1707 – Second Siege of Pensacola

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

The siege took place in November 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.

In August 1707, several hundred Tallapoosas and a few South Carolina traders undertook an unsuccessful siege of Pensacola. They burned a large part of the settlement but were unable to make themselves masters of the fort and retired.

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 November 1707, a force of about 20 Carolina traders and 300 Creeks, primarily Tallapoosas and Alabamas, made a second attempt to capture the Fort San Carlos de Austria, defending what remained of the settlement of Pensacola.

On 24 November, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, the French governor of Mobile, was informed that the Carolinians had assembled a small force and were marching on Pensacola. He immediately took dispositions to assemble a force of 100 Frenchmen and 400 Native American warriors and set off for Pensacola a few days later.

On 27 November, this force appeared in front of Fort San Carlos de Austria and a Carolinian summoned the garrison to surrender. Moscoso rejected the demand, even though his garrison was depleted by disease.

In the night of 27 to 28 November around midnight, the besiegers began an ineffectual attack.

On 28 November at daybreak, the besiegers once more summoned the fort to surrender without more success. To reinforce the small garrison, Moscoso recruited convicts to participate in the defence of the fort.

In the night of 28 to 29 November, the besiegers renewed their attack without significant effect.

In the night of 29 to 30 November, the besiegers launched another attack and a Creek chief was killed.

On 30 November in the morning, the besiegers lifted the siege.

During this brief siege, the attackers suffered significant casualties.

On 8 December, Bienville's relief force reached Pensacola, only to learn that the siege had been lifted a week earlier.

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)