hope that it would
spread sickness and disease.
Running out of garbage and other waste mat-
ter, one ingenious gunner apparently decided to
fill the barrel with stones. He was probably very
surprised to see holes knocked in the castle walls
and men killed by the stones. As time went by
gunners were to fire smooth rocks that fit the
bore of their guns and, later, iron cannon balls
which did more damage and were more accurate.
But as advancements in gunnery were made,
the design of forts also progressed. Finally, after
man had created a gun firing a cone-shaped shell
with terrific striking power and a much longer
range and greater accuracy, forts became obsolete
and therefore are no longer built.
Today man crawls about in huge armored
tanks like a big turtle, carrying his fort with him.
But it can be destroyed. His ships of war have
armored plates all over their exposed surfaces
which are designed to withstand the gunnery of
an enemy. But ships are sunk by guns in war
and can be destroyed. The airplane has extended
the range of the cannon shell and increased its
size-for the airplane is no more than a modern
way to deliver a high explosive shell to an enemy,
just as a gun fires shells for a shorter distance.
But the purpose of this book is to share the
past glories that belong to Florida and to tell the
story of a few of the many forts that contributed
to the history and advancement of Florida and
the Southeastern United States.
After Florida's discovery by Juan Ponce de
Leon in 1513, Spain sent her soldiers to conquer
and settle the country. Such men as Don Tristan
de Luna, Panfilo de Narvaez, Cabeza de Vaca,
and Hernando De Soto followed Ponce de Leon
and attempted to conquer the Indians they found
living here. The constant search for gold lured
them on and on and they were cruel and ruth-
less in their search. Because of their wandering
and ceaseless searching they made no attempt
to settle anywhere, and for that reason built no
permanent forts or other defensive structures.
Nevertheless, their warfare with the Indians
taught the natives to be wary of the white man,
sly in their dealings with him, and treacherous
in combat. For that reason the Spanish troops
failed and the church took over the task of trying
to pacify the Indians and make friends of them.
Therefore, the early exploration and discovery
period of Florida's history left practically no con-
crete evidence of its existence. Near St. Marks
can be found the spot where Narvaez and his
men built the first ships made in America.
They sailed into the Gulf of Mexico trying to
reach other Spanish forces in Central America
or Mexico but only four of them made it-the
rest were lost at sea. Pieces of Spanish armor
and a few rusted pieces of metal believed to have
come from that period are about all that exist
today to prove they were here. But the written
records are on file so we know they were here.
We know Ponce de Leon landed on the lower
west coast and an Indian arrow found an opening
in his armor causing his death a few days later in
Havana. Hernando De Soto wandered for many
months in search of the elusive gold and jewels
he had heard were here. Death overtook him in
what is now Missouri and he was buried in the
great Mississippi River, which he discovered and
named. Narvaez and others met similar fates.
All that remains are the written records.
THE PONCE DE LEON MONUMENT
St. Augustine, Florida
Facing the old Slave Market in the heart of
St. Augustine is a statue dedicated to the memory
of a man who is officially credited with the dis-
covery of Florida.
After ruling Puerto Rico for fifteen years
Ponce de Leon, now in his fifties, heard exciting
stories about a rich land to the west. Although
legend has it, he was seeking a Fountain of Youth,
history does not record such a search in his plans
for settling a new country. Actually he was
taken from his governorship in Puerto Rico and
replaced by one of Admiral Diego Columbus'
men. Not being wealthy enough to retire he
needed to find other riches and asked the King
of Spain, Charles V, for a patent to permit him
to search for and claim this new land.
Permission was given by the king and Ponce
de Leon set sail for the west. He landed near
the present city of St. Augustine during the
Easter Season, known in Spanish as the "Pascua
Florida". From this he derived the name he
gave to the coast on which he had landed. He
explored inland for a short distance then re-
turned to his two ships and one brigantine and
sailed southward along the coast. Herrera, the
man who wrote the history of the voyage, tells
us they were amazed at the size of the "island"
as they thought Florida to be.
When they cruised along the Keys, de Leon
gave them the name "Los Martires", (The Mar-
tyrs) because of their doleful look lying low on
the horizon. Moving around the southern tip
of the state they then sailed northward along the
Gulf Coast to a spot about where Tampa Bay
lies today. There they turned southward again
until they found a tiny group of islets where they
went ashore. Here they found birds by the
thousands and many hundreds of turtles laying
eggs. But they found no water, so Ponce de Leon
wrote on his map "Tortugas-Dry". Tortugas
for the turtles they found and "dry" for the water
they did not find. And today this little group
of islets is still known as the Dry Tortugas.
Proceeding further southward about fifty miles
he discovered Cuba and then returned to Puerto
Rico. His trip had taken three months-April,
May, and June. The year was 1513.
It was not until February, 1521, that he
returned to Florida. This time he came with
two ships and 250 men. They were armored
and had their horses with them. Up the Gulf
coast they sailed with banners flying until they
again reached Tampa Bay. Here the boats an-
chored and the soldiers landed with their food
and arms stores. Suddenly arrows hissed and
spears flew thick from the trees at the edge of
the beach. Spaniards fell with arrows in their
throats or sticking from chinks in their armor.
Ponce de Leon went down with a shaft sticking
from his side where the flint head had cut
through the chain mail of his armor as if through
cloth. His men, all that now remained alive, got
him back to the boats and they set sail for
Havana. Here he lay dying for several days until
finally his tired body could fight no more and he
passed away in a feverish sleep.
His body was returned to Puerto Rico and
buried. Florida had given him nothing. But
he had given Florida its name.
THE DE SOTO MEMORIAL
Near Bradenton, Florida
The De Soto Expedition was the first Euro-
pean penetration into what is now the southern
United States. Crossing 4,000 miles of wilder-
ness, the explorers earned for Spain a broad
knowledge of the interior lands and peoples
and recorded priceless information about native
American life in the 1500's.
Hernando De Soto was born in Santiago,
Spain, in 1500. He achieved wealth and fame
in Nicaragua and Peru, and was appointed
governor of Cuba in 1537. On April 7, 1538,
a flotilla of ships with 700 men aboard includ-
ing De Soto left San Lucar, Spain, and headed for
the New World. At his side was De Soto's new
bride, Donna Isabella. They reached Havana
where De Soto set up his wife ashore in a new
home. On May 18th, 1539, he set sail for
Florida and, as he thought, a new land of gold
Twelve days later De Soto's army landed at
Tampa Bay where they established a camp and
then searched for a captive Spaniard whom they
wished for an interpreter and guide. Juan Ortiz
soon came into camp, tattooed and dressed like an
Indian. He had lived among the Indians for ten
years after he was saved from the stake by a
princess. He first came to Florida with Narvaez.
The expedition set forth in grand style. There
were more than 600 experienced soldiers-
mounted lancers, crossbowmen, and harque-
busiers. There were also priests, doctors, and
workmen. Counting the captive Indians they
were using for porters, the number of men must
have been more than 1,000.
Their path through Florida carried them
northward to Ocala, where the Indians set upon
them to rescue their captured chiefs but were
beaten off. They followed this direction until
they reached Lake City, where they turned west-
ward. Crossing the hills they finally stopped near
Tallahassee. Here De Soto sent out scouting
parties who found the bleached bones of Nar-
vaez's horses. Others discovered Pensacola Bay.
Boats filled with supplies met them here and
when they returned to Havana they carried ten
Indian women aboard as a gift from De Soto to
his wife, Donna Isabella.
From Tallahassee they turned northward again
and went into Georgia and the Carolinas where
they met Princess Cofitachequi, who gave De
Soto her necklace of pearls. His men dug 200
pounds of pearls from the burial mounds nearby.
They turned westward and crossed the Smokies
into Tennessee and then swung southward into
what is now Alabama.
Their fiercest battle was fought against the Ma-
bila Indians at what is now Mobile. In one day's
fighting they killed 3,000 Indians. The Span-
iards' losses were 20 killed and 200 injured. Most
of their supplies were lost or destroyed during the
fighting, including the 200 pounds of pearls.
To prevent desertion among his men De Soto
turned northward and westward to what is now
Arkansas and made several swings about the
neighboring country. They spent the winter at
Camden, Arkansas in 1541 and it was here that
the interpreter, Juan Ortiz, was lost.
In the spring of 1542 De Soto returned to
the Mississippi River where he began to burn
with fever. He died on May 21st after a brief
illness. When his body was buried within the
walls of the crude stockade the Spaniards had
built, the Indians began whispering among them-
selves. The Spaniards, alarmed, dug up the cas-
ket that night and weighted it with stones. Then
they eased it into the muddy waters of the great
river De Soto had discovered. The rest of the
expedition, under Luis de Moscoso, built ships
and sailed out of the Mississippi. They eventu-
ally reached Mexico's Panuco River, joined other
Spaniards and returned to Havana.
EARLY SETTLEMENT PERIOD
u r;- I';
ROYAL ARMS OF SPAIN
In 1559 a group of Spaniards landed on
Santa Rosa Island, across the bay from the pres-
ent city of Pensacola, and there built a crude
fort of logs and the beginning of a settlement.
It was not to be a permanent settlement however,
and was soon abandoned.
The first attempt at a permanent settlement
in Florida was made when a group of French
Huguenots landed on May 1, 1562 and sur-
veyed the possibilities of using the area for a
colony. The landing was made at the mouth of
the St. Johns River which the French leader,
Jean Ribault, promptly named the River May.
Sailing northward to Port Royal where a small
garrison was left, Ribault went back to France
for reinforcements. Civil war in France made
it impossible to return to the small colony and
after much suffering the little group made a
crude raft and returned to France. In June,
1564, a little fleet of three ships anchored off
the mouth of the River May and the new leader,
Rene de Laudonniere, moved in to establish his
people on a broad plain at the foot of a high
bluff two miles from the entrance to the river.
Here he built a fort and named it Caroline, in
honor of Charles IX, King of France.
This threat to the Spanish treasure lanes was
not to go unheeded and the foremost admiral in
Spain at that time, Don Pedro Menendez de
Aviles, was dispatched with haste to deal a crush-
ing blow to the French and not only drive them
out but put to death the invaders of what Spain
claimed as her territory.
Menendez set out with a fleet of warships in
July, 1565. After a brush with the reinforced
French fleet at the mouth of the River May he
dropped southward to an inlet where he founded
the colony that has lived throughout the years
as the oldest city in the United States, St. Augus-
tine. His subsequent defeat of the French at
Fort Caroline and the slaughter of the French-
men at Matanzas Inlet put an end to the French
colonization attempts in Florida.
St. Augustine withstood attacks from pirates
and others, among them the English nobleman
and warrior, Sir Francis Drake. Drake destroyed
the log fort and, after pillaging the city, put it
to the torch. In all, seven wooden forts were
built at St. Augustine and destroyed by enemy
action before the Spanish made plans to build
the impregnable Castillo de San Marcos which
was never taken by an enemy and which still
stands today as a monument to the sturdy con-
struction practices of years ago.
The constant threat of invasion by another
world power made Spain realize that a chain of
forts in key locations must be built to keep out
enemies and to protect the treasure fleets which
daily sailed along the Gulf Stream returning to
Spain from Mexico and South America. But the
French had been active on the extreme northern
part of the coast and the English had built settle-
ments all along the coast from Maine to Georgia.
