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Siege of St. Augustine

Siege of St. Augustine

The Siege of St. Augustine was a part of the War of Jenkins' Ear during which England and her colonies attacked Spanish colonies in the Americas. After some mutual minor skirmishes, Governor Oglethorpe of the colony of Georgia raised a mixed force of British regulars, the 'Old' 42nd Regiment of Foot, colonial milita from Georgia and Carolina, Hugh MacKaye's Highlanders and American Creek and Chickasaw, or Uchee Indians. The campaign began in December 1739, by January Oglethorpe was raiding Spanish forts west of St. Augustine. By May, 1740 he led this force on an expedition into Spanish Florida in an attempt to capture St. Augustine, first capturing Fort San Diego, Fort Picolotta and Fort Mose, the first free black settlement in America.

Oglethorpe invested St. Augustine deploying his batteries on the island of Santa Anastasia while the naval squadron blockade the port. When Oglethorpe began a 27 day bombardment on June 24, the Spanish colonist families, some 2,000 people, all sought refuge within the fort, Castillo de San Marcos. Both sides suffered serious losses to disease with about half their troops incapacitated. On June 26, a sortie by 300 Spanish and free blacks attacked Fort Mose held by 120 Highlander Rangers and 30 Indians. The garrison was taken by surprise with 68 killed and 34 captured while the Spanish loss was 10 killed.

The Spanish managed to send supply ships through the Royal Navy blockade and any thought 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.

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