Democratic Precinct Meeting takes place March 17, 1860. (See Meeting)
By October 1860 The St. Augustine Examiner declared: "We shall advocate with all the force
God has given us the immediate formation of a separate confederacy of the cotton states. If that be
secession or treason, make the most of it."
City of St Augustine vs Powell slave of P Lopez; Breaking jail - October 29th,1860 (St.
Augustine City Court Record)
On this day appeared J Lopez in answer to warrant issued on the 29th day of October 1860 for the
apprehension of his slave Powell for breaking the lock of the City Jail on the night of the 28th Oct
1860, and thereby escaping there upon.
The defendant plead "Guilty" to the charge. Whereupon His Honor sentenced the said Powel to
receive on his bare back "twenty four lashes" and stand committed until the costs be paid. R B
City of St. Augustine vs Powell, slave of P Lope; Found without a pass - December 3, 1860
(St. Augustine City Court Record)
On this day appeared Lope owner of said slave Powell and denied that his said slave was taken in
the streets of the City on the night of the 28 October 1860.
And thereupon came Lewis Bricher one of the Patrol who testified that the said Powel was not taken
in the streets, but taken out of a house near the Barracks, having no pass and that the said Powell
had provoked the Patrol by laughing at them.
Whereupon His Honor decided that the Patrol was justified by the circumstances in taking the said
Slave and placing him in jail and ordered that the Marshal inflict on the said Powell 15 lashes and that
the costs for the same be paid by the City Treasurer. R B Canova Mayor
On January 4, 1861 in response to President's Buchanan's call for a day "set apart for Humiliation,
Fasting, and Prayer throughout the Union" Bishop Verot gave a sermon in St. Augustine on slavery
and abolition. In his sermon Verot defended slavery and slave holder's rights. However, he also
asserted that the Christian doctrine opposed the African slave trade and spoke for the rights of free
negroes. The sermon spoke against rape of black women by their owners. Laws of marriage also
apply to slaves. Slave families must not be separated. Master must provide for slave. Slaves must be
provided a religious education. He proposed the Confederacy adopt a code for the rights of owners
and the rights of slaves. The sermon earned Verot the title of "Rebel Bishop." On July 22, 1861 Pope
Pius IX placed Bishop Verot in charge of the See of Savannah as well as the Vicar Apostolic of
Leaving the Union
Governor Madison Stark Perry called for a state convention to vote and adopt an ordinance of
Secession. The citizens of St. Augustine met in the courtroom on December 15, 1860 to decide on
representatives to send to Tallahassee for the secession convention. The representatives selected
were R.G May and Mathew Solana. On January 10, 1861, they voted for the secession of Florida
from the Union. The St. Augustine Independent Blues (the local militia) along with a unit from
Jacksonville were present when the Commander of the Blues, Major Benjamin A. Putnam announced
the decision for separation from the Union. The "Stars and Stripes" were lowered and the "National
Flag of Florida" was raised.
The Ordinance of Succession
"We, the people of the State of Florida, in convention assembled, do solemnly ordain, publish and
declare: That the State of Florida hereby withdraws herself from the Confederacy of States existing
under the name of the United States of America, and from the existing government of said States,
and that all political connection between her and the government of said States ought to be, and the
same is hereby totally annulled, and said union of States dissolved, and the State of Florida is hereby
declared a sovereign and independent nation, and that all ordinances heretofore adopted, in so far
as they create or recognize said Union, are rescinded, and all laws or parts of laws in force in this
State, in so far as they recognize or assent to said Union be, and they are hereby repeated"
St. Augustine Examiner, 19 Jan 1861 - The Revolution Progresses
It is done. On Saturday afternoon several of our citizens who arrived from Tallahassee where the
State convention had assembled and is now in session, brought us the intelligence that the
Secession Ordinance had been passed by that body, declaring that Florida withdraws herself from
the Confederacy of states existing under the name of the United States of America.
Capture of the Fort by the Confederates (Deo vindice - Motto of the Confederacy)
By the time of the Civil War St. Augustine has tourists from the North, hotels, boarding houses, and
many people with Northern sympathies. However, with the State of Florida, St. Augustine becomes
part of the Confederacy. (Census 1860 St. Johns County)The Fort (which had been renamed Fort
Marion by the Americans) was taken over even before the formal withdraw of Florida from the Union.
This meant waking up one lone guard who gladly left (after obtaining a receipt for the key).
No. 2. Report of Ordnance Sergeant Henry Douglas, U. S. Army, of the seizure of Fort Marion, Saint
Augustine. SAINT AUGUSTINE, EAST FLORIDA, January 7, 1861. SIR: I am obliged to perform what
is to me a painful duty, viz, to report to the Chief of Ordnance that all the military stores at this place
were seized this morning by the order of the governor of the State of Florida. A company of volunteer
soldiers marched to the barracks and took possession of me, and demanded peaceable possession
of the keys of the fort and magazine. I demanded them to show me their authority. An aide-de-camp
of the governor showed me his letter of instructions authorizing him to seize the property, and
directing him to use what force might be necessary. Upon reflection I decided that the only alternative
for me was to deliver the keys, under protest, and demand a receipt for the property. One thing
certain, with the exception of the guns composing the armament of the water battery, the property
seized is of no great value. The gentleman acting under the governors instructions has promised to
re- receipt to me for the stores. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, HENRY DOUGLAS,
Ordnance Sergeant, U. S. Army. Col. II. K. CRAIG, Chief of Ordnance Department, U. S. Army.
