Siege of St. Augustine (1740)

The siege of St. Augustine was a military engagement that took place during June–July 1740. It involved a British attack on the city of St. Augustine in Spanish Florida and was a part of the much larger conflict known as the War of Jenkins' Ear.

Siege of St. Augustine
Part of the War of Jenkins' Ear

Castillo de San Marcos
Date13 June–20 July 1740
Result Spanish victory
 Great Britain Spain Spain
Commanders and leaders
Gen. James Oglethorpe
Ahaya Secoffee
Cdre. Pearce
Governor Manuel de Montiano
1,000 infantry
(Oglethorpe's Regiment, Georgia Provincials, South Carolina Provincials.)
900 sailors
1,200 warriors[1][2]
56 cannons
5 frigates
3 sloops[3]
750 infantry
50 cannons
1 fort
6 small ships
Casualties and losses
122 killed
16 captured
14 deserted[4]
56 artillery pieces captured
1 schooner captured

Background edit

In September 1739, King George II sent orders to Governor James Oglethorpe of the colony of Georgia "to annoy the Subjects of Spain in the best manner" possible. To pursue these orders, Oglethorpe encouraged his Creek allies to begin attacking Spaniards and Florida Indians. On November 13, a group of Spaniards landed on Amelia Island and killed two British soldiers.[5] In response, Oglethorpe began a punitive campaign with a mixed force of British regulars (the 42nd Regiment of Foot), colonial militia from the Province of Georgia and the Carolinas, and Native American Creek, Chickasaw, Shawnee and Uchees. The campaign began in December 1739, and by January Oglethorpe was raiding Spanish forts west of St. Augustine. In May 1740, Oglethorpe undertook an expedition to capture St. Augustine itself. In support of that objective, Oglethorpe first captured Fort San Diego, Fort Picolotta, Fort San Francisco de Pupo, and Fort Mose, the first free black settlement in America.[6]

Siege edit

Oglethorpe deployed his batteries on the island of Santa Anastasia while a British naval squadron blockaded the port. On 24 June Oglethorpe began a 27-day bombardment. On 26 June a sortie by 300[7] Spanish and free blacks attacked Fort Mose held by 120 Highlander Rangers and 30 Indians. In the Siege of Fort Mose, the garrison was taken by surprise with 68 killed and 34 captured while the Spanish loss was 10 killed.[8]

The Spanish managed to send supply ships through the Royal Navy blockade and any hope of starving St. Augustine into capitulation was lost. Oglethorpe now planned to storm the fortress by land while the navy ships attacked the Spanish ships and half-galleys in the harbor. Commodore Pearce, however resolved to forgo the attack during hurricane season. Oglethorpe gave up the siege and returned to Georgia; abandoning his artillery during his withdrawal.

See also edit

Oglethorpe Greeting the Highlanders of Darien, the 42nd Regiment of Foot (old)

References edit

  1. ^ Accounts vary considerably from 900 to 2,000 with the number of Indians especially at variance from 100 to 1100.
  2. ^ Letter of Governor Montiano to the Governor of Cuba, 28 July 1740
  3. ^ Robert Beatson, Naval and Military Memoirs of Great Britain, from 1727 to 1783, London, 1804, p. 20
  4. ^ David Marley, Wars of the Americas: a chronology of armed conflict in the New World, 1492 to the present. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-87436-837-6, p. 255
  5. ^ Baine, R. E. (2000). General James Oglethorpe and the Expedition Against St. Augustine. The Georgia Historical Quarterly, 84(2), 197–229., pg. 204
  6. ^ Landers, Jane (1990). Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose: A Free Black Town in Spanish Colonial Florida. The American Historical Review, 95(1), 9-30., pg. 19
  7. ^ Letter of Governor Montiano to the Governor of Cuba, 6 July 1740; Collection of the Georgia Historical Society. This letter also contains detailed and accurate intelligence from English prisoners about the large fleet and expedition that will be sent to Admiral Vernon for the attack on Cartagena de Indias: "consisting of 30 ships of the line and of a landing party of 10,000."
  8. ^ Report of the Committee Appointed by the General Assembly of South Carolina in 1740. On the St. Augustine Expedition under General Oglethorpe. Published by the South Carolina Historical Society. (Charleston, S.C. : Walker, Evans & Cogswell Co., Printers, Nos. 3 and 5 Broad and 117 East Bay Streets, 1887.) Extract No. 32, Deposition of Thomas Jones, survivor of the Battle of Fort Mose. His account naturally varies with that of Montiano.