Chapter I: Prelude to Trouble, 1784-1792


Material Information

Chapter I: Prelude to Trouble, 1784-1792
Series Title:
Castillo de San Marcos Terreplein Project
Physical Description:
Luis R. Arana
Publication Date:
Physical Location:
Folder: Prior excavations, research, & reports

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
97-3003; 93-3000; 94-3000
Castillo de San Marcos
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Full Text

Chapter I

Prelude to Trouble, 1784-1792

The definitive Treaty of Versailles, signed on September 3, 1783, ended the war between Spain, France, and Holland on one side and Great Britain on the other. This war and the concurrent American Revolution had constituted the components of a much broader global conflict. The treaty directed Britain to restore both East and West Florida to Spain, and made operative the provisional treaty of November 30, 1782, whereby the British had recognized the independence of the United States. The second Spanish period in West Florida had begun in 1781 with the British surrender of Pensacola.

1784. In East Florida, Spanish sovereignty returned on July 12. On this date Governor

Manuel Vicente de C6spedes received the delivery of St. Augustine, Castillo de San Marcos, and posts in the vicinity from Governor Patrick Tonyn and Brigadier Archibald McArthur. C6spedes had arrived from Habana on June 26 with 500 men in twelve transports and a fund of 40,000 esos.2

The staff of the arriving force included Engineer-in-ordinary (captain) Mariano de la

Rafael Altamira, Historia de Espafia v de la civilizaci6n esopaiola, 4 v. (Barcelona: 192829), IV, 63-70; A. W. Ward, G. W. Prothero, and Stanley Leathes (eds.), The Cambridge Modern History, 14 v. (Cambridge: 1902-12), VI, 375-77, 381, 464; VII, 232.

2 Gov. Vicente Manuel de C6spedes of East Florida to Army Intendant Juan Ignacio de Urriza of Cuba, July 22 and 26, 1784, East Florida Papers (Library of Congress), Bundle 55, Documents 14 and 15 respectively. Hereafter, the bundle and documents numbers of a document in the EFP will be expressed thus "55/14, 15." The EFP are available at Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in a 175-reel microfilm collection. The Spanish monetary unit e-so was made up in 1784-1821 by 8 reale, and each real consisted in turn of 34 maravedises, tomines, or cuartillos, the use of one of the latter terms depending whether one was in Spain, M6xico, or Cuba.


Rocque with the title of commanding engineer. Mariano Luis Pablo de la Rocque, the son of Luis de la Rocque and Catalina Rostan, was born in Tarragona (Spain) on September 20, 1736. He entered military service in 1751, but the dates of his appointment as subaltern, and promotion to lieutenant, are unknown. By July 18, 1777, however, De la Rocque was a lieutenant in, and the adjutant of, the Infantry Regiment de Principe serving in Habana. By March 11, 1781, he had been promoted to captain, and was mentioned as due to embark as an engineer volunteer in an expedition commanded by General Victorio Navia. The ensuing July 2, De la Rocque was granted permission to marry Maria Angela Huet, the daughter of Brigadier Luis Huet and Birbara Bontempo, and the marriage took place probably soon thereafter. At the time, Brigadier Huet was engineer-in-chief, quartermaster general for operations, and director of fortifications construction in Cuba. By August 24, 1781, De la Rocque had been appointed by the crown as an engineer-inordinary. He disembarked in St. Augustine on June 30, 1784 accompanied by his wife and two children.

Eighteen days after his arrival, Engineer do la Rocque had inspected St. Augustine. He

found that nearly all the public buildings needed repairs, but in Castillo de San Marcos specifically the terreplein was cracked in places, and provisions and stores in the vaults below were being damaged by water. The age-old problem of rainwater leakage through the terreplein surface had persisted through the 21/year British rule. In addition, the bridges were so weakened by rot that

3 "Relaci6n de las embarcaciones...," June 9, 1784, 54/5; De La Rocque to Gov. Luis de Unzaga of Cuba, July 30, 1784, in Joseph B. Lockey, East Florida 1783-1785 (Berkeley: 1949), 244-245; id. to C6spedes, Sept. 7, 1785, 170/268; 1. to L., Sept. 5, 1786, 170/212, wherein De la Rocque stated he had 35 years' service; John D. Ware, "Mariano de la Rocque, Military Engineer: Two Files of Documents," El Escribano, Jan. 1971, 2-22; Luis R. Arana, '"Mariano de la Rocque and His Family," El Escribano, July 1971, 97-101.


the artillery could not be brought into the fort for fear they would collapse.4

Regardless of the instability of the Castillo bridges, preparations were made for hauling the artillery to the terreplein as soon as it could be possible. By August 31, a ramp had been erected in front of present Room 22 (concession) by upending two long stringers on the ground, parallel to each other, about 10 varas5 from the wall, and laying the other end on the edge of the terreplein, for which purpose a portion of the parapet of the wall was knocked out. Then, boards were nailed top to bottom from one beam to the other. The cost amounted to 107 os and 4 reales.6

De la Rocque submitted a plan of St. Augustine on October 11. The plan, which did not plot the first and second defense lines, was accompanied by a report on the number of habitable and uninhabitable houses on each street and their material composition. Ten days later the plan and the report were sent to Habana. The engineer had already turned in the description of the

4 De la Rocque to C6spedes, July 17, 1784, 170/300; C6spedes to Capt. gen. Bernardo de Gilvez of Cuba and the Floridas, July 30, 1784, 40/13.