Although the English always presented a threat,
the Spaniards were content to leave them alone
as long as they kept their settlements to the north.
However, in 1702 Governor Moore of South
Carolina moved southward against the Spanish
and the great Castillo was placed under siege.
Moore had already captured a group of smaller
forts and now he faced his biggest test. He
failed to capture the Castillo however, and went
back to South Carolina where he wrote the King
of his failure.
In the 1720's Oglethorpe landed at Yamacraw
Bluff and established the city of Savannah. Forts
were built in Savannah and smaller forts were
built at Darien and Fort George Island. The lat-
ter fort, from which the island gets its present-
day name, was at the mouth of the St. Johns
River and since the river was considered to be
the border between English and Spanish terri-
tories it was in a very strategic position for battle.
Oglethorpe made his move against the Spanish
in 1740 by capturing Fort Picolata and Fort
Francisco de Pupa-two forts which protected
the crossing of the St. Johns River on the road
that ran from St. Augustine to Pensacola in West
Florida. An escapee from the Picolata battle
made his way to St. Augustine where the soldiers
were alerted and the citizens, with their belong-
ings, were brought into the shelter of the Castillo.
When Oglethorpe arrived he immediately saw
that he could not capture the fort by direct
assault so he set about a siege to starve the
defenders. But small boats plied the waters at
night and brought food and water to the fort,
and after 38 days Oglethorpe withdrew.
Dropping down to St. Simons Island, about
halfway between Savannah and the St. Johns,
Oglethorpe brought settlers to found the city of
Frederica. A fort was built to protect the city
and was strategically located in a bend of the
river so that attack by water was almost impos-
sible. A small outlying fort was built on the
southern end of the island to protect the Frede-
rica River from entry by sea.
The Spanish Governor of Florida, Montiano,
made his plans for an assault on Frederica as a
reprisal for the English attacks and the siege of
St. Augustine. Fitting out his ships and taking
every available man with him, he landed on St.
Simons Island. After two days of fighting the
Spanish were finally ambushed in the famous
battle of Bloody Marsh and Oglethorpe won a
decisive victory. This broke forever the Spanish
threat to the English and, although Oglethorpe
asked for permission to press his advantage and
destroy the Spaniards by marching on Florida,
he again met defeat at the Castillo. Giving up
his hope to conquer the Spanish in Florida, he
sailed back to England, never to return.
Spain soon gave up Florida to England by
treaty, but ten years later another treaty returned
Florida to the Spanish. Although the soldiers
occupied the forts and stations already built,
nothing more of any real consequence was built
in Florida by Spain. Finally, in 1821, Florida
was given by treaty to the new little nation that
called itself the United States of America. But
during the last years of Spanish rule only a few
missions had been built to mark the occupation.
In 1740, however, something happened that
was to have a great bearing on the course of
Florida history. The Creek Indians in lower
Georgia and Alabama conducted a "purge" where-
in certain of their number were cast out and
sent to Florida to relocate and make new homes
for themselves. These Indians were to become
the "Seminoles" of Florida-a tribe that eventu-
ally would participate in the longest, bloodiest,
and costliest Indian war in American history.
The Seminoles lived in peace with the Span-
iards. Some of them raised cattle and food crops
which they sold or traded to the Spanish troops
or missions. Some of the crops, such as sugar
and indigo, found their way to markets in Ha-
vana and far away Spain. They were permitted
to own land and slaves and the wise Spaniards
left the Indians to their tribal governments for
settlement of disputes and punishment of crimes.
Thus, the Seminoles made no war on the
Spanish, nor did they have any trouble with the
English during the few short years England con-
trolled Florida. The association was one of "live
and let live" and met the approval of both sides.
When white men first came to Florida the
Timucuas, Appalachees, Ais, and other tribes
had been here for hundreds of years. By 1700
very few of these Indians were left. They had
been killed off by white men's diseases, slave
raiders, and battles with the white soldiers. The
Timucuas fell victim to slave raiders and those
who escaped this fate were taught to be civilized
by the missionaries. They learned their cate-
chisms, wore clothes, and tilled the soil. They
became very peaceful and forgot their warlike
ways. The Appalachees, from West Florida, who
had not progressed so far with their civilization,
fell on the Timucuas and destroyed them for-
ever. Those who escaped, scattered among the
other tribes. By 1800 all traces of the early
tribes were gone.
But the Seminoles were steadily increasing in
number. Escaped slaves went to live with them
and there was some intermarriage. Slaveholders
to the north of Florida were constantly striving
to seek the return of their escapees but the Span-
ish made no effort to assist in their recovery.
Thus the position of the Seminoles was rather
enviable when Spain sold Florida to the new
republic of the United States for five million
dollars in 1820. It was for this reason that the
Spaniards insisted that a clause be placed in
the treaty which specified that "The rights of the
Seminoles to their slaves and their properties
shall be protected by the United States."
In good conscience the United States agreed
to this specific term of the treaty and Congress
duly ratified it. None, however, dreamed that
such a simple statement would touch off so many
years of bloody and costly conflict.
FORT SAN CARLOS
In 1559 Don Tristan De Luna brought to
Pensacola Bay a colony composed of some two
thousand settlers, serving people, and soldiers.
They located their colony seat on the site of
Fort San Carlos and the boundaries of a town
were laid out. The settlement survived but two
years, however, and Pensacola did not become a
focal point again until 1696 (some historians
have used 1698) when Andres de Arriola arrived
and disembarked 300 men. A settlement was
laid out and the immigrants began carving a city
from the wilderness. The town grew rapidly
under the willing hands of the laborers and the
construction of Fort San Carlos was begun to
defend the settlement against attack.
This latter settlement thrived and grew peace-
fully until 1719 when the French, marching
overland from Mobile, captured and finally
burned the town. The French held the area
until 1723 at which time it was turned back to
the Spanish forces who turned to Santa Rosa
Island for the site of the new town which they
rebuilt and re-established with settlers.
The Treaty of Paris saw the British and Span-
ish patching up their territorial differences and,
by specific terms of the treaty, the area was ceded
to Great Britain. Fearing future attacks on the
Pensacola Bay area, the British rebuilt the fort
of brick in 1763. International affairs ran
smoothly until 1781 when the Spanish, again
wishing to gain territorial control of Florida, at-
tacked the fort in a terrific battle, reducing it to
ruins. After they had defeated the British, the
Spanish rebuilt the fort in its present semi-circu-
lar form during the years from 1781 to 1796.
During the War of 1812 the British captured
the fort with the intention of using it against
the United States, but General Andrew Jackson
wrested the fort from them in two days of fierce
fighting. In 1814, in respect to treaty rights, the
fort was returned to Spain. Four years later,
1818, when the Seminole Indians rose up against
the United States, General Jackson again took
over San Carlos so it could not be used against
him, again returning it to Spain at the end of
hostilities in 1819.
In 1821 the fort was ceded to the United
States by treaty with Spain and occupied by
United States troops. There followed a forty
year period of comparative peace until the War
Between the States when Fort San Carlos was
captured by the Florida Volunteers in 1861.
However, they evacuated the fort in 1862 and
it has been in the possession of the United States
since that time.
Fort San Carlos stands in a good state of preser-
vation today and is now part of the United States
Naval Reservation, 8 miles west of the center of
Pensacola, Florida, and is open to the public.
When Fort Caroline was founded in 1564,
there was no other European colony on the North
American continent except in Mexico. By
planting this colony, France hoped for a share
of the New World claimed by Spain. But the
French move forced Spain into action, and
brought on the first decisive conflict between
Europeans for the area which is now included
in continental United States.
At Fort Caroline, the Frenchman and Spaniard
met in combat, and the first battle between white
men was fought in the United States.
Spain had been enjoying looting the South
American natives of their riches and some 200
settlements were thriving in tropical America.
But Florida had brought nothing but death
for her men and troops and they had found no
wealth. So, in 1561 the Spanish king forbade
further attempts to settle North America.
France, at this time, was torn with troubles,
so the Admiral of France, Coligny, sent a colony
to Brazil in 1555 but it was destroyed by the
Portuguese. In 1562 he sent Jean Ribault with
a group of Huguenots and three ships to the
coasts of Florida to try for a settlement. Ribault
landed on the banks at the mouth of the St.
Johns, made friends with the Indians, and then
cruised northward to Port Royal.
Two years later he returned with a colony
under Rene de Laudonniere. A fort was built on
a broad plain about three miles inside the mouth
of the St. Johns, which they then called the
River May. The fort was named Caroline in
honor of King Charles IX, of France.
The Spaniards could not permit this colony to
become a threat to their treasure lines to South
America so their finest Admiral, Pedro Menendez
de Aviles, was sent to destroy it. The Caroline
colony was having a hard time since they de-
pended on the Indians for food and the Indians
had become unfriendly and were not feeding
them as the colonists had expected. Mutiny was
more than a threat since two separate groups
had already revolted and sailed away to attack
Spanish treasure ships.
In June, 1565, Ribault sailed from France
with reinforcements for the fort and in July
Menendez sailed from Cadiz, Spain to destroy
the fort. Ribault reached the colony on August
28th. Five days later Menendez found the
French fleet anchored off the mouth of the River
May and tried to board them but they slipped
their anchors and fled. Menendez sailed south
to another harbor and established a base camp.
Ribault decided to attack the Spaniards at their
shore base and left with his ships. Menendez,
hearing of the plot, decided to march overland to
Fort Caroline and attack while the fleet was gone.
Since this occurred during the hurricane season
the French fleet was caught in a storm, blown
ashore and wrecked many miles south of St.
Augustine. The next morning the Spaniards
swept down off the high bluff overlooking the
fort and took it by surprise. In an hour the
battle was over. The French dead numbered
132 men, and 50 women and children had been
captured. Laudonniere and some of his men
escaped and were picked up by a French ship
that had been anchored downstream and had es-
caped the battle, and the ship set sail for France.
Of the Frenchmen who had survived the ship-
wrecks, 350 were later put to death at Matanzas
when they tried to return overland to Fort
Following the victory, the Spaniards occupied
Fort Caroline and renamed it San Mateo. But
over in France a man burned with hatred for
the Spanish because of the slaughter of his fel-
low Frenchmen. His name was Dominique de
Gourges. He gathered together a group of noble-
men who also wanted revenge on the Spanish
and they sailed from Bordeaux. Landing at what
is now Fernandina they enlisted the help of the
Indians and marched overland to the fort. Cross-
ing the River May they fell on the fort and
captured it. De Gourges then put the Spanish
captives to death, ten at a time, just as they had
slaughtered the Frenchmen at Matanzas. With
his task of revenge finished, he and his men
returned to their boats and sailed back to France.
It had taken only one day to accomplish their
purpose-April 14th, 1568.
The Spanish maintained the fort during the
colonial years. During the British ownership of
Florida (1763-83) another settlement developed
here known as St. Johns Town with a defensive
breastwork around it. More gun batteries were
erected on the bluff during the Civil War and
the Spanish-American War.
The site of Fort Caroline no longer exists. Its
meadowlike plain and part of the bluff were
washed away after the river channel was deep-
ened in the years following 1880.