By January 15 the coast survey schooner Dana captained by F. W. Dorr was "captured" by the
authorities in the St. Augustine harbor. F. W. Dorr, on the schooner Dana, was working in the vicinity
of St. Augustine, but left for New York City on January 12 when, "Events followed which made it
inexpedient to remain.... A boat and the camp equipage of a party... was detained by the authorities
of the State.... "This may have been the boat that was captured by S. W. Godon of the Mohican off
the coast of Brunswick, Georgia on November 21, 1861 with two deserters. The boat was put to use
by Major Church. W. H. Dennis, an assistant in the Coastal Survey, would be an assistant to
Commander Christopher R. P. Rodgers to guide him through the waters that he had already charted.
City of St Augustine vs Lewis slave of B Olivero; Fast riding through the Streets - January
26, 1861 (St. Augustine City Court Record)
On this day appeared Bartolo Oliveros owner of said slave Lewis in answer to complaint made by City
Marshal against said slave for riding through the Streets of said City on the 20 inst at a faster gait
than permitted by the City Ordinance.
The said Bartolo Oliveros owner of said slave having admitted the guilt of his said slave. His honor
ordered a fine of five dollars to be entered against said Bartolo Oliveros owner of said slave and that
said slave stand committed until said fine and cost be paid.
City of St. Augustine vs Lawrence slave of Venancio Sanchez; Disturbing the Peace of City.
January, 31, 1861 (St. Augustine City Court Record)
On this day appeared Anthony I Noda, agent for Venancio Sanchez owner of said slave in answer to
complaint made this day by James R. Sanchez against said slave for disturbing the peace of the city
on the 30th day of January AD 1861 and contrary to an ordinance to that effect. Whereupon came
James R Sanchez who being duly sworn, says that the said slave did on the day aforesaid disturb the
Peace of the City, and did other acts which deserve the attention of this Court.
Whereupon His Honor, ordered that the said slave receive on his bare back (well laid on) 39 lashes
and that he stand committed until otherwise ordered by the Court.
Discharged from prison 11 Feby 1861
R B Canova Mayor
City of S Augustine vs Eleek (slave of Wm Nannau?)Caught by patrol after bell ringing -
February 20, 1861 (St. Augustine City Court Record)
Ordered that said "Eleek" be punished for said offence by receiving on his bare back twenty stripes
and be thence discharged. R B. Canova Mayor
Jefferson Davis Inaugural Address February 22, 1861
Our present position has been achieved in a manner unprecedented in the history of nations. It
illustrates the American idea that government rests upon the consent of the governed, and that it is
the right of the people to alter or abolish a government whenever it becomes destructive of the ends
for which it was established. The declared purposes of the compact of Union from which we have
withdrawn were to establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, to provide for the common defence,
to promote the general welfare, and to secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity;
and when in the judgment of the sovereign States now comprising this Confederacy it had been
perverted from the purposes for which it was ordained, and had ceased to answer the ends for which
it was established, an appeal to the ballot box declared that so far as they were concerned the
government created by that compact should cease to exist. In this they merely asserted a right which
the Declaration of Independence of 1776 defined to be inalienable. Of the time and occasion for its
exercise, they, as sovereign, were the final judges each for itself. The impartial and enlightened
verdict of mankind will vindicate the rectitude of our conduct, and He who knows the hearts of men will
judge the sincerity with which we have labored to preserve the government of our fathers, in its spirit
and in those rights inherent in it, which were solemnly proclaimed at the birth of the States, and which
have been affirmed and reaffirmed in the Bills of Rights of the several States. When they entered into
the Union of 1789, it was with the undeniable recognition of the power of the people to resume the
authority delegated for the purposes of that government whenever, in their opinion, its functions were
perverted and its ends defeated. By virtue of this authority, the time and occasion requiring them to
exercise it having arrived, the sovereign States here represented have seceded from that Union, and
it is a gross abuse of language to denominate the act rebellion or revolution. They have formed a
new alliance, but in each State its government has remained as before. The rights of person and
property have not been disturbed. The agency through which they have communicated with foreign
powers has been changed, but this does not necessarily interrupt their international relations.
Lincoln's First Inaugural Address - March 4, 1861
In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war.
The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the
aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the
most solemn one to "preserve, protect, and defend it."
I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may
have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from
every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will
yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of
Erection of a Battery – Laborers Wanted. (Augusta Chronicle, March 19, 1861)
Two 32 pounders have been obtained from St. Augustine, which are to be placed in a battery at
some proper point below St. Marks, for the protection of the port and harbor from the incursions of
“old Abe’s” water craft or other unwelcome visitor. These guns were procured by a requisition of the
Governor upon Col. Jos. John Williams, who executed the order with great promptitude, and at a
small expense. They are expected here to-day by rial from Jacksonville. Col. Williams is also charged
with the duty of placing them in battery, and needs a large number of laborers—probably a hundred.