The Spanish measurements given in the sources are used in this report, but the terms pie or tercia and pulgada are translated into English as foot and inch respectively. For reference, a vara is 33 U.S. inches, a pia or tercia is 11 U.S. inches, and a Vulada is 0.914 U.S. inches.

6 Mariano de la Rocque, "Plano del Castillo de San'Agustin situado a 29 grados y 10 minutos de latitud en la Florida del Este," May 12, 1785, letter K, in Cartografia de ultramar, 4 vols. (Madrid: 1949-1957), II, No. 73; id., "Relaci6n de los pagos ejecutados...," Aug. 31, 1785, 66/64; id., "Relaci6n de los reparos ejecutados...," Dec. 31, 1786, 170/245. Upon request by the U. S., the Government of Spain provided a copy of the "Plano del Castillo del Castillo." The copy can be recognized by the notation penned on it by the Spaniards-"Copia facsimile del original que existe en el Dep6sito General Topogrifico de la Direcci6n de Ingenerios, Madrid, 24 de noviembre de 1884" (Facsimile copy of the extant original in the General Topographical Depot of the Engineer Directorate, Madrid, November 24, 1884)-and by the absence of the signature of De la Rocque. The request was prompted by the congressional appropriation in 1884 of $5,000 for the repair of Castillo (then named Fort Marion) as far as "practicable to the conditions in which the Spanish left it."


British-built barracks, where the Spanish soldiers were billeted.7

No repairs were performed on the Castillo in 1784. However, the bivouac or main

guardhouse, the Hornabeque Line guardhouse, the provisional church, and the provisional hospital did receive attention that year."

1785. The first time the Castillo was repaired, after the return of the Spanish, was

probably in the spring of this year. The ravelin and main bridges were propped up, and the job required 2,526 feet of timbers for piers, crosspieces, and stringers; 950 feet of 2-inch-thick board for the floors; 800 feet of ordinary board for bridge posts and quoins; and an unspecified number of pounds of large and small nails. The ravelin bridge consisted of eight piers, four crosspieces, four stringers, the floor, twelve bridge posts, and a single top rail at the sides. The main bridge had twelve piers, six crosspieces, five stringers, the floor, sixteen bridge posts, and a single top rail at the sides. The bridges did not have a draw span.'

7 C6spedes to Gilvez, July 18, 1784, 40/12; De la Rocque to C6spedes, Oct. 11, 1784, 170/314; C6spedes to Glvez, Oct. 21, 1784, 40/21. The plan is entitled "Plano de la Ciudad de San Agustin de la Florida," and a notation on the lower right corner reads "Traced March 20th 1889, by J. W. Sackett, U. S. Asst. Engineer, from an original map in the possession of W. W. Dewhurst, St Augustine, Fla., said to have been taken from the Spanish Archives in Habana A True Copy.," followed by the signature of J. W. Sackett. The report's short title is "Noticia del Estado en que se hallan las Casas de San Agustin de Florida," and it was enclosure No. 1 in a letter of C6spedes to Gilvez, Oct. 21, 1784, above. On the back of the last sheet of the report in Castillo, a notation reads "No. 1 de representaci6n No. 26," followed by another notation: "Traced March 20th, 1889, by D. B. Dunn, U. S. Asst. Engr., from the original copy in possession of W. W. Dewhurst, St. Augustine, said to have been taken from the Spanish Archives. A True Copy.," followed by the signature of D. B. Dunn. Obviously the plan and report by De la Rocque do not rest in a Spanish archive.

De la Rocque, "Relaci6n de los reparos ejecutados en las obras...," Dec. 31, 1784, 170/316.

9 De la Rocque, "Plano del Castillo...," May 12, 1785, where the sharp detail provided in the top cutaway views of the bridges seem to suggest the intention of showing how the bridges had


The strengthened bridges made it possible to bring the artillery safely into Castillo de San Marcos. By May 10, several of the pieces brought from Habana and their carriages had been pulled up the ramp previously constructed at the east courtyard wall. The hauling was done by means of a double Spanish burton, consisting of two 4-sheaved blocks, a runner block, a hawser, and a pendant After completion of the task, the temporary ramp was torn down. By the way, the artillery brought from Habana consisted of 32 guns:

Pieces Number

24-pounder iron cannon 10 18-pounder iron cannon 2 16-pounder iron cannon 8 12-pounder iron cannon 4
8-pounder iron cannon 6 9-inch bronze mortar 1
6-inch bronze mortar 110

In April news had been received that 100,000 pesos would be sent to East Florida.