CASTILLO DE SAN MARCOS
St. Augustine, Florida
Castillo de San Marcos is an ancient fortifi-
cation, dating from the Spanish Colonial period
in America. It represents part of Spain's contri-
bution to life in the New World, and is symbolic
of the explorer and pioneer spirit-the will to
build from the wilderness a new center of civi-
lization and a haven against danger. In this his-
toric structure, the Spanish people have left us
a heritage that is an important cultural connec-
tion with the Latin-American nations to the
south, as well as another means of understanding
the diverse old ways that have contributed to the
making of modern America.
This castle, the oldest masonry fort existing in
the United States, was started in 1672 by the
Spanish to protect St. Augustine, the first perma-
nent white settlement in this country. Castillo
de San Marcos became a focal point of Spanish
colonial culture-Spain's last impregnable out-
post on the shores of the North Atlantic. The
castillo is a symmetrically shaped, four-sided
structure, constructed in the fashion developed
by the Spanish from early Italian engineers.
Surrounded by a moat 40 feet wide, its only
entrance is across a drawbridge. The great walls
are from nine to 16 feet thick, constructed of
coquina blocks, a native marine shell-rock. The
coquina blocks are cemented together by an
oyster lime mortar. Beautiful arched casemates
and interesting cornices testify to the workman-
ship and imagination of the Spanish builders.
The fort contains guardrooms, dungeons, living
quarters for the garrison, storerooms, and a
chapel. Nearly all the rooms open on a court,
about 100 feet square.
Although the Castillo was the most important
fortification in colonial Florida, it was by no
means the only defense. Earthworks and pali-
sades extended from the castle to enclose the
little town of St. Augustine, an area of less than
a square mile.
Far to the south, west, and north were military
outposts. Sixteen miles to the south was the
strongest of these, the stone Torre de Matanzas
(now the Fort Matanzas National Monument),
which guarded the lower entrance to St. Augus-
In 1564, French Huguenots had built Fort
Caroline on the St. Johns River. The next year,
Spain sent Pedro Menendez de Aviles to drive out
these "French heretics" and as Menendez sighted
Florida on August 28, St. Augustine's Day the
colony he established was named St. Augustine.
In 1586 Sir Francis Drake burned St. Augus-
tine and its partially completed fort of wood.
The first baptism of fire of the new stone fort
came in 1702, when the South Carolinians
under Governor James Moore unsuccessfully be-
sieged it. Another South Carolina attack in 1728
was likewise repulsed.
In 1740, Oglethorpe attacked St. Augustine.
For 27 days during the heat of summer more
than 2,000 people huddled together in the case-
mates and the 100 foot square court of the
The English finally became disheartened and
gave up the siege. However, in 1763, they fi-
nally secured Florida by terms of the Treaty of
England held Florida for two decades, includ-
ing the critical years of the American Revolution.
When Charleston fell into British hands, prison-
ers were taken to St. Augustine and some were
confined in the castle. Among the prisoners were
three signers of the Declaration of Independence
-Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, and Ar-
thur Middleton. By the Treaty of Paris, Florida
was returned to Spain in 1783.
Under the American regime, the castillo was,
for a hundred years, named Fort Marion in
honor of Francis Marion, the Revolutionary War
Castillo de San Marcos was declared a national
monument by Presidential Proclamation, October
15, 1924. It is administered by the National
Park Service of the Department of the Interior.
Near St. Augustine
Fort Matanzas, located 14 miles south of
Saint Augustine, has figured greatly in the history
of the South. In 1562, Admiral Coligny, leader
of the Huguenots in France, sent Jean Ribault
to the New World. Ribault's colony was unsuc-
cessful and in 1564 Rene de Laudonniere was
sent again to the mouth of the St. Johns to re-
establish the colony. This threat to the Spanish
treasure ships from the Caribbean could not
be tolerated so Pedro Menendez de Aviles was
charged with the duty of destroying the French.
Ribault was sent to reinforce Laudonniere,
arriving August 28, 1565. Hardly a week later
Menendez found Ribault's fleet and after a pre-
liminary skirmish sailed a few miles south to a
harbor where he established the settlement of
St. Augustine (San Augustin) as a base of opera-
tions. Ribault, with superior forces, decided to
attack. It was a fateful maneuver, for a hurri-
cane wrecked his vessels far down the coast.
Menendez, taking advantage of the weakness due
to Ribault's movements, fell on Laudonniere's
fort on the St. Johns and destroyed it.
Meanwhile, Ribault's shipwrecked forces
started north by land. They were met by Menen-
dez and his men at what is now Matanzas Inlet.
Here the French agreed to surrender and the
Spaniards ferried them across the inlet, ten at a
time, and fed them in plain view of the others.
Then they tied their hands with matchcords from
their guns and, at the distance of a crossbow shot
toward St. Augustine, they were put to the knife.
Only eight of the 208 were spared.
A second group of survivors from the same
shipwrecked expedition were given a similar
treatment at the Inlet a week later. Ribault him-
self was among this latter group in which 16
escaped the knife, but 136 were put to death.
Matanzas, which means "slaughters" in Spanish
was thus named. Ribault was one of those killed.
In 1569 a blockhouse for 50 soldiers was built
on Rattlesnake Island. It was used to ward off
attacks from the south (by water) on St. Augus-
tine. Runners from Matanzas reported any sails
to St. Augustine as soon as they were sighted.
Not all of these sails were friendly. Pirates were
a constant menace to the lonely outpost.
In the blackness before dawn, however, on
March 29th, 1683, stealthy enemies rowed si-
lently over the shallow bar, landed on the shore
back of the tower, and hid in the brush. Dash-
ing from cover at daybreak they seized the five
sentries. Over 200 strong the pirate crew started
for St. Augustine, where the unfinished Castillo
de San Marcos was defended by only a small
group. One of the captive sentries, Pedro de
Texeda, escaped and made his way to St. Augus-
tine where he warned the people of the approach-
ing enemy. A half-league from St. Augustine
the pirates were ambushed. Bloody and beaten
they boarded their ships and sailed away. Three
years later there was another attack on Matanzas
when Corporal Jose Begambre did valiant battle
with the notorious pirate Agramont.
General James Oglethorpe blockaded both Ma-
tanzas and St. Augustine on June 24, 1740, and
began bombardment of the fort at St. Augustine
with his land troops. The situation within the
city became very serious indeed until the block-
ade runners began bringing in supplies under
cover of darkness, and in running battles through
Matanzas Inlet. On July 20, Oglethorpe was
forced to abandon the siege.
The English finally gained Matanzas Tower
with the rest of Florida by treaty in 1763. Spain
again returned to the province in 1783 and
Spanish soldiers again gazed toward Cuba from
the Tower. However, by the time Florida was
ceded to the United States in 1821 the tower was
in ruins. Fort Matanzas was declared a national
monument October 15, 1924. It was restored
and opened to the public by the National Park
Service in 1933.
FORT GEORGE ISLAND
Near Jacksonville, Florida
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Fort George Island, comprising about 1,060
acres near the mouth of the St. Johns River,
approximately 16 miles due east of Jacksonville,
has had a colorful and eventful history. As with
so many sections of Florida the island has seen its
share of bitter fighting among the French, Span-
ish, English, Indians, and Florida patriots, rang-
ing from the earliest Spanish settlements, prior
to 1567, to the final restoration of order in
Florida by General Andrew Jackson.
In 1568, under the leadership of a French
soldier of fortune, Dominic de Gourges, a Span-
ish fort on the island was captured and its guns
turned on a sister fort across the river. This was
a reprisal action on the part of the French
Huguenots for the destruction of Fort Caroline
and the massacre of its garrison and colonists by
Menendez in 1565. The French, assisted by the
Indians, crossed the River May and captured the
second Spanish fort; the Indians swimming
the wide stream holding their bows and arrows
above their heads.
The Spanish, in their efforts to colonize Flori-
da and convert the Indians, established the mis-
sion of San Juan del Puerto on the island about
1600. The mission had 500 Indian parishioners.
James Oglethorpe, English general and Co-
lonial leader of Georgia, encamped on the island
in 1736 when his forces invaded Florida, and
John McIntosh, president of the Republic of
Florida, was once a resident on this historic land.
The island derives its name from the fort
built by Oglethorpe on the northwest corner and
which he named Fort George, in honor of the
Prince of Wales. Two of the English officers
serving with Oglethorpe are believed to be buried
in two tabby tombs found on the island.
Fort George is probably best known to visitors,
however, as the home of Zephaniah Kingsley,
who maintained a huge plantation on the island
between 1817 and 1868. Kingsley built a beau-
tiful home and many slave cabins, the latter con-
structed of oyster shell rock called "tabby". The
remains of these cabins are still standing.
John Rollins, of Dover, New Hampshire,
bought out the Kingsley interests, devoting the
plantation to the development of citrus.
In the early 1880's Fort George was a thriv-
ing community visited by hundreds of tourists.
Two luxurious hotels, constructed by Rollins, and
other attractions made it a popular resort. The
side wheeler, Water Lily, plied between Jackson-
ville and Fort George but the resort grew to such
an extent that this small vessel was unable to
accommodate the crowds. A fast propeller steam-
er, the Kate Spencer, was built for this purpose
and made two trips daily.
With the building of railroads to points on
the east coast of Florida south of the St. Johns,
Fort George declined as a tourist attraction and
its fine hotels burned. As of April 1, 1949, there
were 45 registered voters in Duval County who
designated the island as their official place of
residence. These descendants of the more pros-
perous days of Fort George still own estates bor-
dering on the Fort George River and commute to
Jacksonville for business purposes.
Enroute to the island over the Heckscher Drive
is Pilot" Town, a sleepy fishing village. It was
near this spot that Jean Ribault and his gallant
band of French Huguenots knelt to offer the first
Protestant prayer in North America.
St. Simons Island, Ga.
The ruins of an important English fortified
settlement are preserved at Fort Frederica Na-
tional Monument. Both as a defense and a base
for offensive operations, Frederica played a lead-
ing role in the English-Spanish hostilities that
followed its founding. From Frederica went the
English to fight the Spaniards in Florida. To
Frederica came the Spanish in their attempts to
destroy the English Southern Colonies. And be-
cause Frederica had been built, the Spanish ad-
vance was checked. Then, its purpose outlived,
Frederica became a dead town.
After establishing Savannah, Oglethorpe sur-
veyed the coast, selecting sites for forts to protect
the southern boundaries of his colonies. The
strongest of the defenses he built was Fort
Frederica, on the west side of St. Simons Island,
at a strategic bend of the Frederica River.
Oglethorpe welcomed the chance to move
against Florida; but the Spanish were ready and
his 1740 siege of the Castillo at St. Augustine
The reprisal came in July, 1742, led by the
man who had bested Oglethorpe at St. Augustine
-Don Manuel de Montiano, Governor of Flori-
da. Fort Frederica was the headquarters for
Oglethorpe's 900 men-the Regulars, Rangers,
Highlanders, Marines, and the Indian allies.
On July 5th, 1742, a powerful Spanish fleet
of some 50 vessels carrying about 3,000 men,
forced the entrance to St. Simons Sound against
strong resistance from Oglethorpe's vessels and
the guns of Fort St. Simons batteries. The Eng-
lish withdrew to Fort Frederica, leaving the
southern fortifications to fall into Spanish hands.
