Title Page
 Chapter II: Spanish Florida conquest...
 Chapter III: Spanish Florida conquest...
 Chapter V: The Spanish return -...

Group Title: Military and militia in colonial Spanish America, St. Augustine, Florida
Title: The Military and militia in colonial Spanish America, St. Augustine, Florida
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00047693/00002
 Material Information
Title: The Military and militia in colonial Spanish America, St. Augustine, Florida
Physical Description: 3 v. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Arana, Luis R
Johnson, Mark
Florida -- National Guard
Publisher: Department of Military Affairs, Florida National Guard
Place of Publication: St. Augustine
Publication Date: [1986?]
Subject: History, Military -- Florida   ( lcsh )
History -- Florida -- Spanish colony, 1565-1763   ( lcsh )
History -- Florida -- Spanish colony, 1784-1821   ( lcsh )
History -- Saint Augustine (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: Reprint of works and articles by Luis Arana, Mark Johnson, and others about military history of Spanish Florida published during the past twenty years.
Funding: The Florida National Guard's Special Archives Publications was digitized, in part by volunteers, in honor of Floridians serving both Floridians in disaster response and recovery here at home and the nation oversees.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00047693
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: Florida National Guard
Holding Location: Florida National Guard, St. Augustine Barracks
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the Florida National Guard. Digitized with permission.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000936817
oclc - 16414203
notis - AEP7960

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Chapter II: Spanish Florida conquest and defense, 1565-1700
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
    Chapter III: Spanish Florida conquest and defense, 1700-1763
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Florida's black militia
            Page 27
        Page 25
        Page 26
    Chapter V: The Spanish return - temporarily, 1784-1821
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Spain's yankee militia 1812
            Page 35
        1st company of urban militia and dragoons (rural)
            Page 36
        2nd company of urban militia and dragoons (rural)
            Page 37
            Page 38
            Page 39
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Department of Military Affairs
Florida National Guard


The Military and Militia in Colonial Spanish America
St. Augustine, Florida



While selecting the articles of Luis Arana from previous
issues of El Escribano, several other articles by different
authors surfaced which seemed especially appropriate readings for
this conference and are included in this second booklet. To
provide an overview of Florida's Spanish history, three chapters
were excerpted and are included from "Florida's Army: Militia,
State Troops, National Guard 1565-1985." As the activities of
Florida's living history and re-enactment groups are so important
to the ongoing celebration of our Spanish Heritage, informal
reports or guides for living history activists on two periods of
Spanish Florida history is also included.

1. Chapters Two, Three and Five from "Florida's Army: Militia,
State Troops, National Guard 1565-1985" Robert Hawk
(Englewood: Pineapple Press, 1986)

2. St. Augustine's Military Society 1700-1820 (Juan Marchena
Fernandez: translated and adapted by Luis Arana)

3. The Defense Structure of East Florida 1700-1820 (Juan
Marchena Fernandez)

4. Florida in the Late First Spanish Period: The 1756 Grinan
Report (Michael Scardaville and Jesus Maria Belmonte)

5. Spanish Troops of 1565-1586 (Robert Hall) (Outline guide for
living history participants of Spanish 1565 period)

6. El Vestuario de los Soldados del Presidio de San Agustin en
1740 (A guide for uniforms and equipment associated with
living history re-enactors, Spanish Florida 1740 period.
(National Park Service)

Chapter Two

DEFENSE 1565-1700

Florida: the warm and sunny recreational capital of the sailed for home through the Bahamian Channel be-
United States, with Disney World and nearly two thou- tween Florida's east coast and the Bahama Island chain
sand miles of beaches and hotels. Florida: home to mil- to the east. As the principal source of Spanish power,
lions of all ages and nationalities, and the second fastest these ships and their wealth had to be protected. Should
growing state in the American republic. It hasn't always any hostile power control the Channel, Spain would suf-
been this way. For much of its history since Columbus fer catastrophic consequences. For the first fifty years
opened the New World, Florida was a desolate, unheal- following its discovery, Florida's potential remained
thy and isolated place. It was inhabited by Indian tribes, unexploited by Spain or her many enemies. While it was
myriads of dangerous insects and beasts of the forest the transit point for several continental exploration ex-
and swamp. The soil was poor. It had debilitating peditions, and did receive the usual attentions of sol-
weather and was colonized by a handful of Spanish sol- diers and missionary priests, nothing permanent
diers, priests, civilians, slaves, and convicts entrusted resulted. It was not until the French established a settle-
with the task of holding this vast and unpleasant pen- ment near today's Port Royal, South Carolina, that
insula for Spain and the Empire. Spanish fears and interest were aroused. Although the
Florida is a long and generally flat peninsula hang- settlement at Port Royal quickly failed, rumors of a more
ing off the southeastern corner of the North American substantial settlement to be established by the French
continent. Florida is slightly larger in area than England near the mouth of the St. Johns River (today's Jackson-
and Wales combined. Its long coastline is indented with ville) finally galvanized the Spanish court into effective
many bays and river outlets, the interior heavily forested action. A military settlement of hostile and heretic
with dense subtropical vegetation. Large areas are, or French Huguenots, virtually at the mouth of the Ba-
were, covered by great swamps. With its poor soil, and hamian Channel, could not be ignored.
the absence of precious metals or anything else of real Phillip II of Spain authorized and partially paid for
natural value, it might have remained an unoccupied the creation of a substantial fleet to carry both colonists
fringe territory within Spain's great American empire, and soldiers under the command of Spain's most prom-
But it had significant strategic value for the protection inent admiral, Pedro Menendez de Aviles. He was to
of the empire that would lead to its settlement and to the proceed to Florida, eject the French, and establish a
many wars for its protection. permanent military colony on the east coast of the pen-
Huge fleets of Spanish ships, filled with the incre- insula to ensure the future protection of this vital flank
dible wealth of Mexico and Peru, formed in Havana and of Spain's New-World empire.



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FLORIDA MILITIA, 1565: As there were no standard military uniforms in 16th-century Florida, Regulars and Militia alike dressed to
individual taste and preference. Each man was armed according to circumstances and mission. Generally, the Regulars had the best arms and
equipment. For the frontier warfare of the period, the crossbow, arquebus and sword with minimum armor were considered most suitable. (From a
painting by Robert Hall of St. Augustine.)

The French won the race. Under the command of St. Augustine, now the oldest permanent European set-
the very capable Jean Ribault, the French established tiement on the North American continent.
Fort Caroline near the mouth of the St. Johns River. However, at the moment of its foundation, St. Au-
When Menendez arrived, his forces much reduced by gustine's longevity as a settlement was certainly not ap-
storms and bureaucratic delays, he found himself out- parent to anyone. The French were known to be on their
manned and outgunned. He took his ships and men to way with a large fleet and more than enough soldiers to
a small inlet and harbor some thirty-five miles south of overwhelm the Spanish force. A huge tropical storm
the French settlement. This location's main advantage moved into the area. Knowing the storm would delay the
was a sandbar which protected the harbor entrance and French and also conceal his own movements, Menendez
would prevent, or delay, the entrance of all but the decided to move at once against the French fort. On the
smallest of hostile ships. On the eighth of September, 16th of September, 1565, Menendez and nearly all of his
1565, Menendez went ashore and formally established 500 soldiers began a rain-drenched march northward.

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Veracruz Havana

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17th-century map depicting the trade routes of Spanish-America. (Courtesy of the St. Augustine Historical Society.)

This was also the "birth date" of North America's oldest vivors were reported by friendly local Indians to be
militia tradition. Since he took almost all of his regular coming northward up the island beaches. With only 50
soldiers with him, the "useless" civilian settlers left be- soldiers and very few supplies to sustain the tiny outpost
hind were, by law, designated milicia and made respon- of empire, Menendez was faced with a momentous de-
sible for protecting the new settlement. This first of cision. He did what he considered necessary to insure
Florida's militia forces numbered less than fifty men the survival of his new colony. The trapped and desti-
and, as they were not challenged militarily, they would tute Frenchmen, blocked in their northward advance by
prove sufficient, an unfordable ocean inlet, surrendered and were
The Spanish assault on the poorly garrisoned brought to the Spanish side of the water where, except
French fort, unexpected because of the storm, was en- for the professed Catholics among them, they were all
tirely successful. Most of the resident women and chil- slain. 200 the first day and another 150 the second, in-
dren were spared but nearly all of the garrison was cluding Jean Ribault himself. A later expedition to the
killed. Leaving the majority of his soldiers behind to oc- wreck sites netted the few remaining Frenchmen. They
cupy his newly conquered and named Fort San Mateo, were allowed to live, being transported to prison in Ha-
Menendez returned to St. Augustine. vana. To this day the inlet across which the doomed
The storm had done the Spanish another favor. It Frenchmen were carried is called Matanzas. which
had wrecked all the French ships on the barrier islands means "slaughter" in Spanish.
south of the new settlement of St. Augustine. The sur- The new settlement's existence was to remain ten-



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regular soldiers and a few dozen militia. This miniscule call self-sufficient. It survived on the annual situado,

pen of a treaty rather than the sword of n invader to full authorized strength. There was, however, always

) j^l "^.^^'^ "> fc>l Mr>hO~uU ulfHtHtMl~lIK M U* lH ^.1ritl. f~ll hl ~ *fb -.--,.....^ -.. ""^S ,^!";^ '; ^ ,'^ ^ ?"'i, .~~iii1 iiiif>ta. SS_ l^ "'"""'"'" -^.l.';'^ "''^" ^ ^ ^
/ ^ -- ''-' -H ^ 'K f .* -- -.l l~~ u- < w ~ ** ~ lM W .I -- -*-r^ l- l f -iZll Y l t ~ . ~" .'-w- B .*.. A*"w.~ itmln Ml=/A~h-bf ;-ri ll g 1 l. ^,n~.^. ff*.- ,.
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K J -jlY lLUVlfw J, )l-~uwM MMHU m n4.ln~ll lm~'l ylic>~< hn^ U T4'llf ~ w A*lll^ M U.

16th-centur mp epcigteDaeatconS.A us ine 56 C uts fteS.A gsieHsoia oit.
uos o mc o henettw enuie.Bengo te emnnt s clnyFord ws'tterbi oplro
edge of- th mie trmie n o h atpae nscesfl natatn e ooist.Isrlaiei
Spns Amrc to reev suples mnyorei-liuatcivciae, an geea oet e
focmns Ofcal srthn fo oa'sMait pele ms potent~Cia sttlr.Sileoghcmo
the ChspaeBy lrd a rtce yamltr eesnt anantepoic nispeaiu x
forc that raeynmee or hntrehnde se.Ee soFord wan' clos to beingeoo

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against Drake's pirates. (Courtesy of the St. Augustine Historical Society.)

companies. For most of the first 200 years of settlement forms as they chose to wear. Unless they had private
of Florida, which meant St. Augustine, the near con- means. Indians, blacks. and all other enrolled or im-
scant threats posed by the Indians, pirates, and heretic pressed militiamen received their weapons from the
colonies to the north created a permenant need for all government.
the military force that could be mustered. Volunteer mi- Due to the general unattractiveness of duty in Flor-
litia companies existed from at least 1671; because of ida. recruits and replacements for the regular garrison
the frequent need to employ the volunteer and enrolled rarely arrived on time or in full strength. In result, the
militia, little distinction was made between the two. best of the local militiamen were taken into the regular
There were several volunteer militia companies, garrison companies. In spite of an Imperial Spanish law
One was composed of those men born in Spain or of which prohibited more than 10 to 15 percent of a gar-
Spanish parents. From the earliest days the earliest days there was also a prison to be from local families, the garrison at St. Au-
volunteer company composed of free black residents gustine generally drew 30 to 40 percent of its strength
and also, one of Christianized Indians. Even slaves, con- from local sources. This was illegal, but necessary. In
victs, and stranded sailors or shipwreck victims could spite of this constant drain of its best men into the reg-
legally be impressed into the militia. Militiamen re- ulars. the local militia survived and saw considerable
ceived regular pay for active service and for most train- service throughout the first period of Spanish occupa-
ing and drill days. The white militia companies tion in Florida.
normally provided their own weapons and such uni- The first major test of the Spanish Florida garrison,



As the English were to discover, cannonballs could
not split or crack the coquina stone of Castillo de
San Marcos.

regular and militia, was a disaster. The small settle- available to protect St. Augustine and its people when a
ment, containing approximately 300 persons in total. large band of English pirates landed in the city late one
was attacked by an English pirate fleet commanded by May evening. Sixty city residents, men. women and chil-
Francis Drake in 1586. Drake had more than 2000 men. dren, were slaughtered, more than two dozen kid-
After a brief skirmish, during which the Spanish regu- napped. The remainder of the settlement's residents
lars and militia managed to kill twenty of Drake's men, repaired to the old wooden fort. The pirates looted and
the Spanish were forced to withdraw to the woods west burned the city and demanded ransom for their cap-
of St. Augustine. Drake proceeded to loot and burn the tives. With difficulty, the ransom was paid, the captives
tiny settlement and then reembarked to continue his de- rescued. The pirates sailed away.
predations elsewhere. This pirate raid, and the establishment of an Eng-
At the very end of the 16th century, in 1597, there lish settlement at Charleston in 1670. finally convinced
was a major Indian rebellion in the lands to the north of the government in Spain of the need to finance the con-
St. Augustine. To quell the disturbance required the struction of a stone fortress to protect its Florida colony.
services of all of Florida's soldiers, regular and militia. Work on Castillo de San Marcos began in 1672. It was
During the first half of the 17th century, the Spanish es- built of local coquina stone, quarried on the island
tablished an extensive system of Indian missions and across the bay from the city. Coquina stone is a material
garrison settlements in Florida's interior from St. Au- composed of an accretion of tiny seashells: compacted
gustine to today's Tallahassee. However, from the mid- and waterlogged it's and easy to quarry. When dried.
dle of that century onwards, a ruinous backcountry war coquina becomes a stone of incredible durability. It is al-
promoted by the English colonists in the Carolinas most like some kind of stone sponge. As the English
gradually destroyed this colonizing and missionary ef- were to discover, cannonballs could not split or crack the
fort. Virtually all of Florida's indigenous Indian popu- stone; they merely caused small dents and rolled into
lation was killed, died of European diseases, or were the moat. Except for the gradual disappearance of the
taken north as slaves. Florida's interior would remain original plaster coating to protect it from moisture
largely unpopulated for most of the next century. damage, Castillo de San Marcos survives even the tour-
Between 1565 and 1672, St. Augustine was pro- ists of today. Work on the fort continued slowly. There
tected by a series of nine wooden forts. These were es- was a dearth of skilled labor and money. which. if it ar-
sential to help Florida's soldiers assigned to protect the rived at all from Mexico, was always late. The principal
fragile colony. The first fort was destroyed by Drake; the exterior walls, much as they appear today, however, were
others, in their turn, succumbed to the insects and trop- in place by 1696. Additional outworks, interior bomb-
ical rot associated with Florida's climate. Other wooden proofs, and other improvements were added over the
stockades were located at numerous locations through- next few decades. The important work on the walls was
out the province. Each of these, in turn, was captured completed none too soon. The European War of the
or rotted away. In 1668, the ninth wooden fort, a much Spanish Succession in 1700 spread to the New World
repaired and inadequate structure, was all that was and to one of its most isolated outposts, Spanish Florida.


Chapter Three


The rapid growth and spread of the English colonies to of the coquina walls. Included in this total were 230 reg-
the north had been a source of concern and occasional ular and militia soldiers and approximately one
conflict to the Spanish in Florida since the middle of the hundred Indian militia. These 330-odd soldiers, mili-
seventeenth century. The English sponsored raids on tia, and Indians represented the entire defense force of
Spanish settlements, and the Spanish retaliated with Spanish East Florida. Still, they had the new fort and
raids of their own. This backcountry war, as previously they were able to send word of their plight by a small,
noted, had led to the virtual depopulation of interior fast ship to Havana. It would be enough to ensure their
Florida. By 1700, Spanish authority extended no fur- survival.
their northward than today's Florida-Georgia border. In The English had badly underestimated the
reality, Spanish power extended only a cannon shot's strength of the fort and overestimated their ability to
distance from its new fort at St. Augustine. successfully lay siege to and capture it. Their numbers
In 12, E l ch a m i o were too few and their cannon inadequate. They settled
In 1702, the English launched a major invasion of a r
Spanish Florida. This force was commanded by ames down to a long siege and awaited the arrival of larger
Spanish Florida. This force was commanded by James
cannon from Jamaica. There were several sharp skir-
Moore, colonial governor of the Carolinas. He had six cannon from Jamaica. There were several sharp skir-
mishes when the Spanish soldiers and militia sallied
hundred soldiers and militia plus about three hundred dishes when the Spanish soldiers and militia sallied
Indians. A part of this invasion force, under Captain forth from the fort to destroy nearby homes which of-
fered protection to the English. The siege became a
James Daniel, came down the St. Johns River. It landed ttin the English. The siege became a
waiting game, the English waiting for the big cannon
west of St. Augustine and marched overland to provide a the English waiting for he big cannon
and the Spanish for help from Cuba. The Spanish pa-
the forces necessary to besiege the fort from the land and te an ish for he fro a. T Spanish a a
tience was rewarded first. A Spanish battle force arrived
side and also to capture and occupy the city itself. Gov- frm aana rinin tr s and s les. The Eng-
from Havana bringing troops and supplies. The Eng-
ernor Moore, with the rest of the troops, arrived by sea s w t i.
Slish ships were trapped in the bar inlet. Governor
and anchored his eight schooners inside the bar, today's
S Moore had no choice; he burned his ships, abandoned
Salt Run. He set up his camp and the siege cannon on
SR H s u hi i on ion his cannon and larger stores, and fled cross-country
Anastasia Island, directly across the bay from the Cas- ck to he Caroina. Before he depend the Eng-
back to the Carolinas. Before they departed, the Eng-
tillo San Marcos.
lish totally destroyed the small city, burning every house
As the city had no separate defense works of its and pulling down the walls of the few stone structures
own, all the inhabitants joined the soldiers and militia in town. The first great invasion of Florida from the
within the walls of the fort. Fifteen hundred men, north was over, but everyone presumed there would be
women, and children were crammed within the confines more.



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Handing Jenkins his ear, Fandino remarked,
"Take this to your king and tell him if he were
here, I would do the same to him."

The Spanish had learned several lessons from this dians, invaded Florida. After killing a number of local
northern invasion. Although their new fort had done Spanish Christian Indians, and stealing as many cattle
well, the English bombardments did point up the desir- and horses as he could locate, he returned to the Car-
ability of adding additional bombproofs within the olinas. The Spanish were unable to stop him and could
walls and of higher exterior walls to minimize the dam- only respond by launching several raids of their own
age caused by cannon and musket fire at short range. into Georgia and the Carolinas. By the late 1730s. it was
Also, unless they were willing to have the city burned apparent that open warfare couldn't be far away: oniv
down every time an invading army laid siege to the fort, an appropriate spark was needed to set it off.
the city needed defensive walls and bastions of its own. The necessary spark was provided by a Spanish sea
During the next few decades all of these necessary captain. Juan de Leon Fandino. During the course of
changes and additions were made to the city's defenses, his privateering activities against English shipping
It would be a far stronger position to take the next time which was operating in violation of Spanish trade laws
the English ventured south, and Spanish-English treaty provisions, Fandino stopped
There were many causes for the sporadic conflict the English brig Rebecca of Glasgow. The ship was way
between Spanish Florida and the English colonies to the off its stated course and the manifest was wildly inac-
north, especially after the settlement of Georgia under curate. Some back talk by the brig's master, a Captain
the leadership of James Oglethorpe. There were rival Jenkins, prompted Fandino to slice off one of Jenkins'
land claims, conflicting Indian and overseas trade poli- ears. Handing it to Jenkins Fandino remarked, "Take
cies, occasional problems with piracy and with Indian this to your king and tell him if he were here, I would do
revolts and raids. Of course, there were the age-old re- the same to him." Eventually, Jenkins, and his ear, ap-
ligious differences, but they lacked the power to moti- peared before the English Parliament and war against
vate hatred now as they had in years past. The most Spain was duly declared. To the English, it was to be,
annoying point of conflict between the two cultures con- what else, the "War of Jenkins' Ear." To the Spanish, it
cerned slaves. A great many black slaves ran from the was "La Guerra del Asiento de los Negros," the war over the
English colonies to Spanish Florida. Once there, most contract for the Negroes. (The English had been fla-
disappeared into the interior to live alone or with the grantly violating their treaty with Spain concerning the
Indians. But some, accepting Catholic baptism, settled importation of blacks into Spanish America.) This new
in and around St. Augustine itself. Slave-owners, or war would provide an excuse for another English colon-
their agents, would come to Florida and demand the re- ial invasion of Spanish Florida.
turn of these runaways. The Spanish authorities re- Anticipating an invasion by the English and having
fused to recognize their demands. They agreed to pay barely seven hundred regular soldiers and militia with
some compensation but argued that the converted which to defend Florida, Governor Manuel de Montiano
blacks were now considered free citizens under Spanish asked for and received some reinforcements from Ha-
law, no longer subject to the laws of the English. A large vana. Six half-galleys manned by 120 sailors and filled
number of these former slaves even had their own town, with supplies, arrived from Cuba just before the Eng-
Santa Teresa de la Gracia Real de Mose,just north of the lish closed in on the city. (Three of the galleys were com-
city. The men of this small town were armed and manded by none other than Juan de Leon Fandino
equipped as militiamen. They even had their own offi- himself.)
cers and a small fort for their protection, Fort Mose. The English invasion began with probing attacks
The English were enraged over this flagrant violation of against outlying Spanish outposts south of the St. Johns
property rights and were appalled by the existence of River in December of 1739. One English force of militia
armed blacks so close to their own settlements and plan- and Indians, under Lieutenant Dunbar of the Georgia
stations, the nearest a mere 35 miles away. Militia, beseiged the small Spanish fort at Picolata on
Colonel John Palmer of the Carolina Militia, in the river. The seven defending Spanish soldiers held out
1728, accompanied by a small force of militia and In- until nightfall and then slipped away to rejoin the prin-



. 'fiI/:r or t TOW'V ,,,,ai C'AS Ti or STtAU GTSINE,
SLand tl' EN LI SI C( P boereit June 2o 1740. b7710 'SILVER.