Will not the Planters of Leon and the surrounding neighborhood furnish them? All who are willing to
aid towards making up this necessary force are requested to notify Col. W. as soon as possible. The
battery in question may prove of great consequence to Middle Florida, as it certainly will so prove in
the event of an effort being made to blockade the Gulf ports. Tallahassee Floridian & Journal,
Maj. E. KIRBY SMITH, Saint Augustine, Fla April 11, 1861
Your presence is wanted here. Come at once. S. COOPER. EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Milledgeville
Maj. E. K. Smith April 13, 1861 (St. Augustine Examiner)
The arrival of this Gentleman in our City is hailed with pleasure and gratification by his fellow Citizens.
We learn that this distinguished Officer has resigned his Commission in the U. S. Army, in which he
had just been promoted, and has offered to share the fortunes of his native South.---Florida is proud
of such a Son, and we Congratulate the Country that the services of this efficient Officer is secured to
our new Republic.
Commander of the Dept of the South
This would become the commander for all the operations in North Carolina through Florida. The first
person to hold the title would be appointed on April 13, 1861.....Brvt. Col. Harvey Brown, 2nd U. S.
Artillery. He would be facing Brig. General Braxton Bragg CSA who had been appointed on March 11.
The Federal Government retained possession of Fort Jefferson, Fort Pickens and Fort Taylor (Key
West). Fort Marion would have a little over a year in the Confederacy. Brown's assignment was to
take command of an expedition to re-enforce and hold Fort Pickens. Fort Jefferson became the
supply depot. The orders were signed by Winfield Scott and Approved by Abraham Lincoln on April 2,
1861. When the department was created on April 13 Brevet Col Harvey Brown appointed Bvt Capt G.
L Hartsnuff, assistant adjutant-general, Capt. R. Ingalls, assistant quartermaster, Capt H. F. Clarke,
assistant commissary of subsistence, Dr. John Campbell, assistant surgeon, Capt. M. C. Meigs, chief
engineer, and First Lieut. G. T. Baleh, ordnance officer. Major Wm. H. French was the commander at
Key West and was not considered helpful with policies that were too tampering and he didn't
strengthen the Union party.
Naval Blockade - April 19, 1861
Lincoln proclaimed the Naval blockade of the south. At the time the U.S. Navy possessed only 3
steamships and 90 ships of which only 42 were in commission. It had over 3,000 miles of coastline to
blockade. At the beginning of the war 259 naval officers either resigned or were dismissed. By the
end of the first year the navy had constructed 52 vessels and purchased 136 more. Horatio Bride
created the steamer force between the blockade forces and the North. The steamers were
responsible for everything from news and mail to provisions. By the war's end, however, Lincoln had
commissioned about five hundred ships, with an average of 150 on patrol at any one time. These
ships captured or destroyed approximately fifteen hundred blockade runners. Cotton exports
dropped from 10 million bales to 500 thousand. St. Augustine was a port city. By August 16, 1861
Abraham Lincoln placed commerce in Florida under the Secretary of Treasury.
War (St. Augustine Examiner) - April 20, 1861
We have always said that the Abolition Government at Washington meant War; we have never for
one moment thought otherwise, our opinion has been predicated upon the known implacable nature
and wicked mischievous devices that have always marked the course of fanatics ----above all it has
been based upon a knowledge of their hatred to us -Beaufort do not love us, depend on that.
St. Johns Rail Road (St. Augustine Examiner) - May 4, 1861
The St Johns Mirror has the following: This Road has its terminal at Tocoi, on the St John's River
and St Augustine, it is all graded save one mile and a half, the cross ties are upon the line, and there
on laid about three and a half miles, with iron on hand to complete the track for seven miles or about
half the entire road. The work on the road, owing to the political troubles and the general pressure,
has been temporarily stopped; but arrangements are now made to recommence and carry it through
St Augustine Units Mustered
On May 24th, 1861, the St Augustine Blues were again mustered into active Florida service. In
addition to the Blues, a portion of the Marion Artillery, the St. Augustine Rifles, and various other
units were stationed in town.
Capture of George M. Bird (Newbern weekly progress, Newbern, N.C., May 28, 1861)
The following is from a Florida paper : The citizens of St. Augustine, hearing of five vessels at New
Smyrna, loading with live oak for the Federal Government, immediately formed a company of thirty
men, and under command of Lieut. J. Buffington, proceeded to that point on horseback, while
another party started in boats, for the purpose of making prizes of them. Before they reached Smyrna
the vessels had left.. The volunteers succeeded in capturing the steam tow-boat George M. Bird, and
securing about 20,000 worth of live oak. The George M. Bird, on being brought to St. Augustine on
Monday last, was saluted by Lieut. Hopkins, in command of Fort Marion.