Two days later Montiano sent detachments to
learn the island trails to Frederica. Marching
along Oglethorpe's military road, they came with-
in a mile and a half of Frederica. There Ogle-
thorpe met them, driving them back toward their
camp and posting his men to meet another at-
tack. Montiano quickly sent forward 300 grena-
diers and the English retreated. This time their
rear guard hid in dense brush, where the road
skirted a marsh. The grenadiers halted within
100 paces of the English ambush. Believing the
English were routed they stacked their arms and
prepared to eat. A Scotch cap raised on a stick
was the signal for attack and that day, July 7,
1742, British muskets took a toll of 200 Spanish
lives. The Battle of the Bloody Marsh was won.
Though this battle marked the turning point
of the invasion, the fighting was not over.
Montiano unsuccessfully attempted a landing at
Frederica; Oglethorpe in turn undertook a night
attack, but a French volunteer forewarned the
Spanish with a gunshot, then deserted to the
Spanish camp. Back to Frederica went Ogle-
thorpe to devise a clever ruse. The next day he
released a Spanish prisoner who carried a letter
for the French deserter. The letter instructed the
deserter to make the Spanish believe the British
position was weak (as indeed it was) then he
should pilot their vessels near the woods where
the "hidden batteries" were. If the Frenchman
could do this, the letter indicated, his reward
would be doubled.
The letter, as intended, found its way to Mon-
tiano. The confusion which it created in the
Spanish War Council, plus the appearance of
British warships from Charleston and the already
heavy losses caused the Spanish general to turn
back. Thus ended the last and greatest military
attempt to dislodge the British from the unsettled
lands in the southeast.
Frederica experienced its greatest prosperity
during the years 1742-1743. All was bustle and
activity. Outside the walls each settler had space
for a garden plot, but aside from the soldiers,
most of the people were craftsmen, not farmers.
From this strong base of operations, Ogle-
thorpe struck again at St. Augustine, in March,
1743. As before, the Spanish withdrew into
their impregnable castillo and Oglethorpe, dis-
appointed again, left the St. Augustine area. In
July he sailed for England, never to return.
Cockspur Island, Ga.
More than two hundred years ago on Febru-
ary 5th, 1736, two ships, the Simmonds and the
London Merchant, sailed in through the mouth
of the Savannah River and amid the booming of
cannon came to anchor off the point of Cock-
spur Island, then known as the "Peeper". It was
an important movement in history for it marked
the arrival in America of a man destined to
found a great religious movement, the Methodist
Church. This man was to meet failure in the
wilderness of Georgia but through bitter experi-
ence he was to gain a clearer understanding of
the Word of God.
The man was John Wesley. He had come out
of England to serve as pastor to the colonists at
Savannah and missionary to the Indians.
At about 8 o'clock on the morning of Febru-
ary 6, James Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia, led
a group of passengers to the shore of uninhabited
Peeper Island. Wesley was a member of this
advance party and it was then that he first set
foot on American soil. The small group, having
made their way through the marsh to high
ground, kneeled down to give thanks for a safe
crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.
After the emigrants had joined the earlier
party on the island, they were all brought togeth-
er in an open place surrounded by trees-myr-
tles, bays, cedars-and there Wesley preached
his first sermon in Georgia.
Meanwhile, Oglethorpe had proceeded to Sa-
vannah to make arrangements to transport the
new colonists to the various settlements to which
they were assigned. Some of them were to join
the Salzbergers at Ebenezer on the Savannah
River, others were to journey southward to St.
Simons Island to establish the stronghold of
Frederica on the Spanish frontier.
In the absence of Oglethorpe, John Wesley
was left in charge of the colonists with orders
to let them visit Peeper Island every day to hunt
and fish, wash their clothes, and exercise. Wes-
ley went frequently to the island to meditate and
to walk on the sand beach.
Wesley soon began his mission to the Indians,
for down to Peeper Island came the great chief-
tain, Tomo-chi-chi, to extend an invitation to the
missionaries to come up to their new town of
Yamacraw and teach Christianity.
Peeper Island, now called Cockspur, is a part
of the Fort Pulaski National Monument admin-
istered by the National Park Service. Here in
an open place in the woods north of the fort, the
Georgia Society of Colonial Dames has erected
a brick and limestone column surmounted by a
cross to commemorate the landing of John Wesley
in America. This memorial was dedicated with
appropriate ceremonies November 9, 1950.
FORT FRANCISCO DE PUPA
Near Green Cove Springs
In the early 1700's Florida was roughly di-
vided into two sections known as East Florida
and West Florida. Spain dominated both parts
and the territories were set up this way because
there were two separate governments involved.
A road connected the East with the West, how-
ever, and a traveler could make the trip from
St. Augustine overland along this road with full
protection by Spanish soldiers.
At the point where the road crossed the St.
Johns River, just west of St. Augustine, the Span-
iards constructed two forts to guard the crossing.
On the east bank they constructed Fort Picolata,
which is today beneath the waters of the river.
On the west bank Fort De Pupa was built. The
river is now slowly encroaching on its moats and
walls, eating them away until in a few more
years, little will be visible of the once-proud fort.
About 1732 an earth platform surrounded by
a shallow moat was built, and on the platform a
log fort was erected. Though not large in size
it was big enough for a garrison of about fifty
men, although only a handful of men were usu-
ally within its walls.
The fort was attacked several times by Indians
but the principal engagement which brought it
to fame was when General Oglethorpe attacked
it just prior to his siege of St. Augustine in 1740.
It is even possible that had he not attacked De
Pupa, his attack on St. Augustine might have
been successful since it was word of the fight at
De Pupa that alerted the city of St. Augustine
and let the Spaniards prepare for the siege.
Since the garrison at De Pupa was not a large
one, Oglethorpe had very little trouble bringing
about its surrender. His troops attacked from the
north and the west simultaneously and a few
artillery shots brought a quick surrender. But
troops in Picolata, across the river, heard the
attack and sent a runner to St. Augustine. Ogle-
thorpe crossed the river and took the fort and
then marched away to the stronghold at the Cas-
tillo de San Marcos.
There is a larger outerwork surrounding the
old fort position and it is believed that when the
English occupied Florida in the late 1700's that
they might have occupied and used the fort,
erecting the outer works to strengthen it.
Sherds of pottery and other relics at the site
indicate that the fort was visited many times by
Indians. There have also been found relics of
the English and Spanish armies who were en-
gaged at the point.
FORT ST. MARKS
St. Marks, Florida
Early in 1527, Panfilo de Narvaez arrived at
the present site of St. Marks with 300 men.
They had come overland from Tampa, fighting
Indians all the way. (They built the first ships
on this continent.) In September, Narvaez sailed
with the five ships which were lost in the Gulf
of Mexico leaving only four survivors.
In 1539 Hernando De Soto followed the
route of Narvaez with 600 men. He hung ban-
ners in the trees to mark the entrance to the river
and the present lighthouse now stands on that
In 1633 Franciscan missionaries arrived, and
ten years later in 1643, the first redoubt, built
at the location of the present fort, was completed.
In 1704, Colonel Moore (English) laid waste to
the area and occupied the territory for a short
while. This made the Spanish realize the value
of a fort at this point and in March, 1718, Cap-
tain Jose Primo de Ribera arrived to build the
fort at the extreme point between the St. Marks
and the Wakulla rivers.
In 1758 a hurricane flooded the fort drowning
40 men. In 1764 the English occupied the fort
as result of the war with Spain. In 1766, while
56 men were stationed at the fort under the
command of Lt. George Swettenham, a hurricane
again swept the fort and a 12-foot tidal wave
damaged the fort walls.
In 1787 the Spanish again occupied the fort
and a few years later, about 1789, a disgraced
British officer, William Augustus Bowes, married
a Creek squaw, and became an Indian leader and
King of Florida. He was captured by the Span-
ish (who reported executing him) but he re-
turned to become a pirate out of the St. Marks
River. In January of 1792 Bowes, with the aid
of 300 Seminoles and 10 whites, captured Fort
St. Marks. His victory lasted only a few short
months however, as that same year the Spaniards
returned with seven men-of-war and two mer-
chant vessels and recaptured the fort.
In 1818 General Andrew Jackson captured
the fort from the Spanish. Later that year he
withdrew leaving the fort to again rest in Span-
ish hands. In 1821 Florida was ceded to the
United States and American troops occupied the
fort, withdrawing the garrison in 1824.
In 1861 the Confederates took the fort and
renamed it Fort Ward.
For four years (1861-1865) the Federal fleet
blockaded the mouth of the St. Marks River and
on July 12, 1863, attempted to surprise the fort
but was discovered by sentries. However, on May
12, 1865, the Federal forces finally succeeded
in capturing it from the Confederates.
Today there is little more than collapsed sec-
tions of fort wall remaining. Many of the huge
limestone and flint rocks from which the fort was
originally built can be found in the structure of
the lighthouse marking the entrance to the St.
Marks River. The lighthouse was built after the
War Between the States.
The present location of the fort is privately
owned by a resident of St. Marks, Florida.
THE TERRITORIAL PERIOD
Immediately after Spain sold Florida to the
United States, a token force of American troops
moved into two or three specific areas to occupy
the new territory. In St. Augustine, Pensacola,
and Tampa were the three largest forts now man-
ned by United States soldiers. The borders to the
north were virtually unprotected and now the
slave-holders saw their opportunity to cross over
and reclaim their runaways. Others, seeking to
find the best lands and make their stake against
the day the territory would be opened for home-
steading, also poured across the borders. These
people had no regard for the Indian except that
he was in their way.
The slaveholders took slaves wherever they
found them-whether they owned them or not.
Even Seminoles were seized as slaves. It was
only to be expected that since the Seminoles had
inhabited the state peacefully for nearly a hun-
dred years some of them had acquired choice land
sites and had made great improvements on their
property. Big herds of cattle were stolen and the
Seminoles were driven from the lands they had so
patiently developed over the years. Dishonest
whites stole from them and mistreated them.
The Seminoles called a pow-pow in the
swamps. Here they determined to send a dele-
gation to the government in Washington and
ask for troops to protect their rights as provided
in the treaty. The delegation was promised more
troops and Indian Agents to look after their in-
terests-but the troops never came, and the
agents failed to show up. Meanwhile the mis-
treatment of Indians by whites continued.
The Seminoles were proud and brave. Event-
ually, a gunshot brought death to an Indian who
refused to give up his property. It meant war.
Almost overnight Florida flamed with the fire of
deadly hate. The crack of the musket was met
with the whir of the arrow as red man and white
man each sought to destroy the other.
Congress sent military men to investigate and
a few troops were sent to try to bring order to
this new territory. The military recommended
that certain areas be set up as reservations for
the Indians and that they all be required to
settle therein; and that the border be patrolled
to keep out the whites and to keep the Indians
inside the limits.
Some of the Seminoles agreed to this but a
large majority did not. "Why should we give up
our lands?", they said. "The United States has
but to live up to her treaty honorably and we
will cause you no trouble." But it was not that
simple. Wealthy slaveholders exerted pressure
on Congressmen and delay after delay prevented
any action being taken to assist the Seminoles.
Finally, after several treaties had been made and
broken by both sides, the Seminoles were pretty
generally living in the areas set up as reserva-
tions. It seemed that peace, at last, was restored.