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18th-cntury map depicting the Eng ish/ attack and siege against St. Augus.tine, 1740. (Courtesy of the

St. Augustine Historical Society.)
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ders, English Regulars, and Indians was sent to occupy
the undefended black fort at Mose. just north of the city.
Once his men were in position and his batteries
Ft Mse sited, Oglethorpe ordered the bombardment to com-
Smence. The bombardment had little effect on the city
and none at all on the fort. The fort's coquina stone
walls absorbed the initial shock of the shot which then
merely rolled down into the moat. The defenders re-
CAROLINIANS trieved the shot at night and fired them back at the Eng-
] "_ ) lish the following day. The Spanish cannon were much
Castillo de more effective, displacing several English batteries and
San Marco\ \ -;- enormously slowing their rate of fire.
S( ---- -- \ S/ / ,tt; OGELTHORPE \ r
( \ "'-"Chane plies sufficient only for a few more weeks. Believing the
S" \[ best defense is a good offense, the Spanish fought back.
S Noting that the English positions were separated from
each other by bodies of water and could not be mutually
Reinforced easily or quickly, the Spanish decided to chop
o off one appendage of the English Army. In the early
hours of June 26, 1740, a force of Spanish Regulars,
dragoons, and black, Indian, convict, and urban militia
Slipped out of the fort and successfully assaulted the
English garrison at Fort Mose. Of the approximately

Ft George
Siege of St. Augustine, 1740. (Drawn by Robert Hall of
St. Augustine.)
Ft Caroline
cipal Spanish garrison. Another contingent of English
soldiers and colonial militia attacked and siezed Fort
Diego, an outpost some fifteen miles north of St. Au-
gustine. The main English forces, under Georgia's gov-
ernor and founder, James Oglethorpe, waited the
arrival of the English ships to support his attack and,
when they arrived, then moved rapidly upon the city Ft Diego
and its defenses.
When Oglethorpe's army closed in on the Spanish
defenses, it numbered approximately 1400 men, exclud-
ing sailors in the supporting fleet. His land force in-
cluded English Regulars, Georgia and Carolina militia,
Scots Highlanders, and representatives of several In- Ft San Francisco FtMose
dian tribes hostile to the Spanish. It wasn't until early e Pup Pt Castillo de
June, 1740, that the English ships arrived carrying can- Ft icolaa San Marcos
non and supplies. Oglethorpe had hoped to rush the ST AUGUSTINE
Spanish defenses, but the ships could not get over the
bar which lay at the entrance to the harbor of St. Au-
gustine. It would be another siege. The cannon were
landed and the ships took up positions at Matanzas
Inlet, as well as at the St. Augustine bar, to prevent sup-
plies or reinforcements from reaching the Spanish Flor-
ida garrison. The English cannon were established on Ft Matanzas
the tips of Anastasia Island and today's Vilano Point,
immediately across the harbor from the Castillo de San
Marcos. Both batteries were sited to bombard the city Spanish East Florida, 1738. (Courtesy of the St. Augustine
and the fort. A contingent of colonial militia, Highlan- Historical Society.)




Blacks, free and slave, had been resident in Spanish paid for the rebuilding of two bastions il the city de-
East Florida since the first years of its settlement. While fense wall.
details are lacking, it is probable they served as individ- Black Floridians would serve prominently in the
ual members of the local militia during periods of ex- East Florida Rangers, Florida's British militia during
treme crisis, as during the Drake attack of 1585 and the the American Revolution and would, once more, have
Guale Indian Revolt of 1598-1599. However, it is not their own local militia company during the Second Pe-
until 1683 that documentary evidence identifies a spe- riod of Spanish Occupation in Florida, 1783-1821. Dur-
cific local militia unit as the company of pardesy morenos ing the early period of American occupation in Florida,
(free men of color). 1821-1865. there would be no organized black Florida
It is fairly certain that the black militia company of militia; most blacks were slaves, and the less than 1000
Spanish Florida enjoyed virtually continuous existence free blacks in Florida were prohibited from bearing
from 1683 to 1763. Prior to 1720, it is probable that the arms. Between 1865 and 1901 there were black units of
black militia unit's officers and sergeants were white the enrolled state militia but they received no state sup-
Spaniards. After 1726, and through the period of the port and no encouragement to become active units.
English invasion of Florida in 1740, probably until the Until the mid-1960s, blacks were not allowed to join
British occupied Florida after 1763, the unit's officers the organized volunteer militia, later the Florida Na-
and sergeants were almost certainly black. The com- tional Guard. Since that time. black Floridians have
mander of the black militia company from 1726 until been encouraged to join and serve in the Guard and.
sometime after 1742 was a local "free man of color," now, many serve. Those black Floridians who serve
Francisco Menendez. He was its commander during the today honor a long and worthy tradition. They have
successful assault on English-held Fort Mose in 1740. served Florida for more than 400 years.
Menendez was also a man of property, having personally



FLORIDA MILITIA, 1740: By the early 18th century, most European armies had adopted standard uniform and weapons for each nation In
Spanish Florida, Regulars and Militia were uniformed, equipped and armed identically. The Militia was even armed with the newest "French
Lock" mushets and bayonets. This proved crucial in the Battle of Fort Mose where the bayonet emerged the determinant weapon and secured the
Spanish victory. (From a painting by Robert Hall of St. Augustine.)

.,,,- ..... : ."



Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine.

135 men in the English Mose garrison, only about two fered a defeat in an English ambush. After a period of
dozen were not killed or captured by the Spanish assault planning and contemplation, and after accepting as
force. The Spanish admitted losing ten men. It was a true false intelligence planted by the English-that they
devastating defeat for the English. were converging on the Spanish camp with overwhelm-
The English bombardment continued. Oglethorpe ing forces-Montiano withdrew his invasion force to
even asked for the Spanish to surrender, which request, Florida.
considering their victory at Mose, they refused. Morale In 1743, Oglethorpe tried again. With a sizable
in the English camp plummeted. Nature added its army, he reinvaded Florida, hoping to rush the Spanish
quota of problems for the besiegers. The Florida cli- defenses at St. Augustine. Alert Spanish sentries spotted
mate, insect life, and befouled water caused widespread him, gave the alarm and later refused to be enticed into
sickness in the English camps. The desertion rate a trap outside the city walls. Oglethorpe gave it up once
among the English colonials skyrocketed. And then more, returned to Georgia, and, eventually, England.
Spanish ships evaded the English blockade bringing During the two decades following the invasion of
fresh supplies and reinforcements to the beleaguered 1743, the Spanish authorities provided funds to
garrison. The captain of the English support fleet an- strengthen the defenses of Florida. The city walls were
nounced to Oglethorpe he was withdrawing his ships to improved, as were the outworks of the great fort. Stone
avoid being caught on a lee shore during the approach- forts were constructed at Matanzas Inlet and at Picolata
ing hurricane season. That did it. Oglethorpe had no on the St. Johns River. Even the garrison at St. Augus-
choice. Abandoning much of his equipment and all his tine was increased. But all these improvements were
cannon, he crossed to the mainland and, with what re- completed just one year before the Spanish, in 1763,
mained of the invasion force, walked back to Georgia. were forced to cede Florida to the English in return for
But the best defense is not always a good offense as Havana, which the English had captured in 1761. Flor-
the Spanish were soon to learn. In the early summer of ida finally fell, not to the sword of conquest but to the
1742, having received substantial reinforcements, Gov- pen of a treaty. A new era, that of British East Florida,
ernor Montiano invaded Georgia. After landing his reg- was about to begin. It would be a short, but violent pe-
ular and militia forces on St. Simon's Island on the coast riod and the Spanish would be back. The military his-
of that English colony, a portion of his small army suf- tory of Florida had hardly begun.


Chapter Five


The end of the 18th century and the first quarter of the Germans, and one Pole. This was all that was left of the
19th was not a propitious time for Spain or its overseas nearly twenty thousand residents of Florida at the end
imperial possessions, including the Floridas. Ineffective of the British Period.
and corrupt government in Spain, poorly supported co- I
grn a r ic in t In addition to the population problem, there were
onial governments, and radical changes in the world other difficulties facing the Spanish government of Flor-
,. other difficulties facing the Spanish government of Flor-
consequent to the French Revolution would result in the ida throughout the few decades of their second occu-
ida throughout the few decades of their second occu-
virtual elimination of Spain's once great overseas em- atio of the r e the sale to the Uite
pire. Within the period of a long generation following States of the vast Louisiana Territor, the Americans oc-
ere o o S. A n ad Et Flooia i States of the vast Louisiana Territory, the Americans oc-
the reoccupation of St. Augustine and East Florida in
4, nc re s i L A ri a t cupied a large part of Spanish West Florida, claiming it
11 -8, nationalistic revolutions in Latin America and the r i .
to be a part of their new purchase. Not only were the
French invasion of Spain reduced Spain's ability to sup- goeo of parish loria unale to e the
/governors of Spanish Florida unable to challenge the
port its few loyal colonies, including Florida. From the American action, the were unable to control the ban-
., American action, they were unable to control the ban-
beginning, Spain's hold on East Florida was tenuous. dits slave raiders, r
dits, slave raiders, wandering bands of migrating Indi-
The local government was plagued by lack of funds, few
S ans, and runaway black slaves from the north who
soldiers, and frequent cattle and slave raids into Florida an d runaway black sves fromhe nor o
from the southern states of the new America. To com- infested the interior of the province. Finally, as more
and more Americans settled in Florida, there was an
plicate matters, in the early years of this second period eerroin clamor Florida t the
f S s o o o l g rs ever-growing clamor for annexation of Florida to the
of Spanish occupation of Florida, local governors en- United States.
courage American immigration. That this was not a
wise policy had been demonstrated in the past, and The government in Spain was as powerless as that
would be demonstrated many more times in the future in Florida. Shortly after the turn of the century, the wars
in such places as Texas, California, and, of course, of Napoleon extended into Spain and were to embroil
Florida. the country in warfare for more than a decade. The
In 1785, Emmanuel Zespedes, the Spanish gover- ideas and values of the American and French Revolu-
nor of Florida, caused a census to be taken. This showed tions spread helping spark revolutionary wars of inde-
a total population in East Florida of a little more than pendence in many of Spain's New World provinces. The
two thousand people. They were a mixed lot. Many of troubles of Florida received low priority from officials
those Floridians who had gone to Cuba in 1763 had re- in Spain. Generally, the government of Florida was on its
turned. There were a considerable number of English own. For almost three decades a precarious and near
merchants and artisans who had elected to remain after chaotic situation persisted in Spanish Florida. Finally, in
the British government pulled out. There were the Mi- 1812, there began a series of military and political events
norcan and Greek survivors of the New Smyrna settle- that would lead Spain to call it quits, allowing the Amer-
ment, a few former British Loyalists, a fair number of icans to purchase and occupy what was left of the
free blacks from several periods, a few French, some Floridas.


tz, "'t ~ :i

i r It



L TF- ......






Under the banner of the new French Republic, an
unusual, almost comical, coalition of present and
former residents ofFlorida and Georgia free-
booters planned to invade and conquer Florida.
Their goal was to declare it a French colony and
then have it annexed to the United States.

Governor Zespedes and. his successors were in a in training. However, the erratic nature of the provincial
perpetual tight spot. During most of the years, 1785- income made it difficult for the governor to pay the Reg-
1821, the situado which supported Florida, its govern- ulars, let alone the militia. And, as the Regular garrison
ment, garrison, and many of its citizens, arrived late,, was almost never up to strength nor properly reinforced
not at all, or in fragments. The assigned regular garri- on time, local militiamen, as in the past, were "signed
sons were rarely anywhere near full authorized into" the Regular regiments on a frequent and contin-
strength. Should the Americans have ever made a seri- ual basis. Still, for all its problems, the militia was em-
ous and well-supported grab for Spanish Florida, the played to good effect on many occasions. Even when not
means of resistance simply were not there. Fortunately used actively, just its existence acted as a significant de-
for Spain, the enemies both within and without Florida terrent to would-be invaders from the north.
were never able to muster the men and support neces- The first major challenge to the government of
sarv to launch and adequately sustain a major invasion. Spanish Florida during this period occurred in the
Eventually Florida was to pass to the Americans by years 1794-1795. Under the banner of the new French
treaty and for cash. That was the best solution all Republic, an unusual, almost comical, coalition of pres-
around. ent and former residents of Florida and Georgia free-
Spanish Florida was not totally defenseless. In ad- booters, planned to invade and conquer Florida. Their
edition to the regular garrison of several hundred Span- goal was to declare it a French colony and then have it
'ish and New World regiments, Florida had its militia, annexed to the United States. In 1794, several of the co-
These diverse military formations were of variable alition's leaders were arrested and jailed in Florida and
quality and degrees of reliability. There were always in Havana. Following their release in 1795, they reacti-
three or four companies of St. Augustine urban militia. vated their invasion plans, assembled their small army
Most members of these companies were of Spanish de- and quietly invaded Florida. At first they were success-
scent, free blacks, or mulattoes. They were reliably well ful. capturing the Spanish posts at Guana, a few miles
trained and armed, including specialist training as ar- north of St. Augustine, and of San Nicholas, near the St.
tillerists, but all their units had a high proportion of the Johns River and northwest of the city. Colonel Howard
very young and very old. of the Spanish Florida militia, leading Regular soldiers,
The rural militia of Florida was another matter. It militia units, and individual volunteers, swiftly reoccu-
was composed largely of Anglo-American settlers and, pied Guana and reconquered San Nicholas, sending the
for good reasons, not entirely trusted by the govern- would-be revolutionaries scurrying back north of the
ment of Florida. During the border troubles of the mid- Georgia border. Later, when the invaders occupied
1790s, many individuals from the rural militia deserted Spanish 'positions on Amelia Island, Colonel Howard
to the Americans. There were reliable companies of once more sent them flying and, incidentally, obtained
rural militia and they, often accompanied by Indians, the release of all the Spanish captives from earlier
provided the scouting patrols along Florida's northern actions.
border and helped chase and chastise the cattle and However, in the long run, the Spanish had not the
slave thieves who plagued the region. men nor the money to patrol the border properly or to
The urban militia helped man the city defenses garrison the many strategic harbors or river crossings
and supplement regular garrison troops at the fortified into Florida. Occasional excursions by Spanish regular
outposts scattered around northeast Florida. They also and militia forces were sufficient to chase cattle and
provided men for the patrols in the settled areas adja- slave rustlers back northward, but insufficient to stop
cent to the city of St. Augustine. Until 1803, the militia them from coming in the first place. Often, the only re-
had its own officers, under the general direction and course of Florida's Spanish governors was to send a writ-
control of the governor. They received the same pay as ten protest to the local and state authorities in Georgia,
Regular soldiers when on active duty and, often, while usually without result.



A ;

L -'s^ -

-" J *-
-*"r^ -- -' -" ;:t
S0 -


Citr ,gates of St. Augustine, earia 19th centizn. (Courtesv of the St. Augustine Historical Society.)

After 1811. the incredible international chaos at- The decline of remaining Spanish control of Flor-
tendant to the wars of Napoleon in Europe meant little ida accelerated after 1811. It began with vet another in-
monev and fewer European troops could be sent to such vasion, this time under the command of General George
a fringe outpost as Spanish Florida. Local governors. Mathews of Georgia. Believing he would be supported
overwhelmed by lack of support and the realities of by the full power of the U.S. government, (he did have
Spanish control, or. more properly. non-control of the the covert support of President Madison)., Mathews
situation in Florida. began a policy of trying to give the raised a "patriot" army of several dozen men. Announ-
colonv to the Americans. This policy didnin't work as the cing the rebellion in eariN 1812. he and his small army,.
various governors of Florida wouid not act under threat augmented by two companies of American Regulars. in-
of violence or invasion. It was necessary to play out the vaded Florida and moved to capture St. Augustine and
last years of Spanish Florida almost as in a theatrical its fort.
prod auction.







o ms= zn

-J "

I sprak of a great Mlan and a just Man ..
.. .',..,

stoical Socity

SuA-r F.W. lu

Title page of time-approximate narrative describing Generaljackson's invasion of Spanish Florida. (Courtesy of the St. Augustine
Historical Society.)
Titl paeo ie poiaenraiedsribn Genera Jako' nao fSaihFoid.(oreyo h uutn
Hisorca Society.)
'"" ~ ~ ~ 43" ,,.


F. p"

From Spain to America-the changing of the flags, 1821. (Courtesy of the St. Augustine Historical Society.)

When the patriot army approached the city and its against Indians and renegade Negroes living there. In
fort, they realized that the fortifications were too strong early 1813, another invasion, into the same area, by
to carry by storm, even though there were very few a band of Georgians bent on forced colonization, ac-
Spanish defenders. The small invading army set up complished nothing. Their leader, Buchman Harris,
camp on the site of the old Negro fort at Mose, just was killed along with many of his followers when local
north of the city, and from there sent a demand for the Indians and renegade blacks stormed, captured, and
city's surrender to the governor. Instead of surrending, burned their fort, Fort Mitchell, in what is today's
newly arrived Governor Kidelan, having brought more Alachua County.
than 100 black colonial militia troops with him rom Even the long-gone British managed to add to the
Havana, moved out against the Americans at Mose. chaos that was early 19th-century Spanish Florida. In
Mathew's army of invasion hastily withdrew north of the 1814 and 1815, British Admiral Cochran. in between his
St. Johns River. Governor Kidelan then offered cash re- destructive incursions into American coastal waters to
wards for American scalps. That did it. The army of in- the north, occupied, looted, and burned properties on
vision disintegrated and its remnants were harassed Amelia Island. During this same period British agents
and chivied into the northeastern part of the province, entered Florida, armed and gave money to Indians and
suffering considerable losses in a series of small skir- Negroes, encouraging them to raid American territories
mishes along the way. The American Congress repu- to the north.
diated President Madison's actions and he found it A Negro-manned, British-armed fort was established
necessary to disown General Mathews. Very soon after- on Prospect Bluff at the mouth of the Apalachicola
ward Mathews died; what remained of his "army" River on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The Spanish could,
wandered back into Georgia. The invasion had accom- or would, do nothing. This was too much for the Amer-
plished nothing. icans. They sent a force of several hundred soldiers,
Again nothing but chaos was the result of a foray into commanded by Colonel Duncan Clinch, deep into Span-
the central part of the Florida peninsula by a regiment ish Florida to remove this threat to American frontier
of Tennessee volunteer militia bent on a spoiling raid security.

nothofth it, ndfrmthreset emndfo he Inias n rnead baksstrmdcptre, n


After suffering some loses to ambuscade along the potential threat by sending an army of slightly less than
river as he and his small army moved south, Clinch at- a thousand men to chastise the Indians. Led by General
tacked the Negro fort from boats on the river. A lucky Edmund Gaines, the Americans defeated and dispersed
ranging shot at the very beginning of the bombardment the assembled Indians. In return, small bands of Indi-
put a "hot shot" into the fort's powder magazine. The ans retaliated with terror raids against isolated home-
fort blew up, killing 270 of the 344 occupants. (Only steads in Georgia. That did it. Andrew Jackson, hero of
three of the defenders emerged unhurt.) Clinch, victo- New Orleans, now arrived to set the entire matter of
rious, withdrew over the Georgia border. Florida and its Indians to rest forever, or so he thought.
Constant American pressure to annex Florida and Jackson put together an army of 800 regulars and
Spain's inability to defend it-indeed even to police the 900 militia soldiers, accompanied by 300 Indians
interior of the province-ultimately led to the near friendly to the American cause. With his army, he
Comic opera events of 1817-1819. The era began when crossed the Georgia border into Florida at Fort Scott.
one Gregor McGregor, veteran of the British Army in He proceeded all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and
the Spanish Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars and built a fort on the site of the ill-fated Negro fort of 1815.
of the Latin-American wars of national liberation under His army then moved eastward, capturing the garrison
Miranda and Simon Bolivar. recruited an invasion force at St. Marks and scattering Indian bands in all direc-
of War-of-1812 veterans. With great display and gran- tions. He also captured two English Indian agents,
diose public pronouncements, he and his army moved Arbuthnot and Ambrister, whom the Americans consid-
on Fernandina Island. The Spanish garrison there sur- ered largely responsible for the Indian outrages on the
rendered without a shot. McGregor declared Florida an Florida-Georgia border. After a quick trial in the field.
independent nation and raised its new flag, a green he shot one and hanged the other. Having pacified the
cross of St. George on a white field. Expected help from interior all the way to the Suwannee River, Jackson drew
the north failed to arrive and, even though the Spanish off into West Florida to attend problems there. Later. his
botched an attempt to expel his army, McGregor re- actions were repudiated by President Monroe. No mat-
turned to Georgia, a disillusioned leader. ter. Negotiations were already under way to have Spain
Two days after he left, the strangest of all invaders of sell Florida to the United States.
Florida arrived, Luis Aury, pirate. Aury landed, raised With the Spanish government actually controlling
the flag of the Mexican Republic, and opened the area only the area immediately around the city of St. Augus-
to business, in this case, the importation and sale of sto- tine, Spain bowed to the inevitable. What they couldn't
len goods and illegally imported Negro slaves. He didn't keep or successfully defend, they would sell before they
last long; an American naval force soon arrived at Fer- lost it for nothing. The Adams-Onis Treaty officially
nandina. Aury departed in haste and the Americans transferred East Florida. and what remained of West
stayed; they stayed throughout the remainder of the Florida, to the United States as of February 22, 1821. Be-
Spanish occupation. Meanwhile, Indian problems in the tween March and July of that year various settlements,
western part of the province engaged American atten- cities, and forts were passed to the Americans. On the
tion and action. This once more demonstrated the in- 10th ofJuly, 1821, following a double flag and cannon sa-
ability of Florida's Spanish government to do much lute, Spain left Florida forever. Yet another flag was
about anything. raised over Castillo de San Marcos, renamed Fort Mar-
During the summer of 1817, a large gathering of as- ion: the Stars and Stripes of the American Republic. Yet
sociated Indian tribes came to the central part of the again, by the pen rather than by the sword, Florida
peninsula, the area of today's Tallahassee. They hoped passed to a new owner. However, the wars of Florida
to coordinate efforts against the Americans beyond the were not here ended. There would be more flag cere-
Georgia border. The Americans responded to this monies in the future.




