07 March 2007

Fort Matanzas

Now stepping another day back into the Budd archives, here is the trip I took to Fort Matanzas, a few miles south of St. Augustine. Remember from the 5 Mar post about Fort Caroline that Matanzas inlet got its name because of the Spanish killing over 300 French here. Maybe it is historical irony that this turned out to be the backdoor to St. Augustine. The Spanish realized this in 1740 when the British unde James Oglethorpe laid siege to the town for 39 days, buy the blockade did not cover Matanzas inlet. So the Spanish managed to bring supplies in through this inlet and survive until the siege was given up. This event prompted the Spanish to build a fort on the inlet. In September 1742 the fort was almost complete when Oglethorpe returned. His ships were repulsed by fire around St. Augustine, so they attempted the Matanzas inlet, expecting the fort to still be incomplete. The fort's canon fired on the ships and they departed, realizing this plan would not work either. Florida was transfered to England in a treaty on Feb 10, 1763 that ended war between Spain and England and gave Cuba back to Spain. the British garrisoned the fort during their ownership, including during the American Revolution, when Florida became a haven for citizens loyal to Britain. When the Revolution ended, Florida was returned to the Spanish, who took control of the fort once again as well. No major work was done on the fort though until 1809 when the second story roof collapsed and was repaired. In 1820, lightning struck the fort and it became uninhabitable, forcing the garrison to live outside in tents.On July 10, 1821, Florida was transferred to the US from Spain. This ended the need to protect St. Augustine from a nearby enemy, and the fort fell into disrepair. In the 1880s the fort became a tourist attraction, but it wasn't until 1915 that it became a national landmark and money was alloted for its repair. In 1924 it became a national monument, and in 1933 it was transferred from the War department to the National Park Service.
Ok, photo captions. The first phot is the fort itself and I basically put it up there to make the title pretty. Next up is the Mala Compra Plantation just to the south of Matanzas. This plantation was burned during the second Seminole war. The next two pictures are of a WW2 guard tower near Daytona built and manned by civilians. The tower was one of a many along the US coast, but is now one of only a handful that still exist. Now onto the fort: Next photo is taken from the fort and shows the shore where the massacre of the French occured. The vertical photo shows the guide at the fort dressed in a period Spanish soldiers outfit. I think I have figured out that the vertical photos are the ones that make the format all screwy. Anyway, next photo shows the gundeck viewed from the fort's roof. Next are photos of the Commanding Officer's quarters and the enlisted quarters. Finally the last photo is of the fort from the water.

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