But greed again asserted itself in the form
of demands from settlers that the Seminoles be
removed completely from Florida and that the
lands set up as reservations be opened to the
white settlers. Congress passed a bill requiring
all Seminoles to report to Fort Brooke, in Tampa,
on January 1, 1836, to be transported to lands
"west of the Mississippi". On that date a large
group of them reported to Tampa. They were
placed in log compounds and fed a good supper.
That night, after some money changed hands,
slaveowners were allowed to enter the compounds
and take slaves they claimed were their property.
The next morning found the compound empty
and the last opportunity to transport the Semi-
noles westward had been lost. The Indians had
disappeared into the swamps and no trace of
them could be found.
Following this incident the whites were deeply
afraid for their lives and many of them moved
to places designated by the Army as refuge cen-
ters where they lived off government rations and
did no work. Log forts sprung up along the main
trails and roads throughout the state. The set-
tlers carried guns while the silent Indian planned
his campaign in the fastness of the swamps.
During these troublesome times a young sub-
chieftain had been rising to prominence among
the Seminoles. More and more the elders were
asking for his advice at the councils. More and
more the young hot-bloods of the tribes were
rallying to his side. More and more the whites
began to hear his name spoken when raids were
made on cattle and farms.
White army officers met him for the first time
at the treaty table at Fort King, near the present
city of Ocala, on October 24th, 1834. Here
there were two log cabins in a clearing. At a
table in one of them sat two army officers with
the parchment treaty in front of them. The room
was filled with Seminole chiefs who had been
invited here to sign the treaty. Thus far none
had signed and all were waiting patiently for
the appearance of the sub-chief.
Suddenly from the edge of the clearing came
a movement. Every throat uttered one word-
"Osceola". His appearance had an electric effect
on everyone. He noiselessly passed through the
throng as they silently made room for him. He
looked neither right nor left as he glided through
the deep grass toward the cabin where the chiefs
and officers awaited. He wore a tunic with a
bright wampum sash about it, and close fitting
leggings of scarlet cloth. A bright turban about
his head bore three ostrich plumes which swept
back gracefully over the crown. He wore three
demi-lunes of silver, one above the other, on his
breast. His chin was well-formed and his eyes,
like eagle's seemed to be strong enough to gaze
into the sun.
He entered the cabin and, with only a glance
at the stacked arms of the warriors, advanced to
the treaty table. His head lifted and eyes flashed
as Osceola drew his big Spanish knife from its
scabbard at his side and spoke.
"This is my signature. Rather than act the
coward, by signing away the Seminole's inheri-
tance and taking my people into a strange land,
I will fight until the last drop of blood moistens
the Seminole's hunting grounds."
He drove the knife downward, pinning it to
the table. "The land is ours. This is the way I
will sign all such treaties."
He turned and without a backward look,
stalked from the room. No move was made to
The war continued, growing in intensity with
the Indians striking like the will-o'-the-wisp-
here today and there tomorrow. The army grew
tired of fighting and losing. Fever, snakes, in-
sects, alligators, and quicksand all took their toll
with the whirring arrow 'always striking suddenly
Several times Osceola tried to make peace with
the army but was always given the same answer,
"You must go west of the Mississippi." To this
he could not consent and the fighting resumed.
Finally a trap was set. Osceola was invited
to a peace talk near the present city of St. Aug-
ustine. When the Indians appeared with a white
flag of truce, the soldiers fell on them and Os-
ceola, with a number of his chiefs, were captured
and imprisoned in St. Augustine at the Castillo
de San Marcos.
This infuriated the Seminoles and made peace
prospects even more difficult. Osceola was trans-
ferred to Fort Moultrie, at Sullivans Island near
Charleston where he subsequently died of a
broken heart. Doctor Weedon, the post surgeon
tells us, "He seemed to know it was the end for
him. He asked for his battle dress, painted his
face with vermilion, and lay on his bed. Draw-
ing his big scalping knife he held it across his
chest and smiled away his last breath."
Osceola is buried on the fort property at Fort
Moultrie. There is a simple stone lying on his
grave, now fenced with rusted iron grating,
which reads as follows:
"Osceola-patriot and warrior-Died January
The visitor to Bulow State Park, near Korona,
is impressed with the wild, tropical grandeur of
the place. The hammock land surrounding it is
remindful of the day when this land was devoted
to the raising of sugar cane. Here the famous
bird lover and naturalist, Audubon, stayed as a
houseguest while making studies of the feathered
creatures he loved so much.
In 1812 a Bahamas resident, James Russell,
brought his family and 100 slaves across the Gulf
Stream to this section of the Halifax River area.
When he arrived he traded his schooner for a
grant of 2,500 acres of virgin land from the
Spanish Crown. He established a plantation
known as "Good Retreat". Three years later he
died. The heirs sold the plantation in 1820 to
Major Charles Wilhelm Bulow of Charleston
who, adding it to another tract of 6,000 acres,
began clearing away the land for planting.
Sugar cane was raised on 1,500 acres, 1,000
acres were devoted to cotton, and smaller plots to
indigo and rice. Major Bulow was very rich and
established a strong plantation at Bulowville. He
brought 300 more slaves from his plantation at
Three years later he died at the age of 44.
His only son, John Joachim inherited the wealth
and the plantations when his father died. He
managed the plantations well and expanded them
as the years passed. He lived a fine life of luxury
and entertained lavishly at the big stone house.
When the Seminole War broke out in 1835
young Bulow, together with most of the planters
on the Halifax River, did not agree to sending
the Indians west of the Mississippi. Their rela-
tions with the Indians had been very friendly
and they traded peaceably with them.
The plantation was entered by Major Putman
and his Mosquito Roarers. Bulow fired on
them with a four-pounder cannon. The Roarers
swarmed over the place, making Bulow a prisoner
and keeping him under guard. Then Major Put-
man and his men used the plantation for a base
of operations against the Seminoles. But Putman
was wounded, his men fell sick with dysentery
and Yellow Fever, and they fought only losing
battles with the Indians so they retreated to St.
Augustine and left Bulow and the neighboring
planters alone. Bulow and the others evacuated
the plantations and left them to their fate.
Bulow returned to Charleston.
On the night of January 31, 1836, residents
of St. Augustine, forty miles from Bulowville,
reported a rosy glow in the sky which obviously
came from a roaring fire. It was the beautiful
house, sugar mill and outlying buildings at Bu-
lowville for the Seminoles had set the torch to it.
Young Bulow was too disheartened to try to
rebuild and left the plantation to the elements.
He later went to Paris where he died, a bachelor,
in his 27th year.
(Lost Mission and English Sugar Mill)
Port Orange, Florida
Some historians believe this mill was erected
on the site of a mission built by the Franciscan
friars on or before 1625 and was an outpost of
the mother mission in St. Augustine.
Since Spain and England were at war during
these years, there was strife between the Span-
iards in Florida and the English colonists north
Governor Moore of South Carolina, with the
aid of the Creek Indians, invaded this section
and all improvements made by the friars and
their Indians were destroyed.
Thus, after nearly a century of endeavor to
Christianize these people, the Franciscans were
forced to leave.
Patrick Dean received a 995-acre grant in
1804, operating this vast plantation until he was
killed by an Indian. The property changed hands
four times by 1832, when James and George
Anderson sold their plantation on the Tomoka
River and bought it.
The brothers operated the mill until the Semi-
nole War when the settlers were defeated by
the Indians in what was known as the Battle of
Dun-Lawton. All homes of the settlement were
burned and the mill partially destroyed.
In 1846 John F. Marshall rebuilt and operated
it for several years, after which it was resold
seven times. At last it came into the hands of
a man of vision, J. Saxton Lloyd, who had it
artistically landscaped and developed into one of
our most beautiful historic spots.
Near the mill is a large old tree called the Con-
federate Oak, marking the site of the Southern
Army encampment. Some boiling kettles of the
mill were used to make salt during the Civil War.
The second Seminole War, lasting seven years
and the fiercest, bloodiest, and costliest Indian
war ever waged by the United States, flared forth
in its first battle on the morning of December
January 1, 1836 had been set as the date for
all Indians to emigrate west of the Mississippi.
Some of the Seminoles were not willing to go,
claiming the treaty with Spain by which Florida
was acquired as an American territory, had guar-
anteed their rights to lands, cattle, and slaves.
There was an Indian agency located at Fort
King, near the present city of Ocala, and the
military authorities decided, almost at the last
minute, to reinforce the small garrison there.
Therefore, a company of troops made up of the
4th U.S. Infantry and some men of the 2nd and
3rd U.S. Artillery were dispatched from Fort
Brooke, at Tampa Bay.
The detachment, commanded by Major Fran-
cis L. Dade, set out on the morning of December
23rd, 1835, on the hundred mile journey over
the Fort Brooke-Fort King trail. It consisted of
eight officers and 100 men, four oxen, a six-
pounder gun, and a light wagon carrying pro-
visions for ten days. The little company marched
with an advance guard and flankers. Each night
a light breastwork was thrown up to guard
against surprise attack. Progress was slow and
only two-thirds of the distance was covered in
It was always believed that Luis, the guide,
was friendly to the Indians and betrayed the
departure to them but he denied the accusation
even in his old age. At any rate, the Indian
scouts closely watched the movement of the de-
tachment from the time it left Tampa. The
chiefs who were not affected by the emigration
order-Osceola, Micanopy, Jumper, and Alliga-
tor-had determined to strike a double blow at
the enemy by murdering General Wiley Thomp-
son, the Indian Agent at Fort King, and attack-
ing Major Dade's command.
Osceola, because of a personal grudge, re-
quested the task of murdering Thompson. This
was done at sundown as Thompson and Lt. Smith
were taking a stroll outside the post. They were
shot down and scalped by Osceola's warriors.
The other chiefs assembled their men in Wa-
hoo Swamp, five miles west of the trail, which
was chosen as a safe retreat should their assault
fail. That evening Major Dade camped about
three miles north of the Withlacoochee River.
Osceola had not returned but it was decided to
go ahead with the ambush the next morning.
The next day, just at sunrise, the Indians con-
cealed themselves in palmettoes and scrub pine
to the east of the trail and awaited the column.
Here fate, in the form of two military blunders,
came to the aid of the Indians. First, due to the
open country, Major Dade did not put out his
flankers although the advance guard preceded
the column as usual. Second, because it was a
cold day, the soldiers marched with their over-
coats buttoned over their ammunition boxes.
At about 8 o'clock the column came abreast
of the ambush. A single shot rang out, followed
by a murderous volley. Half the command fell
dead or wounded at the first fire. Major Dade
and Captain Fraser were killed and three of the
remaining six officers were wounded. Volley fol-
lowed volley as the troops tried to return the fire
of the invisible foe. Lt. Basinger fired several
rounds of canister from the cannon and the
Indians retreated behind a hill a half mile away.
While the Indians were regrouping and pre-
paring for the final assault, the soldiers fell back
a short distance and started erecting the breast-
works of pine logs. Others went about assisting
the wounded and collecting the ammunition
boxes of the dead.
When the Seminole attackers again descended
on the little force the breastworks were only
knee-high. One by one the soldiers fell before
the murderous fire. By 2 o'clock the firing had
ceased. Only two men, John Thomas and Joseph
Sprague, both seriously wounded, had managed
to escape and make their way back to Tampa.