By 1812, the majority of Florida's residents were An-
glos: former British Loyalists, recent British immi-
grants, or new settlers from the American states to the
north. Spanish laws were strict. To have property or any
other type of resident rights, one had to serve in the mi-
litia. Many of the men listed below were active in various
schemes designed to divest Spain of its Florida territory;
many others faithfully served to protect Spain's right to
Florida. With a bit of historical license and, given
"Americanization" of Florida only nine years later, all
can be considered "Yankee Militia." (The few Spanish
surnames are of Spanish residents living outside of the
The names are listed as. and in the order, recorded
by the Spanish; the names in parentheses are as the
names were written in English a few years later. (Only
those that could be confirmed are in parentheses; oth-
ers obviously have a different English spelling but later
spelling remains conjectural.) Most of the men resided
north of St. Augustine; most along the St. Johns or St.
Marvs rivers or their tributaries or in the rural areas be-
tween them. Some lived in or near St. Augustine.

Ist Company of Urban

Militia and Dragoons


Officers Issac Bowden Moises Bowden (Moses)
Juan Jashau Guillermo Gardner
Nathaniel Hall Captain Juan jashau G
Nathaniel Hall Captain Luis Gardner Guillermo Molpuss
Guillermo Craig Lieutenant Roer Gailert Guillermo MFoxp
Roberto Gilbert Guillermo Fox
Archibald Atkinson Sub-Lieutenant e l
Miguel Sloan Juan Sloan
Jamie Hollingsworth Sergeant gue S J S
Jamie Hollingsworth Sergeant Roman Sanchez Jorge Flores
Guillermo Hall Sergeant
JGu o Hl S t uan O. Jones Juan B. Jones
Jorge Morrison Corporal -T -r
Jorge Morrison Corporal Juan Loftin Juan Bardin
Issac Hendrick Corporal Guillermo Bardin Guillermo Loftin
Guillermo Henry Corporal Absolern Bardin Silbv Tavlor
Daniel Pritchard Corporal Jose Haydin Carios Hogan
Privates Thomas Jones Enrique Sueny (Sweeney)
Ruebin Sueny (Sweeney) Solomon Miller
Guillermo Hollingsworth Levin Gunby Abner Williams Timothy Hollingsworth
Arbanca Fallut Euphary Summerland Jose Summerland Francisco Veir
(Summerlin) (Summerlin)
Eduardo Forrester Juan Faulk Daniel Barton Guillermo P. Birch
Juan E. Jate (Tate) Eduardo Uanton Luis Joc Francisco Richard
Joseph McCullock Andres McLean Ezra Bushnal Samuel Miles
Zephiniah Kingsley Jose Hogan Farquar Bathune Jorge Cook
Juan Creighton Jorge Petty Guillermo Hogans Juan Beal
Fredrico Hartly Jorge Hartly Daniel Swiny Vernal Taylor
Enrico Hartly Guillermo Hartly Guillermo Williams Samuel Toms

2nd Company of Urban

Militia and Dragoons


Officers Andres Tucker Gilbert Magroan
ndres Atkinson C Guillermo Jilcock Juan Summerlin
Andres Atkinson Captain
i Captain Daniel Barton Eduardo Turner
Guillermo Lawrence Lieutenant D T
David Turner Jesse Turner
Ruben Hogans Sub-Lieutenant r
Issn Hga S lieutenant Juan Edwards Guillermo Surret
ssac Care Sergeant Daniel Delany Richard Proctor
Daniel Hogans Sergeant Guillermo Hart Guillermo Hart (the
Pedro Maxey Corporal
JacoboWorley Corporal Daniel Hart Eseal Hart
Carlos Breward Corporal .
Carlos Breward Corporal Lindsy Tod (Todd) Guillermo Gray
(Broward) Guillermo Deweese Carlos Armstrong
Guillermo Carter Corporal .
rrJaime Armstrong Jose Fenwick
Privates Antonio Mestre Juan Fraser
Antonio Juaneda Juan Barclay
Juan McIntosh Guillermo Fitzpatrick Garret Ledwith Jose Hull
Juan Hall Cornelio Greffis (Griffis) Spicer Christopher Juan Atkinson
Jon. Jillet Benjamin Armstrong Roberto Burnett Stephen Ubanks
Elizer Carter Hezekiah Tucker (Eubanks)
Willoby Tucker Tandy Dicks Guillermo Herrett Carlos Hogans
Reden Blunt Guillermo Ubanks Thomas Ulin Jaime Smith
(Eubanks) Guillermo Smith Thomas Lamb
Juan O. Houston Juan Houston Pierce Lane Thomas Durrel

St. Augustine's Military Society, 1700-1820

Juan Marchena Ferndndez
Translated and adapted by Luis Rafael Arana

The studies on Florida in the 18th Century, especially those
of the social type, cannot be complete or exhaustive unless they
include the military population. Florida is one of the clearest
examples of the duality, "military population equals total
population," over a territory. Once a strategically located
geographic area, with weak economic resources, becomes a
military presidio with a sufficient contingent of soldiers, the
land becomes characterized by that action. An urban nucleus
may be established later within the original presidio, but the
nucleus is exclusively the consequence of the previous
condition. This was indubitably the case of Florida during the
first Spanish period.

I. The Military and Demography

St. Augustine was founded as a military presidio. A number
of dwellings was erected around the fortification, and they
indeed originated the urban core. To organize and administer
life in this urban community, there came several officials and a
number of priests, the latter to take care of the spiritual needs
of the faithful. To provide for material needs, a general traffic in
products was naturally initiated, either by persons in the city
itself or by traders in the nearest economic centers. Security
depended on the state of relations with Indian groups. Because
the hinterland offered little security, the edge of farming did
not get too far away from the urban core. The farm products
supplied the city at a minimal rate, and the importation of large

Juan Marchena Fernandez is a professor of Hispanic American history at the UnL\ erk-
ity of Sevilla (Spain). This article is part 2 of a larger one ~ee El Escribano 19'4 ior
part 1). entitled "Guarniciones y poblaci6n military en Florida Oriental 11700-18201."
published in Revisto de Indias (Madrid). Nos. 163-164 (January-June 1981). We
thank Dr. Francisco Solano. the Reuista's director. for permission to adapt it to the
English language. Luis Rafael Arana. translator and adaptor of the article, is the his.
torian of Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas National Monuments. -

44 El Escribano

quantities of merchandise foodstuffs as well as utensils and
clothing became necessary.
The financing of all activities in the city was entirely
external.* The population lived from the annual situado
(troop pay fund) from which the garrison was paid. These funds
came from Cuba, and served to activate the necessary
mechanisms of internal exchange which provided for the
survival of the inhabitants. There was not a transient
population, but had there been one, it could not have exceeded
the number which could be supported by the situado.
This external financing is a clear factor in demographic
development. Despite the fact that the situado was a military
mechanism exclusively, there was a very close connection
between the army and demography. The degree of this
connection in East Florida, a marginal area of the empire, is
shown in the ensuing comparison of data pertaining to the first
and second Spanish periods.

A. Situation in 1763, end of first Spanish period.2

Military population

Staff officers .......................... 5
Infantry (officers and enlisted men) .......388
Artillery (officers and enlisted men) ....... 45
Dragoons (officers and enlisted men) ...... 94
Engineers (officers) ..................... 3
Total ............535

Rest of the population

White men .......................... 94
White women ................. ........575
White male children ....................569
White female children ................... 494
Male slaves .......................... 118

fEditor's Note: Besides the situado, Florida's income came also from tribute, customs
duties, tithes, fines, half.annates, sale of public offices, and other revenue sources.
C.H. Haring, The Spanish Empire in America (New York: Oxford University Press,
1947), 274.312.]
1. The situado paid also for the entire civil and ecclesiastical organization, public works.
and other things related to the presence and activity of the troops in Florida.
2. Florida was ceded to England, and the population left. This date is used due to the
wealth of date contained in the documentation related to the evacuation (Archivo
General de Indias (AGII, Santo Domingo, 2660), which, together with military data
available, permits the reconstruction of the social picture.

St. Augustine's Military Society 45

Female slaves ....................... 99
Male slave children .................... 67
Female slave children ................... 56
Canary Islands settlers .................. 236
German settlers ........................ 24
Ecclesiastics.. ........................ 16
Blacks and mulattoes .................. 93
Exiles ... ............................. 38
Em ployees ............................ 16
Seam en ................ ... .......... 11
Indian servants ........................ 83
Total .......... 2589
Total population 3124

The population categories above can be distributed among
four groups, based on the degree of dependence on the situado:

(1) The military: unit commanders, officers,
and enlisted men;

(2) Direct dependents: wives, children, ser-
vants, and slaves of the military;

(3) Indirect dependents: employees in military
warehouses and the treasury, storekeepers.
physicians, chaplains, artisans of military
equipment, masons, blacksmiths and car-
penters, wage laborers, convicts, and exiles
at hard labor in royal construction; and

(4) Non-dependents: merchants, farmers,
artisans, and professionals.3

The composition and structure of each group above comprise
the categories and number of people shown below:

(1) The military ....... .. 535...... (17.12%)

3. This group is not absolutely non-dependent because its components furnished men for
the militia. However, since the militia troops are not treated separately in this work.
the group will be considered as non-dependent.
There is complete agreement between the data of the 1763 embarkation and the data
on officers and enlisted men. Departure lists also agree with the data about the struc.
ture of military families.

46 El Escribano

(2) Direct dependents:

women ............................ 465
male and female children ................ 866
slaves ............. ...... ......... 272
Indian servants ................ ........ 64
Total... 1667 (53.36%)

(3) Indirect dependents:

employees ............................16
seamen ................................11
women ............................. 23
male and female children ................. 43
slaves .................................13
ecclesiastics ................ ...........16
servants .............................. 3
exiles ................................. 38
Total ..... 163 (5.20%)

(4) Non-dependents:

" militiamen ........................ 94
women ................... .......... 81
male and female children ................ 152
slaves ................................ 68
servants .............................. 11
Canary Islands settlers ................. 236
German settlers ......................... 24
blacks anl mulattoes .................... 93
Total .... 759 (24.29%)
Grand Total .....3124

Thus about 75.68% of the entire population of Florida
toward the end of first Spanish period was dependent on the
presence of troops in the area, which was true too in other
isolated strongholds or marginal zones. And the remaining
24.29% was not absolutely independent for two reasons. In the
first place, Spanish settlers were not allowed to inhabit isolated
land with a relatively large native population and close to the

5. See note 3.

St. Augustine's Military Society 47



S. .. I

istoria Orgnia deas Armas ... Volum XI. Clonard. Madrid 1857

Coat of Arms
Infantry Regiment of Habana
Activated as a battalion in 1719, it became a regiment in 1753. Habana was
the first of several units raised in the 18th century for permanent station and
service in Hispanic America. Thus, Dr. Marchena has justly called it 'the
very first stone" of the collective Hispanic American army. Detachments
from the regiment served in St. Augustine in 1736-38, 1741-49, 1764-61, and

48 El Escribano

English, unless a security infrastructure was provided. In the
second place, the largest portion of the small harvests of the
settlers, which showed the productiveness of the settlement,
was used to feed the military (the only category with the
financial resources necessary for commercial enterprise). To
consider the militiamen, who were also the settlers, as
dependent or non-dependent is a relative proposition. Florida
was indeed a military presidio.

B. Situation in 1814, in the second Spanish period.

Commerce, or rather the exchange of products between the
United States and Florida, was a most important activator in
the Florida peninsula from 1783 to 1820.6 The demographic
composition of the area changed from a total population of
3,124 inhabitants (including the military population) in 1763 to
3,315 inhabitants (including the military) in 1814.7
The increase between the first and the second second Spanish
period was small,8 but other factors distinguished the second
period quite clearly. From 1700 to 1763, practically 100%/of the
population was urban, given the problems with the Indians and
the English. The latter reduced the usable area to within a
"cannon shot of San Marcos." But in 1783-1820, European and
North American immigration and the development of areas
suitable for agriculture and cattle-raising changed the
situation. For instance,

S Population in 1814

Military .......................... 234 (07.05%)
Urban ............................ 1307 (39.42
Rural ....................... .......1774 (53.51
Total ...........3315

An important phenomenon was the decrease of the military
population from 535 officers and enlisted men in 1763 to only

6. Pablo Tornero Tinajero. Relociones de dependencia entire Florida y Estados Unidos
(Madrid: Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, 1979) combines the study of economic
activity with the treatment of demographic analysis, both of which are fundamental
to understand Floridin reality during the second Spanish period.
7. "Padr6n General...." AGI, Papeles de Cuba, 1971.
8. But from 1787 to 1814 the population increased 35.9%. Nevertheless, economics rather
than demography caused the upsurge of f loridian development during the second

St. Augustine's Military Society 49

234 in 1814. No less a fundamental innovation was the fact
that, since the first period, the rural population became more
numerous than the urban.
The military decrease registered was 43.73%. Theoretically,
the population depending directly on the military also
decreased by the same percentile rate. This impacted on the
urban population mainly because the troops were situated in
St. Augustine and other principal urban cores. The impact was:

Urban population in 1814

(1) Military

Staff officers .......................... 10
3rd Battalion, Infantry Regiment of
Cuba .............................187
Artillery ........................... 24
Dragoons ............................. 13
Total....234 (15.18%)

(2) Direct dependents

women ............................ 120
children ............................ 223
slaves ............................ .. 70
Total......413 (26.80)

(3) Indirect dependents

employees, women, children, slaves,
and exiles .......................180 (11.68)

(4) Non-dependents

merchants, artisans, farmers, women,
children, and slaves .............. 714 (46.27)
Grand Total .....1541

Using the data above under the light of a total population of
3315, the percentages of the first three groups decrease to 7.06,

9. AGI. Papeles de Cuba. 2339 aid East Florida Papers (EFP). 175F14.

50 El Escribano

12.45, and 5.42 respectively. The percentage of the non-
dependents in the fourth group rises to 75.05.

1763 1814

Urban population Total population

Number Number % Number %

Military population 535 234 -43.7 234 -43.7
Direct dependents 1,667 413 -75.2 413 -75.2
Indirect dependents 163 180 -10.9 180 -10.9
Non dependents 759 714 5.9 2,488 -69.4
Total 3,124 1,541 3,315

Since 1763, the non-dependent population had increased
69.49% and the indirectly dependent 10.92 % which lowered the
numbers of the military and the directly dependent
conspicuously. The features of a military presidio began
diminishing between 1783 and 1821, as a result of the success of
Floridian commercial development during those years. By the
end of the second Spanish period, Florida had ceased to a large
extent being a military post.

II. Officers and Enlisted Men

Nevertheless the military establishment in Florida continued
having economic, political, and social repercussions during the
second Spanish period. Economy-wise, the situado, vitally
important to the development of Florida, kept coming
irregularly most of the time. Previously it had been the sole
external means of finance, but now it was only one of the
factors of capital.
The variations in the situado were due, almost exclusively, to
the increase or decrease of the number of troops assigned
permanently as well as for reinforcement only.10 The amounts

10. See the chapter on financing defense in Juan Marchena Fernandez, La instituci6n
military en Cartagena de Indias en el siglo XVIII (Seville: Escuela de Estudios His-
panoamericanos. 1982). Notice these few examples of variations: in 1740 the situado
amounted to 74.300pesos; irrJ759, 62,855 pesos; in 1797, 119,973 pesos: and in 1806,
97.501 pesos (AGI. Santo Domingo. 2658 and 2112. and Cuba. 413).

St. Augustine's Military Society 51

received, however, were sufficiently large to have an important
impact on the area, especially in the city of St. Augustine
proper. The situado represented exactly 84.9% of the total in-
come of the King's Coffer of Florida during the second Spanish
period," and almost 100% during the first period. Thus, the
permanency of troops was a very important financing element
in Floridian economic play during the colonial stage.
The financing of the troops brought about the appearance of
money lenders among the merchants. Given the irregular
arrival of the situados, the lenders advanced the money, natur-
ally at high interest, to sustain the officers and enlisted men.
The high interest became acceptable by those affected because
it was the only way the military could survive. The system
prevailed in East and West Florida during the last 15 years of
the second Spanish period, but it was common in all Hispanic
America during the 18th century.
The lenders in Pensacola in 1817 paid 12 silver pesos for 100
paper pesos, a discount rate of 88% .2 The lenders doubled as
the principal merchants of the area, and were the only ones with
sufficient capital enabling them to perform enterprises of this
scope. Thus, the situado was an investment which served to re-
capitalize these economically powerful businessmen. And this
benefitted commerce later.13
Politically, the permanency of troops in Florida exhibited a
military mien. All the governors, the King's lieutenants, the
garrison sergeants major, and the station and troop staffs in
the 18th century were military men. The administration
contained a large percentage of army men.14 Civil works were
carried out by engineer officers of His Majesty's army, and this

11. Percentages obtained from the data contributed by Tornero. op. cit., 181.
12. AGI. Cuba, 1987.
13. The act of provisioning a military garrison post from abroad was sufficiently complex
to warrant handling by a commercial company, regardless of the implications which
the action might bring about. In answer to protests of the military population in
Florida, which saw their supplies become scarcer year after year (AGI, Santo
Domingo, 840), a contract was awarded to the Companiia de La Habana pursuant to a
cedula in 1741 to take charge of supply (AGI. Ultramar. 1804). The Compaiia
replaced several small companies from New York. which had provided the presidio
with foodstuffs and ready-made goods (AGI, Santo Domingo. 2109) during the first
half of the 18th Century, at lower prices than those the company charged. But the
contract was discontinued pursuant to a cedula in 1758 because many Floridians
purchased extra merchandise for resale to Cuba as contraband.
14. The outlying governments such as Amelia Island (Fernandina), a true commercial
center of important reputation, were also in charge of army officers (in the case of
Amelia, the chief adjutant of the 3d Battalion of the Infantry Regiment of Cuba |AGI.
Santo Domingo. 2571]).

