1707 – First Siege of Pensacola

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Sieges >> 1707 – First Siege of Pensacola

The siege took place in August 1707

Introduction

At the time of the declaration of war in 1702, there were already tensions on the frontier between the Spanish establishments of Florida and the English Province of Carolina.

In 1700, the English had even claimed the recently founded (1698) settlement of Pensacola.

In 1701, English parties accompanied by their Creek allies had raided the Apalachee region where the Spaniards had 14 missions.

In 1702, English and Creeks had burned the mission of Santa Fé de Toloca in Northern Florida. The Spaniards had tried to retaliate but their punitive expedition against the Creek Indians had turned to disaster. The English then failed to capture San Agustín.

In 1704, the British had launched raids against the Apalachee Indians, expelling the vast majority of the Apalachees from their homeland.

Finally, in 1706, the French and Spaniards undertook an unsuccessful expedition against Charles Town. This motivated the Carolina authorities to again target the Spanish at Pensacola.

Map

Map of the region of Pensacola – Copyright: Dinos Antoniadis

Pensacola was under the command of Don Sebastián de Moscoso, who was at the head of a garrison of approx. 160 men, who were housed in Fort San Carlos de Austria, a wooden stockade fort built in 1698. This fort was designed as a typical field redoubts: a quadrilateral with a footing of pine stakes some 30 cm thick set deeply into the sand in two parallel rows, on which two rows of pine logs (about 9 m long and 30 cm thick) inclined inwards and outwards. A bastion protruded at each corner.

Description

In the summer of 1707, the British assembled several hundred Tallapoosas and a few South Carolina traders for the expedition against Pensacola.

On 12 August a band of some 25 Native American warriors appeared before Pensacola, terrorized the inhabitants (mostly Native Americans), took prisoners (including some women and children) and began burning houses. Governor Moscoso fired a cannon of the fort and the attackers fled.

On 14 August, 10 men sent out of the fort to do laundry disappeared. An estimated 300 Native American warriors appeared before the fort and attacked.

On 15 August, the attack resumed, as did the pillaging of the town. Activity then quieted down until 18 August.

On 18 August, a British flag was raised over a house near the fort. This prompted Moscoso to open fire from the fort, beginning a battle that raged until dark. That day, the attackers burned down the rest of the town, and Moscoso's men had to work to prevent the fort from burning as well.

On 19 August, a Spanish soldier was taken prisoner while inspecting the rubble.

On 20 August, a second person was captured, then attacks came to an end. However, the vicinity of the fort continued to be subject to raids for another month.

Outcome

During the siege, the town was burned and the Native American population fled. However, Fort San Carlos de Austria successfully resisted.

References

Faye, Stanley: Spanish Fortifications of Pensacola, 1698-1763. The Florida Historical Quarterly, vol. 20, no. 2, 1941, pp. 151–68

Wikipedia – Siege of Pensacola (1707)