The Indians entered the breastworks and re-
moved the arms and equipment of the thirty men
who lay as they had fallen along the north and
west walls. They then left the battlefield but
were soon followed by forty or fifty escaped
slaves who galloped up on horseback and vicious-
ly dispatched the wounded with knives and axes.
Ransom Clark and Edward DeCourcey were
the only ones who survived the massacre follow-
ing the battle. Although seriously wounded they
feigned death and lay still until after dark, when
they left the breastwork and made their way
toward Tampa. The next day DeCourcey was
killed by an Indian but Clark reached the fort
two days after the battle. The Negro guide, Luis,
also survived the battle by feigning death at the
first fire and then either joining or being cap-
tured by the Indians later.
The three white survivors estimated the Semi-
nole strength at 400 to 1,000 but Alligator later
said they numbered 180. The Seminole losses
were put at three killed and five wounded.
The remains of Major Dade and his men lay
on the ground for seven weeks until General
Gaines arrived with a detachment who first iden-
tified them and then buried them in three sepa-
rate graves. A fund was later raised to remove
the bodies to the Saint Augustine National Ceme-
tery where the bodies were re-interred on August
15, 1842, nine days before the end of the Sec-
ond Seminole War.
Visitors to the St. Augustine National Ceme-
tery will find three stone pyramids which mark
the last resting place of those who died in the
terrible ambush among the palmettoes and pines.
As the Seminole Wars drew to a close in the
early 1840's, peninsular Florida attracted many
new settlers. Among them were the Bradens.
Dr. Joseph A. Braden and his brother Hector
W. Braden, both of Virginia, were prominent
residents of Tallahassee when Florida was still
a territory. About 1841 they moved with their
families, slaves, and household effects to the Ma-
natee River section to establish a sugar-cane plan-
tation of more than a thousand acres.
It was probably in 1842 that Dr. Braden
built his home near the confluence of the Mana-
tee and Braden Rivers. Braden Castle, made of
limestone and shell, had four large rooms and a
wide hall on each of its two floors. Two tall
chimneys extended above the sides of the house.
Although Braden Castle was primarily built as
a residence it was necessary that it follow the
structural pattern of the times that demanded
a set of strong walls and self-contained water
source. Since settlements were sparse and widely
scattered, a planter, moving into a fairly iso-
lated area, would build his home in fortress
fashion. This provided shelter from Indians and
others who would attack lonely plantations. The
walls, of thick tabby material, would stop the
musket balls of that day and would also resist
fire. Within these walls the plantation owner
could protect his family, his livestock and his
slaves. Other settlers, living close enough to a
strong defensive structure such as Braden Castle,
would move into the fortress in event of attack.
For this reason they did not have to build such
massive fortified homes.
The Castle often served as refuge for neigh-
boring families when the Seminoles were trouble-
some. Their last attack was in 1856 when the
Indians besieged the house unsuccessfully but
carried off slaves and farm animals.
Braden Castle enjoyed but few peaceful years.
Time, the sugar cane borer, and the War Be-
tween the States brought abandonment and left
the plantation alone to the forest. Shortly after
the turn of the century a forest fire practically
destroyed the Castle. Today only the shell of the
once magnificent Braden Castle stands as a mel-
low symbol of the culture and refinement of
those other days, more than a century ago.
Memory of the Braden family remains in the
name of the city of Bradenton, and of the Braden
River. It is also remembered in Leon County
in the name of a community which grew up
around Braden Fort, built during the Seminole
In 1924 the land surrounding the ruins of
Braden Castle was bought by the Camping Tour-
ists of America. The community of homes and
trailers established there by the tourists is now
a flourishing town.
In February, 1733, a pioneer band of settlers,
under General James Oglethorpe, sailed past
Cockspur Island, then called "Peeper". They
were to establish on Yamacraw Bluff, now the
site of present-day Savannah, the feeble settle-
ment which was the beginning of the thirteenth
American colony. To this island John Wesley,
the founder of Methodism, made a momentous
visit two years later.
Fearing an attack during the French and
Indian War, by their Spanish enemies at St.
Augustine, colonial leaders advocated the
construction of a fort at Cockspur Island to pro-
tect the growing port of Savannah. As a result
Fort George, a palisaded log blockhouse and earth-
work fortification, was begun on Cockspur in
1761. This pioneer fortification upon Cockspur
served as a protection for Savannah harbor and
intermittently enforced quarantine and customs
regulations until 1776 when it was abandoned
upon the approach of the British fleet.
Owing to its strategic location, commanding
the South Atlantic coast and the Savannah River
valley, Cockspur was chosen as the site of Fort
Pulaski in the early 1820's; but actual work was
not begun until 1829.
To Lieutenant (later Captain) Mansfield, who
served from 1831 to 1845, belongs chief credit
for building the structure. He was aided at times
by young engineers serving their apprenticeship;
the most promising of these was Robert E. Lee,
whose first assignment after graduating from
West Point was on Cockspur Island.
The work went on at Fort Pulaski more or
less continuously from 1829 to 1847. It was an
enormous project. Bricks were bought in lots of
from one to six million at a time, and it is
probable that as many as 25 million were put
into the structure. Lumber, lime, lead, iron and
other supplies were bought in proportionately
In 1833 the new fort was named Pulaski in
honor of Polish hero, Count Casmir Pulaski, who
fought in the American Revolution and was mor-
tally wounded at the Battle of Savannah, 1779.
Georgia seceded from the Union on January
19, 1861, and on March 20 Fort Pulaski was
transferred to the government of the Confeder-
acy. Volunteer troops continued to serve at the
fort until they were relieved by "regulars".
By midsummer, 1861, the North had planned
the campaign that led to the fall of Fort Pulaski.
At this time General Lee visited Savannah and
inspected the defense of the Georgia coast.
In February, Union forces landed on Tybee
Island and began the work of constructing bat-
teries for the siege. Huge cannon and mortars
weighing as much as 17,000 pounds, were
landed through the surf on the south side of
the island; some were dragged two miles through
the mud and sand by manpower to the positions
they were to occupy.
At Lazaretto, on Tybee Island, the Union en-
gineers had erected two batteries of rifled can-
non-a newly invented weapon. The distance
from Lazaretto to Pulaski, a full mile, was almost
twice as far as the effective breaching range of
the most powerful proven guns. The new can-
non, however, firing a conical shell which was
pointed instead of round, were destined to do
damage at almost unbelievable distances.
April 10th, 1862, had just dawned when the
fort was called upon to surrender. Colonel Olm-
stead, then only 26 years of age, refused to
submit. It was ten minutes past 8 o'clock when
the Federal bombardment began and it lasted
until nightfall. The fort tried to return the fire
but only 20 guns could be brought to bear and
they could not get sufficient elevation to reach
the Union batteries. The next morning the
bombardment was begun again and soon the
parapet was breached, honeycombed with holes
made by the rifled shells.
When the projectiles began hitting the maga-
zines and the protective wall started to go, Colo-
nel Olmstead surrendered rather than risk the
death of his 385 men from explosion of the
magazine. The surrender was unconditional.
Historic Fort Pulaski is a five-sided brickwork,
1,580 feet in circumference, enclosing a parade
ground of two and one-half acres, and designed
to mount two tiers of guns; one in the case-
mates, or bombproof chambers, the other on the
barbette or open platform on the top of the fort.
Its solid brick walls, from 7 to 11 feet thick
and 32 feet high, are surrounded by a moat
crossed by a drawbridge. Its long casemated gal-
leries contain examples of some of the finest
brick arch masonry in America. The red and
gray brick, gray granite, and brown sandstone of
which the structure is built, lend charm and
color to the old fort.
Richmond Hill, Georgia
The terrible War Between the States, that
rocked the nation in the 1860's, brought many
stories of fierce battles and encounters between
the Union and Confederate forces. General Te-
cumseh Sherman, in his march to the sea,
brought death, desolation, and waste to a wide
section of Georgia farmland and industrial sec-
tions. From the borders of Tennessee to Atlanta,
then southward in a slow curve to the sea
marched Sherman and his intrepid forces. It
was not a country easily won. The Confederate
troops had offered fierce resistance with much of
the fighting being done hand-to-hand and with
By the time the Union troops had almost
reached the sea, the blue tide was wearying and
tired of fighting. Now they were just miles away
from their objective, Savannah. General Sher-
man was anxious to reach the mouth of the Ogee-
chee River where the Union fleet was waiting
with orders to transport him by sea to Charleston,
where he would await his victorious troops.
But there was one battle left and, although
no one knew it at the time, it was to develop into
one of the most significant defeats of all time;
and was to become the "Georgia Alamo" where
the defending Confederates fought to the last
man and died in valorous combat, covering them-
selves with glory for their bravery. That was the
fight at Fort McAllister, near Richmond Hill,
Georgia, and only 17 miles south of Savannah.
To open up communications with the Union
fleet, Sherman dispatched General Howard to the
south to rebuild King's bridge, and then sent
General Kilpatrick to reconnoiter Fort McAllister.
This was the 12th of December, 1864, and Gen-
erals Hagen and Smith were ordered to bring up
the remnants of their divisions, about nine regi-
ments in all, and get them ready to take Mc-
Allister. Hagen and Smith had just suffered
quite a few casualties among their ranks when
their foragers were killed or captured near States-
boro and had later been forced to cross the Ca-
nouche River under a withering Confederate
artillery and infantry fire. So they did not greet
this last assignment with much enthusiasm. How-
ever, they moved out their men and reached
the vicinity of McAllister about 11 o'clock on the
morning of the 13th where they found that
the Union artillery, under DeGress, was already
laying down a barrage.
The Confederate picket line met them with
scattered fire that forced the Union soldiers to
take cover and proceed slowly while the Confed-
erates fell back slowly to the protection of the
fort walls. As they proceeded the Union foot
soldiers began to run into torpedoes buried in the
road and therefore it was not until 4:45 P.M.
that the assaulting column of nine regiments
closed up around the fort which was held by
Major George W. Anderson and 250 men. In
one mad rush it was all over. General Hagen
said that the fort was carried at precisely 5:00
P.M. which meant that in fifteen minutes the
nine regiments had swarmed over the parapets,
through the moats, into the inner works, and
shot or put to the bayonet every living defender
of the fort. Not one man lived to relate what
happened. When the Union troops had secured
the fort, the flag was raised and Sherman,
who was watching from a nearby point, proceeded
to the mouth of the river and went aboard the
General Hagen, in his report, gave the brave
Confederate garrison the highest compliment one
soldier could pay another. He said:
"At close quarters the fighting became desper-
ate and deadly. Just outside the works a line of
torpedoes had been placed, many of which were
exploded by the tread of the troops, blowing many
men to atoms. But the line moved on without
checking over, under, and through abatis, ditches,
palisading, and parapets, fighting the garrison
through the fort to their bomb-proofs, from which
they still fought, and only succumbed as each
man was individually overpowered."
The fort garrison was killed to a man. The
Federal loss in the assault was 24 killed and
Amelia Island, on which Fort Clinch' is lo-
cated, was originally discovered by white men
when Ribault's expedition sailed along its shores
and included it in French territorial claims on
May 3, 1562.