Engineer De la Rocque asked for an amount to be allotted to him for pouring a new terreplein pavement and a more serious repair of the bridges of Castillo. Wanting preparation to be started, he reminded Governor Cdspedes that the lime needed should be ordered in advance, and urged

been propped up, and the cross-section of line 1-2 depicts the main bridge; id., "Relaci6n de los reparos ejecutados en las obras...," Dec. 31, 1785, 170/297.
10 Lucas Godoy, "Estado general que manifiesta la artilleria y pertrechos ban embarcado...para conducirlos a la plaza de San Agustin...," Habana, May 29, 1784, 55/0; De la Rocque, "Plano del Castillo...," May 12, 1785, where letter K in the key reads in part "Lugar donde estaban [past tense] los palos para subir la artilleria... (Location of the stringers used to haul up the artillery)," indicating that the hauling of the guns to the terreplein had been accomplished by the date of the plan and at the specified site; cf. block, burton, and tackle (Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language, 2d ed.) and apareio. cuadernal, and polea (VOX-Diccionario general ilustrado de la lengua esaiiola. 2a. ed).

letting out a contract. De la Rocque specified that the lime should be free of raw particles, sand, and soil by having the oyster shells thoroughly calcined. It should then be slaked by exposure to the sun and the dew for at least nine months, until the water absorbed would rot the lime. This treatment made the best quality lime for an excellent mix. Lime used immediately after it had been made was not so good'

Eventually the contract for lime was let, and the contractor had lime kilns at Barra Chica (Little Inlet), also known as Barreta de Juan Ribao (Jean Ribault's Little Inlet), Barreta de Matanzas (Little Matanzas Inlet), and Barreta or Barret6n del Pefi6n (El Pefi6n's Little Inlet). This location, however, did not always lend itself to insuring prompt delivery of lime when needed. Whenever periods of extremely low tides prevailed, the raft laden with lime could not get, or had difficulty getting, to deeper waters of the Matanzas River for the trip to St. Augustine. '

De la Rocque completed the documentation required for planning and providing for repairs to Castillo de San Marcos. On May 12, he submitted a drawing and cross-section of the structure, a cost estimate of the work needed, and a drawing of the elevation of the chapel facade and door, everything bearing on the date of submission. All this was sent to Habana.3

The drawing and cross-sections of Castillo, submitted by De la Rocque on May 12,

showed essentially the condition of the fortification as the British transferred it to the Spanish ten

n C6spedes to G.ilvez, April 6, 1785, 40/20; Urriza to C6spedes, Aug. 20, 1785, 54/9; De la Rocque to id., May 10, 1785, 170/251; id., "Condiciones bajo de las cuales se procedera al asiento de la cal...," May 10, 1785, 170/250.
12 Cmdg. Engr. Pedro Diaz Berrio to Gov. Enrique White, Dec. 23, 1796, 171/234.

13 C6spedes to Gilvez, May 13, 1785, 40/37 and 40/38; De la Rocque to C6spedes, May 20, 1785, 170/252.


months earlier. After all, the only work performed on the -structure so far had been the propping up of the bridges. At the south front (letter A in the key) of Castillo, a straight rather than angled fixed, or rigid, bridge gave access to the ravelin (letter O), still at cordon level. In the middle of the ravelin's gorge wall, a four-step stairway at right angle to the wall, a gate and a landing led into the ravelin proper. From the landing, a flight of steps rose eastwardly, and another flight westwardly, to the terreplein surface. De la Rocque did not depict the ravelin' s magazine and its two ventilators in the west fill, but he did show the parapet, with four embrasures, and the firing steps, behind the merlons, needed to complete the ravelin. A fixed main bridge connected the ravelin with the Castillo gate. 14

In the west wall of the entrance (sallyport) vault, a door provided entrance to present Room No. 1. West of it, that south side of the courtyard also contained Rooms 2 and 3 (letter Y). Only Rooms Nos. I and 2 had doors opening to the courtyard, butNo. 1 had a small fireplace in its west wall, and no interconnecting door at the south end of the same wall. However, No. 2 had a door at the south end of the west wall connecting with Room 3. The plan of Castillo did not depict a ventilator high up in the south wall of this room nor an interconnecting door with Room 4. The east wall of the sallyport too had a door allowing access to Room 29. East of it lay Rooms 27 and 28, each with a large fireplace. Room 29 connected interiorly with No. 28 through a door in the wall between the two rooms. Another door in the east wall of Room 28 led into dark, windowless Room 27. The fort's plan did not depict the windows contained in the south

14 De la Rocque, '"Plano del Castillo...," May 12, 1785. See also note 6. Spanish and English versions of the key appear in Appendix D.


courtyard wall.15

The plan shows eight rooms on the west side of the courtyard of Castillo (letter Y). These rooms are presently numbered 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11. All opened to the courtyard and did not interconnect with one another except No. 11, which had no outside door and communicated interiorly with No. 10. The plan did not portray the windows contained in the west courtyard wall nor the ventilators in the seven rooms with outside doors.'6

The north side of the courtyard contained six rooms (letter Y), presently numbered 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17. All opened to the courtyard and did not have interconnecting doors between one and another. Room 14 had a window above the door, 15 and 16 had a window at either side of the door and a third one above, as shown by the elevation in the cross-section on line 3-4. Erroneously the elevation does not depict the door and small window of Room 17.17 Present feagxpres in Castillo courtyard point out that the door-and-three-window facade design of Rooms 15 and 16 was probably present in Nos. 1 and 2 in 1785, and definitely in Nos. 5, 9, 12, and 13. The door and window of Rooms 4 and 10 must have been similar to those of Room 17.