52 El Escribano

subordinated the growth of St. Augustine to defense needs.
Patently, civil government in Florida depended on military
government, and the direction of local government seemed to
be far from adapting to the true reality of the land, especially
during the second Spanish period.
The social order is more complex. Proof of this are the 22
sociological variables or factors suggested by the liberates de
vita et moribus (service records) of the officers'5 and the
filiaciones (enlistment records) of the enlisted men16 of those
serving in Florida between 1700 and 1820. Only three of those
variables are used here: geographic origin, social origin, and
age and years of service. They provide a limited, though
enlightening, view of the military component of the population
of Florida.

A. Geographic origin

The military man was an element from a geographic site who
went to situate himself in another one and become sociologically
an integral part of the army, with all the involvement called for
by the act. This was more interesting in an area like Florida,
where the migration phenomenon fundamentally determined all
social and demographic characteristics. The exceedingly simple
concept of merely classifying the officers and enlisted men
according to their geographic origin must give way to

15. All the service records of officers of the units mentioned below have been used. The
omissions in the sequence of said records indicate that only %4 of 1 % of them had not
been found. Excepting officers contained in the records not found.all the others who
were part, one way or another, of the East Florida garrison during the period of this
work have been studied here. Hojas (records) de la guarnicibn del presidio de San
Agustin de la Florida, 1730-1763 (AGI, Cuba. 476); compaflas de dotacion de infan.
teria de San Agustin, 1749 (AG 1. Santo Domingo. 2659); destacamento de montados
de San Agustln. 1749 ibidd.): destacamento de artilleria de San Agustin. 1749 ibidd.):
ocho piquetes de infanteria destacados en San Agustin. 1749 (AGI. Santo Domingo.
2108); compaiia de fusileros de montafa de America, 1763 (Archivo General de
Simancas [AGS1. Guerra Moderna, 7259); destacamento de dragones de AmBrica,
1789 (AGI. Santo Domingo. 2100); destacamento del Regimiento de Infanteria de
Cuba. 1789 (AGS, Guerra Moderna, 7260); tercer batall6n del Regimiento de Cuba,
1790 (EFP, 175F14); destacamento de artilleria de la Habana. 1792 (AGS, Guerra
Modern. 7260): compaiias de infanteria de Catalufa. 1794 (AGS. Guerra Moderna.
7259); and tercer batall6n del Regimiento de Cuba, 1800, 1810 (EFP. 175F14).
16. Given the large number of enlistment records, one sample of 453 enlisted men of the
first Spanish period and another one of 791 men of the second period were made. The
number of elements of each sample appear in the total of enlistment records located
in the archives. Filiaciones (enlistment records) de la tropa de guarnici6n de Florida de
1700 a 1763 (AGI. Cuba, 478); compaftia de fusileros de montafa, 1761 (AGI, Santo
Domingo. 2660); and tercer batall6n de infanteria de Cuba, 1791. 1801. 1814 (EFP.

St. Augustine's Military Society 53

determining the close interrelationship of geographic origin and
social origin lying behind a peninsular (Spanish-born) and a
criollo (Spanish American-born).
Within the entire army of Hispanic America, that of Florida
is special because the phenomena here are completely
anomalous from those found in the rest of the continent. The
study of so-called "marginal zones of the Empire" reveal that
the phenomena therein did not have the homogeneity exhibited
in the central zones. In this subchapter, the results for Florida
are compared with the general data on the entire army of
Hispanic America in order to point out the particularities of the

A.1. Geographic origin of officers

During the first Spanish period, specifically 1700-1763, the
general data about the geographic origin of the officers are as

Spanish-born ...................5S 74.36 %
Criollo ..........................18 23.08
Foreign-born .................... 2 2.06
Total ...........78

Considering that in the entire army of Hispanic America in
1750 the criollo officers comprised more than 40% ,17 the 23%
in Florida is a clear symptom of lagging behind the norm. The
indications are that reinforcement units sent to the area went
from Spain, rather than from other Hispanic American areas,
and that the Floridian demographic structure was insufficient
to provide candidates for officer grades. Since only the socially
highly-placed criollos were permitted access to a military career,
their presence among the officer ranks tells us about the limited
importance of the Floridian elite in this first Spanish period.
The breakdown of the 23 % criollo officers shows:

Florida-born .....................13 72.7%

17. See the chapter devoted to this theme in Juan Marchena Fernandez, Oficiales y
soldados en el ejdrcito de Amdrica (Svilla: Escuela de Estudios Hispanoamericanos,

54 El Escribano

Cuba-born........................ 4 22.2
Nueva Granada-born (Columbia
and Venezuela) ................. 1 6.6

There was no important presence from other Hispanic
American areas in the composition of the Florida officer corps.
It was the Floridian presence which was in sharper relief. The
72.2 % of Floridians among the criollos does not represent more
than 23% of the entire officer corps, and this rate was low
compared with that in other places in the continent. There the
numbers of officers native to the city where they were on
garrison sometimes reached more than 75% of all the officers.
The criollo officers were few in Florida, which means that the
economic and social elites were in effect unimportant.
The breakdown of Spanish- and foreign-born officers follows:

Castilla ......................... 16 27.5 %
Andalucia .......................12 20.6
Cataluia ......................... 8 13.7
Levante .......................... 7 12.0
Galicia .............. ........... 4 6.8
Vascongadas.................... 4 6.8
Extremadura ..................... 3 5.1
Arag6n ........................... 1 1.7
Navarra .......................... 1 1.7
Canarias ......................... 1 1.7
Asturias......................... 1 1.7
Total ........58

Flanders ......................... 1
France .............................1
Total ........ 2

The high percentages of Castilians, Andalusians, and
Catalonians are in similar proportion to those in the rest of the
army of Hispanic America. This is proof that the officers of the
Florida garrison were essentially Spanish-born. Those three

St. Augustine's Military Society 55

Spanish regions furnished practically all the officers of the
King's armies from Naples to the Phillippines. Demograph-
ically they were the most populated, and had a good number of
middle and lower nobility, which regarded service to the King
practically as the only way of life. The limited number of for-
eigners renders them practically non-representative.
Despite their origin, the Spanish-born officers spent their
lives in Florida. They kept their families there, and their
children were Floridians. Had they not been compelled to leave
in 1763, the social and geographic composition of the last third
of the 18th century would have been indubitably very different,
and probably rates similar to those of the rest of Hispanic
America would have been reached. In this respect too, 1763
signified an absolute break.
During the second Spanish period, specifically 1789-1820, the
general data about the geographic origin of the officers are as

Spanish-born .................. ..46 70.7 %
Criollo ...........................15 23.0
Foreign-born ...................... 3 4.6
Undetermined ..................... 1 1.5
Total ........65

The data are practically identical to that of the first perici
(Table 1), and thus variations between origins are not worthy
mention. Already the difference from what was happening
the rest of Hispanic America was very substantial. Toward t,.
close of the century, the criollo officers in the army of America
were 60%, more than twice the Spanish-born. In Floridu,
however, the native born were only a third of the Spanish-born.
The breakdown of the data pertaining to the criollo officers

Florida-born .................... 1 6.6%
Cuba-born ........................13 86.6
Nueva Granada-born ............... 1 6.6
Total ........15

56 El Escribano

Compared with the first Spanish period, (Table 2), the
diminution of the Floridians was huge in the face of the
spectacular increase of the Cubans. The latter progressed
from 22.2% to 86.6%, palpable proof of the dependence of
Florida on that large Antillean island in defense matters.
This is the best evidence that the forced departure of the
garrison in 1763 made impossible the creation and survival of a
Floridian military population of importance in social and
economic spheres. This survival had indeed emerged in the rest
of Hispanic America. After 1789, military men were detached
temporarily to Florida, which was not conducive to the
previously characteristic permanent stay.
The breakdown of the data pertaining to the Spanish- and
foreign-born officers follows:

Catalufia .........................16 34.7%
Andalucia ........................13 28.2
Galicia ........................... 3 6.5
Levante ......................... 3 6.5
Arag6n .......................... 2 4.3
Navarra .......................... 1 2.1
North Africa .................... 1 2.1
Vascongadas..................... 1 2.1
[Omitted]....................... 6 13.0
Total .......46

France .......................... 1
Ireland .......................... 2
Total ....... 3

Catalufia and Andalucia kept furnishing the highest
precentages as they had done during the first period (Table 3).
The increase in the percentage of Catalonians was due to the
arrival of the officers and men of light infantry companies from
that region. The Castilians decreased in Florida as well as in the
rest of Hispanic America, due in part to the evident
depopulation suffered by the region toward the end of the 18th
century. The number of foreigners continued to be irrevelant.

St. Augustine's Military Society 57

Finally, a comparison of the highest total percentages of
certain origins of officers during both Spanish periods:

First Second
Catalufa. ...................... 13.7 34.7 %
Andalucia .......................20.6 28.2
Castilla......................... 27.5 9.0
Levante ....................... 12.0 6.5
Florida .........................72.2 6.5
Cuba ...........................22.2 86.6

Clearly the Catalonians, Andalusians, and Cubans increased
during the second period,' while Castilians, Levantines, and
Floridians, above all, decreased.

A.2. Geographic origin of enlisted men

The aggregate figures on the geographic origin of the enlisted
men during the first Spanish period, specifically 1700-1763,

Spanish-born ................. 232 51.20%
Criollos ........................195 43.4
Foreign-born .................... 17 3.70
Undetermined................... 9 1.90

On this occasion the percentage of criollos was high, but it
was still below the 60 % reached in the rest of the Hispanic
American army at mid-century. The breakdown of the data
applicable to the criollos follows:

Florida.......................147 75.40%
Cuba.......................... 13 6.60
Nueva Espafia (Mexico) .......... 28 14.30
Central America ................. 2 1.02
Nueva Granada ................. 5 2.50
Total ......195

58 El Escribano

This time the percentages were closer to those of other
Hispanic American cities, where it was common indeed for the
natives to be the enlisted men of the garrison. The social
structure of Florida did not allow the existence of too many
people with possibilities for opting to grades in the army. But it
was indeed possible that there were sufficient people to enter
the enlisted ranks; indeed, most times, given the economic
characteristics of the first Spanish period, enlistment was the
sole possibility for survival in the absence of extensive
cultivation which might demand an abundance of labor. It is
interesting likewise that the Mexicans were more numerous
than the Cubans, but in percentage still well below that of the
Floridians. This was due to constant recruiting in Nueva
Espafia, whereas Cuba was not excessively fond of giving up
the enlisted men needed for its own defense.
The following is the breakdown of the Spanish- and foreign-
born enlisted men:

Catalua ......................... 93 40.0 %
Andalucia .......................67 28.8
Castilla ......................... 25 11.0
Canarias ...................... 10 4.3
Galicia ....................... 10 4.3
Extremadura .................... 8 3.4
Arag6n......................... 7 3.01
Levante ......................... 7 3.01
Vascongadas.................... 3 1.2
Navarra ......................... 2 0.8

France .................... ..... .5 29.4 %
British North America colonies ....... 4 23.5
Portugal ........................ 3 17.6
Ireland ......................... 2 11.7
Scotland ......................... 1 5.8
Italy ............................. 1 5.8
Germany ........................ 5.8
Total ....... 17

St. Augustine's Military Society 59

There was a repetition of the absolute primacy of the
Catalonians, Andalusians, and Castilians among the
Spanish-born. Almost all the Catalonians were those included
in the 1761 arrival of the Mountain Fusilier Company of
America, recruited exclusively in Catalufia. Andalusians anj
Castilians were forced to emigrate or enlist in the royal armies
by the high population density of their regions and their:
pauperized economy.18
The foreigners have the same nationalities found in othe:
garrisons. An interesting element is the limited presence o.
enlisted men from British North America. This is the beginning
of the great immigration from the United States during the
second Spanish period.
For the second Spanish period, specifically 1789-1820, the
data on the geographic origin of the enlisted men offer the

Spanish-born ....................579 73.2%
Criollos .........................148 18.7
Foreigners ....................... 62 7.8
Undetermined ................... 2 0.2
Total .......791

The outcome is absolutely anomalous. While in the rest of
Hispanic America the percentages of criollos increased con-
stantly through the 18th century to more than 90% at the end
of the century, in Florida the criollos decreased well below the
percentage of the first Spanish period (Table 8). Therefore, the
percentage of the Spanish-born increased, a unique instance in
all of the 18th century, but a logical consequence of the arrival
in Florida of remnants of peninsular units and of recruiting
activity. The criollo enlisted men came from:

Florida ......................... 16 10.8%
Cuba........................... 73 49.3
Nueva Espaia ....................50 33.7
Nueva Granada ..................._9 6.0
Total ....... 148

18. Ibid.

60 El Escribano

The recession of the Floridians is notable while the increase of
Cubans and Mexicans is conspicuous (Table 9). The presence of
the 3rd Battalion of the Infantry Regiment of Cuba character-
ized the dependence on that island. The location of the regi-
mental recruiting stations made the Cubans, Mexicans and
later the Canary Islanders the predominant groups.
The beginning of cultivation beyond the environs of St.
Augustine provided greater economic incentives for the
Floridian population during the second Spanish period and did
away with enlistment in the army as a means of support. The
Floridians in effect dropped from 76.4% among the criollos of
the first Spanish period (Table 9) to 10.8 % in the second period.
The number and percentage of the Spanish- and foreign-born
enlisted men break down thus:

Andalucia ....................... 175 30.2 %
Canarias ........................ 98 16.9
Castilla ......................... 98 16.9
Levante ....................... 53 9.1
Galicia ............. ............. 44 7.5
Catalufia ........................ 41 7.0
Extremadura .................... 22 3.7
Arag6n........................ 22 3.7
Navarra ......................... 11 1.8
Vascon'gadas..................... 8 1.3
Asturias ...................... _7 1.2
Total .......579

France ...........................20 32.2%
Portugal ......................... 19 30.6
United States ............... ..... 10 16.1
Germany ........................ 6 9.6
Italy ............................ 4 6.4
Ireland............ ................ 1 1.6
[Omitted] ................. .... 2 3.2
Total ........62
Here is an extraordinary decrease of Catalonians in
comparison with an important increase of Canary Islanders

St. Augustine's Military Society 61

(Table 10). The establishment of recruiting depots for the
Regiment of Cuba in the Canaries influences this change
Finally, a comparison of the highest total percentages on the
origin of enlisted men in both Spanish periods shows:

First Second
Andalucia .. .................. 28.80 30.20
Catalufia ......................40.00 7.00
Florida .......................75.40 10.80
Castilla....................... 11.00 ,6.90
Canarias...................... 4.30 16.90
Levante ...................... 3.10 9.10
Cuba ...................... 6.60 49.30
Nueva Espaia ................. 14.30 33.70

The difference of percentages on the geographic origin of
officers and enlisted men between the two Spanish periods
signifies that 1763 brought total disruption to the natural social
evolution of Florida's population.
While the military constituted a large share of the population
of the area,"1 there appeared a very pronounced dichotomy
between army and population during the second period, a fact
almost unnoticed in the first period. The dichotomy had social
implications because it did not provide for the formation of
powerful and profoundly-rooted elites, but those extant were
always surrounded by impermanency and dependent on
interests in other areas. Although the army itself did not
created these elites, indications of them always emerged
To the enlisted men of the first Spanish period, the bonds
that bound them to the land of birth and of family were
important. But those bonds diminished during the second
period and the enlisted men were a kind of semi-transient

B. Social origin

The Hispanic American army was a conglomerate of ti

19. "The Military and Demography." supra.

62 El Escribano

elements of the colonial social spectrum. But between the
highest economic and social elites and the lowest stratum, there
were entirely different ends and interests.
The classifications prepared on the social origin of officers
and enlisted men were derived from data obtained in service and
troop enlistment records, and consist of six classes. These
classes are (1) sons of the military; (2) career soldiers, those
individuals who, beginning as privates, climbed the entire
grade scale, grade by grade, until they became officers through
their military ability; (3) noblemen, the aristocrats who invoked
titles of nobility; (4) well-born, those from high untitled social
levels, generally merchants and criollo landlords; (5) sons of
farmers; and (6) those from the humblest social levels
recognized as honest men. Based on these classes, the social
composition of the Florida-born officers and enlisted men

B.1. Social origin of officers

During the first Spanish period, the social stations of officers
were that shown in the table.

Career soldiers ....................27 34.6 %
W ell-born ........................ 14 17.9
Sons of the military ................ 12 15.3
Noblemen ........................ 3 3.5
Sons of farmers .................... 3 3.8
Humble men ...................... 1 1.2
Undetermined.....................18 23.0

Total ........78

This is characteristic of the Hapsburg-era armies. The career
soldier prevailed during the 17th century, filling the majority of
the officer slots. A good soldier, knowledgeable and brave on
the battlefield, could very well reach the highest grades by
reenlisting continually. But in Hispanic America this type did
not exist in the 18th century: they constituted only 15 % by
1740, and had come down to 1% by 1760. They were the sur-
vivors of the old army who, on the disbandment of the large
European old-style regiments, passed on to Hispanic America

St. Augustine's Military Society 63

to continue their service. In Florida, given the presence of an
obsolete presidial garrison, this class of officer would logically
be found.
From the standpoint of geographic origin, the social class of
officers breaks down thus:

Criollos % Floridians2 % Spanish- %
Son of the military ... 7 63.6 6 60 5 10.2
Career soldiers ..... 27 55.1
Well-born .......... 4 36.3 4 40 10 20.4
Noblemen .......... 3 6.1
Sons of farmers ...... 3 6.1
Humble men ..... ... 1 2.0
Undetermined...... 7 3 11
Total .......... 18 13 60

The sons of the military made up more than half of the
Florida-born officers during the first Spanish period. Next to
them were the well-born, descendants of the first families who
settled the area. This was definitely a classical social origin,
without external accretion and without the appearance of
noblemen. This condition was a strange phenomenon in
mid-18th century in comparison with the rest of Hispanic
Among the Spanish- and foreign-born, there appeared a high
percentage of career soldiers and a minimum of noblemen,
which was an abnormal and atypical situation. There was also a
very scarce participation (2%) by the humble men. The entire
social situation was much more representative of the 17th thar,
of the 18th century, which explains the homogeneity of the firs;
Spanish period, from the 16th to the 18th century. Even
homogeneity did not evolve in Florida.
For the second Spanish period, the general data on the social
class of officers show:

20. Data already included in criolloss" column.

64 El Escribano

Noblemen .......................26 40.0%
Humble men ....................22 33.8
Sons of the military ................ 6 9.2
Sons of farmers................... 5 7.6
W ell-born ........................ 5 7.6
Sons of artisans ................... 1 1.5
Total .........65

The results resemble those obtained for the entire Hispanic
American army, with absolute supremacy of the noblemen over
all the other classes. In the rest of Hispanic America, this
phenomenon developed slowly from 1740 to 1780, thanks to
provisions contained in successive military reform decrees of
the 18th century.21 Proof of blood purity and titles of nobility
became required for entry into the officer corps of the army. In
consequence, individuals were realigned from. one class to
another, the well-born and the sons of the military specially
passing into the noblemen. And the career soldiers, who could
reach only the grade of sergeant," became assimilated into the
33.8 % of the humble men, who also could not enter the officer
corps due to lack of a title.
The comparison between the first and the second Spanish
periods shows that the transformation was complete (Table 15).
An antiquated, 17th-century army, from the standpoint of
social origin, the military garrison of Florida becomes,
beginning in 1789, a typical garrison of the 18th century,
thanks to the dependency on Cuba. There were more noblemen
and humble men. The latter made up the noncommissioned
officer grades. The complete disappearance of the career soldier
and the passing of the well-born and the sons of the military
into the nobility are amply demonstrated by the decrease, of the
former and the increase of the latter.
Unfortunately, discontinuity between the officers of the first
and second Spanish period makes it impossible to see how their
service records changed. It is known, however, that in a
majority of cases, an officer whose service record read "son of
the military" in 1740 would read "nobleman" 10 years later.

21. See note 17.
22. The appearance of the position of cadet as the exclusive way to become an officer
closed the access to the officer corps to the career soldier, who thereafter reached the
grade of sergeant only.

