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From Contemporary Narratives and Letters
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plan of fort
A sixteenth century wooden fort at St. Augustine. This plan, entitled EL FUERTE [fort] DE SAN AGUSTIN, ca. 1593, combines the features of both elevation and floor plan. At the main entrance there are an alarm bell and racks for the pikes and barquebuses. Heavy cannon are mounted on a platform facing the water, and the magazine for the barrels of MUNICIONES occupies most of the other space in the fort. Nine wooden forts of this general type preceded Castillo de San Marcos.


While the castle was building, Charles Town was flourishing. The Carolinians soon felt strong enough to attack, for Spain's colony was a definite threat to their security and a stumbling block in the way of British control of the Bahama Channel.

Queen Anne's War was the excuse for Gov. James Moore's expedition against St. Augustine in 1702, but the way had been prepared by the rival of the Spanish missionary—the English trader or the Indian agent, who won the Indians away from their Spanish friends and furnished them with the firearms and the incentives for pushing Florida boundaries southward. Michael Cole's curious, letter covers the major points of Moore's campaign, revealing with remarkable insight the weaknesses of both sides; namely, Moore's lack of equipment and Spanish reliance upon the fort alone for defense.


Carrolina Decemr ye 22d 1702

HONN. SR. Arriving heare ye 4 October Last found ye Governor Coil. Moore with foureteen Sayle of Vessells ready to Saile for St. Agussteen, with five hundred men & three hundred Indians, thay Sayled from hence about ye 16 October & made up theare fleet at Portroyall in this Collone & arrived at St. Agussteen about ye 24, & had been Masters of ye Town & Castell had not ye Scilliness [Silliness] of an undiscreet Master, of one of ye Small Vessells Lossing Company, whent a Shore with his boat, & was taken Prisoner, & gave them two days time to provide but however thay possessed them Selves of ye Town with Little or know Resistance, & made themselves Masters of theare Churches & Abbe, (wc [which] are Large Enouf to Entertaine Seven or Eaight Hundred men) & forced them into ye Castell, wc is a Regular fortification with foure Bastons, ye Besegers has raised a Batterry of 4 Guns, but being Slenderly Provided with Amonisstion, thay Cannot doe what they would, thay have Sent a Vessell to Jamica [Jamaica], for bomes & Carcasses, wc If thay Get dont dout to be Masters of ye Castell in a few days after, thay are in want of most nesscesarys in ye fort, wilest our Peopall Is Plentyfully Supplied, with Cattell brought to theare Camp every day, by teen Wight men & fourty of our Nabouring Indians, who does nothing Elce, ye Country Is Plentifully Stored With them, we are heare mighty Dissioras [Desirous] of ye good Success of that Interprise, for ye happiness of this Collone Depends upon It, wc is now very thrifing, & will make at Leest 400 Tuns of Rice this yeare, though ye Season has been very ordinary for It. If ye Garrison bee taken ye Country dissines [designs] to present ye Queen with It, wc If her Majesti excepts will Inlarge our Trade with ye Indians about 20 Nations & add to ye Trade of our Wollen Manifactory Seven or Eaight thousand pounds Strg [Sterling] P [Per] Anum. I shall Indevor to bring you ye Drauft of Portroyall Harbour, I am Promised It by a Good hand, well acquanted theare, when please God to Send me Safe for I shall wate upon you, & give you an acct [of] A great abuse in these parts, wc Is much to ye prejudice to ye Trade of ye Nation & will Introduce a great Evill in time will prove twelfe or foureteen hundred pounds prejudice to ye Publick P Anum &c

Postscrip Febur ye 9. 1703 Via Bristoll

Sence ye above ye forcees from St. Agussteen is Returned heather without any Success, after Eaight Weeks laying Seeg to ye fort, ye forcees being ondisciplen men growed wary, & was for raysing ye seeg (ye Amonisstion from Jamica not Coming) ye Gover. Coll. Moore Used all ye Persvaission he could, for to Continue It, but Sone after this Comosion, theare appeared of that barr, two Spanish men of Warr of about 30 or 40 Guns each, with a Briginteen & a Sloop, with releaf from ye Havanah, & came to anker at ye foot of ye barr So that ye Besegers could not bring out theare Vessells wc ware Eaight in Number ye bigest about 70 Tuns ye rest from 50 Tuns down wards, thay Continued ye Seeg three days after theare arrival ye Eneme darst not attack them, but a Last finding noe hopes of bringing of theare Vessells thay Sett them one fier, as allso ye Town of St Agussteen with theare Churches & Abbe, & Reduced It to Ashes & So Came of Sixty miles March by Land ye rest by watter in theare Preaugos [Piraguas], ye Charge of this expedistion will amount to 7000£ they have Raysed foure to pay this yeare ye other three ye next Is all at present from him who wishes you a Long & happy life & Is

Your Honners Most humbell Sert to Com.


Letter of Michael Cole to Hon. William Blathwate, December 22, 1702.


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