On the east side of Castillo courtyard, there were seven rooms (letter Y). They are now numbered 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, and 26. All opened to the courtyard, except Rooms 18 and 26, and were not interconnected, except No. 18 and 21 and lNos 25 and 26. Room 23 had a window at either side of the door and a third one above it, and Nos. 24 and 25 appeared to have one window only at one side of the door, as shown by the elevation of the southern half of the east

5 Ibid.

16 Iid.

17 ibid.


courtyard wall in the cross-section on line 1-2. s Present features point out that the facade of Rooms 21 and 22 was similar to that of No. 23, and that Rooms 24 and 25 had another window above the door.

The southwest corner of the courtyard had a well with a round curb. Abutting the south and east walls, a ramp (letter M) angled up to the terreplein. Though no steps are shown at its lower segment, the ramps could have been a stairway. The outside wall of this segment had a door to each of two rooms (Nos. 30 and 31) under it, which were latrines (letter X). Each latrine had a hole in the center of the room. The outside wall of the upper segment of the ramp was shaped as a rampant arch with an ornamental hole at the north spring line, and another smaller hole at the south spring line. The arch enclosed the entrance to Rooms 24 and 25. Most of the details at the southeast corner appear in the elevation of the southern half of the east courtyard wall in crosssection on line 1-2. De la Rocque had already conceived a project to widen the ramp (letters NN). Even the spot where the foot of the temporary ramp for the artillery had rested was marked (letter K).'9

At the eastern front of Castillo (letter D), the curtain, and the flankers and faces of San Carlos Bastion (letter H) and San Agustin Bastion (letter E) on that side, had an a barbette (low) parapet and therefor neither embrasures nor firing steps. San Carlos had, besides, the watchtower called the garit at its flanked angle (No. 4), three embrasures in the parapet of its northern face, two in the west flanker, and firing steps behind the merlons.20

'8 Ibid.
19 Ibid.

20 Ibid.

San Agustin Bastion had the small sentry box called garita at its flanked angle (No. 1), three embrasures in the parapet of its south face, two in the west flanker, and firing steps behind the merlons. The curtain at the southern front (letter A) had six embrasures in the parapet, and firing steps behind the merlons.2

San Pedro Bastion (letter F) had four embrasures, two in the parapet of each flanker; six embrasures, three in each face; firing steps behind the merlons; and the ita at its flanked angle (No. 2). The curtain facing the western front (letter B) had six embrasures in the parapet and firing steps behind the merlons.=

San Pablo Bastion (letter F) had three embrasures in the parapet of each of its two faces, two in each of the two flankers, firing steps behind the merlons, and the garit at its flanked angle (No. 3). The curtain at the north front (letter C) had six embrasures and firing steps behind the merlons. Embrasures everywhere were located approximately above the piers of the vaults below.2

For the outworks at the southern front, De la Rocque had planned to straighten out the covered way wall between the end of the segment pierced by the entrance path and the angle of the southernmost salient of the water battery (letters R-R). At each of the angles where the Castillo counterscarp became the ravelin counterscarp, there was a short flight of steps descending to the moat. In the front of the east face of the ravelin, a traverse occupied the width of the

21 Ibid.

22 Ibid.

2 Ibid.

covered way.2

In the outworks to the west, a traverse occupied the width of the covered way west of the flanked angle of San Pedro Bastion. Two other traverses and the covered way wall delimited a place of arms in front of the curtain. To the rear of an opening in the covered way wall, which led to the Cubo Line, lay the ruins of an earthwork screen (letter V) built by the British. From the place of arms to another one at the northern outworks, the entire northwest salient (No. 5 to No. 6) needed completion, probably raising the covered way wall to the proper height. Within the angle of the salient, the ruins of an earthwork bonnet built by the British (letter V) were still standing.25

The northern outworks included a place of arms in front of the north curtain. The place was bound by a traverse at each flank. To this day, the top of the counterscarp of Castillo retains at that point a fragment of wall, which at one time or another, held a traverse's side in place. Within the place of arms stood the ruins of an earthwork built by the British (letter V). De la Rocque had already planned to build, at the angle of the counterscarp in front of the north curtain, two flights of steps down to the moat, both ending at a single landing (letters S-S).26

The outworks to the east consisted of the water battery. At the northern end, the northeast salient, correspondent with San Carlos Bastion, angled so sharply that the west end of its north face almost touched the counterscarp. De la Rocque had already planned to relocate the northern face away from the counterscarp, extend it westward (letters P-P) to join the northern place of

24 Ibid.

25 Ibi.

26 Ibid.

arms, and provide it with an embrasure. Within the salient a mound of earth remained from temporary works built by the British (letter V). From the salient, a sea wall (letter T) ran northward to keep the glacis fill in place.