St. Augustine's Military Society 65

The army was thus a channel for social promotion,
mechanism wanted by driollo oligarchical classes to obtain nor ,
inal equality with Spanish-born nobility. Spanish admini' tr
tion provided sufficient legal means for promotion but at tif
same time it pretended that the powerful Hispanic AmericL
classes take up Hispanic American defense as their own,
incidentally elevating the social prestige of the army.
According to geographic origin, the social class of officers

Criollos % Spanish- and %
Noblemen ...............11 73.3 15 30.0
Humble men ............. 22 44.0
Sons of the military ....... 3 20.0 3 6.0
Sons of farmers ........... 5 10.0
W ell-born ............... I 6.6 4 8.0
Sons of artisians .......... 1 2.0
Total ............ 15 50

The transformation into nobility took place among criollos
(Table 16). In the first and second Spanish period, this group
incorporated only noblemen, sons of the military, and
well-born, meaning that persons of the lower strata did not
enter the officer corps. This is evident proof that social
differences were a determinant in the grade structure of the
Hispanic American army. Among the criollos, the sons of the
military decreased from 63.6% to 20 %, while the noblemen rose
from 0% to 73.3% Clearly the sons of the military passed over
into the noblemen class.
Among the Spanish-born, the career soldier disappeared.
passing into the humble men class. The latter made up the
entirety of the sergeants since they, lacking nobility, could not
become officers. The noblemen increased from 6.1% to 30%.
while the sons of the military and the well-born decreased.
The definite conclusion is that there were no important soci
changes in the Florida military of the 18th century until 17bl.
when there appeared a clear dependency on Cuba. The garrison

23. The Floridians are not mentioned separately because they are a minimal part of the

66 El Escribano

of the first Spanish period did not evolve since it was a closed
society, subject to slow change within its midst, eschewing
external factors of change. In this sense, the 18th century in
Florida began in 1789.
B.2. Social origin of enlisted men

There were no service records for enlisted men so knowledge
of their social origin is not first-hand. But there are three ways
which lead indirectly to deducting this important character-
istic. One is by examining the deep social chasm between
enlisted men and officers, based on the obviously different level
of one and the other. Besides, there were legal provisions to
prevent the promotion of sergeants to officer grade which, in
turn, prevented the private soldier from reaching that non-
commissioned grade. The other two ways are ascertaining the
occupation and the literacy of the men.
The enlisted man had a low social condition coming, as he
did, from the most inferior classes of Spanish and criollo soci-
ety. The. Hispanic American army had many problems in
recruiting, because very few men wanted to enlist for six, eight,
or more years, given the financial difficulties besetting the
military institution in the Indies, which meant paying the
soldiers scanty salaries most times rather late.
The chasm was the reason why only those forsaken by
fortune in Hispanic America and deserters from Spain and
Europe were in the Indies. Joining them were those recruited
by the press gang, punished by the courts, fleeing justice, or
bereft of work or profession.24 Compared to the officers, such a
mix possessed as a common trait only the absence of titles and
social prestige. Previously, the career soldier had at least the
hope, through good performance, of becoming an officer. This
road was closed to the enlisted men of the 18th century, and
they became a social element separated from their class to be at
the service of and defend the interests of the controlling groups,
the same groups to which the officers belonged.
The enlisted man of the Hispanic American army was
regarded by the officer as miserable, vice-ridden, unlearned,
and illiterate,.useless for everything, and whose only mission
consisted in performing mechanical service."

24. See note 17.
25. Night patrols, guard duty. watchtower duty, etc.

St. Augustine's Military Society 67

7 VIT .

Coat of Arms
Infantry Regiment of Cuba

fitona Org6..ica deja., Armo ... Volume XII Clooard, Madrid 19S,7

Coat of Arms
Infantry Regiment of Cuba
Activated in 1789. Detachments from it served in St. Augustine in

68 El Escribano

In the first Spanish period, specifically 1700-1763, the closed
character of the garrison allowed certain toleration never
permitted in open cities. There were officers in Florida who
married the widows of enlisted men,2 and enlisted men's
daughters who married officers. Generally, the enlisted men
were treated as poor people with almost no salary and were
forced to live by other jobs (for instance, on vegetable gardens
and as servants).2
All this changed during the second Spanish period,
specifically 1789-1820, and the social situation of the enlisted
men became the same as in the rest of Hispanic America. There
appeared Spanish convicts, the rejects of other units, and the
unwanted of Cuba sent to Florida. This people formed the 3rd
Battalion of the Infantry Regiment of Cuba, which gathered all
the troublemakers and vagrants extant on that island, and was
assigned entirely to Florida." Obviously the troops were of
very bad quality, full of vicious habits, and they
inconvenienced the small garrison by other defects." The
truism that "the worse the quality of the soldiers, the higher
the rate of desertion" explains the constant attrition visited
upon this unit during the years it was charged with the defense
of Florida.
The second factor is the occupations of 186 (41%) of 453
enlisted men in the first Spanish period yielding indications of
their social origin:

Men who had always been soldiers.... 82 44.0%
Men who had practiced a trade....... 96 51.6
Men who were sons of privates or
noncommissioned officers ......... 8 4.3

The breakdown of those who had not practiced a trade is as

26. AGI, Santo Domingo, 840 and 2669. This situation was severely criticized in Cuba
and in Spain, because it was understood as contempt toward the "natural quality
expected in an officer of H.M." In fact, these officers have a note on their service
records reading "this officer is mismated in marriage." The military dossiers against
priests and friars who wanted to marry officers with mestizas (mixed-blood women)
and "local women" were abundant (November 12, 1707. AGI, Santo Domingo, 840).
27. Report by Governor Zifiiga. AGI, Santo Domingo, 840.
28. Report by Governor Morales, April 1. 1801, EFP, 175F14.
29. Report by Governor Quesada. March 1791, EFP. 176F14.

St. Augustine's Military Society 69

Men who served in other units
before arriving in Florida ......... 65 79.2 %
Men who began to serve for the
first time in Florida ..............17 20.7

Now the breakdown of those who indeed had practiced a trade

Men who did farming trades ......... 93 96.8%
Men who did maritime trades ........ 1 1.0
Men who did artisan trades.......... 2 2.0

The majority of the enlisted men were rural laborers and wage
earners, occupations associated with the lower social level.
They had undergone financial difficulties, enlisted in the army
in Hispanic America, and wound up in Florida. Those who had
practiced trades were 92.3% Spanish-born, while those who
first served in Florida (17 men) and the sons of privates and
noncommissioned officers (8 men) were all Floridian.
The third factor which indicated the social level of the
enlisted men in the first period was the literacy index. Of the
453 soldiers studied, only 81 or 17.8% are represented below:

Men who can read and write ......... 8 9.8 %
Men who can sin only ............. 10 12.3
Men who cannot read or write........ 63 77.7

The lack of schooling was rather common in the lower class.
In the second Spanish period, specifically 1789-1820, only
110 out of 791 enlisted men, or only 13.9 were studied for
social origin. The result:

Men who had practiced a trade....... 90 81.8 %
Men who had not practised a
trade.......................... 20 18.1

70 El Escribano

The trades of the 90 men above were as follows:

Farming..........................65 72.2%
Artisan ........................ 12 13.3
Other ........... .............. 13 14.4

Regarding literacy, only 100 out of the 791 enlisted men, or
12.6 %, make the sample:

Men who can sign their names ....... 12 12.0%
Illiterates ................... .... .88 88.0

In comparison with the first Spanish period, enlisted men
who performed trades before enlisting increased. Since
almost 100% of these men were Spanish-born, a factor in the
decision to enter the army must have been economic bad times
in Spain toward the end of the century. Those who had not had
a trade were criollos almost entirely.
The study of the social origin of enlisted men is important
because it is the study of the lower strata of colonial society.
That Spanish-born rural workers became soldiers in the Indies
by force of need is a sociological fact of the first magnitude.
This, in Florida specifically, is a clear determinant of the social
and economic reality of the second Spanish period. Almost all
the rural workers practiced a "double profession" of soldier-
settler, if not legally indeed in fact.30 In closed garrisons this
has an extraordinary importance because it explains the rise of
a labor class which is no way reflected in the documents.

C. Age and years of service

Age is an important factor in the analysis of every human
group, and especially in the study of the component personnel
of an army. Age is precisely one of several factors which can
suggest a pattern of conduct.

30. This "Double-profession" was a phenomenon detected in all of Hispanic America. It
consisted, given the economic need besetting a married enlisted man with children,
in the man's performance of another trade or renting his labor in off-duty hours.
According to the opinion of his supervisors, this diminished the potential yield of a

St. Augustine's Military Society

C.1. Age of officers

The data for the first Spanish period are as follows:

Number of officers studied .............. 78.0 %
No information on age available ..... 13 or 16.6
Median age ......................37.9 years

The 65 officers above providing age data broken down by age

Criollos Floridians 31 Spanish-and Total
5 to 15 .....
16 to 25 ..... 8 5 2 10
26 to 35 ..... 2 10 12
36 to 45 ..... 1 1 21 22
46 to 55 .... 15 15
56 to 65 ..... 5 5
Over 65 ..... 1 1

The median age above broken down by
geographic origin:

Criollos Floridians32 Spanish- and
Total sample...... 18.0 13 60
No data available 7.0 7 6
Median age ....... 24.2 22 51.6

Due to the advantages provided for their entry into services, t..
criollo officers were much younger than the Spanish-born ibu
naturally less experienced. The median age of the sons of Lh
military was even less than that of the well-born. 'iTh'
Floridians were younger than the other criollos.
Among the Spanish-born officers, the oldest were the career

31. Included in criollos column.
32. Ibid.

72 El Escribano

soldiers, with a median age of 37.3 years, and the youngest the
sons of the military-with 36.3 years. These results are after all
perfectly logical.
The data for the second Spanish period show:

Number of officers studied .......... 65
No data on age or geographic origin .. 1
Median age.......................38.2 years

The 64 officers above providing age data broken down by
geographic origin:

Criollos Spanish- and
Number of officers ....... 15 49
Median age ............ 26.2 50.2

The median age of the officers in general does not change
(Tables 26,29). This is one aspect with no essential variation
between the two Spanish periods. In the rest of Hispanic
America, the median age of the officers evolved from 46.6 years
in 1740 to 35.5 years in 1800. Florida therefore kept a more or
less uniform median corresponding approximately with the
median of the army of Hispanic America.
The median ages of criollos and Spanish-born officers also do
not show great variation (Tables 28, 30), only an increase in the
median age of the criollos, caused by their formal admission
into the army at a more advanced age (Tables 31, 32). They
made up almost 60% of the entire Hispanic American army
toward 1790, and so it was in Florida, considering the
dependency on units from Cuba manned by criollos from there.
Among the Spanish-born too, the median age decreased
slightly. Entire line units of the army arrived these years
directly from Spain as reinforcements. The noblemen officers
were younger than those already in Hispanic America, and they
exerted strong influence over that entire army.
Florida remained an anomalous case in comparison with the
rest of the Hispanic American army. In the latter, age
decreased due basically to changed social qualifications for
officers (years of service being less important for promotion),

St. Augustine's Military Society 73

but in Florida the median age increased during the second
Spanish period. This was attributable to the impact on Cuba of
external phenomena, such as the arrival these years of the new
units combat-tested in Europe. From Cuba some of these units
went on temporarily to Florida.

C.2. Age of enlisted men 33

For the first Spanish period the data are as follows:

Number of soldiers studied .............. 453
Number of soldiers with unstated age...... 28 or 6.1 %
Median age upon entering the army ....... 29.7

The data for the second Spanish period are as follows:

Number of soldiers studied .............. 791
Number of soldiers with unstated age..... 183 or 23.1%
Median age upon entering the army ....... 36.4

There is here a noticeable increase in the median age of the
enlisted men in comparison with the first Spanish period. Again
Florida was different from Hispanic America, where the age of
the enlisted man joining the army kept decreasing. But the
influencing factor is the geographic origin of the enlisted men.
While in all Hispanic America the men tended to be mainly
criollos, in Florida they tended to be Spanish-born. The latter
were older because they generally were drafted, rather thar
volunteering, as was the case with the Hispanic Americar,
soldiers. The factors of geographic and social origin are the key
to understanding the difference between the two periods.
The age of the enlisted men on entering the army must be
coupled with years of service to ascertain the true median age oL
the men.

C.3. Years of service of officers

The data for the first Spanish period follow:

33. There is awareness that, unfortunately, the enlistment records furnish only the age
of the men joining the army.

74 El Escribano

Number of officers studied .............. 78
No data ............. .... ........ 19
Median years of service ................. 19.4

The breakdown of the above according to geographic origin:

Criollos Floridians" Spanish- and
Number of men ........... 18 13 60
No data ................. 11 6 8
Median years of service..... 36.2 36.2 18.1

The Spanish-born had half the years of service of the criollos
and the Floridians. During the first period the Spanish-born
came in as reinforcements. The Floridians had many years of
service because the garrison did not rotate to other places.
The data for the second Spanish period show:

Number of officers studied ............... 65
No data ............................. 1 or 1.5%
Median years of service ................ 19.7

The breakdown of the above according to geographic origin:

Criollos Spanish- and
Number of individuals .... 15 49
No data ................. 1
Median years of service.... 11 22.3

The variation between the first and second Spanish periods
(Tables 33, 35) regarding median years of service is minimal
compared with the rest of the army of Hispanic America. There
the median decreased progressively through the 18th century,
due to the selection of criollo officers. Even in Florida, the
median years of service of a criollo decreased from 36.2 years in

34. Included in criollos column.

St. Augustine's Military Society 75

the first period (Table 34) to 11 years in the second (Table 36), a
decrease of more than two-thirds. The general reduction was
due to the emergence of a practically all-criollo officer corps,
which was characteristic of the Hispanic American army in the
second half of the 18th century. In Florida, where the presence
of criollo officers could barely be detected in the second period,
the median years of service were determined by those
accumulated by the Spanish-born. The median here increased,
instead of decreasing, from 18.1 to 22.3 (Tables 34, 36) years.
The existence of an officer corps in Florida came into being by
the arrival of the reinforcement units with extensive service in
Europe. The large differences between the first and second
Spanish periods become evident by the reversal of the
percentages from the data relative to criollos and Spanish-born.

C.4. Years of service of enlisted men

The data for the first Spanish period are:

Number of soldiers studied ............ 453
No data ................ .......... .. 110or24.2%
Median years of service................ 23.4

The data from the standpoint of geographic origin:

Criollos FloridiansS Spanish. and
Number of men ......... 204 147 249
No data ................ 35 28 75
Median years of service... 27.2 28 19.8

The criollos, particularly the Floridians, have more years of
service than the Spanish-born. The Floridians reenlisted
repeatedly since the army was almost their only means of
support. All the Spanish-born belonged to reinforcement units
which came directly from Spain to serve in the Indies, and thus
their years of service were less.
The data for the Second Spanish period:

35. Ibid.

St. Augustine's Military Society 77

The following is an analysis of the causes for termination of
service in the first Spanish period: 3

Number of enlisted men studied ...... 453
Size of sample used ................ 136 or 30%

The sample broken down by causes for termination of service:

Died in service ................. 69 or 50.7%
Discharged.................... 47 34.5
Deserted ................. ..... 20 14.7

A breakdown of the sample according to geographic origin:

Criollos Floridians Spanish- and
Died............1 42 18
Discharged..... 10 8 37
Deserted ....... 7 1 13

The latter data greatly clarify the previous conclusions. The
Florida-born soldier remained in the service longer because it
was his sole occupation. Only 15.6% of the Floridian soldiers
applied for discharges and only 1.9% became deserters. On
the other hand, the largest percentages of discharged men and
deserters occurred among the Spanish-born. The men were
discharged usually at the end of their second enlistment, and
those who deserted were compelled to do so by the financial
difficulties besetting the troops.

36. Only the first period is analyzed because the enlistment records of these years provide
sufficient data to obtain a representative sample (30% ).
37. Included in criollos column.
38. Unable to devote themselves to another activity forced them not to apply for dis-
charge. Almost all the Florida-born soldiers are retired forcibly because they are
"old," "infirm," "ill," or "useless due to advanced age."

76 El Escribano

Number of soldiers studied ............. 791
Nodata .......................... .349 or44.1%
Median years of service................. 18.5

The data according to geographic origin:

Criollos Spanish- and
Number of individuals ..150 641
Nodata ............... 62 287
Median years of service.. 15.3 20.4

Just as it happened in the officer corps, the median years of
service are reversed. Most of the criollos, recruited in Cuba or
Nueva Espafa, saw their first service in Florida, while the
Spanish-born belonged to reinforcement units which had
participated in European military campaigns.
A comparison of age and years of service among the enlisted
men in both Spanish periods:

First Second
Number of soldiers studied.... 453 791
No data......................... 118 (26.04%) 414 (52.3%)
Age on entering army ........ 29.7 36.4
Median years of service....... 23.4 18.5
Median age on leaving army .. 53.1 54.9

Although the age of the enlisted men on retirement is almost
identical in both periods, military service in the first period was
longer than in the second. In 1700-1763 the years of service
increased because Floridian criollo soldiers were settled on the
land, whereas in 1789-1820 the years of service decreased
because the Floridians had left and been substituted by
Spanish-born troops. The latter were older than the soldiers of
the first period, not settled on the land, and more prone to

The Defense Structure of East Florida, 1700-1820
Juan Marchena Fernandez

Any attempt at social, political or economic analysis of the
territory called East Florida during Spanish colonial times
must put special emphasis on the part that the geographical
location of Florida had on its subsequent development within
the communications system and the geostrategic significance of
the Caribbean. East Florida was a territory which the Spanish
Crown had to hold, populate, and use as a launching ramp for
the return traffic to Europe, and as a defense barrier against the
expansion of the British colonies to the north. These
requirements set the reality of the area during the period
covered in this paper. The Florida of the 16th, 17th, and, in
good part, 18th centuries was a military presidio above
anything else, a bastion sufficiently strong to withstand the
pressure exerted on it by those forces which attempted, in the
course of the entire Spanish period, to cut off the routes and
channels of commercial traffic. This is why St. Augustine and
the corpuscle of San Marcos de Apalache, at the west side of the
peninsula, embody in themselves all the colonial history of East
The situation changed during the second Spanish period
(1783-1821). Florida became additionally an important center
for the exchange of products between the Hispanic American
colonies and the great nation to the north, the United States.
And at that time when only the so-called "commerce with
neutrals" was permitted, it even was one of the most important
focal points of this traffic.2
The latter situation existed only in the last thirty years of the
Spanish period, but Florida was a military presidio from the
very founding of St. Augustine in 1565, all the way to 1820. It
was regarded as such within the Hispanic system, and its
social, political, and economic development resembled, in a
lesser degree, the development ot the other component parts of
Hispanic American defense. When the latter became stronger
by the creation of the Hispanic American army by Philip V,
Florida began a slow but effective recuperation. The first fifty
years of the 18th century were harsh for the territory. The
English harassed the area constantly from the north as well as
from the west, attempting to break down the weak defense


38 El Escribano

system. But the fact is that Florida held on because either St.
Augustine was close to the large manpower and supply base at
Habana, or the statesmen of Philip V, conscious of the strategic
importance of the area, defended the territory for Spain in each
peace negotiation with the British. 3 This need to keep East
Florida for the Crown meant precisely the potentiation of St.
Augustine as a military presidio, by the increase in troops,
fortifications, and situados (troop-pay funds). This, therefore,
conditioned the entire area in economic as well as demographic
Hispanic American defense was a conditioner of Hispanic
colonial reality in the New World. On many occasions,
economic and political considerations were encroached upon by
the need to carry on defense with maximum effectiveness
against the external attacks inflicted on the entire system.
Thus, military considerations modified substantially the
sociological reality of some colonial social levels, because they
posited a whole new political and administrative situation, a
new review of the financial and sometimes commercial
question, and an important channel of social promotion for
criollos (those born in America of Spanish parents) and
peninsulares (Spanish-born).'
The study of military institutions in the great Hispanic
American strongholds, echeloned along both the Atlantic and
Pacific coasts, reveals the fact, on one hand, that an important
military garrison generated an important ingress of capital
(situado) to support itself together with the implications that
this brought along. At the same time, security from external
danger motivated commercial and economic play positively, by
the exportation and importation of products between the
garrison (and its environs) and Spain, as well as between the
garrison and the other Hispanic American commercial centers.
Besides, military inhabitation increased the economic capacity
of the entire population inasmuch as there was an increase in
consumption in the city.
In the political and administrative fields, on the other hand,
the activation and retention of large military units in cities
entailed change in the structure and functioning of the
government. There was, for instance, subordination in many
ways of civil to military power, exemptions granted by military
privilege, and the presence of new, high-level officials (many of

The Defense Structure 39

them military men). Cities like Cartagena de Indias, Habana,
Veracruz, Callao, Valparaiso,. etc., were important because
they were centers of commerce and communications, but they
became still more important administratively when large,
permanent military installations were based in them. When this
happened, the control of the Crown became more obvious.
These garrisons also originated important social changes.
Spanish-born officers entered the highest levels of colonial
society, backed by hierarchy, more or less substantial salaries,
colorful uniforms, knowledge of and experience in European
wars, and above all, titles of nobility in a few cases. This
breached the traditional, hierarchically social systems of the
colonial cities, inasmuch as holding royal appointment as an
army officer made social advancement possible. Until then,
such advancement had been obtained only through land
holding or by engaging in high-level commercial activities.
Soon, and in successive generations, this nucleus of peninsular
officers connected itself through matrimonial ties with the
landholding and commercial oligarchies of the cities, and it
became impossible on occasions well in the 18th century to
separate one group from the other.
For the criollo group, which played an extraordinary role in
Hispanic American economic development in the same century,
the army meant a vital channel for social advancement. To be
an officer in His Majesty's army implied a levelling with the
Spanish-born, who traditionally had occupied said offices. In a
process that began about 1740, the criollo oligarchy flooded the
military hierarchy, and the trend grew until 1810, when they
made up more than three-fourths of all officers in the Hispanic
American army. Thus, if generalizations are permitted, the
Hispanic American army in the large colonial centers consisted
of criollo officers of high economic, social, and perhaps political
power, who were natives of the same location where they were
garrisoned (there was almost absolute non-rotation of Hispanic
American military units due to defense functions), and of rank
and file from the lower classes, of whom more than 90 percent
were criollos about 1800. To study the Hispanic American army
in the large colonial cities is a magnificent opportunity to study
an ample range of social and economic situations in the 18th
But in these studies there are two difficulties which are hard