Ladies Aid Society (St. Augustine Examiner) June 8, 1862
This Society met on Monday at the long room of the Planters Hotel, was organized, and proceeded
immediately to business. We will procure for our next number a more detailed account of the
intentions &c, of this Society; suffice it to say now, that the greatest unanimity prevails amongst the
Ladies, and that without exception all are helping, to the best of their ability in promoting the comfort
of our brave defenders.
City of S Augustine vs Lawrence slave of Venancio Sanchez; Disturbing peace of the City
and using profane and threatening language in the streets thereof. June 25, 1861 (St.
Augustine City Court Record)
On this day appeared Venanco Sanchez owner of said slave Lawrence and expressed his willingness
that his slave should be punished for the charges made against him and desired that the full extent of
the Ordinance in such cases be inflicted on said slave. Whereupon came Joseph Irvin who being
sworn says that Lawrence did on the 24th of June 1861 and in the streets of the City make use of
provoking language to Tony Fontane the Fifer of the Blues whilst in line, and also cursed and abused
son Tony, and disturbed the peace of the City that several Ladies were near by and that the
language used by said Lawrence was highly offensive and improper for the Ladies to hear.
The Owner of said slave waived further evidence. Whereupon his Honor ordered that said Lawrence
be placed in prison, and a punishment of 39 lashes be inflicted on his bare back and that he then be
discharged upon the payment of all costs incurred in the prosecution of the case.
R B Canova Mayor
City of St. Augustine (St. Augustine Examiner) Saturday June 29, 1861
2 Quarter 1862 Financials
Post Office Notice (St. Augustine Examiner), Saturday June 29, 1861
From and after the first day of June next, postage on letters under 500 miles is ½ oz. Weight will be 5
cts. Over 500 miles, 10 cts, additional weight will be charged in proportion as under the old U. S.
Laws. Postage of Weekly Newspapers weight not to Exceed 3 oz. To actual and bona fide subscribers
10 cts per quarter. Semi-weekly, tri-weekly, and Daily in proportion. Such being the instruction of the
Postmaster General of the Confederate States of America.
Rafael B. Canova was the mayor of St. Augustine from Nov 1860 through Nov of 1861. He was
replaced by Paul Arnau who served until the U. S. Navy returned.
Sinking of the Jeff Davis
On August 18, 1861 the then famous Confederate privateer brig "Jeff Davis" was grounded on the
bar outside the St. Augustine harbor. It was piloted by the sometimes St. Augustine resident Captain
Louis Mitchell Coxetter who was anointed the "John Paul Jones" of the Confederacy.
(The Dutneux account) They were then about ten miles south of Matanzas. Squared away and made
for San Augustine bar. Found the tide too low upon their arrival, and stood off. The captain hoisted
the Confederate flag at the fore topgallant-mast, and fired a gun as a signal for a pilot. Three
attempts were made to get into the harbor, but it was found they could not weather it. The people on
shore kept a light burning for them, as was afterward discovered, but which the privateers did not
observe or were unable to see. The vessel kept working up to wind-ward through the night, and at
daylight they discovered themselves ten miles from the bar. The flag was again hoisted, and a pilot
was observed coming toward the brig and giving the usual signals. In attempting to cross the bar,
however, the brig grounded on the North Breakers. This was about half-past 6 o'clock Sunday
morning, the 17th inst. A small boat was sent ashore with Dr. Babcock and Lieut. Baya, and the
prisoners landed. The officers and crews of the privateer then went ashore, and were greeted with
the most enthusiastic demonstrations by the inhabitants. About half-past 9, two light boats went off to
the brig, along with Capt. Coxetter and other officers. The starboard guns were thrown overboard to
lighten the vessel, in order to clear her decks of water, and save as much as possible of the supplies
on board the brig. Every effort was made to save every thing then on board, but it was supposed that
the guns thrown overboard stove her in and caused her to bilge. The light boats, however, were filled
with a large amount of provisions and baggage, and finally succeeded in saving all the small-arms on
board. About two o'clock all hands had left, and were conveyed to St. Augustine. The ladies threw
open their houses and they were received with cheers upon cheers. Cheers were given for the Jeff.
Davis, for the Southern Confederacy, and the utmost hilarity and rejoicing for the safe arrival of the
privateer were manifested. While there, they were sumptuously provided for, and furnished with every
comfort that could possibly be devised. They learned afterward that there had been considerable
excitement in the town on the appearance of the Jeff. Davis, it having been suspected that she was a
Yankee cruiser in disguise, and had hoisted the Confederate flag to deceive or decoy some of the
vessels from the shore. The prisoners were also treated very kindly and supplied with every thing
comfortable. Before our informant left, Capt. Coxetter had again returned to the wreck and
succeeded in saving an additional amount of provisions and some of the sails. Every effort was made
by Capt. Coxetter to secure as much as possible for the stockholders. The brig is a total loss. But a
small piece of her bow was remaining on Thursday morning, when our informant left, and it was then
thought that she would go to pieces before daylight.
The Lighthouse - Arnau's Coast Guard
On August 22, 1861 Commander Craven of the US Navy noted the destruction of the and capture of
the equipment of the Cape Canaveral, Indian River and Cape Florida lighthouses. This was done by
Paul Arnau who with Maria De Los Delores Mestre removed and hid the Fensnel lens from the St.