The northeast salient's eastern wall ran southward and joined the intermediate salient in

front of the east curtain. The intermediate salient too contained earth left over from former British works (letter V). De la Rocque had already projected to enlarge the salient and put two embrasures in each of the two faces (letters q-q-q).2

The water battery wall then coursed southward and formed the southeast salient,

correspondent with San Agustin Bastion. The salient angled as sharply as the northeast's with the same effect. The southern face seemed to have three embrasures. From the salient, a sea wall (letter T) ran southward to retain the glacis in place. Behind the entire length of the water battery, there lay a narrow covered way without firing steps (Nos. 7-8), backed by the moat which went all around the fort. A pipe crossed the moat and through the battery wall to drain the latrines inside (letter Z).29

The cost estimate of general repairs to Castillo de San Marcos submitted on May 12, 1785 took into account work on the bridges and the terreplein. The ravelin bridge would require

6 piers, 14 feet long and 10 inches square;
6 crosspieces, 8 feet long, 10 inches wide,
and 9 inches thick,
12 stringers, 12 feet long; 10 inches wide,

27 Ibid

28 Ibid.

29 Ibid The drawing, the first one made in the second Spanish period, set the stage for later drawings, and thus the extensive explanation.


and 9 inches thick; and
6 bridge posts, 12 feet long, 10 inches wide, and 9 inches thick,

all of which made up a total of 2,624 surface feet of lumber. At 1 peso and 7 reales per 100 feet, the job would cost 49 pesos and 1 real. The main bridge needed 12 piers, 13 feet long and 12 inches square; 12 crosspieces, 8 feet long, 12-inches wide, and 9 inches thick;
32 stringers, 12 feet long, 12 inches wide, and 9 inches thick; and 12 bridge posts, 12 feet long, 12 inches wide; and 9 inches thick,

which made up a total of 7,088 surface feet. At the price quoted above, this project would cost 132 esos.3

Both bridges called for 350 surface feet of 12-foot long, 2-1/2-inch-thick boards. At 5 sos and 2 reales per 100 feet, the bridge floors would cost 18 pesos and 3 reales. Lastly, the 250 nails needed would cost 6 reales per 100 for a total cost of 1 eso and 7 reales.31

The rehabilitation of the terreplein called for two 6-inch-thick tabby slabs. The slabs

would require 8,000 fanegas (12,8000 bushels) of lime at 3 reales per bushel and 727 carretadas (cartloads) of sand at 22 reales the cartload. The estimated cost of the terreplein was 4,999 pesos

30 De la Rocque, "Cilculo de la composici6n, que es precisa mientras se hace la general, del Castillo de San Marcos, Cuarteles y Pabellones de esta plaza," in Cespedes to Gilvez, May 13, 1785, 40/37.
31 Ibid.


and 2 reales.32

And the submission, also on May 12, of a drawing of the elevation of the Castillo de San Marcos chapel (Room 14) suggests the existence of deterioration and the need for repair. However, the drawing of Castillo of the same date depicts the eastern half of the facade and door of that room apparently in good condition, judging by the absence of any adverse remarks.33

On November 10, with the winter approaching, the commander of the troops in St.

Augustine presented a complaint from his officers regarding the temporary officer-of-the-guard room in Castillo. The officers, who performed that duty, could not endure the cold in the room (probably No. 14) because it was not weather-proof and the firewood allotted could not be used because the room did not have a chimney. They wanted the repair of the room close to the guardroom of the soldiers (No. 29) because that room (No. 1) had a chimney and had always been the officer-of-the-guard room.'

Room No. 1 was repaired. It was floored with thick boards laid on joists; the upper story, doors, and windows were repaired, one of the latter being fitted with glass, and the glass of another windows repaired. Besides, the chimney was put inn working order, the doorjamb was made of stone, and a pinewood bunk and bench made. All work had been finished by November 30 at a cost of 146 v>esos.35

32 Ibid.

33 De la Rocque, "Plano del Castillo...," cross-section No. 3 along lines 3-4.

Lieut. Col. Guillermo O'Kelly to C6spedes, Nov. 10, 1785, 158/43.

35 C6spedes to O'Kelly, Nov. 30, 1785, 158/44; De la Rocque, "Relaci6n de los reparos ejecutados...," Dec. 31, 1785, 170/297; id., "Noticia de los jornales de carpintero y albafil...," June 2, 1786, 170/200.


The Castillo received other minor work in 1785. A separate room with a door and its ironwork was built within a vault (probably Room 14) for keeping the royal treasury coffer. Several storeroom doors and windows were repaired and the iron replaced. But most of the work that year was done at government house, treasury building, provisional hospital housed in the British-built barracks, gunpowder magazine of Anastasia watchtower, and the attendant's wooden house at the firewood storage.36

1286. The repairs to Castillo de San Marcos this year were so unsubstantial that they were mentioned only in the annual work report. A railing was installed at the missing segment of the parapet of the courtyard wall above Room 22 (concession) to eliminate a safety hazard. The segment had been torn down to get the artillery up to the terreplein. A gate with its corresponding ironwork was built at the ravelin entrance. The locks and ironwork of the gate's main door and its wicket, and the ironwork of the other doors were repaired.37

The defense capabilities of St. Augustine were enhanced by the arrival of additional artillery and stores from Habana. The guns were six 4-pounder field cannons with conical chambers.3"