40 El Escribano

to evade. One is the tendency to exclude the so-called
"marginal or border zones," which were also essential to the
functioning of the entire Spanish colonial system. The proper
contexture of the empire in America was not limited exclusively
to the great cities. The functioning of the system necessitated
the erection of a structure (communications, administration,
defense, etc.) which ensured that all the Spanish possessions
were connected with one another by bonds of varying nature.
The other problem in the study of the large Spanish cores in
the Indies is that important economic, social, and political
situations are sometimes unclear, excessively complex, and
difficult to unravel and classify. In this case. the study of a
"marginal zone" suggests more positive and less problematic
solutions, considering that the zone has the advantage of
sharing the same circumstances present in larger areas.
Without any doubt. Florida was an essential part of the
colonial system and its study is less difficult. Its paramount
geostrategical importance does not admit discussion. In
contraposition. Florida's scanty population, abundance of
historic sources, and the interesting nature of the events which
took place there, make the peninsula an area definitely qualified
for the type of desired study.
The analysis of the structure on which Florida defense was
organized is an indispensable requirement to study the military
population. The structure had two fundamental aspects: legal
and actual, which here shall be treated parallelly.6
The legal structure was generally identical to that in the rest
of Hispanic America. But given Florida's fundamental
importance in the Antillean defense system, the defense
dispositions and the legal norms for the purpose took effect in
Florida in a very evident manner. Thus, the legal structure of
defense was very much like that provided for the rest of the
Antillean nuclei, except the special provisions. But it was the
special (actual) provisions which really organized and made up
Florida's own legal defense structure. The special legislation
(that is, organic regulations) underwent variations which
ushered in interesting changes in the situados and in
The legal and actual structures can be divided into five
stages, to wit:

The Defense Structure 41

(1) The presidial organization
It was in effect practically from the city's founding and
lasted until 1749. This stage maintained an old defense
structure, such as was provided for Hispanic American defense
during the times of the Hapsburgs. The structure gave good,
valid results in the presence of isolated and uncoordinated
Indian attacks on the one hand, and of freebooters and pirates
on the other. But it was fully outdated in the presence of
systematized attacks by large European armies and navies in
the 18th century. This obsoleteness motivated the wide
restructuring which resulted in the creation of the army of
Hispanic America. These changes did not take place in Florida
until 1749 .
The presidial organization supported a dotaci6n (a number of
authorized man-spaces) distributed among presidial companies
without a specific organic table, but covered by the generic
legislation provided through the entire period, applicable
generally in all the fortified places supported by the Crown.
In 1701 there were in Florida 355 salaried man-spaces, which
in turn supported 1,400 other persons.7 These man-spaces
were filled by 323 soldiers and the balance was distributed
among widows and orphans, according to criteria not
completely clear. As Governor Jos6 de ZGfiiga indicated.
"should the plazas muertas (dead pays) keep increasing, 8 there
will be no man-spaces for the soldiers."9
At the time, the garrison consisted of the governor, the
sergeant major, three infantry companies with 223 officers and
soldiers, an artillery company with 20 men, 17 assistants and
administrators, and 16 seamen. The 223 soldiers were
distributed as follows: 31 in Apalache, 13 in Guale, three in
Timucua, two in Salamototo, 25 as guards and sentries of the
port and inlets, who were changed monthly, and 137 as the
general presidio guard (40 soldiers each day). Listed separately
were eight old and infirm men with more than 50 years' service,
four soldiers abroad on leave, and 13 deadpays, ten of which
were widows. 10
In theory, the man-spaces were kept filled by the arrival of
settlers and soldier replacements, considering that the scanty
population was one of the most notable characteristics of the
area. The soldiers were recruited in Spain during the 17th

42 El Escribano

century, although no new soldiers arrived between 1688 and
1701.1 It was from this moment on that the sending of
individuals ceased, and there began the sending of complete
units, which became the usual policy in the 18th century.
Actually, it had always been pretended, and the governors of
Florida had thus repeatedly asked for it, that the garrison
needed to keep the presidio and auxiliary forts in a medium
state of defense should not be less than five hundred soldiers, a
number reached only much later.
The scanty population in the area prompted the provision of
remedial measures. In 1701 it was ordered that families of
thread makers and weavers be sent from Campeche "so that
some commerce and some communication may go on," 12 but
this was never complied with. Then, it was petitioned that the
viceroy of Nueva Espafa send one hundred men to fill existing
vacancies and discharge disabled soldiers, 13 but again without
any success. In 1702 the Council of the Indies ordered allied
French Admiral Du Casse to leave in Habana one hundred of
the two thousand Galicians he was taking to Spanish garrisons
in the Caribbean, for further remittance to Florida, 1 but few of
them reached their destination.*
No other armed contingent came until 1706 but then it
consisted of only 43 soldiers from Habana. 15 And up to 1732,
only a master gunner and four qualified gunners were sent as
reinforcements. 16
In 1737, by reason of the war with England and possible
expeditions against Georgia and Carolina, larger troop
contingents were sent. Eight infantry companies, dispatched
from Habana as reinforcements, arrived in St. Augustine. 17
These companies from Spain had become noticeably weakened
in Cuba, but were nevertheless an important addition to the
already battered garrison. At the same time, it was ordered
that two hundred Galician families be sent for repopulation, but
in the end this number was much less. 18

* (Editor's Note: 70 of the 100gallegos to be left in Florida arrived on Dec. 28.
1702. together with the force sent out from Habana to relieve St. Augustine
from the English siege of that year. Autos. gobernador Jose de ZUniga. San
Agustin. 30 diciembre 1702 y enero 1703. in "Demanda....." 1707. AGI
58-2.8. Stetson.

The Defense Structure 43

Toward 1740 the entire garrison of Florida consisted of
17 staff positions
191 able-bodied soldiers
71 invalids
15 detached at San Marcos de Apalache
43 imprisoned by the enemy
337 total of old presidial troops
24 officers in the eight reinforcement companies
400 soldiers in the eight reinforcement companies
235 additional men in
2 companies of infantry and
2 companies of dragoons 19
996 grand total of officers and men. 20
Ten years later, in 1749, the garrison suffered considerable
loss because the Habana reinforcement was withdrawn and
there remained solely:
166 men of the old presidial garrison (3 companies)
51 men in an artillery company
50 men in a cavalry company
34 seamen
5 militia officers
23 staff positions
329 total number of man-spaces. 21
The eight reinforcement companies withdrew to Spain after a
stay of eleven years and eight months. Only 221 men returned.
The rest had died or decided to remain in Florida.22
Thus, between 1700 and 1749. when the presidial organization
prevailed, the garrison endured considerable gains and losses
due to the availability of the reinforcement troops on account of
the war with England. The practice of sending reinforcement
troops only, setting aside the strengthening of the presidial
companies, meant the end of the companies, and the beginning
of a new stage in the development of the Florida garrison. At
the same time, the survival of archaic structures until mid- 18th
century shows the unconcern of the Spanish colonial
administration for this territory up to the time.

(2) The arreglamento of 1749
This arrangement, drafted by Viceroy Juan Francisco de
Giiemes y Horcasitas and signed in M6xico on February 9,

4 El Escribano

-49, is, to a certain extent, a forerunner of the subsequent
'gulation of 1753. and also an intermediate step between the
residial garrison and the permanent dotaci6n of the second
alf of the century.
Military authorities were conscious of the sad state of affairs
i Florida: "Should the old garrison of the presidio of St.
\ugustine in Florida be allowed to remain on the footing it has
ad, it would be a continued evil and abuse, and there would be
o one to perform the service with the proper regularity, care,
nd order."23
The arreglamento cancelled whatever previous dispositions
iad been given concerning command and discipline of the
roops and internal functioning of the garrison, and subjected
everything to the 1719 regulations for the Battalion of Habana,
he very first stone in the construction of the army of Hispanic
Under the arrangement, the garrison consisted of three
)mpanies. each composed of six officers and sergeants
Id 96 corporals and privates; an artillery company
armed by five officers, ten auxiliaries, and 40 corporals and
:unners; a calvary company consisting of four officers and 51
roopers; and lastly five regular officers to train a militia
company. All this made up a total of 421 men, who would cover
,. Augustine, San Marcos de Apalache, and Forts Matanzas,
'upo and Picolata, both on the San Mateo (St. Johns) River, at
:i annual cost of 80,697 pesos and seven reales.
These troops would be. under command of the senior infantry
captain, who would also be the second in command to the
This 1749 plan, which modernized the garrison by giving it a
ructure similar to that in the rest of Hispanic America, was
hort-lived since Giiemes himself reorganized the garrison
Lgain in 1753.

(3) The reglamento of 1753
The Regulation for the garrison of Habana. castles, and forts
inder its jurisdiction. Santiago de Cuba, San Agustin en la
'lorida. and its dependency, San Marcos de Apalache," 26
drafted by Viceroy Count Revillagigedo of Nueva Espafia in
1753, changed completely the concept of the defense structure
)f the peninsula. Florida lost its autonomy in defense matters
,o become simply an advanced fort of Habana, an outpost.

The Defense Structure 45

Detachments would be rotated from that city. Florida would no
longer have a garrison of its own, but its defense would be in
charge of Cuban-based troops. To this effect, three companies
from the infantry Regiment of Habana with 310 men. a
detachment of 40 gunners from the Habana artillery, and a
detachment of 50 troopers from the dragoons in Cuba were
assigned to St. Augustine. 2 Half of these troops would be
relieved every year in the months of April or May, 2 so that
everyone would be rotated every two years.
The situado as well as the supply of provisions and stores
would come from Cuba, the latter by the Company of Habana.
Thus, the subordination is complete. Every aspect of internal
administration and garrison operation (leaves, pay, retirement,
replacement, etc.) was covered in the Regulation of Habana. In
1754 Revillagigedo drafted a supplement to the Regulation,
which also dealt with Florida, reaffirming again the
subordination already referred to. 2
(4) The Instrucci6n of 1761
Before Florida passed into British hands in 1763, the
garrison was again reorganized by virtue of "Instruction to
arrange, in consequence of the King's resolution of March 2,
1761, the garrison of the presidio of St. Augustine and
dependent forts, and implement other dispositions covered in
the same resolution."30
This instruction gave back to Florida its lost military
independence. From the three companies detached from the
Habana Regiment, two companies were created for permanent
assignment in St. Augustine. The garrison would consist of
four hundred soldiers: two permanent infantry companies of
one hundred men each; an artillery company, also permanently
stationed, of forty gunners; and a fifty-trooper cavalry
company. These numbers added up to 290 officers and soldiers.
The balance of 110 would be sent from Habana as reinforcement
troops or temporary detachments from the infantry regiment of
Habana and rotated every year. This was an intermediate
solution. Florida defense was fundamental to Habana since the
possible conquest of the peninsula by the English meant a
constant check on the entire defensive, logistical, and
communications system of the Caribbean. But to keep Florida
with no other garrison than the one assigned from Habana,
according to the 1753 plan, would impact St. Augustine

16 El Escribano

unfavorablyy, because the doors would be closed to Floridians to
become part of the garrison, and make worse the already bad
economic situation of St. Augustine. The Instrucci6n stated
that "if a few persons residing in the presidio of Florida, of the
proper height, health, and other required qualifications for
service could be gotten to enlist...they would serve in the two
-ompanies assigned."3'
This could have been a good solution but the events of 1763
.iid not afford the time to work out the system positively.
Besides, a formula was decreed in 1761 which had been tried in
-ther places in Hispanic America: the soldier-settler. For this
purpose, a veteran company was reorganized as the Mountain
'usiliers Company, levied entirely in Catalonia, and sent to
'lorida with wives and children. But again there was no time to
.vork out this system, because the company was compelled to
evacuatee the peninsula in 1763.32

(5) The dependence on Cuba

Following the devolution of Florida to Spain (1784), there
.vas a return to the disposition of 1753, that is, a total depend-
!nce on Habana on defense matters. The dotaci6n disappeared
.ind troops were sent from the island, subject to rotation.
Specifically, the 3d Battalion of the Infantry Regiment of Cuba
.vas sent, 3 consisting of the staff, a grenadier company, and
:our fusilier companies, with a total of 378 men. 3 Besides,
:here was a detachment of 36 men from the artillery in
iabana, 35 and another 20-man detachment from the Dragoons
:Af America, also of Habana. 3 Occasionally reinforcement
units were sent from Cuba; such was the case of the three
2atalonian light infantry companies in 1793. 3 This type of
dependencyy meant that the possibilities for Florida defense
rested on the timely arrival of contingents, but not on keeping
:hem there. Habana was the distribution center because of the
arge number of troops available on the island. But the practice
.vas dangerous should an invasion, as the one launched from
:he north in 1817, take place before the arrival of
From 1789 to 1820 the garrison lolled in a phase of constant
Decrease. There was no incorporation of new troops, and
.ogically the effective strength became progressively less,
-eaching lows under those of the worst years of the first
-panish period.

The Defense Structure 47

For example, the 3d Battalion of Cuba changed as follows:
1790 .......................371 men
1800 ....................... 253 men
1810 ....................... 256 men
1814 ........................ 187 m en
These were losses of 50 percent in 25 years without
replacement of the soldiers who died, deserted, or were
discharged. This applied also to the high number of years of
service of the soldiers, to their age, and to the lengthy stay of
these troops in the same location. Florida breathed airs of
commercial development during the second Spanish period, but
it also fell into open decadence on defense matters.39
The last structuration of Hispanic American defense followed
the loss of most of the continental colonial possessions, and it
was limited practically to the Antilles (Cuba and Puerto Rico).
Under it, Florida continued to depend with extraordinary
paucity on Habana. There were no veteran troops to send to the
area, since the best men had succumbed on the European
continent. The latest fresh reinforcements from Spain were
billeted on the islands to prevent their loss. Very few regular
units were detached to Florida, but its defense was entrusted to
Cuban militia units. The composition of the garrison in 1820
5th company, Infantry Regiment of Cuba ..... 58
6th company, Infantry Regiment of Cuba ..... 50 40
Detachment from the Dragoons of America .... 12
Detachment of officers from the Infantry
Regiments of Louisiana, Tarragona, and
Habana, to command the Florida militia ..... 10
1st company, Free Blacks of Habana (militia) .59
2nd company, Free Blacks of Habana (militia) .59
a company, Battalion of Mulattoes of Habana
(militia) ............... ..................34

Total....283 4

That Florida defense was absolutely insufficient was shown
by the successful campaign of General Andrew Jackson and his
Tennessee militiamen, who managed to enter almost unopposed
into St. Augustine, Apalache, and Pensacola.42 It was the

48 El Escribano

final calamity in three centuries of penury in military
expenditures. The brilliant defense actions of the 18th century
are more attributable to the temerity and courage of the
defenders than to Spain's military policy for Florida and the
weak structure that it had erected in the peninsula.*

* Editor's Note: Gen. Jackson did not enter St. Augustine at any time.
Charlton W. Teneau. A History of Florida (Coral Gables: University of
Miami Press 1971). 113-114.1

The Defense Structure 49



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50 El Escribano


1. A minimum bibliography consists of Fernando Armas Medina. "Luisiana y
Florida en el reinado de Carlos III," Anuario de Estudios Americanos,
XVII (1960). 160; William S. Coker and Jack D.L. Holmes, "Sources for
the History of the Spanish Borderlands." Florida Historical Quarterly,
XLIX (1970-71). 380-393; Theodore Corbett. "Migration to a Spanish
Imperial Frontier in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: St.
Augustine," Hispanic American Historical Review, LIV (1974), 418-430;
Michael J. Curley, Church and State in the Spanish Floridas (1783-1822)
(Washington: 1940); Verne E. Chatelain, The Defenses of Spanish Florida
1565 to 1763 (Washington: 1941): Joyce E. Harmon. Trade and
Privateering in Spanish Florida, 1732-1763 (St. Augustine: 1969): Paul E.
Hoffman, "A Study of Florida Defense Costs 1565-1585: A Quantification
of Florida History," Florida Historical Quarterly, LI (1972-73). 401-422:
Samuel Proctor. "Research Opportunities in the Spanish Borderlands:
East Florida," Latin American Research Review, VII(1972); Charlton W.
Tebeau. A History of Florida (Miami: 1971); John J. TePaske. "Economic
Problems of the Florida Governors." Florida Historical Quarterly,
XXXVII (1958-59). 42-52. and The Governorship of Spanish Florida, 1700-
1763 (Durham: 1964); and Arthur P. Whitaker. The Spanish American
Frontier: 1783-1795 (Gloucester: 1962).
2. Pablo Tornero Tinajero. Relaciones de dependencia entire Florida y Estados
Unidos (Madrid: 1979).
3. Antonio de Betancourt. "Filipe V y la Florida." Anuario de Estudios
Americanos. VII(1950).
4. Juan Marchena Fernandez. La institucidn military en Cartagena de Indias
en el siglo XVIII (Sevilla: 1980) and Oficiales y soldados en el ejercito de
America (Sevilla: 1983). Both these works are studies of the characteristics
of the Hispanic American army from 1700 to 1800. The first is a structural
study about how the Spanish colonial military institution in an American
stronghold. Cartagena de Indias in this instance, is created, transformed.
financed, works, and disappears. The latter is a sociological study of the
human component of these troops, officers as well as enlisted men. Thus,
the study covers geographical and social origins, promotions, social
composition of these troops, age levels, marriages, effectiveness, sanitary
conditions, health, etc., through the data furnished by service records and
filiaciones (enlistment records). Service records of 12,000 officers in all
Hispanic American units of the 18th Century, and several thousand
filiaciones of enlisted men were consulted. The service records and
filiaciones pertaining to East Florida are naturally included in the study.
5. Marchena in the first work cited in note 4. In the second book mentioned,
see the chapter on the army and society.
6. Although fortifications and other royal defense works should be studied in
connection with the actual aspect, they were not examined as they are not
the main purpose in this research. Besides, the works on fortifications are
sufficiently exhaustive, ranging from that by Verne Chatelain to the
research being performed by Luis R. Arana. Albert Manucy. and the
[Historic) St. Augustine Preservation Board.
7. Informe [del gobernador Jose) de Zufiiga. 24 de octubre 1701. Archivo
General de Indias(AGI), Santo Domingo 840.

The Defense Structure 51

8. Dead pays were those man-spaces not occupied by soldiers, the salaries of
which were used to pay orphan children, widows, and disabled retirees.
9. Carta de Zifiiga, 15 de noviembre 1701, AGI, Santo Domingo 840.
10. "Estado de la guarnici6n de Florida al 15 de marzo de 1702." ibid.
11. Informe de Znfiiga, 30 de octubre 1701, ibid.
12. Informe de Zifiiga, 24 de octubre 1701, ibid.
13. See note 11 supra.
14. Minuta del Consejo [de Indias] anexa al estado de la guarnici6n de 1702,
AGI, Santo Domingo 840.
15. Informe del gobernador Francisco de C6rcoles y Martinez, 29 de marzo
1706, ibid.
16. Real orden de 22 de febrero de 1722. AGI. Guatemala 872-A.
17. AGI, Santo Domingo 2658.
18. Informe [del.gobernador Juan Francisco] de Giiemes y Horcasitas. de La
Habana], 24 de marzo 1738. AGI, Santo Domingo 2593.
19. Sent from Habana in 1739.
20. Estado de la guarnici6n, AGI, Santo Domingo 2658.
21. Ibid.
22. Informe sobre la guarnici6n. AGI. Santo Domingo 2659. -
23. "Papel del arreglamento en que debe quedar la guarnici6n del presidio de
San Agustin de la Florida." AGI. Santo Domingo 2109. p. 1.
24. See this regulation in Conde de Clonard. Historia orgdnica de las armas de
Infanteria y Caballeria, 16 vols. (Madrid: 1851). VII, 170. and in AGI,
Santa Fe 938.
25. "Papel del arreglamento..."
26. AGI, Santo Domingo 2110.
27. Ibid., article 107.
28. Ibid., article 88.
29. "Suplemento al Reglamento para las plazas de la Habana. Santiago de
Cuba y Florida," AGI, Santo Domingo 2110.
30. AGI. Santo Domingo 2660. Signed in Aranjuez. May 21, 1761.
31. See point 14 of the "Instrucci6n."
32. See the complete dossier in AGI, Santo Domingo 2660.
33. The activation of this battalion as well as its assignment to Florida was not
free from difficulties (see the entire bundle in AGI. Papeles de Cuba 1377).
34. East Florida Papers (EFP) 8457, Revista de comisario, 1789.
35. Ibid., idem, 1790.
36. Ibid.
37. Archivo General de Simancas. Guerra Moderna. 7259.
38. Musters obtained for 1790 (EFP 86H7), 1800 (EFP 175F14), 1810 (EFP
90LT), and 1814 (EFP 175F14).
39. This paper does not cover the organization of the Florida militia, which
existed only on paper. During this period, the three companies of urban
militia, respectively known as the Mahonese. Spanish, and Irish companies
comprising 190 men, were theoretically reorganized. However, according to
the governor, "these companies lack military discipline, and most of them
[the men] have lived many years under English dominion, and others [men]
from Anglo America have been accepted (for service], which makes the
proper conduct in case of attack doubtful. "May 18, 1806 (AGI. Santo
Domingo 2571).
40. These two companies rotated with others from the same regiment
(resolution of the Consejo 1817 [AGI. Ultramar 3041).

