Title: Fort Matanzas National Monument, Florida, official map and guide 1997
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00016773/00001
 Material Information
Title: Fort Matanzas National Monument, Florida, official map and guide 1997
Physical Description: Book
Publication Date: 1997
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00016773
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA9440


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Illustration by Don Foley

Since its founding in 1565, the military outpost town of St. Aug-
ustine had been the heart of Spain's coastal defenses in Flor-
ida. After the completion of the Castillo de San Marcos in 1695,
the town had only one weakness: Fourteen miles to the south
Matanzas Inlet allowed access to the Matanzas River, by which
enemy vessels could attack the town from the rear-out of
range of the Castillo's cannons. Spain had good reason to fear
attack. Beginning with Francis Drake's raid on St. Augustine in
1586, England had repeatedly harassed the Spanish colony. In
1740 troops from the British colony of Georgia, lead by Gov.
James Oglethorpe, blockaded St. Augustine inlet and began a
28-day bombardment of the town. But five small Spanish ves-
sels sailed down the Matanzas River, fought through the British
ships at the inlet, and resupplied the town. With the siege bro-
ken and with the onset of hurricane season, Oglethorpe gave
up the attack.

The lesson was learned: if the British had controlled the inlet,
they could have starved the town into submission. Construc-
tion began soon thereafter on a fort, with carpenters and mas-
ons from St. Augustine and labor supplied by convicts, slaves,
and American Indians. In 1742, with the fort near completion,
Oglethorpe arrived off the inlet with twelve ships. The fort's
cannon fire drove off his scouting boats and the warships left; it
had passed its first test. As part of the Treaty of Paris following
the French and Indian Wars, Spain ceded Florida to Britain.
Then after the American Revolution, the Second Treaty of Paris
returned Florida to Spain in 1783. Spain spent little maintaining
Fort Matanzas, even as erosion and rainwater took their toll. By
the time Spain sold Florida to the United States in 1819, the
fort was so badly deteriorated that its soldiers could no longer
live inside. The United States took possession in 1821 but
never occupied the fort.

Erosion and shifting
tidal deposits have so

enough that any ships
trying to enter came
within range of the
fort's guns. The Lieu-
a tenant at right carries
out his most basic
mission: scanning the
inlet for enemy sails.

Illustration by Richard Schlecht -L-- I.,

The Tower at Matai

Fort Matanzas-50 feet on each side with a 30-foot tf aas
built of local shellstone called coquina. Lime for the mo
made by burning oyster shells. A foundation of close-set
pilings driven deep into the marshy ground gave the fort stabilP
ty, Soldiers were rotated from St. Augustine for one-month duty
tours at Matanzas, the normal complement being the cabo (offi-
cer-in-charge), four infantrymen, and two gunners. More could
ie assigned when international tensions increased, up to the
planned maximum of 50 during a crisis. The soldiers lived and
ate together in a sparsely-furnished roo t pk the
i1 officer lived in the vaulted room above.
ol ntI ~
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The fort bl ring five guns to bear on the inlet: four six-
jd one 18-pounder. All of the guns could reach the
jt& ) less than a half-mile away in 1742. Loopholes in
4FFrnt wall allowed the infantrymen to fire their muskets from
inside. Besides warning St. Augustine of enemy vessels and dri-
ving them off if necessary, the fort also served as a rest stop,
coast guard station, and a place where vessels heading for-0-
Augustine could get advice on navigating the river. Its primi G
mission, though, was maintaining control of Matanzas Inlet. 3932
After thwarting British attempts to gain the inlet in 1742, the F
fort never again fired its guns in battle. 97


St. Augustine--. ."
.,; -Fort Matanzas

S as Inlet
circa 1742 ." ,: ..' "
:. : . ,- -.- -' , . -






CD r

When Kin Philip t of
Spain learned that the Frenchman Rene
S dde Laudonniere had established Fort
SCaroline O in Florida, he was incensed:
The colony sat on land belonging to the
Spanish crown. Spanish treasure fleets
sailed along the Florida coast on their
way to Spain; Fort Caroline provided a
perfect base for French attacks. Worst c
all to the devoutly Catholic Philip, the
settlers were Huguenots- French Protec
tants. Despite Philip's protests, Jean
Ribault sailed from France in May 1565
with more than 600 soldiers and settlers
to resupply Fort Caroline. Gen. Pedro
Men6ndez de Aviles, charged with
removing the French, also sailed with
some 800 people, arriving at the St.
Johns River 0 in August, shortly after
Ribault. After a brief sea chase the
Spanish retired south to a camp 0 they
had earlier established and named St.

Ribault sailed on September 10 to attack
St. Augustine, but a hurricane carried his
ships far to the south, wrecking them on
the Florida coast between present day

Daytona Beach and Gape-Canaveral. 0
Mendndez took advantage of the sol-
diers' absence, attacking Fort Caroline
and killing most of its inhabitants. He

Fatal Encounters^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

--, -j Mouth of St. Johns River
- 1- 0 Fort Caroline (La Caroline)

-.1 -', ',

S40 St. Augustine (San Agusti

-;- '',-,- Matanzas Inlet




Daytona Beach
(present day)

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0 10 30 Kilometers
0 10 30 Miles

' 1


then learned from Timucuan Indians ,
that a group of white men were orn the
beach a few miles south. He marched
with 70 soldiers to where an inlet 0 had
blocked 127 of the shipwrecked French-
men trying to get back to Fort Caroline.