On November 14 the royal and public quarries were duly differentiated. Engineer De la Rocque and long-time resident Don Manual Solana crossed over to Anastasia Island, made the determination, and posted the quarries accordingly.39

36 Id., "Relaci6n de los reparos ejecutados...," Dec. 31, 1785, 170/297.

37 Id., "Relaci6n de los reparos ejecutados en las obras...," Dec. 31, 1786, 170/245.

38 Artillery Commander Pedro Jos6 Salcedo to C6spedes, Oct. 16, 1786, 166/91.

39 De la Rocque to C6spedes, Nov. 25, 1786, 410/104.


And on December 19, De la Rocque submitted a cost estimate for the completion of some repairs underway and other projected work. Among the latter, the repaving of Castillo's terreplein called again for two 6-inch-thick layers of tabby at a cost of 4,999 pesos and 2 reales for materials. The cost estimate was among the correspondence forwarded to the captain general of Cuba and the Floridas the next day.40

Substantial repairs were performed in St. Augustine in 1786 on the government house, treasury building, provisional church, British-built barracks for billeting the troops, and on three bridges across the San Sebastiin River. Also less substantial work was done on the troop quarters in the former Convent of San Francisco, the pharmacy, smithy, and a guardroom at the bivouac. Outside St. Augustine, repairs were made on Fort Matanzas and six buildings on Amelia Island to lodge the troops detached to the St. Marys River.41

1787. For a second year, the work done at Castillo de San Marcos amounted to hardly

anything of importance. The well in the courtyard was cleaned, and a bolt or latch installed on a door. Outside, a well in the covered way, probably between the ravelin's flanked angle and the correspondent angle of the covered way salient, was cleaned also and provided with a wood curbstone.42

The other public structure repaired substantially was government house. Less complicated

40 Id. to id., Dec. 19, 1786, 170/244; C6spedes to Gilvez, Dec. 20, 1786, 41/87.

41 De la Rocque, "Relaci6n de los reparos ejecutados en las obras...," Dec. 31, 1786, 170/245.
42 De la Rocque, "Relaci6n de los reparos ejecutados en las obras...," Dec. 31, 1787, 170/167?; id. to C6spedes, July 17, 1787, 170/123; C6spedes to De la Rocque, July 21, 1787, 170/126.

work was performed on the provisional church, treasury building, provisional hospital, school house, staff pavilions in the erstwhile Franciscan convent, troop barracks, Anastasia watchtower, San Sebastiin River bridges, smithy, and Hornabeque Line guardroom. Outside St. Augustine, the Twentymile house received repairs.43

Construction in 1787 included making furniture. Twelve handbarrows and 18 lampareros (receptacle or holder of light oil?) were made for use in Castillo."

1788. The capability of Castillo de San Marcos to deliver more varied artillery fire improved. In February, two 6-inch bronze howitzers were received from Habana, but unfortunately three carriages provided for these pieces were defective. They lacked wheels and certain ironwork, one had an unserviceable rear transom, and another a bad axle."

The repairs performed on the structure were again minor. The main bridge and the gate

door were repaired. The bridge's draw span was made rigid, and a handrail installed at either side. Then, in October, the officer of the guard at Castillo noticed that the calabozo de los criminales (felon's jail, probably Room 28) had holes in the inner side of the south curtain, and found a crowbar in the room. An inspection by the overseer and the master mason revealed that the holes were not new, but they could not explain the presence of the crowbar. Nevertheless, there was no danger that the holes could become escape routes because the wall was rather thick. The holes were filled in, the room's door was provided with a wood lining and its ironwork was repaired, and

43 De la Rocque, "Relaci6n de los reparos ejecutados en las obras...," Dec. 31, 1787, 170/167?

44 Ibid.
45 Salcedo to C6spedes, Feb. 28, 1788, 166/179.

a new sleeping platform was built.46

Major work in St. Augustine in 1788 was accomplished on the staff pavilions, barracks,

and an ordnance storeroom in the former Convent of San Francisco. Minor work was done on the provisional church, government house, firewood storage, calvary stables, public abattoir, convict quarters, main guardhouse, Anastasia watchtower, ramp at the San Sebastian River ferry, and the school house. Away from St. Augustine, the King's house on the St. Johns River was adapted for troop quarters and storage.47

1789. In far away Europe, the French Revolution broke on July 14 with the fall of the

Bastille. The international ramifications of the event would shatter the peace that had prevailed for six years, and usher the 25-year-long period that changed the political and social face of the old country. But it was still too early for those ramifications to filter down to East Florida and cause the havoc they indeed wrought.

A very comprehensive, 17-folio report, examining the condition of the fortifications and public buildings in East Florida, was submitted by Engineer Do la Rocque on July 31. Although centered in St. Augustine, the report ranged to Fort Matanzas on the south, the Picolata tower on the west, and the St. Johns and St. Marys Rivers on the north.4

Castillo de San Marcos had the main wall in good condition. However, the cracks reported

46 De la Rocque to C6spedes, Oct. 8, 1788, 172/72; id., "Relaci6n de los reparos ejecutados en las obras...," Dec. 31, 1788, 170/80.