Augustine lighthouse. The lens would be recovered after Arnau was held captive on a ship off shore.
The lighthouse was not relit until 1867.
Blockade - Memphis daily appeal. September 15, 1861.
The Charleston Courier learns by a passenger from east Florida that the whole coast off St.
Augustine is blockaded; but that vessels manage to elude the vigilance of the blockaders. On the
29th ult., a vessel laden with coffee and fruit got into port under a heavy fire of shot and shell from
the fort. Shots had been exchanged off St. Augustine between the fleet and the Floridians on the
coast. The latter expressed themselves confident that they can bid defiance to all or any of Lincoln’s
General E. Kirby Smith (Augusta Chronicle. October 24,1861)
Who was so desperately wounded, while gallantly leading his command into battle on the memorable
21st of July, reached Richmond, from his home in St. Augustine, Fla, on Friday evening, and is now
quartered at the hospital residence of our fellow townsman, Mr. C. W. Purcell. After the battle of
Manassas, Gen. Smith was conveyed to Lynchburg, where, under the ministering care of kind friends,
and the skillful attention of competent surgeons, he was speedily restored to vigorous health. Since
that happy event, he became united ‘in wedlock’s rosy chain,” to one of Virginia’s fairest daughters,
with whom he has but just returned from a visit to his aged mother at St. Augustine, his native city.
A day or two ago, an order was dispatched Southward, assigning him to the command of the
Confederate States forces in Florida, a position vacated by the fatal illness of Gen. Grayson, but it
passed him en route to this city, upon reaching which, he was assigned to a command at Manassas,
for which point he will soon start. General Smith, though yet a young man, has evinced high qualities
as a commander, and enjoys equally the confidence of the President, and of the officers and men
associated with him in the service. Richmond Examiner, 21st.
Port Royal Expedition (See Port Royal Experiment)
Nov 7, 1861.Officer Du Pont's 77 ship expedition captured Port Royal. It was the largest US fleet
assembled to this time. Major. Gen. George B. McClellan to Maj. Gen. T. W. Sherman, Feb. 14, 1862,
wherein McClellan ordered: "St. Augustine might as well be taken by way of an interlude, while
awaiting the preparations for Charleston." February 1862, Secretary of War Judah P. Benjamin
ordered Robert E. Lee to withdraw troops from the seaboard and send them west. "The only troops to
be retained in Florida are such as may be necessary to defend the Apalachicola River, as the enemy
could by that river at high water send his gunboats into the very middle of the State of Georgia."
The City of St Augustine vs March a slave of G R Fairbanks -February 14, 1862
Using abusive and threatening language towards Frederick Myers. The testimony in this case proved
the prisoner guilty of using abusive and threatening language towards Frederick Myers. Whereupon
it was adjudged and decreed that March be taken to the Market and whipped twenty-five lashes and
stand committed until the costs are paid. Paul Arnau Mayor
Buckingham Smith Seeks Help
341 W. FIFTEENTH STREET
February 26, 1862.
Mr. SECRETARY: I have several times been menaced with the seizure of my property in the South,
and yesterday I was warned from a friendly source that my presence there had become necessary for
its safety, all that I have being in the hands of sequestrators for the Government of Davis. In this last
stage of affairs (common, no doubt, to many others), and as it is not my pleasure to go South at this
time, I address myself to you, asking the protection of the United States under the treaty with Spain,
holding property as I do in east Florida by descent from a Spanish subject of the country, and having
myself at the time of the cession been a resident in the province. I beg to state these facts with
emphasis. Since the time that the conspirators took up arms there has in no wise any attempt been
made by the Government to pacify the interior of the Peninsula of Florida or the eastern shore by
even the looking in of a gunboat as high up the St. Johns River as Jacksonville, or in passing the
harbor of St. Augustine. On the average of once a week for a period of nearly four months the Jeff
Davis hovered in the Gulf of Florida within a degree or two of latitude of that town, watching for prey,
and finally it only disappeared by the commander, Coxetter, attempting to enter the port, supposing
himself to be pursued by a United States vessel of war, when he wrecked his vessel. That town is the
undisturbed residence of that privateer man, where he has his family, and has property, as also have
Hardee, Kirby Smith, and Loring, all late of the U. S. Army, now active generals in the cause of the
conspiracy. Through these ports have been received from neutral countries necessaries, particularly
salt, coffee, quinine, opium, in exchange for pitch and cotton. Some passengers are passing (or have
passed until very lately) by these means, and also correspondence The Garibaldi, schooner, I am
inclined to think, still continued to make her trips from Jacksonville. The commerce of St. Johns River
has, in no instance, as I have said, been disturbed, and, in a word, the entire Peninsula of Florida by
sufferance only is in rebellion, and while incapable of self-defense, sends troops to Richmond and
attempts at last, by confiscating the property of contumacious citizens, to supply means for carrying
on the war to the Confederate Government. With great respect, I am, sir,
your obedient servant,
The City of St Augustine vs Lao, a slave of Antonio Alvarez; February 28, 1862
Carrying arms contrary to ordinance The prisoner pleaded not guilty to the charge. Thomas Ponce,
sworn says he entered a complaint on Sunday night before the Mayor. The Mayor was at his own
house. At the time witness went the Mayor was engaged in writing. The Mayor told witness he would
go and have him (Lao) a slave of Antonio Alvarez arrested. Witness complained that his boy Peter
had made complaint that Lao had a pistol and that if he jumped on him he would put a load of shot
into him meaning Peter. Peter, slave of Thomas Ponce, sworn - Says that he met Lao down town,
and told Lao that he (Lao) had played him a mean trick about a boat. This was on Saturday night.