Hiding his soldiers behind a dune,
Menddndez had the French ferried ten at- .
a time across the inlet. Hands bound,
they began marching, but when they
reached a line Mehendez had drawn in
the sand, the Spanish soldiers fell on
-them with sword and pike. Only 16 were
spared-Catholics, some impressed
Breton sailors, and four artisans needed
at St. Augustine. Two weeks later the
grim sequence of events was repeated:
Timucuan reports of men to the south.
More French survivors at the inlet-this
time including Ribault. On October 12
Ribault and his men met their fate: again
in groups of ten, falling at the line in the
sand. The Spanish soldiers killed 134
Frenchmen, sparing 12 musicians and
four Catholics. From that time, the inlet
was called Matanzas- "slaughters."

13rrieLI~r isan efg

in preserving the site
of historic events on
Anastasia Island, the

gered). The beach is
also home to the ghost
crab and the threat-
ened least tern.

On the ocean side of
the island, sea oats,
seaside legumes, and
other salt-tolerant
plants growing on the
dunes help stabilize
National Park Service them and provide
also set aside a slice cover for several spe-
of an intact barrier cies. The endangered
island ecosystem. Anastasia Island beach
S Distinct habitats har- mouse lives among the
bor a number of spe- sparse vegetation. In
cies, several of which
are listed as endan-
..getdi or threatened.
From May to August,
the beach is the nest-
ing site for sea turtles,
including the logger-
he.. .. threatened ) and
1- green and feather-_
a .en. .an-

A : ;~ : : .,. . .

the scrub areas of the
dunes, characterized
by prickly pear cactus,
bayberry, and green-
brier vines, the gopher
tortoise (right) digs
branching burrows up
to 30 feet into the
dunes. Other species
such as the gopher
frog and the endan-
gered eastern indigo
snake (top left) exploit
the tortoise's labor for
their own shelter.

The oldest and high-
est part of the island is
covered with a ham-
mock-a stabilized
dune on which larger
species have taken
root in the thin layer of
decayed remains from
pioneer species. Pal-
metto, magnolia, and
live oak provide a can-

opy under which di-
verse species can
thrive: funnel spiders,
snakes, the great
horned owl (bottom
left), the Carolina wren,
raccoons, and opos-

Rising tides create
tidal creeks that twice
daily flood low-lying
areas behind the
dunes. Great blue
herons, snowy egrets,
and green-backed
herons feed on the fish
and crustaceans living
in the tidal salt marsh-
es. Raccoons, owls,
and night herons hunt
here at night. At low
tide the mud flats are
alive with fiddler crabs.

The park is a nesting area for endangered and
threatened animal species. Please observe
any area closure signs. The ocean beaches,
used by marine turtles for nesting and hatch-
ing, are closed to vehicles at night during the
summer. To help preserve the fragile environ-
ment, do not walk or drive on the dunes and
do not pick sea oats. Individuals who cut,
break, or in any way destroy sea oats or other
plants are subject to fines and imprisonment.
Pnntea on Recycled Paper

Engravings courtesy
Century Souvenir Co.


I -, .. Picnic

S Fort Matanzas*
** \ ~ "1

\ 2?

(N\ \ ~RAfT




Open to public.
Closed to public, exc
boardwalk and nature
I Boardwalk

I Parking lot

0 0.1 0.3 Km
0 0.1 0.3 Mi

, Beach Ramp
\(car access)





Closed to ve
\ above this point
ept.by \\

\, \

--- 4-wheel-drive
vehicles only
below this point



. U5

Fort Matanzas National
Monument is 14 miles
south of Saint Augus-
tine and is reached via
Fla. A1A on Anastasia
Island. The park is
open 8:30 a.m. to 5:30
p.m. daily except on
December 25. There is
no admission fee. The
park consists of almost
300 acres on Rattle-
snake and Anastasia
Islands. The visitor cen-
ter is open, when staf-
fing allows, from 9 a.m.
to 5 p.m. daily. An 8-
minute film about the
fort and the area's his-
tory is shown. Rest-
rooms are located at
the visitor center park-
ing lot. A free passen-
ger ferry carries vis-
itors to the fort, weath-
Ser permitting, from 9:30
a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Avail-
ability is first-come,
first-served. The ferry

and the fort are not
wheelchair accessible;
a dock where the fort
can be viewed from
across the river is
wheelchair accessible,
as are the visitor cen-
ter, the restrooms, and
a 0.6-mile boardwalk
nature trail. For infor-
mation contact: Super-
intendent, Fort Matan-
zas National Monu-
ment, 1 East Castillo
Drive, St. Augustine, FL
32084; on the Internet

Swimming ASt.
Johns County beach
pass can be purchased
to drive or park on the
beach during the sum-
mer season. There are
also free parking lots.
Warning: Many vehicles
driving on the beach
get stuck in the sand
and are caught by the

rising tide. Ask a ran-
ger about conditions.

For Your Safety Do
not swim in the treach-
erous waters of the in-
let. Do not climb on
the fort walls. Avoid
the sharp oyster shells
along the river bank.

Regulations Alcohol
and firearms are pro-
hibited. No glass con-
tainers may be used on
the beach. Pets must
be on a leash. Clean up
after your pet. Speed
limit on the beach is 10
mph. The fort may be
visited only by ranger-
led groups. Help pro-
tect the fragile coquina
structure by not climb-
ing or sitting on fort
walls. Docking of pri-
vate vessels at the fort
or letting off passen-
ger is prohibited.



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