47 Ibid.

48 De la Rocque, "Provincia de la Florida Oriental. Estado General que manifiesta en el que se hallan las fortificaciones y edifcios militares de esta plaza y provincia," July 31, 1789, 170/13. This report was repeated on the ensuing Dec. 1 (176/1, f. 53).


previously on May 15, 1785 had widened, particularly those in he water battery wall. The piers and intrados of the vaults were excessively damp due to the steady filtration of rainwater through the terreplein. The terreplein pavement had become worse each passing day, with an increase in cracks and a loss of hard surface in places. The entire parapet needed repair particularly on the east side, where cannon-fired salutes and signals had broken or displaced many stones or both. No single piece of ironwork was serviceable.49

Province wide, De la Rocque stressed the need for defense of the frontier with Georgia, and proposed the erection of fortifications on the river lines of the St. Johns and the St. Marys. For the latter, he urged the construction of a temporary redoubt upriver, at the 110-mile point on the king's road, where the road overlooked Georgia; another redoubt at the river's mouth, on the north point of Amelia Island; and a horseshoe-shaped battery on the height occupied by the town on that island."

For the St. Johns River, De la Rocque recommended the building of a watchtower on a height next to the south point of Fort George Island; a temporary battery on the river's north shore, at a point three miles from the river's mouth; another temporary battery on the same shore, but in front of the access to San Pablo Creek; a watchtower on the height next to the King's house; a redoubt at San Nicolis; and finally the rehabilitation of the old Picolata tower. And he would also re-establish a settlement on the site of the former British settlement, with a fort at its highest point."

49 Ibid.

50 Ibid.

51 Ibid.


The repairs performed on Castillo this year were piddling work. All doors and windows of the storerooms on the east, north, and west sides were rehabilitated. A few new frames were put in, single leaves and ironwork were replaced, and iron bars were installed in all windows. A new pinewood ladder was built in the garit6n.52

Extensive repairs were provided in 1789 for the Anastasia watchtower, staff pavilions,

barracks, and the hospital located in the former Convent of San Francisco. Smaller repairs were made to the Hornabeque Line guardroom, Fort Matanzas, provisional church, a room in the artillery stores depot, school house, dragoon barracks, and government house. Outside St. Augustine, the Twentymile house and the St. Marys River guardhouse on Amelia Island received minor treatment. 3

1790. The Spanish had devised their master plan for the armament needed for the defense of East Florida. On March 4, the artillery commander submitted a report indicating proposed and actual strength of ordnance, needs to meet the desired objective, and the condition of the pieces on hand. The report showed the following:

Pieces Proposed Actual Needed Condition

24-pdr. bronze cannon 12 12 24-pdr. iron cannon 24 10 14 Good 18-pdr. iron cannon 2 2 Good 16-pdr. iron cannon 8 8 Good 12-pdr. iron cannon [long] 20 4 16 *

52 De la Rocque, "Relaci6n de los reparos ejecutados en las obras del Rey..., Dec. 31, 1789, 170/32.

3 Ibid.


12-pdr. iron cannon [long] 20 4 16 8-pdr. iron cannon [long] 10 7 3 ** 6-pdr. iron cannon 0 2 -*** 4-pdr. bronze cannon, field with
conical chamber 6 6 Good 3-pdr. iron cannon 0 1 -**** 9-inch bronze mortars 2 1 1 Good 6-inch bronze mortars 2 1 1 Good 6-inch bronze howitzers 4 2 2 Good Total 90 44 49

*3 of those on hand were in good condition and one in fair condition. The
Latter was unfit for rapid fire due to voids in bore surface at the third

**5 were good and 2 were fair. One of the latter had been found on the beach
and reconditioned.

***6-pounders were non-standard pieces but these had been found on the beach
and reconditioned into a fair state.

****3-pounders were non-standard pieces but this one had been found on the beach
and reconditioned into a fair state."

Room No. 1 of Castillo de San Marcos became the gunners' quarters on or about August

12. For the purpose, the floor, stairway, and window with corresponding ironwork were

repaired." The mention of a stairway connected with Room No. 1 suggests that it had been given

a second story during the British period.

On October 6, Engineer De la Rocque submitted an estimate of the cost of repairs needed

"4 Salcedo, "Estado de existencia de artilleria de la Plaza de San Agustin de la Florida, Afio de 1790," March 1, 1790, 277/69, and "Dotaci6n de artilleria de la Plaza de San Agustin de la Florida y su provincia," March 4, 1790, 277/70. Cf. artillery inventories of 1802, 1816, and 1821.