Lao said he did not. Peter told Lao he had ought to leave that to M Alvarez. After that he Lao pulled
out a pistol saying he was not able to fight a big man, and if a big man was to jump on him he would
fill him with as many shot holes as he could. This occurred in the City near the market on Saturday
night before eight o'clock, before the bell rung. Did not see him, (Lao) again until Sunday night.
Could not see the Pistol until he pulled it from his clothes. Cross-Examined - Saw the Pistol distinctly
is sure it was a pistol. Does not know what the size of the pistol was, it was just such a pistol as on
which Mr. James Ponce. So it appeared in the night. James Ponce - sworn - Lao told witness that Mr.
Alvarez wanted to see him to buy his pistol to give to Lao as Lao might give it to the City Marshal so
as to clear him. Lao came to witness on Saturday afternoon and wanted to buy a pistol in Mrs. Rafala
Alvarez name. Offered witness ten dollars for it. Lao said he had ten dollars in his pocket. Did not sell
the pistol. Upon hearing the testimony in this case it is adjudged and decreed that the prisoner Lao
be imprisoned until tomorrow and then to receive 39 lashes and stand committed until all costs are
paid. Mr. Alvarez in behalf Lao entered an appeal to the city council, and having entered into a
recognizance in the sum of two hundred dollars for the appearance of Lao, before City Council on
Saturday night 1st March the said slave Lao was delivered to the same.
Attack and Surrender of St. Augustine
March 10th a note is passed to a Confederate soldier attending mass which said: "The Yankees are
landing." Confederate troops left along with members of the Catholic congregation. Father Lance
encouraged them to stay.
The night before Commodore Dupont arrived the St. Augustine Blues and Jefferson Beauregards
with 20% of the population set sail for New Smyrna. The gunboat U.S.S. Keystone State had already
been guarding the harbor entrance.. On March 11, Du Pont in his Flagship Wabash, together with
the Isaac Smith and Huron joined this gun boat off St. Augustine's bar. Commander C. R. P. Rogers
and Captain Dennis of the Coastal Survey landed in St. Augustine on March 11, 1862. Arnau left the
surrender of the city to Christobal Bravo.
At City Hall Rodgers told the Council that they were to accumulate all Federal property, and furnish a
guard over it until Union troops could arrive to take over the garrison duties of St. Augustine.
Immediately they were to hoist the Stars and Stripes at the fort, and be held responsible for order
until the garrison could land. After the City Council complied with these instructions, the city was
considered surrendered. Gomacindo A. Pacetty became mayor from March 24, 1862 until the city
was placed under marital law on April 12, 1862. General T. W. Sherman issued a circular to the
people of East Florida about Union aims in Florida. Confederate St. Augustine lasted one year until
the return of the U. S. Navy. On March 11, 1862 United States troops took charge of St. Augustine.
(See news article) (Civil War St. Augustine Pictures)
Official Report of Commander Rodgers
Detailed report of Commander Rodgers, U. S. Navy, regarding the occupation of St. Augustine, Fla.
U. S. FLAGSHIP WABASH, Off St. Augustine, Fla., March 12, 1862. SIR: Having crossed the bar with
some difficulty, in obedience to your orders I approached St. Augustine under a flag of truce, and as I
drew near the city a white flag was hoisted upon one of the bastions of Fort Marion. Landing at the
wharf, and enquiring for the chief authority, I was soon joined by the mayor and conducted to the city
hall, where the municipal authorities were assembled. I informed them that having come to restore the
authority of the United States, you had deemed it more kind to send an unarmed boat to inform the
citizens of your determination than to occupy the town at once by force of arms; that you were
desirous to calm any apprehension of harsh treatment that might exist in their minds, and that you
should carefully respect the persons and property of all citizens who submitted to the authority of the
United States; that you had a single purpose to restore the state of affairs which existed before the
rebellion. I informed the municipal authorities that so long as they respected the authority of the
Government we serve, and acted in good faith, municipal affairs would be left in their hands so far as
might be consistent with the exigencies of the times. The mayor and council then informed me that
the place had been evacuated the preceding night by two companies of Florida troops, and that they
gladly received the assurances I gave them, and placed the city in my hands. I recommended them to
hoist the flag of the Union at once and in prompt accordance with this advice, by order of the mayor,
the national ensign was displayed from the flagstaff of the fort. The mayor proposed to turn over to
me the five cannon, mounted at the fort, which are in good condition and not spiked, and also the few
munitions of war left by the retreating enemy. I desired him to take charge of them for the present, to
make careful inventories, and establish, a patrol and guard, informing him that he would be held
responsible for the place until our forces should enter the harbor. I called upon the clergymen of the
city, requesting them to reassure their people and to confide in our kind intentions toward them.