The actual construction of Fort Clinch
(named for General Duncan Lamont Clinch)
was started in December, 1850. At the outbreak
of the Civil War the Confederates occupied it
and attempted to make it serviceable. This work
was under Colonel Robert E. Lee's general super-
vision and he made several visits to Fort Clinch
to inspect it. The Third Regiment of Florida Vol-
unteers was stationed here. Fort Clinch was evac-
uated by the Confederates in March, 1862, upon
the arrival of an overwhelming Federal force.
Thereafter Amelia Island remained in possession
of the Union Army until the close of the war.
During the Spanish-American War several
regiments were stationed at and in the vicinity
of Fort Clinch. After the war the fort was prac-
tically abandoned, and on March 12, 1926, an
Act of Congress authorized its sale. In 1935 the
City of Fernandina and the Florida Forest and
Park Service purchased, for state park pur-
poses, Fort Clinch and 980 acres of beach and
The development consists of a partial restora-
tion of the Fort, the construction of scenic park
roads, picnic areas, a trailer camp, public build-
ings, overnight cabins, a beach lodge, a fresh
water lake and ocean beach development.
Fort Clinch is one of ten Florida State Parks
administered and served by the Florida Forest
and Park Service.
Visitors to Fort Clinch will find many items of
historical interest in the museum there.
June 3, 1950, was celebrated as the 100th
anniversary of the fort.
THE MARTELLO TOWERS
Key West, Florida
towers were not begun until 1861 when the
War Between the States broke out. The purpose
of the towers was to protect Fort Taylor from
an attack by land from the rear.
The two towers were identical in plan. There
was an outer wall of casemates which was de-
signed to carry 10-inch Rodman smoothbore can-
non. Within the walls was a tower, a square
brick affair with gun slits and cannon firing posi-
tions in which there were 8-inch Columbiad
cannon. Four rifled Parrot guns were to be
mounted on top of the tower and the mounts
are still there.
The term "Martello Tower" has long been used
to designate masonry forts built chiefly on sea-
coasts, generally with thick walls and entrances
high off the ground. The name Martello may
have come from a corruption of Martella Point
(off the island of Corsica) where a fort of this
type successfully resisted an invasion attempt by
the British naval forces in 1541; or it might have
been taken from the name of a Spanish military
engineer who is said to have designed the first
fort of this kind.
The West Martello Tower is today in a bad
state of ruin. Many parts of it are falling down
The East and West Martello Towers are two
of the four authorized by Congress in 1845. The
other two were never built, for by the time the
two now existent were completed, the rifled can-
non had been invented which made this type
of fortification obsolete.
Fort Taylor, lying at the entrance to Key West
harbor, was begun in 1845 but the Martello
and, although the botanical gardens within the
fort area are open to the public during the day-
time, many parts of the fort itself are roped off
and visitors are not permitted in the danger areas.
The East Martello Tower is in an excellent
state of repair and one is able to go to all parts
of it today in complete safety. The Key West
Art and Historical Society was granted a revoc-
able permit by the War Department in 1951 to
use the structure as an art gallery and local
history museum. In 1956 the property was re-
linquished to Monroe County. Under the guid-
ance of the Art and Historical Society the fort
has acquired an excellent museum and the bo-
tanical gardens are being constantly beautified
The present entrance to the East Martello
Tower was built in 1954 when the Florida Na-
tional Bank at Key West presented the old doors,
but originally the only access to the fort was over
the rampart and across a drawbridge, entering
the citadel at the second floor level. Inside were
ammunition and provision storage vaults, water
cistern, fireplace, and other facilities for with-
standing a siege.
The War Department retained possession of
the property and made various uses of it during
the Spanish-American War and World Wars I
and II. The Navy erected two searchlight ele-
vators on the ramparts of the East Tower and
maintained a signal tower for aircraft atop the
citadel during the Second World War.
85 Miles West of Key West
Dangling from the Florida mainland is the
long chain of Florida Keys. At the end of the
chain is Key West but if one looks a little fur-
ther west he sees a few more islets barely visible
- R- .
on the average map. Discovered in 1513 by
Ponce de Leon the tiny group has always been
known by the name he wrote on his map so
many years ago-"Dry Tortugas". "Dry" was to
warn other mariners that there was no water to
be found on the islands and "Tortugas" indicated
that they had there captured a large number of
turtles for food and there were others which in-
habited the islands for breeding grounds.
In subsequent years pirates and freebooters
made the islands a base of operations and some
evidence of their occupation is still to be seen
today in a stone structure on Loggerhead Key be-
lieved to have been built by them. Past Dry
Tortugas sailed the heavily-laden treasure ships
of Spain, braving shipwreck and corsairs. Not
until Florida became part of the United States in
1821 were the pirates finally driven out. To
further protect Gulf shipping a lighthouse was
built on Garden Key in 1825 but was discontin-
ued thirty-one years later when the present light-
house was built on Loggerhead Key.
Tortugas controlled the navigation of the Gulf
and the Florida Straits. Commerce from the
Mississippi Valley went through the Gulf to
reach the Atlantic. Enemy seizure of Tortugas
could cut this vital flow of goods and ships oper-
ating from this base could be effective against
a far superior force. People still remembered the
British invasion of New Orleans and the battle
in which they were defeated there. Britain was
developing her West Indies possessions. Cuba
was faced with a possible revolution. Texas, a
new republic, was considering an alliance with
France or England and this would provide Euro-
pean nations with a foothold on the Gulf Coast.
Therefore, Tortugas assumed giant size in the
over-all picture of the Gulf Coast defenses.
Following the War of 1812 the young United
States determined that a chain of strong coastal
defenses should be built. The chain reached
from the coast of Maine to that of Texas. By
far the largest and strongest link in the chain
was Fort Jefferson. Seven-eighths of a mile in
perimeter and covering most of the 16 acres of
Garden Key, the 8-foot-thick walls stood fifty feet
from foundation to crown. The fort had three
gun tiers, designed to mount 450 guns, and a
garrison of 1,500 men.
The fort was started in 1846 and, although
work went on for almost 30 years, it was never
actually finished. Carpenters and bricklayers
from the North, assisted by slave labor and politi-
cal prisoners did the actual work.
To prevent Florida's seizure of the fort, Fed-
eral troops hurriedly occupied it on January 19,
1861, but aside from a few warning shots fired
at Confederate privateers, there was no action.
The average number of soldiers in the fort at
one time numbered about 500 men but there
were as many as 1,100 political prisoners during
the time the fort was used as a prison following
the War Between the States. For almost ten
years after the war the fort remained a military
prison. Among the prisoners sent there in 1865
were the "Lincoln Conspirators"-Michael
O'Loughlin, Samuel Arnold, Edward Spangler and
Dr. Samuel A. Mudd. Dr. Mudd, knowing noth-
ing of President Lincoln's assassination had set
the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth, the assas-
sin. The innocent physician was convicted of
conspiracy and sentenced to life imprisonment at
Normally Tortugas was a healthful post, but
in 1867 Yellow Fever came. From August 18
to November 14 the epidemic raged, striking 270
of the 300 men at the fort. Among the first
fatalities was Major Joseph Sim Smith, the post
surgeon. Dr. Mudd, together with Dr. Daniel
Whitehurst from Key West worked night and
day to fight the disease. Two years later Dr.
Mudd was pardoned by President Johnson for
his assistance in helping the sick men at the fort.
Because of hurricane damage and another
fever outbreak in 1874, the fort was finally
abandoned. During the 1880's, however, the
fort was again put to use by the Navy as a base
for a fleet of ships. (It was from Tortugas that
the battleship Maine sailed to meet her destruc-
tion in Havana harbor.) For this reason the
Navy built a coaling station outside the walls of
the fort and fueled ships for several years until
a hurricane blew away the loading rigs and
ruined the station.
One of the first naval wireless stations was
built at the fort early in the 1900's and, during
World War I, Tortugas was used as a seaplane
base. After the military moved out, fire, storms,
and salvagers took their toll, leaving the "Gibraltar
of the Gulf" the vast ruin that it is today.
One of the most spectacular sights in the
northern hemisphere is the annual migration of
the Terns to Bush Key, just a stone's throw across
the channel from the fort. Here thousands of
Noddy and Sooty Terns assemble for their nest-
ing season. The parents take turns sheltering the
young chicks from the sun in the nest of hollowed
out beach rock. The presence of these birds was
first recorded in 1513 by Ponce de Leon, fol-
lowed by Captain Hawkins in 1565, Audubon in
1832 and Louis Agassiz in 1858. Many other spe-
cies of migratory birds have been recorded here.
Fort Jefferson was recorded and declared a
national monument in 1935 by Presidential Proc-
lamation and is under the supervision of the
National Park Service.
Charleston, South Carolina
On April 12, 1861, a mortar shell burst over
Fort Sumter and the tragedy of the War Between
the States had begun. The shell had been fired
from Fort Johnson, in Charleston harbor and was
the signal for the Confederate troops to begin
firing. Fort Sumter will always be remembered
as the place where the first shot was fired in that
tragic war between Union and Confederacy.
The five-sided fort, built on a shoal and bear-
ing the name of the Revolutionary War patriot,
Thomas Sumter, was started in 1829 and was
practically finished by 1860. The five-foot-thick
walls towered 48 feet above low water to
command the main ship channel into Charleston
harbor. On four of the sides the guns were
mounted on three tiers but on the fifth side only
the third tier supported guns and the officer's
quarters occupied the rest of the structure. A
sally port opened on the wall facing the city and
there was a quay and a wharf.
On December 20th, 1860, delegates of six
southern states met to form the Confederacy.
Later other states were to join. Jefferson Davis
was elected President and on the night of De-
cember 26-27, 1860, Major Robert Anderson
moved his small Federal garrison from Fort Moul-
trie to Fort Sumter where they could not be
reached by land. Several attempts were made to
bring provisions to the garrison by ship but the
Confederates would not allow the ships entry
to the harbor. Finally, Major Anderson was
called upon to surrender the fort to the Con-
federates but refused. The Confederate Cabinet
sent orders to General Beauregard to fire on
Sumter if attempts were made to reinforce it.
Shortly after noon, on April llth, 1861, a
small boat flying a white flag put out from shore
at Charleston. It bore three Confederate officers
with a note from General Beauregard that the
Federal troops should evacuate the fort. Major
Anderson refused but stated that he would be
out by noon, April 15th, unless he should receive
other orders from Washington prior to that time.
The Confederates rejected this offer and at
3:20 on the morning of April 12th Major An-
derson was notified that in one hour the Con-
federate batteries would open fire. At 4:30 a.m.
the mortar shell burst over the fort to signal the
attack and was immediately answered by fire
from one of the guns in an ironclad battery at
Cummings Point which was touched off by Ed-
mund Ruffin, of Virginia, who had volunteered
for the duty. By daybreak 43 guns from Moul-
trie, Johnson, Cummings Point and elsewhere
were firing at the fort. At 7:00 that morning the
first shot from Fort Sumter was fired in reply by
Captain Abner Doubleday. He later was to be bet-
ter known as the "Father of American Baseball."
The battle kept up for all that day and during
the night. The next morning, about 9 o'clock, a
hot shot from Moultrie started a fire at Sumter.