5 d. to Gov. Juan Nepomuceno de Quesada, Aug. 12, 1790, 167/46; Pedro Diaz Berrio,
"Plano del Castillo de San Marcos en San Agustin de la Florida Oriental," c. Nov. 6, 1796, letter L in map key, Cartografia de ultramar. I, No. 75.


at Castillo. The estimate revealed that the scope of work had become more extensive than that indicated in previous estimates in 1785 and 1786, and it called for Pesos Reales

200 cubic varas of silleria (coquina ashlar) for repair
of the a-barbette parapet and other features in
the fort walls, and the replacement of unserviceable stone at the firing steps 1,300

104 cubic varas of coquina ashlar to build the missing
ravelin parapet 841

22 cubic varas of coquina ashlar to finish the counterscarp and the filete (cordon?) in front of the San
Agustin Bastion 137

550 cubic varas of coquina ashlar for the missing covered
way wall at the northwest quadrant of the outworks 3,725

22 cubic varas of coquina ashlar for side walls to hold the
glacis fill in place at the south, west, and north
openings of the covered way wall 137

6,706 square varas of tabby for two 6-inch-thick layers
of terreplein pavement 6,792 2

2,460 square varas of tabby for two 6-inch-thick layers
of courtyard pavement 2,232

556 square varas of tabby for the narrow covered vay
behind the water battery wall 380

3,400 square varas of macho (?) tabby for vault floors 3,249 6

1,500 fanegas of lime to plaster and whitewash the
vaults 562 4

The estimated prices above included materials, transportation, and labor for the masonry work listed. The carpentry jobs and their cost were as follows


Wood, ironwork, and labor for 3 large two-leaf
doors with wicket 243 6

Wood, wheels, axles, nails, and labor for the
drawbridge 1,546

Stakes, nails, and labor for the stockade and gates
of the covered way wall 1,000

Total masonry and carpentry estimate 22,146 256

Despite the reality of deterioration portrayed by the estimate, the repairs performed at

Castillo in 1790 were more modest. A double door with corresponding ironwork was opened in a vault, probably Room 17. This could have been the occasion when the doorway between Room 21 and 18 was walled up.7

A room made of boards outside the latrine was repaired. The room may have been a box or booth for guards watching over convicts working in Castillo. The doors and windows of the general storerooms were painted an unspecified color. A few of the doors and windows of the ordnance storerooms had new frames installed, the ironwork fixed, and were painted the same as the others. All windows were provided with iron bar gratings.58

A new flagpole was erected at an unspecified location, but probably in San Agustin

56 De la Rocque, "Cilculo general de la precisa composici6n del Castillo de San Marcos...," Oct. 6, 1790, 171/194.

7 Diaz, "Plano del Castillo...," c. Nov. 6, 1796, shows a door symbol in the east wall of Room 17; Henry W. Benham, "Horizontal Section of Fort Marion; with the principal Vertical Sections and Elevations," [March 26, 1840] where letter B in the key states that the present doorway between Rooms 21 and 18 was walled up to 1834.

58 De la Rocque, "Relaci6n de los reparos ejecutados en las obras del Rey...," Dec. 31, 1790, 171/66.


Bastion. The pole had bolts sticking out of the sides to enable climbing to the top and work with the halyard. The bolts were painted red to preserve them."

Furniture too was repaired: two wooden fogones (stoves) used by the gunners for cooking, and another fog6n of wood lined inside with brick and covered outside with sheetmetal. The latter was fitted with guavacin (quaiacum officinale) ball rollers to facilitate its use by the officer of the guard wherever he desired."

The public buildings repaired significantly in 1790 included government house, provisional gunpowder magazine, provisional hospital, barracks, and treasury building. Lesser work was done on the San Sebastian River ferry bridges, dragoon barracks, Hornabeque Line guardroom, main guardhouse, smithy, and the Anastasia watchtower."

1791. The preservation done on Castillo de San Marcos this year was most important. A window in the gunners' quarters (Room No. 1) was repaired, and the window space in another vault was filled in.62 A window in the room of the officer of the guard (No. 14) was provided with a canvas shade. The calabozos (jails) in Rooms 27 and 28 had a few holes in the wall filled in. The courtyard drain had a new iron grille installed.63

The public buildings in St. Augustine receiving more serious repairs were government

59 Ibid.

60 Ibid.

61 Ibid.

62 Rooms No. 1 and 2 have no windows on the west side of the door at present, but they
have the molding present at the other windows. This suggests the former existence of windows in the space within the molding.

63 De la Rocque, "Relaci6n de los reparos ejecutados en las obras del Rey...," Dec. 31, 1791, 171/76.


house and the structure housing the provisional hospital. Less complicated work was performed on the treasury building, dragoon barracks, San Francisco barracks, calvary stables, the Hornabeque Line guardroom, the Anastasia watchtower, Fort Matanzas, and the ordnance stores depot.64

1792. The work performed on Castillo de San Marcos was unrelated to the structure. A room was built for use by the corporal in charge of the convicts when the latter worked in the fort. Scrap lumber and new roof shingles were used for the purpose. Masonry curbstones were built for the two wells in the covered way.6'

The bulk of construction and repair in St. Augustine this year was bestowed on

government house, provisional church, ordnance depot, Hornabeque Line guardroom, provisional storerooms, staff pavilions in the former British barracks, dragoon barracks, troop latrines, Fort Matanzas, treasury building, main guardhouse, and the ferry bridges. Outside St. Augustine, a guardroom for 10 to 20 men was built on Amelia Island."

6 Ibid.

65 De la Rocque, "Relaci6n de los reparos ejecutados en los edificios del Rey...," Dec. 31, 1792, 171/118. Only one well in the covered way is shown in Diaz, "Plano del Castillo...," c. Nov. 6, 1796.

66 Ibid.