About 1,500 persons remain in St. Augustine, about one-fifth of the inhabitants having fled. I believe
that there are many citizens who are earnestly attached to the Union, a large number who are silently
opposed to it, and a still larger number who care very little about the matter. I think that nearly all the
men acquiesce in the condition of affairs we are now establishing. There is much violent and pestilent
feeling among the women. They seem to mistake treason for courage, and have a theatrical desire to
figure, as heroines. - Their minds have doubtless been filled with the falsehoods so industriously
circulated in regard to the lust and hatred of our troops. On the night before our arrival a party of
women assembled in front of the barracks and cut down the flagstaff, in order that it might not be
used to support the old flag. The men seemed anxious to conciliate us in every way. There is a great
scarcity of provisions in the place. There seems to be no money except the wretched paper currency
of the rebellion, and much poverty exists. In the water battery at the fort are three fine army 32-
pounders of 7,000 pounds and two seacoast howitzers of 5,600 pounds, with shot and some powder.
There are a number of very old guns in the fort, useless and not mounted. Several good guns were
taken away some months ago to arm batteries at other harbors. The garrison of the place went from
St. Augustine at midnight on the 10th for Smyrna, where are said to be about 800 troops, a battery,
the steamer Carolina, and a considerable quantity of arms and ammunition.
Add the US Marines to the 4th New Hampshire Regt.
On March 18th Lt. J. W. A. Nicholson of the Isaac Smith entered the harbor with the US Marines
under the command of Major Isaac T. Doughty followed one company of the 4th New Hampshire.
When these marines were later removed it was almost a general panic. Finally 3 more companies of
the 4th arrived.
The mayor and city council of St. Augustine drafted a letter to Flag Officer DuPont to "express their
heartfelt gratification and satisfaction of the polite and urbane course of Major Doughty and Officers
of the U. S. Marines . . . and of the good conduct and discipline of the Troops under their command,"
and expressed their desire that "the Battalion of Marines under Major Reynolds, . . . understood to be
now off our Harbor, . . . be stationed within our City."
Maj Reynolds relates in a letter to Col Harris that three companies of the 4th New Hampshire
Regiment took over the duties of occupying St. Augustine. Twenty Marine privates were also
detached and sent to the Flag Ship Wabash as replacements. DuPont informed the Navy Department
"of the earnest zeal which has ever actuated Major Reynolds in all the duties pertaining to his
command, resulting in its fine discipline, and in an eager anxiety on the part of every officer and man
for more active service in the field," and "that, as a body of men more Subordinate, devoted, loyal
and accommodating to circumstances however trying, could not be found in any service. Major
Reynolds has maintained throughout, his reputation as a Soldier and an officer."
St. Augustine Puts City Marshal on Salary
On March 24 the City council moved to pay the city marshal a salary and suspended the fees which
the marshal formerly received for "whipping (crossed out), punishing Negroes.
From St. Augustine (Augusta Chronicle March 26, 1862)
We had a call on Thursday last from Mr. M. R. Andreu, editor of the St. Augustine Examiner, (who has
been forced to suspend his paper for the present, but will start again as soon as circumstances will
permit,) which place he left on Saturday morning last. He informs us that the Confederate troops
stationed there, consisting of two companies, the Marion Artillery, Capt. Baya, and the Independent
Blues, Capt. Philips, left there on Monday night, the 10th inst., for Smyrna. On Tuesday, about two o’
clock, the Yankees set up a small boat with a flag of truce, and called upon the Mayor of the city, and
told him they would not molest private citizens nor property. The Mayor turned over the public
property, (Confederate) under his charge, which had been left in his possession when the troops left.
They then hoisted the United States flag at the fort.
Mr. Andreu states that the Wabash and one gunboat were outside when the small boat came up to
St. Augustine. On Wednesday another gunboat arrived outside, and on the same day one of the
gunboats proceeded south supposed for Smyrna. Mr. Andreu thinks the Confederate troops there
are sufficient to protect the place until our arms and ammunition can be taken off. We wait anxiously
to learn from there concerning our arms and ammunition.
Although all the men, except a very few old ones, have left the city, the Yankees find very little
encouragement, as the women who could not be got off, wear secession emblems on their breast.
Tallahassee Floridian, 22
Report of General H. G. Wright
March 12, 1862
A portion of the gunboats, having with them one company of the Fourth New Hampshire Regiment,
went to Saint Augustine, which the rebel forces had deserted on the first appearance of the
expedition on the Florida coast. The inhabitants of the town are represented to have hailed with joy
the arrival of our forces and their relief from the oppressive rule of the rebel authorities. At
Jacksonville many of the inhabitants are still remaining, through considerable numbers had gone
when our troops landed.