52 El Escribano

41. Musters in EFP 85D8. The 3d Battalion, Regiment of Cuba, was
disbanded by the Regulation of March 20. 1815. drafted for [the garrison
of] Habana. However, almost 150 soldiers were left over from that unit.
and the Royal Treasury owed them 69,193 pesos in pay in arrears (AGI.
Papeles de Cuba 2339).
42. These events and the useless Spanish defensive response can be studied in
AGI, Papeles de Cuba 1784. 1875, 1876, and AGI, Ultramar 304.
43. AGI. Santo Domingo 840; Guatemala 872-A; Santo Domingo 2593, 2658.
2659: EFP 84F7, 175F14, 90LT, and 95D8. For the year-by-year
reconstruction of the garrison, see bundles AGI, Santo Domingo 2563
through 2360, and AGI, Papeles de Cuba 336 through 358. since they
contain all the reports from 1700 to 1820 pertaining to it as well as the
monthly muster master's reports.


by Michael C. Scardaville
Jesus Maria Belmonte

Students of Florida's colonial history know too well the
difficulty in locating comprehensive, unbiased reports on St.
Augustine and provinces in the last half century before Spain
ceded Florida to Great Britain. The detailed Solana report of
1759, written by the parish priest Juan Jose Solana, is to date
the best known 18th century account of the colony, although its
virulent attack on Governor Lucas Fernando de Palacio lessens
the value of this document as an impartial analysis of the
colonial bureaucracy.1 The heretofore untranslated and
unpublished 1756 Grinan report offers scholars for the first time
a dispassionate summary account of Florida during the
turbulent years of the late First Spanish Period.2
Information on the author and on the origin of his report is
sketchy and to some extent speculative. Don Julian de Arriaga y
Rivera, the new secretary of State for the Navy and the Indies,
requested a comprehensive report on Florida in order to
familiarize himself with Spain's beleaguered frontier colony.
As chief minister for the New World territories, Arriaga was
principally concerned with military and defense matters: fort-
ifications, troop strength, problems with the vexatious English
and Indians, and descriptions of the coastline. Aware that
Florida was "the first line of defense for New Spain," Arriaga
wanted to make certain that Spain's foothold on the peninsula
was in no immediate danger of falling into English hands.4
To secure a report posthaste, Arriaga turned to Don Pedro
Sanchez Grinan, a minor royal official then stationed in Madrid
but who had previously resided in St. Augustine for a decade.
Arriaga's urgency for information is underscored by the fact
that Grinan had left the colony fourteen years before, although
he indicated that he kept informed of events there through
frequent correspondence with friends and officials.
Grinan lived in St. Augustine from 1731 to 1742 where he was
employed in different unspecified occupations. Because of his


Grilin Report 3

thorough knowledge of trade, commerce, and the nature and
problems of the colonial bureaucracy, it can be assumed that he
was one of the minor treasury officials or perhaps even a
prominent merchant. In 1742, a breakdown in the provisioning
of the colony forced him to accept a new position. As a result of
the tardy arrival of the annual situado (subsidy) and
subsequent shortage of supplies and money, the Junta de
Guerra (Council of War) appointed him temporary situador to
procure food and specie in Mexico.5 No situado had arrived in
Florida since 1738, and conditions in the colony had become
intolerable. Although Grinan "did not return with one
maravedi" of currency, he succeeded in securing over 10,000
arrobas of flour, corn, and ham in addition to such
indispensable items as tallow, wicks, thread, and cloth.6
Grin"an departed Florida after returning from Mexico,
perhaps as a result of a promotion in recognition of his success
in acquiring supplies for St. Augustine at such a critical time.7
No record has been found on him between 1742 and 1756, but his
report had obviously made a favorable impression on the king,
for in 1757 Ferdinand VI appointed him as one of the royal
treasury officials in Santiago, Cuba. Grinan received another
promotion nine years later when he became royal auditor of the
treasury of the important mining city of Pachuca in Mexico,
with a comfortable annual salary of 2,000 pesos. He remained in
this position until his death in early 1771.
As evident in his career in the service of the king, Grinan was
an able and competent royal servant. Yet his report does suffer
from poor organization and several inaccurate dates and place
names. Such problems, however, can be attributed to a hastily
written report that was composed many years after the author
left the colony. Grlian himself states that he quickly responded
to Arriaga's request and that he relied primarily on reflection
and memory to recall the conditions in Florida.
These deficiencies in the report are far outweighed by the
information and insight imparted about the 1730s and early
1740s, a period characterized by substantial population growth,
extensive trade with the English, Indian unrest, and war with
the Georgians. Directed to compose an account about military
matters "and other details relative to the subject," Grinan
proceeded to write a more comprehensive account of St.
Augustine and the provinces. Despite the absence of pasan -
on religious controversies and military defeats. '

El Escribano

:eals a wealth of data about a wide range of topics, from
.itudes towards Indians and criollos, to abortive efforts to
:tle the hinterland, to problems with periodic floods in the
v. Sections dealing with diet, drinking water, and medicinal
rbs are quite illuminating, particularly because of the dearth
such data for this period. Moreover, the author has the ability
discuss not only the major issues facing the colony, such as
fense and subsidy systems, but also such minor matters as
- excessive number of mosquitoes on Anastasia Island in the
Grin ln wrote a document that is both informative and
tertaining. Historians of colonial Florida applaud his effort.

Most Excellent Lord

Don Pedro Sanchez Grinan submits to Your Excellency
the brief account he has written on the presidio of Florida
and Apalache in response to the questions Your Excellency
condescended to ask him in the matter.

My Lord:
Your Excellency, having seen fit to ask me some
questions about the situation of the presidio of St.
Augustine, Florida, and Apalache, their fortifications,
garrison. Christian and heathen Indians, the quality of the
country, the English establishments of the vicinity, the
bars and ports of that coast, and other details relative to
the subject, I responded promptly with what came to
memory. After reflecting on these matters, and believing
myself worthy of my obligation to inform Your Excellency
of everything that has happened to me afterwards, I have
written a brief report based on what I have seen, heard,
and understood in the ten years from 1731 until 1741 (sic)
that I supported myself in that town with different
employment, and based on what I later have learned
through frequent letters that I have received. I wish to
please Your Excellency.
1. Florida: Its Location and Quality of the Country
The presidio and city of St. Augustine, Florida (in North
America) is located at almost thirty degrees latitude on
the banks of a sizeable river that runs from north to south.
The territory of the provinces of this country extends

Grfiin Report 5

northward to the boundary of Canada; eastward it ends at
the North Sea and Carolina or New England; westward to
Louisiana; and southward to the Gulf of Mexico.0 It is a
flat, highly fertile land, with many rivers, swamps, and
lakes. It has large forests of cedars, laurels, evergreen
oaks, live oaks, pines, and other species. It produces
numerous deer, bear, buffalo, and many fowl. The air is
very healthful, and the people lead robust lives without
experiencing the number of illnesses that are suffered in
2. The City and its Plan
The city is a settlement of about five hundred houses that
are built of wood, tabby, and a few of hewn stone and
mortar.11 Its inhabitants consist of the officers, soldiers,
and artillerymen of the garrison, some merchants,
mestizos, and free mulattoes. The town is located on the
bank of the river. The ground is sandy and water is found
at a depth of one and one-half varas.12 The pattern of its
streets and houses differs very little from other towns in
America, and since the houses are widely separated from
each other, the people customarily plant some corn,
legumes, or vegetables on their lots. They drink well
water, somewhat nitrous but healthy. The natives of the
city, who are of Spanish descent, are called criollos. They
are brave, very upright in their behavior, ingenious, and
inclined to war.

3. Parish Church
The only parish church in the city is built of tabby and
wood and is poorly equipped. It is served by a priest, an
elder sexton, an organist, and two acolytes who are paid a
total of about one thousand pesos from the Real Hacienda
(Royal Treasury) 13
4. Saint Francis Convent
The Convent of Saint Francis, which until the last war was
chapter headquarters, ordinarily contains five or six friars
who, with others, are employed in teaching the natives of
the five villages in the vicinity.4 [The friars] and the
chaplain from Apalache constitute the number of
instructors that His Majesty supports, giving each one
suitable sustenance of about two hundred pesos from t,-
annual subsidy.15

El Escribano

5. Chapel of the Fortress
The accouterments of the chapel of the principal fortress
as well as the chaplain's annual salary of three hundred
pesos are defrayed by the Real Hacienda.
6. Offering for Bread and Wine
The offering for bread and wine in all the churches and the
oil for the sacramental lamps also are paid out of the Real
7. Hospital
The hospital consists of one narrow room of hewn stone
and mortar which holds only eight to ten beds. Since it
receives no funds other than those deducted from the pay
of the few unmarried soldiers, convict laborers, and royal
slaves who are treated there, it lacks clothing and other
indispensable items for the aid and comfort of the
8. Barracks
The presidio had no barracks other than those of the
fortress and principal guardhouse until the arrival of
reinforcements from Havana in 1740. Four spacious
wooden galleries were then constructed, two of them near
the guardhouse and the other two within the defense line
facing the north.7
9. Commerce of Florida
The commerce of Florida, supplied by two or three sloops
which arrive from Havana twice a year, is dispensed in ten
or twelve stores that sell rum, wine, vinegar, sugar,
tobacco, spices, lard, soap, tallow candles, and other
provisions, with a few kinds of silk, wool, linen goods,
ribbons, and other trifles. The delay [in the arrival of] the
annual subsidies compels the soldiers of the garrison to go
into debt with the merchants who furnish them with the
goods and money necessary for their survival. And since it
frequently happens that the soldier receives no cash from
his pay because of the many deductions, the merchants
suffer just as much from this deficiency as the troops.
10. Need for Justices and an Attorney
Field Marshal Don Manuel de Montiano, aware of how the
civil litigations among the populace in Florida burdened
the governor, proposed to His Majesty that two justices,
chosen annually, be installed to administer justice at the
lower level.8 I do not recall if he also indicated, as did Lt.

Grfnan Report

General Don Antonio de Benavides, the pressing need for a
lawyer who could discharge the duties (as in other places
in America) of Auditor de Guerra (military legal advisor)
and civil legal adviser.19 Since a lawyer is not available, it
is necessary to forward the legal documents to Havana,
causing much injury to the parties and considerable delay
in the processing of the cases. At the time of the last war
with England, this need became evident because of
questions that arose over the depositions concerning some
prizes that were brought into port by Spanish privateers.20
11. Garrison of the Presidio and State of its Pay
The three hundred and fifty positions in the garrison's
allotment consist of a governor, appointed by His Majesty,
who holds the rank of captain general of the presidio and
province, three infantry companies, one cavalry and one
artillery company, ministers of the Real Hacienda and
officials of its accountancy, two harbor pilots, some sailors
and cabin-boys to man the launches, a surgeon, a barber,
interpreters of Indian languages, and an armorer. Their
salaries and allowances amount to one hundred and
twenty or one hundred and thirty thousand pesos annually,
subsidies paid from receipts of the alcabalas (sales tax) in
Puebla de los Angeles. When such receipts fail to cover the
amount needed, the balance is drawn from the treasury of
Mexico, along with the two reales daily subsidy that is
appropriated for the widows and orphans of officials and
soldiers, funds assigned by His Majesty since 1731. A
military official used to be sent out from Florida every
year to collect the subsidy, but this procedure is no longer
followed since the Royal Havana Company has assumed
responsibility for supplying the presidio. When the subsidy
(along with the others from the Windward Islands) arrives
in Havana, the Company deducts the cost of the supplies
and forwards the balance to the treasury of Florida.
However, this payment is more than three years overdue,
and thus, the presidio's claim against the Real Hacienda
amounts to more than four hundred thousand pesos.
Although representations and petitions about this delay
have been sent to the viceroy, asking him to release some
of the funds annually and to continue doing so until the
payment is completed, exigencies of war and other
necessities of the crown have not permitted the implemen-

El Escribano
station of what His Majesty has arranged. For the troops it
is most regrettable that, in addition to the serious delay
that results from the mentioned deficit, it sometimes
happens that a portion of the cash on hand is borrowed in
order to defray the expenses caused by the indispensable
repairs of fortifications, for the daily rations of the
reinforcements, and for other [expenses] which were not
reimbursed in Mexico because of some question about the
reliability of the certificates or because of not having funds
in the treasury. As a result, the account, remaining
unsettled from one subsidy to another, is delivered too late
or is added to the former arrears. Because of this the
salaries which were not collected in Mexico are made up
from the salary of the poor soldier, resulting in such pitiful
outcries in the garrison as to arouse the greatest

12. Provision of Supplies in Florida
Formerly provisions for the presidio were supplied from
the Kingdom of New Spain on one or two vessels which also
transported uniforms and the balance of the money for the
payment of the garrison. Having experienced onr many
occasions that the delay [in the arrival] of the subsidies
due to shipwreck and other contingencies caused the
greatest necessity in the town, Lieutenant General Don
Antonio de Benavides described [to the king] the total
misfortune that had subjugated the troops and inhabitants,
and, because of the exigencies that occurred, asked
permission to transport provisions from the nearest
English ports. This His majesty conceded in a royal order
communicated by the Most Excellent Lord, Don Joseph
Patifno2 This measure brought much relief to the garrison
because it facilitated the supply of provisions. Since the
English provisions were at least half as expensive, the
soldiers were able to use the rest of their annual salary, 50,
60 or 70 pesos, to clothe their families and repair some of
the damages to their homes. On the contrary, they were
left with nothing when the provisions were transported
from New Spain, and as in the contract recently made with
the Havana Company, they lack the advantages that they
had before. I understand they are quite unhappy [with the
new arrangement] ?2

Grfian Report 9

13. Reserve of Provisions
Considering the importance of Florida having a reserve of
provisions sufficient for its garrison, His Majesty ordered
the viceroy of New Spain to advance to the presidio the
sum of twelve thousand pesos which was considered
necessary for this supply. When the Havana Company was
in charge of assisting in the subsidy, it agreed, whenever
necessary, to advance the provisions for one year, but in
spite of these precautions, I understand that the populace
has suffered some scarcity.24
14. Urban Militia of Spaniards
Merchants, craftsmen, and other inhabitants form a
company of about 120 men, the officers of which are
appointed by the governor. Although they serve on many
occasions, suffering as much hardship as the regular
troops, they do not receive any salary, expense money, or
15. Mestizos and Free Mulattoes
The mestizos and free mulattoes form a separate corps of
80 men. They are appointed when needed and are provided
with arms and ammunitions at the expense of the Real
16. Christian Indians
There are 50 to 60 armed men in the Indian villages around
the town who serve on frequent expeditions, by regularly
accompanying the cavalry squads on patrols in the
17. Fortress of the Town
The main fortress, situated on the northern side of the
settlement, is built of mortar and hewn stone and is rather
strong, especially after the repairs which have been made,
including the vaulting of the storerooms and barracks
within the enclosure. The shape is square with four
bastions at the four angles. On [the bastions] and on the
four curtains are mounted almost forty cannon, most of
them iron, a few bronze, but some with less than half of
their expected serviceability. It has a good moat, a
covered way, and salients.25
18. Line that Faces the Northern Field
A line constructed of stakes, yuccas, and sod (very
sufficient as a parapet for the infantry) extends westward
from the fortress for almost one mile. It reaches as far as a

10 El Escribano

creek, where at its shore is a small wooden bastion, named
the Cubo, [surrounded] by yuccas and [mounted] with
three falconets.26 In the middle of the line is another simi-
lar bastion which is called Medio Cubo. Each bastion has a
garrison composed of a corporal and three soldiers.27
19. Line of Circumvallation
Another line, made of the same materials as the one
mentioned above, extends from the Medio Cubo to encircle
the settlement, and has three other bastions of the same
type as those already referred to.2
20. Fort Saint Francis
At the southern end of the settlement where the line of
circumvallation ends, there is a mortar and hewn stone
fort which mounts five cannon and is garrisoned by a
corporal, three soldiers, and an artilleryman.29
21. The River: Its Floods and Abundance of Fish
The river is of sufficient depth to serve as a port for the
vessels. It washes against the eastern portion of the main
fortress and against Fort Saint Francis, making a beach to
the city which has been inundated many times by its rising
waters, especially when a northeaster agitates the sea?0
The river is abundant in fish, and along with corn, supports
many people of the city cheaply.
22. Bar of the Port
The bar of the port, situated four fifths of a league
southeast of the main fortress, ranges between 12 and 16
palmos of wafer at high tide. It changes with any small
storm because its bottom consists of loose sand.31
23. Scarcity of Fresh Meat in Florida and Method of
Supplying Some Cows and Horses
Raids of heathen Indians destroyed the many plantations
formerly in the provinces and ran off many of the cattle.
Despite the resulting scarcity of fresh beef, numerous
herds of cattle and wild and ferocious horses remained in
the region, some of which were caught annually in spring
by two or three mulattoes whose equipment expenses were
defrayed by some merchants of the city. These cattle, as
well as others that are slaughtered and sold by two or three
residents who maintain small ranches, supply the city on
several days of the year.
24. Quality of the Meat and Horses
The beef is very tasty and nutritious. The fat horses [reach

Grfian Report 11

a height] of seven or more hand spans and are broken with
little effort. They are used in the cavalry company of the
presidio as pack horses and for other purposes.
25. Asses, Mules, Sheep, and Goats
There are no species of asses, mules, sheep, or goats, nor
do I have knowledge that there have ever been any in these
26. Inclinations, Vices, and Villages of the
Christian Indians
In the environs of Florida32 (but outside of the circum-
vallation line and under the cannon of the fortresses),
there are five small villages of Christian Indians from the
Yamasee Nation that are inhabited by up to one hundred
families.33 Their dwellings are small palm houses, much
distant from one another, and they plant corn and legumes
on their respective plots. But because of their limited
efforts at farming, for they do not put much effort into this
work, they produce only a very small harvest. They use
most of their time to hunt, for which they have more
inclination, and also to wage war. They are brave, but
greatly inclined to inebriety, consuming in this vice
whatever they earn from their hunting and even from the
fruits of their sowing.
27. Negro Village at Mose
A village one league north of Florida was formed by 45 or
50 Negroes who, anxious to embrace and follow the
Catholic Religion, came from the plantations of St.
George.34 There also was a small wooden and yucca fort
[mounted] with two or three stone-firing mortars which
the English overpowered in 1740 when they laid seige to the
presidio. They were beaten back and defeated by the
troops of the garrison, but the fortification and huts were
entirely destroyed.35
28. Picolata River and its Former Watchtower
A small wooden fort [mounted] with two or three
stone-firing mortars [and manned by] a sergeant and
eight garrison soldiers formerly was located five leagues
north of Florida on the edge of the Picolata River. Its
purpose was to guard against possible war parties of
infidel Indian troops and to allow the passage of couriers
and some small parties of people who were traveling to
Apalache. This fort and its garrison were tikn h', the

12 El Escribano

English in 1740, who, upon retreating, completely
destroyed it along with two nearby cattle ranches
belonging to Don Antonio Regidor and Diego Espinosa.36
29. Small Forts in the Indian Villages
In the five Christian Indian villages there are several very
small wooden forts, each with three or four small cannon.
They are under the care of an artilleryman and provide
refuge and defense for the families in case of enemy
30. Matanzas Bar and Fortress
Matanzas Bar, located five leagues to the south of the bar
of the port, only permits the passage of such small vessels
as schooners and sloops, although provisions were brought
through here from Havana when [the English] laid siege
to Florida. To defend this entrance, a small mortar and
hewn stone fort was recently constructed, mounted with
some medium caliber cannon and garrisoned by a junior
officer or sergeant, six or eight soldiers, an artilleryman,
and two Indians who serve as couriers.37
31. St. Anastasia Island: Its Land and Watchtower
The Island of St. Anastasia lies to the east of the city and is
bounded on the north by the bar of the port, on the south by
the Matanzas Bar, on the east by the coast or mouth of the
Bahama Channel, and on the west by the river. This island
(which is five leagues long) produces many veins of good
quality stone, especially useful for fortifications since it
hardens when bound together with mortar. It has been
discovered that bullets striking these walls remain
embedded in them. occupying the same hole that made the
damage. A mortar and hewn stone watchtower is
maintained on the northern part of the island, from which
the coast can be surveyed from north to south for more
than three leagues in each direction. It always is
garrisoned by a corporal and three soldiers who are on
duty to sight vessels at a distance and to put the respective
signal over the tower to inform the presidio. A pilot boat is
immediately dispatched [from the town] to the bar for the
purpose of conducting the vessel into port. The land is not
suitable for sowing nor for the planting of trees. However,
in the western part of the island along the shore of the
river, some corn of good quality and different vegetables
are produced on a small plantation farmed by a resident of