At 2 p.m. that afternoon, the 13th of April, an
offer of truce was sent to Sumter. Major Ander-
son agreed to the terms and evacuated the fort to
the Confederates on April 14th. In his official
report Anderson said, "The quarters were entirely
burned, the main gates destroyed by fire, the
gorge walls seriously injured, and the magazines
were surrounded by flames." During the bom-
bardment the Confederates had fired more than
3,000 shells at Fort Sumter.
By 1863 the Federal Navy controlled all im-
portant seaports except Charleston and Wilming-
ton from which boats went forth and returned
in defiance of the blockade. Therefore Rear Ad-
miral S. F. Dupont was ordered to enter Charles-
ton harbor and secure the surrender of Fort
Sumter. In the afternoon of April 7, 1863, nine
armored vessels steamed into a long battleline
and headed for the fort. In the 2-hour duel
between ships and Sumter, along with several
shore batteries assisting her, the fort had its walls
scarred and battered but did not surrender. Of
the nine ships attacking the fort, five were dam-
aged and one, the Keokuk, sank the next day.
Having failed to take the fort with ironclads
the Federal troops next seized Cummings Point
and set up a battery of rifled cannon. On April
17th the bombardment began in earnest. The
fort was soon reduced to a pile of rubble but still
refused to surrender. The Confederate guns at
Moultrie and other points took up the defense
of Sumter and the Federal troops put everything
in an attempt to assault by sea. On September 9
five boats and 115 men were captured. This
was the last serious attempt to take Sumter al-
though all during 1864 and January of 1865
several bombardments were directed at the fort
During all these periods of heavy bombardment
the Federal guns had fired 3,500 tons of shells at
the fort, yet the Confederate casualties were only
52 killed and 267 wounded. Sherman's troops
advancing from Savannah, however, caused the
Confederate troops to be withdrawn and Sumter
was evacuated on February 17th, 1865.
The Fort Sumter National Monument was
created by an act of Congress on April 28th,
1948. There are 2.4 acres of fort property
standing on a shoal about three and a half miles
from the Charleston Battery. The monument is
administered by the National Park Service of the
United States Department of the Interior.
Santa Rosa Island, Pensacola
Fort Pickens is one of the chain of forts built
after the War of 1812 that ringed the nation
from Maine to Texas. Just like the others,
Pickens is of brick and mortar construction, with
granite from Georgia used as a foundation piece
in many parts of the structure.
Pickens was one of the three forts which was
never captured by the Confederates during the
War Between the States. Forts Taylor and Jeffer-
son were also successfully kept from Confederate
hands during the war.
Pickens was planned as early as 1822 since
Pensacola was beginning to rise as one of the
more important seacoast ports. It was primarily
planned to defend the deep-water harbor en-
trance against attack by sea. However, when
attack did come it was from the land side
where the defense was weakest. Construction
was begun in June, 1829, and completed Octo-
ber 21, 1834, when it was garrisoned by an
artillery company of 34 men. When completion
was in sight the fort was named Pickens in
honor of Brigadier General Andrew Pickens of
the South Carolina State Troops in the Ameri-
can Revolution. The final cost of construction
The fort was pentagonal (five-sided) in shape
with a bastion at each end of the five corners,
and complete with covert ways, a dry ditch, and
glacis. Its brick walls, forty feet high and twelve
feet thick, were embrasured for one tier of guns
in bomb-proof casemates and for one tier open.
It was designed to mount 250 guns and to
accommodate a garrison of 600 men during ordi-
nary warfare or 1,200 men under siege. How-
ever, prior to the war the average number of
troops was about 50 and for ten years before
the war the fort was entirely unoccupied.
In January, 1861, the only United States
troops at Pensacola were 51 men of Company G,
1st U.S. Artillery, stationed at Barrancas Bar-
racks under Lieutenant Adam J. Slemmer. At the
Navy Yard, commanded by Commodore James
Armstrong, were 38 marines and 80 ordinary
seamen. Also subject to Armstrong's orders were
the steamer Wyandotte with a crew of 78, and
the store-ship Supply with 36 men.
With the secession of the Southern States al-
most inevitable, Lt. Slemmer talked the situation
over with Commodore Armstrong and it was de-
cided that since Fort McRee, Fort Barrancas, and
the Navy Yard could not be defended very easily
against land attack the best place to make their
stand would be at Fort Pickens. Commodore
Armstrong agreed to use the Wyandotte to trans-
port men and supplies but due to pressures
brought by Southern friends he delayed the re-
moval by his reluctance to act.
Lt. Slemmer and his company, with 30 men
from the Navy Yard, finally occupied Fort Pick-
ens on January 10th, the day before Florida
seceded from the Union. Before leaving Bar-
rancas he spiked the guns he could not take
with him and took all the ammunition and
powder stored there. Lieutenant Erben, of the
Supply, destroyed what powder and materials he
was unable to take to Fort Pickens with him.
On January 12 Florida and Alabama troops
demanded and received from Commodore Arm-
strong the surrender of the Navy Yard. On the
evening of the same day and twice thereafter the
same demands were made of Lt. Slemmer but
the Union commander refused to surrender.
Lt. Slemmer and his men began feverishly
to reinforce the weak north wall of the fort for
it was from this direction that attack was sure
to come. Of the 201 guns then at the fort only
40 were mounted and they rushed to get more of
the huge cannons in position. To complicate
matters it rained almost continuously. After two
weeks of uncertainty a truce was agreed on and
the fear of an attack was lessened.
Still hoping that war might be averted, neither
the North nor the South would make the first
move, so it came as a surprise when the Con-
federate leaders learned that the sloop-of-war
Brooklyn had been ordered to relieve Pickens.
Stephen Mallory, Confederate Secretary of
the Navy, assured President Buchanan that no
attack would be made on Pickens as long as
no attempt was made to reinforce the fort or
in any way make it more dangerous to the Con-
federate cause. For ten weeks there was no
change at either side of the harbor except that
both sides busied themselves making their de-
fenses stronger. The Confederates built several
more shore batteries while the Federal troops on
Santa Rosa Island also built four batteries facing
the shoreline of the inner harbor.
The truce was finally broken when the Federal
troops landed reinforcements on the ocean side
of the island from the Brooklyn. Actually, the
landing was made just a few hours before the
first shot of the war was fired at Fort Sumter
and the truce would have been broken anyway
by the latter incident.
The first armed fight between the opposing
forces occurred on the night of September 13,
when a small-boat expedition from the USS Colo-
rado burned the Confederate schooner Judah, fit-
ting out as a privateer at the Navy Yard. The
Confederates retaliated by landing about 1,000
men on Santa Rosa Island about four miles east
of the fort. Marching toward Pickens in three
columns, they attacked and partly burned the
camp occupied by the Sixth New York Volun-
teers, but were repulsed by regulars sent out from
the fort. Federal losses were 13 killed, 27
wounded, whereas the Confederate losses were
18 killed, 27 wounded, and 30 taken prisoner.
At 10 a.m. on November 22, Fort Pickens
opened fire on the Confederate shore batteries
and were quickly placed under fire by the guns
of Barrancas and the fourteen shore batteries.
Firing continued all day long and before sunset
the guns of Fort McRee had been silenced.
The bombardment began again the next morn-
ing and on the second day fires started in War-
renton, near the Navy Yard, and spread to the
neighboring village of Woolsey. A second bom-
bardment occurred on January 1, 1862, when a
small vessel ran into the Navy Yard and drew
Union fire. The Confederate batteries answered
and firing continued for the rest of the day.
Since neither side could win by artillery duels,
Colonel Brown of the Federal command wanted
to combine a land and sea attack to surround
and capture the forts and batteries on the main-
land. But before such an action could be brought
into play, the Confederates had withdrawn from
the city taking with them their guns, ammunition
and supplies. As they departed they set fire to the
harbor defenses from the Navy Yard to Fort Mc-
Ree. On the following morning Union Forces oc-
cupied the deserted forts and the Navy Yard and
held Pensacola during the remainder of the war.
Fort Pickens was used as a military prison
after the war for a brief period but the return
of peace brought a withdrawal of its garrison
with only a caretaker to look after it. In 1875
Congress appropriated $25,000 for repairing the
fort, which appears to have been garrisoned
thereafter and used as a military prison again.
The Apache, Geronimo, and some of his band
were imprisoned for a time at Fort Pickens after
their capture in 1886.
Fort Pickens was modernized and strengthened
between 1890 and 1900 and served as a coastal
defense during the Spanish-American War and
both World Wars. After World War II Fort
Pickens was declared surplus property by the
The fort was placed under the jurisdiction of
the Florida Board of Parks and Historic Me-
morials in 1949. It is now a part of Fort Pickens
Key West, Florida
Key West, Florida, is not only unique in that
it is the southernmost city of the nation but it
is also an unusually historic and interesting city.
Its position on the Florida Straits has given it a
long succession of colorful happenings. The city
has often been compared in the past with Gibral-
tar because of its location and is known as "The
Key of the Gulf."
Before the War Between The States, the
United States realized the importance of the
location of Key West in the scheme of national
defense. In 1845 the construction of Fort Taylor
was begun and was well on its way to completion
when a hurricane destroyed the unfinished work
the following year. Work was resumed, however,
and the fort was completed in 1861. It was in
the possession of the Federal forces when the
War Between The States broke out. Although
many of the citizens of Key West sympathized
with the Confederate cause, the Federal installa-
tions, of which Fort Taylor was one, remained
in Federal hands during the entire war and were
an important link in the blockade of the coast
The Spanish-American War brought renewed
activity to Fort Taylor and in 1899 the installa-
tion was modernized and coast defense batteries
were added. The finest armament of the time
Fort Taylor was named for General Zachary
Taylor, the twelfth President of the United
States. General Taylor was in command of the
United States troops during the early part of the
Seminole War of 1835-1842. It was because
of this that Fort Taylor was named in his honor.
Many soldiers have fired the disappearing guns
that were installed after World War I. Although
the fort was a Coast Guard Base the National
Guard encamped there each summer. Its splendid
armament was the only type in the United States
actually used for defensive purposes and the big
guns were capable of firing large shells many
miles away with extreme accuracy.
Edith P. Stanton, Ruins of the Early Plantations of the Halifax Area. Wilbur Henry Seibert,
Loyalist in East Florida, 1774-1784. Theo Irving, Conquest of Florida. Johnathon Dickinson,
God's Protecting Providence. Meyer M. Cohen, Florida and the Campaigns. Joshua R. Giddings,
Exiles of Florida. Papers of the Jacksonville Historical Society.
In addition, the invaluable assistance of the Rangers of the National Park Service, the
Florida State Board of Parks and Memorials, the United States Coast Guard, and the librarians
at the Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami Public Libraries is hereby acknowledged. To Ray Vinten
and Al Manucy of the National Park Service office at St. Augustine; to John and Laurie De Weese,
our host and hostess at Dry Tortugas; to Miss Audrey Broward, who can put her finger on more
books of Florida History than anyone I have ever known; to Dena Snodgrass, Research Analyst,
Florida State Chamber of Commerce, and a host of others who have equally contributed to this
booklet go our heartfelt thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience with us. We hope the
purpose of this booklet will bring great satisfaction to you, as it does to us, in knowing that we are
helping perpetuate the memory of Florida's great past.
LIFE INSU RNCE COMPANY
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