I shall endeavor to visit Jacksonville, and perhaps St. Augustine, tomorrow, after which I will report
more in detail.
H. G. Wright, Brigadier-General, Commanding
Abraham Lincoln's Appreciation
Message to Congress
March 20, 1862
To the Senate and House of Representatives:
The third section of the "Act further to promote the efficiency of the Navy," approved December 21,
That the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall have
the authority to detail from the retired list of the Navy for the command of squadrons and single ships
such officers as he may believe that the good of the service requires to be thus placed in command;
and such officers may, if upon the recommendation of the President of the United States they shall
receive a vote of thanks of Congress for their services and gallantry in action against an enemy, be
restored to the active list, and not otherwise.
In conformity with this law, Captain Samuel F. Du Pont, of the Navy, was nominated to the Senate for
continuance as the flag-officer in command of the squadron which recently rendered such important
service to the Union in the expedition to the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
Believing that no occasion could arise which would more fully correspond with the intention of the law
or be more pregnant with happy influence as an example, I cordially recommend that Captain Samuel
F. Du Pont receive a vote of thanks of Congress for his service and gallantry displayed in the capture
since the 21st December, 1861, of various points on the coasts of Georgia and Florida, particularly
Brunswick, Cumberland Island and Sound, Amelia Island, the towns of St. Marys, St. Augustine, and
Jacksonville and Fernandina.
U.S. Military Department
A new U. S. Military Department was created, composed of the States of South Carolina, Georgia and
Florida, and Major-Gen. Hunter was assigned to its command. The headquarters were at Beaufort,
South Carolina. Gen. Hunter was the first department head March 30, 1862. The Port of Beaufort,
South Carolina captured in November, 1861 by amphibious attack became the supply depot of the U.
S. Naval blockade.
Confederate Order to Evacuate the Troops from St. Augustine
Hdqrs. Prov. Forces, Dept. East and Middle Fl., Tallahassee, March 19, 1862
The regiments of Colonels Dowd and Davis were put under orders for Tennessee immediately upon
the receipt of the general's instructions to that effect. I regret to say that owing to the limited means of
transportation in this military district neither of them has as yet left the state...
I regret very much my misapprehension of the spirit and intention of the general's letter of instructions
of the 1st March. The language used was explicit, and did not seem to leave any discretion with me. I
was told "the only troops to be retained in Florida are such as may be necessary to defend the
Apalachicola river," and, further, to "send forward all troops not necessary for that purpose, to report
to General A. S. Johnston."...
I have ordered the troops to withdraw from St. Augustine, and shall not countermand the order, for I
agree with the general that the place is not tenable.
J. H. Trapier
Brigadier-General, Commanding (War of the Rebellion Series 1, Vol 6)
Skirmish at New Smyrna, Fla.(Augusta Chronicle, March 29,1862)
On Saturday last, 22d inst., the Federal gunboat, which had been dispatched to New Smyrna, from
information given at St. Augustine, that two companies had gone to that place to protect some arms,
that had been landed there, sent in barges to attack our troops. A company of horsemen, under
Capt. Owens, awaited their approach, and then with steady aim and rapid firing succeeded in killing
forty, mortally wounding two, and taking one prisoner---the remaining nine of the fifty-two that were
sent made their escape to their gunboat. The negro pilot that brought them in was also captured and
immediately hung to a tree. The Yankees sent in a flag of truce to ask permission to bury their dead,
which was granted on condition that they give up the negroes they had stolen, when seven negroes
were soon forthcoming. ---Savh. Rep.
WEEKLY COLUMBUS [GA] ENQUIRER, April 1, 1862, p. 2, c. 6
The Surrender of St. Augustine to the Federals.
We conversed with a gentleman yesterday who passed the Federal pickets at St. Augustine, going in
and coming out, unobserved. He gives the following information:
. . . No country resident is allowed to leave the city to return to his place without a pass, which was
granted upon his taking an oath that should he leave his place, he will take up St. Augustine as his
home; and no citizen is allowed to leave without swearing that he will return.
On Monday last the Catholic Priest and the Episcopal Minister, were notified that unless they desisted
from praying for Jeff Davis and the Southern Confederacy, they should be sent to Fort LaFayette.
Some of the ladies who appeared on the streets wore miniature Confederate flags in their bosoms.
One of them confronted a Federal officer, telling him that though there were no men left in the town
who had the spirit or manliness to defy them, there were women who would. . .
Go to Page 2
|St. Augustine in the Civil War
by Gil Wilson (Introduction)
ab urbe condita - 296 to 300
|Commodore Dupont - Capture of St. Augustine
|Governor Madison Stark Perry
|Old St. Augustine Lighthouse
|Capt Louis Coxetter
|Commander Christopher R. P. Rodgers
U. S. Wabash
|USS Keystone State
|Secretary of the Navy
|USS Isaac Smith
|Bishop Augustine Verot
|Brigadier General Horiato G. Wright
|Abraham Lincoln 1861
|Jefferson Davis - 1861
|General J. H. Trapier, Brigadier
|General David Hunter
|St. Augustine Blues Flag
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|St. Augustine of Hippo
|President James Buchanon