Grinan Report 13

the town with his slaves. [This farmer] also keeps several
cows for the production of his own milk and meat.38 All the
country of Florida suffers the plague of mosquitoes in the
summer, but there is an excessive abundance of these
insects on St. Anastasia Island. Near the watchtower is a
small spring of tasty water that is used for drinking by
some families of the city.
32. Presidio of Apalache
The wooden fort of San Marcos de Apalache, located about
eighty leagues west of Florida, [was armed] with ten or
twelve cannon and was garrisoned by a commanding
captain, 50 infantry soldiers, several artillerymen, and a
few Christian Indians who served as couriers. A discussion
about making this fortification stronger and more durable
led to the decision to construct it out of a type of stone that
is found in that vicinity at a depth of one or one and
one-half varas. When this stone is cut, it is pulled out soft
like recently made adobe, but when exposed to the sun and
air, it quickly assumes the consistency of good brick. Upon
completing the necessary survey, which I believe [was
done] by the Engineer of Havana Don Antonio de
Arredondo, the structure was planned, and construction
commenced and continued with fervor, but I do not know
whether it was continued after 1740.39 From correspon-
dence I know for certain that the presidio was destroyed
completely and the troops perished when a flood from the
sea dashed it to pieces. I have no news that it has been
rebuilt, but I suppose it is indispensable,
33. Country from Florida to Apalache Inspected by Two
Engineers and Project for Settlements
All the land from Florida to Apalache is flat, with many
rivers, swamps, and lakes. Although the surface is sandy,
it is extremely fertile, and when cultivated, produces the
same crops as the most fertile region in Spain. Formerly
there were many plantations in this territory which were
so abundant in products that wheat, barley, vegetables,
and other goods were exported to the Island of Havana. In
some places one still finds traces of buildings, fields and
plantings of fruit trees [as well as] numerous cows and
fierce, wild horses. Today all this land is abandoned and is
in the same condition as it was when, at the order of the
king, it was inspected in 1731 by two engineers and

14 El Escribano

Lieutenant General Don Antonio de Benavides, then
governor of these provinces. Upon their return they
prepared and sent to the crown a plan which proposed to
establish settlements and construct garrisoned forti-
fications for their defense. However, difficulties and
increasing costs made it impossible to put this plan into
34. Project of Don Manuel de Montiano
I understand that Field Marshal Don Manuel de Montiano,
former governor of the presidio, considered it possible,
and not costly to the Real Hacienda, to establish villages
from the St. Johns River (twelve leagues north of Florida)
to the town. I am convinced that his reports to the crown
resulted in His Majesty agreeing to permit the Havana
Company of Commerce to transport 500 families to form
ten towns, I do not know in what places, but I would deduce
that the royal order was in conformity with the proposal of
the cited Don Manuel de Montiano. Since the war with
England intervened at nearly the same time as the
establishment of the company, this obligation was
temporarily suspended, and I have not heard whether it
since has been fulfilled.
35. Project of a Resident of Florida
One long-time resident with considerable practical
knowledge in the country prepared and sent to the crown a
project that would facilitate the means of establishing
several settlements in the above area. [He suggested] that
His Majesty confer four or six Titles of Castile on wealthy
residents of New Spain who would obligate themselves to
pay the cost of [transporting] the families and establishing
the villages according to the prescribed regulations. This
idea has the support of many.40
36. Gratuity to the Indians
The Christian Indians and the heathen [Indians] who offer
friendship are rewarded annually with six thousand pesos
of goods which the natives esteem and use. The
merchandise, consigned by His Majesty, is distributed by
an administrator appointed by the governor and royal
37. Convict Laborers Employed on the Work of the
Fortifications of the Town
Fifty or sixty convict laborers are sent from the Kingdom

Griian Report 15

of New Spain to work continually on the fortifications and
other tasks in the town. The two reales daily that His
Majesty ordered for their sustenance are claimed in the
subsidy as one of its supplemental accounts.
38. Junta de Guerra of the Town
The Junta de Guerra (Council of War) of the presidio is
composed of the governor, royal officials, the sergeant
major, captains, and junior officers of the garrison. When
the Junta discusses matters relative to the garrison
subsidy, contracts for provisions and other subjects which
are not purely military, they meet with the Auxiliary
Bishop of Havana who resides there or, in his absence,
with the parish priest and the guardian of the Saint
Francis Convent. All Junta de Guerra decisions on fiscal
matters are presented to the governor and royal officials
who, in their resolutions, determine the appropriate
action.42 Until 1754, the treasury was in the charge of two
royal officials, a contador (accountant) and a tesorero
(treasurer), but with the new regulations recently enacted
in the town, only the tesorero remains. [This official],
along with a senior and an assistant official and a supply
clerk, administers the office.
39. Heathen Indians: Regions They Inhabit
and Their Customs
The villages of the heathen Indians who inhabit the interior
provinces extend a hundred or more leagues from
Apalache, and from the west-northwest to the south, are
bordered by the provinces of the Chichimecas, Guastela,
and New Mexico. The lands they possess are like those of
Apalache and Florida, abundant in forests, livestock,
game and fowl, and with many rivers and lakes. No one
knows the number of villages and tribes that it comprises.
Several parties of Indians have come to the presidio to
ratify the friendship they had promised, including the
Uchizes, Yamasees, Talapuses, and Chickasaws. These
four, among others, are the most important and numerous
tribes in the region. The Indians are tall, somewhat brown
in color, brave, inclined to war, but cruel and prone to
drunkeness. Most of the time they live in the field either
warring or hunting. They dress in pelts, but all their
clothing consists only of a sleeveless hide that reaches
midway to the thigh, a strip of cloth or leather one tercia

16 El Escribano

wide which covers the pubic parts, and boots and chamois
sandals for walking.43 They feed on bear, buffalo, deer
meat and corn cake, and when they lack these on their
journeys, they fill up on hearts of palm and different
nutritious roots. They paint their faces and bodies with
various subtle colors which they extract from plants. They
wage war in parties of 50, 70, 100 or more men, always by
ambush and never in the open. Some of them ask for
baptism, not out of religious conviction, but for the receipt
of the present the godparents customarily give. They have
an aversion to cultivating the fields, and they plant only a
little corn and some vegetables. Because of limited
cultivation, the production is not in proportion to the fertile
land. Many medicinal herbs are grown here, and among
them are some with marvelous efficacy for curing fever,
wounds, and spasms.44
40. Failure of the Friendship Pacts and
Frequent Unrest in Florida
Despite the gratuities given to them, the Florida Indians
(especially the Chickasaws) break the friendship pacts
they had contracted, making frequent incursions to within
view of the fortifications of the town. [On such raids] they
have taken and killed many men whom they found
hunting, fishing, or cutting firewood, and they have done
the same in the villages in the vicinity. To contain and
force them to keep their word, it was once thought possible
to wage a war on them in their own territories, using the
Indians from Canada or New France to assist the Florida
troops for this purpose. Upon hearing of this proposal by
the governor, His Majesty resolved not to change the
intercourse and friendship that existed with the [Indians].
41. St. Johns River
The St. Johns River, twelve leagues to the north of the
presidio, is a sizeable body of water which flows deeply
into the country. It is abundant in fish, and at certain times
of the year Florida fishermen go there to catch roe mullet.
On some occasions a concealed guard in a canoe has been
posted at those places where enemy Indians customarily
pass for the purpose of ascertaining if they are destined for
the town. I have heard that this land could be guarded and
defended with the construction of three or four small
fortifications on the shore of the river and with the

Grirfif Report 17

increase of 50 horses in the garrison cavalry company.
42. Gualquini Bar
The Gualquini Bar,45 situated thirty leagues north of
Florida, is where, in 1741, the English constructed a
wooden fort to defend the port and where, I believe, at a
distance of two and one-half leagues, they established the
town they named Frederica. [The town] was inhabited by
60 or 80 families, although its size later increased
according to what they have written me. Although an
armed expedition that left from Havana and Florida in
1742 succeeded in overwhelming the port, destroying the
fortress and forcing its abandonment, the mentioned town
remained fortified and garrisoned. Some of its families
left, seeking better land for their crops, and made their
farms at places more suitable to them. They soon were
forced to return, however, when a party of our Indians
overtook and destroyed the blockhouse they had built on
the place named St. Simon, killing or taking prisoner 14
men, 3 women, and four children.6
This, Excellent Lord, to the best of my memory and with
some thought, is all I have been able to gather on the
matter. If I may humbly hope that this small work will
please Your Excellency, I will have the greatest
satisfaction that one can imagine. And if in some papers
that I am awaiting from Cadiz I can find the annotations I
made in Florida on the bars, rivers, and other places along
the northern coast, I will communicate immediately to
Your Excellency the information I can infer from them.
May God guard the Most Excellent Person of Your
Excellency as many years as I desire and need.
Madrid, July 7, 1756
At the Feet of Your Excellency
Pedro Sanchez Grinan

El Escribano


7- ~ /7r" /

Last page of 1756 Grifin Report.

Grfiian Report 19


1. Juan Jose' Solana to Julian de Arriaga, St. Augustine, April 9, 1760,
Archivo General de Indias, Seville (hereafter cited as AGI) 86-7-21/41,
John B. Stetson Collection, P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History,
University of Florida, Gainesville (hereafter cited as SC).
2. The original manuscript is in the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid,
MS 11.265 19. A microfilm copy can be found in the P.K. Yonge Library
of Florida History, Reel 141-P, Madrid. Biblioteca Nacional. Departamento
de Manuscritos. Dr. Scardaville and Mr. Belmonte collaborated on the
translation, although Dr. Scardaville is solely responsible for the intro-
ductory and editorial comments. The editors would like to thank Luis
R. Arana, Historian at the Castillo de San Marcos, for his assistance in
translating several key passages.
3. Ferdinand VI appointed Arriaga Secretary of State on July 22, 1754.
4. Junta de Guerra to Crown, Madrid, May 23, 1709, AGI 58-1-20/116,
Spanish Records Collection, North Carolina Department of Archives and
History, Raleigh.
5. Governor Manuel de Montiano and Royal Officials to Crown, St.
Augustine, May 22, 1742, AGI 58-2-13/5 (SC). Griia'n does not appear in
the military rosters of the period, although the above document describes
him as an alferez or ensign. Perhaps he was a reformado, a former soldier
who was called back to active duty by the governor to perform a particular
task for the crown. It is significant to note that the Junta selected Griinai
as a replacement for the original situador who had died before departing
for Mexico. Consequently circumstances forced the Council to hastily
accept a person-who was not currently a soldier, but who was familiar with
the needs of the colony and the workings of the subsidy system.
6. Governor Manuel de Montiano and Royal Officials to Cron, St.
Augustine, March 26, 1743, AGI 58-1-34/71 (SC); AGI, Contadura 962A,
No. 3. Grinan was in Veracruz during the month of August, 1742. One
arroba is equivalent to twenty-five pounds.
7. In addition to the crisis caused by the non-arrival of the subsidy, Governor
Montiano was planning to invade Georgia during the summer of 1742.
The English victory at Bloody Marsh coincided with Gri-aln's arrival in
Mexico. John Jay TePaske, The Governorship of Spanish Florida,
1700-1763 (Durham, N.C., 1964), pp. 146-152.
8. Mark Frederick Boyd and Jose Navarro Latorre, "The Presidio of San
Augustine (sic) de la Florida: Remote Outpost of the Viceroyalty of New
Spain," 2 vols., Unpublished MS in P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History
(Tallahassee, 1967), II: 245.
9. A presidio, one of the principal frontier institutions, is generally defined as
a fortified settlement designed to secure travel routes, protect lines of

20 El Escribano

communications, and impede invasions of hostile Indians and enemy
European powers. Numerous presidios were scattered along Spain's
frontier in North America, and, as with St. Augustine, permanent towns
frequently developed around these settlements.
10. Grin-an describes the 16th century boundaries of Florida, overlooking the
English settlements along the eastern seaboard of the continent. He
chooses to ignore both the 1670 Treaty of Madrid in which Spain and
England established boundaries in the southeast and the subsequent
English incursions and settlements into Spanish Guale or Georgia. See
Herbert E. Bolton and Mary Ross, The Debatable Land (Berkeley, 1925)
for an elaboration on the English preemption of the southeast.
11. In 1740, an English spy calculated that there were about 300 houses in the
city, a more realistic estimate in my opinion. Albert Manucy, The Houses
of St. Augustine, 1565-1821 (St. Augustine, 1962), p. 28. Grinan's
comments on the "few" coquina houses perhaps indicates that most of the
construction in stone took place between the War of Jenkins' Ear
(1740-42) and the evacuation of St. Augustine in 1764 when 36 percent
of the houses were built of this material. Juan Joseph Elixio de la Puente,
"Plano de la Real Fuerza, Baluartes, y Linea de la Plaza de San Agustin
de la Florida ...." St. Augustine, January 22, 1764. Copy in Historic St.
Augustine Preservation Board, St. Augustine, Florida.
12. One Spanish vara is approximately 2.75 English feet or 33 inches.
13. The site of the parish church, Nuestra Se ora de la Soledad, is on a vacant
lot across from St. Joseph's Academy on St. George St.
14. Throughout this report the "last war" refers to the 1740-42 War of
Jenkins' Ear.
15. The report has comparatively little information on religious matters, and
justifiably so, since Arriaga at this time was not as concerned with this
topic. Grinan, for example, does not mention the arrival of the Auxiliary
Bishop of Cuba which sparked a religious revival in the colony nor does he
discuss the criollo-Spanish rift within the Franciscan Order which
ultimately undermined the regular clergy in Florida. See Michael V.
Gannon, The Cross in the Sand (Gainesville. 1965), pp. 78-82.
16. The hospital was attached to the dilapidated La Soledad parish church.
William M. Straight, "Medicine in St. Augustine During the Spanish
Period," Journal of Florida Medical History 55 (August 1968): p. 737.
17. The 400 reinforcements actually arrived in 1738. Cuban Governor Giemes
also sent 6,000 pesos which Governor Montiano used to construct the
new barracks. TePaske, pp. 138-139. The defense line Grinian refers to is
the Cubo line.
18. Montiano was governor from 1737-1749.
19. Benavides was governor from 1718-1734.
20. The inherent weakness in the judicial system in Florida was the lack of an
experienced legal advisor to assist the governor in the administration of
justice. The governors were without exception men with a long military
background who were unable to handle the complexities of legal

Griiian Report 21

procedures in the civilian courts. See TePaske, pp. 58-76.
21. The failure to establish an adequate annual supply system was the most
critical problem facing all Florida governors. Reform of the system in
1702 (when the subsidy was thenceforth financed by the alcabalas of
Puebla in Mexico) and again in 1740 (when the newly-created Havana
Company was obligated to supply Florida with its annual quota of supplies
and money) failed to correct the chronic problems of delays, high prices
and poor quality of goods, and the occasional disappearance or seizures of
the subsidy ships. Moreover, as Grinin states, the specie, most of which
went to pay the soldiers, often was consumed by non-authorized expenses.
Mexican treasury officials frequently refused to reimburse these
expenditures since they either complained of a lack of money themselves
or disallowed on legal technicalities the certificados (certified statements)
which the Florida governors submitted to justify the reimbursement. For
an excellent summary of the situado system, see TePaske, pp. 77-91 and
22. Patifo was Philip V's Secretary of State for the Navy and the Indies from
1726-1736. This royal order temporarily overrode the existing laws
prohibiting trade with the English colonies.
23. Grina'n neglects to mention here, as in other places, the controversial
Francisco del Moral Sanchez, governor of Florida from 1734-37. Illegal
trade with Charleston and New York merchants reached unprecedented
levels during his administration, although all governors in the late First
Spanish Period relied upon the English goods. See Joyce Elizabeth
Harman, Trade and Privateering in Spanish Florida, 1732-1763 (St.
Augustine, 1969).
24. The contingency fund of 12,000 pesos first was established in 1731 and
reiterated in the ordinances of the Havana Company nine years later.
Usually the emergency fund was either quickly exhausted or never was
sent to the colony. TePaske, pp. 95-97.
25. The Castillo de San Marcos was constructed between 1672 and 1695,
although major alterations took place in 1739 and 1755-56. Grinman
describes the vaulting of the east side of the fortress. Luis Rafael Arana
and Albert Manucy, The Building of Castillo de San Marcos (Philadelphia,
1977), pp. 25-36, 43-46, and 51-52.
26. A falconet is a type of a small cannon,
27. The Cube line, built to supplement the defenses of the Castillo, was
constructed within two years after Governor James Moore of Carolina laid
siege to and leveled the city in 1702. This east-west palisade, with its
three bastions, ran along present-day Orange St. for a distance of less
than one-half mile, not one mile as Grinan states. The Medio Cubo was
located in the vicinity of the current Ketterlinus Junior High School.
28. Griftan's memory fails him to a greater extent in this section. The line
of circumvallation, or the Rosario line, commenced not at the Medio Cubo,
but at the Santo Domingo bastion which was located at the current inter-
section of Orange and Cordova Streets. Moreover, there were twice

22 El Escribano

as many redoubts along the southern extension of the Rosario line than
Gri-an enumerated. Antonio de Arredondo, "Plan de la Ciudad de San
Agustin de la Florida ...," Havana, May 15, 1737 in Verne E. Chatelain,
The Defenses of Spanish Florida, 1565 to 1763 (Washington, D.C., 1941),
Map 10. With the completion of the Rosario line in 1719, defense lines
surrounded St. Augustine on its three landed sides.
29. Technically, Fort St. Francis was not a fort, but the southeasternmost
bastion along the Rosario line. It was located to the east of the present-
day intersection of Marine and San Salvadore Streets.
30. Floods plagued the city throughout the colonial period, despite the flimsy
wall built by Governor Canzo in the late 16th century. On an inspection of
Florida in 1674, Bishop Calderon of Cuba commented that the river
"buffets" the town, "leaving it half submerged from hurricanes as it lies at
sea level." A coquina seawall was to be built in the 1690s which was to
extend the entire length of the settlement. Insufficient funds, however,
permitted the construction of the new barrier only from the Castillo to
the plaza, and consequently, the southern portion of the town remained
exposed to the storm tides during Grinan's tenure in St. Augustine.
Chatelain, pp. 79, 157-158 note 4, and 161 note 25. Also see the cited
1737 Arredondo and 1764 Puente maps.
31. One league is approximately 2.6 miles, and one palmo is the equivalent of
8.23 inches. The port bar historically has posed a danger to vessels
entering and leaving the shallow inlet leading into the harbor. One method
of reducing the risk of shipwreck was to unload the supply ships at the
-mouth of the bar and transport the cargo to the wharves on small
launches. TePaske, p. 101.
32. In this and succeeding sections, Florida refers to St. Augustine.
33. The number of Indian villages around St. Augustine, most of them
inhabited by the displaced Yamasee tribe of Carolina and Georgia, steadily
decreased in the late First Spanish Period. From a high of ten villages
with 1,000 Indians in 1726, the number of neighboring settlements
dropped to two, Tolomato and La Punta, in the 1750s and early 1760s, and
the number of inhabitants dipped below 100. Nothing shows the failure of
Spain's Indian policy in the southeast in the mid-18th century more
dramatically than the declining number of Indian villages "under the
cannon of the fortresses." Verner W. Crane, The Southern Frontier,
1670-1732 (Ann Arbor, 1956), pp. 267-268; "Reglamento para el
Presidio de San Augustin de la Florida .. .," Mexico City, April 8, 1753,
AGI, Cuba 372, fols. 10-11; Puente to Governor of Cuba, Havana, May 8,
1770, AGI, Santo Domingo 2595.
34. In an effort to undermine the English at St. George (Charleston), the
Spanish crown in 1733 offered freedom to all slaves who escaped the
English settlements and adopted Roman Catholicism in Florida. As more
slaves fled to the Spanish colony, Governor Montiano in 1739 settled them
in the fortified village known as Santa Teresa de la Gracia Real de Mose.
"The Mose Site," El Escribano 10 (April 1973): pp. 52-53.

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