In the preceding issues of the QUARTERLY, starting with July, 1930, we followed the
career of a detachment of United States regulars during their occupancy of Spanish
East Florida beginning March 18, 1812, as told by their commander, Col. Thomas A.
Smith, in his official and semi-official correspondence, much of which has never
appeared in print before. The last issue brought the story to the time when Col.
Smith turned the command over to Maj. Lawrence Manning, of the 8th U.S. Infantry, and
bade adieu to the little detachment that he had led into the Spanish province more
than a year before. 51 In the meantime, Gen. Pinckney, commanding the Southeastern
Department, had despatched the following letter to the Span ish governor at St.
Gen. Pinckney to Gov. Kindelan 52 Headquarters, Charleston, 26th [2Oth?] March, 1813.
The President of the United States having appointed me to command the troops in the
51 Thomas Adam Smith was born in Essex County, Va., in 1781, the family later
removing to Wilkes County, Ga. He was appointed from Georgia; promoted to second
lieutenant in 1803; advanced through the grades to lieutenant-colonel in 1810, and
promoted to colonel while on duty in Florida. After leaving Florida, he joined the
army of Gen. Harrison and served in the armies at the North, attaining the rank of
brigadier-general in January, 1814. Gen. Harrison mentioned him as a most valuable
and accomplished officer. At the close of the war, Gen. Smith was assigned to the
command of the Ninth Military District, at St. Louis. He resigned from the army in
1818, to become Receiver of Public Moneys at New Franklin, Mo. About 1825, he entered
States, and committed to me the management of their concerns with the province of
East Florida, I have the honor of making known to your excellency the trust which has
been reposed in me, and to assure you of the pleasure it will afford me to concur
with you in placing On the most amicable footing these important in terests ; and in
furtherance of this intention I have to inform you that Mr. Onis 53 has communicated
to the Secretary of State an act of amnesty for the insurgents of Florida who have
been induced to revolt by an agent of the United States, whose proceedings in this
respect, were unauthorized ; and I have to request your excellency to inform me
whether you are prepared to proceed in conformity to the above mentioned act?
My aid-de-camp, Mr. Morris, will have the honor of delivering this letter to you,
and, if you please, of conveying your answer to me. He has it in charge to assure you
of the high consideration with which I have the honor to be,
Your excellency's most obedient servant, Thomas Pinckney,
Major-General United States Army His Excellency, Governor Kindelan.
Gov. Kindelan to Gen. Pinckney 54 St. Augustine, Florida March 31, 1813
In answer to your letter of the 20th instant, which I have just received through your
51. (cont.) tract of land in Saline County, Mo., where he died on his plantation
"Experiment" in 1844, and was buried in the family bury ing ground there.
(This information was derived from the army registers and from a descendant of Gen.
Smith, Dr. Thomas B. Hall, of Miami Beach. Fla.)
52 U.S. vs. F. P. Ferreira, Admr. etc., Miscl. Senate Doc. No. 55, 36th Cong. 1st
53 Luis de Onis, unaccredited Spanish envoy to the United States.
54 Miscl. Sen. Doc. No. 55, p. 91.
Morris, I say that by the annexed certified copy of the edict, published in this city
under my command on the 15th of the same month you will perceive that the general
pardon of which you make mention has been duly complied with; consequently it would
give me much pleasure to concur with you in the important measures suggested to me by
you, so far as they come within the circle of my authority ; but beyond the execution
of that favor, which has been, and will be, carried into effect in all its parts, I
must observe to you, that to enter upon the other incidents that may thereto relate,
it is not proper I should do so while the United States troops are in the Spanish
territory which has been confided to me.
With this motive I have the honor, sir, of offering myself, with the highest
considerations, at your service. God preserve you many years.
S.K. [Sebn. Kindelan]
Thomas Pinckney, General of the United States troops.
Amnesty Edict 55 St. Augustine, March 18, 1813
Don Sebastian Kindelan y Oregan, knight of the order of St. James, brigadier-general
of the national armies, civil and military governor of the city of St. Augustine,
East Florida, and of said province for his majesty, etc.
I make known to the inhabitants of the province, that his excellency, the
captain-general of it and the
55 This is the edict referred to by Gov. Kindelan in his letter of March 31st.
Niles' Weekly Reg. Apr. 24, 1813, p. 127.
island of Cuba, under date of 11th Feb. last, writes me as follows.
His excellency, the secretary of state for the affairs of grace and justice, under
date of 16th Dec. last, writes me as follows.
On the 15th inst. the regency of the kingdom has been pleased to address me the
DECREE-Don Fernando VII, by the grace of God, and by the constitution of the Spanish
monarchy, king of Spain, and during his absence and captivity the regency of the
kingdom specially authorized by the general and extraordinary cortes, to grant an
amnesty to the insurgents, who have co-operated in the invasion of the Spanish
territory in East and West Florida, acting in conformity with the beneficent and
concilia tory principles of the said cortes, and wishing to give a new proof of their
clemency in favor of the Spanish subjects, who, unfortunately forgetful of their
duties, have added to the distress of the mother country, during a most critical
epoch, has determined to grant them a general pardon with oblivion of the past, on
condition that, in future and after the proclamation of this amnesty, they shall
demean themselves as good and faithful Spaniards, yielding due obedience to the
legitimately constituted authorities of the national government of Spain, established
in the peninsula.
"Wherefore you will take notice thereof and cause the same to be fulfilled in
By order of their highness I transmit the same to your excellency for your
information and its fulfilment on your part. And I transmit the same to your
excellency, that it may be put in execution in the district of your command. And that
the same may come to the knowledge of all persons whatsoever, I order the publication
thereof, by proclamation, and that the notarial copies be exhibited in the usual
places of this
city, assigning the term of four months, calculated from the date of these presents
for all persons interested to make their appearance to avail themselves of this royal
St. Augustine, East Florida.
15 March, 1813
By order of his excellency, as actuating witnesses for want of a notary.
John De Entralgo
Bernard Joseph Seoui [Segui]
Gen. Pinckney to Gov. Kindelan 56 Savannah, 7th April, 1813.
I received this day your excellency's letter of the 31st March, and in answer
thereto I have the honor to inform you that the troops of the United States will be
speedily withdrawn from the province of East Florida, for which the preparatory order
has been already issued ; and that I shall set out this day to pro ceed on my route
to St. Mary's, where I can have the satisfaction of a more expeditious
communication with your excellency.
I beg leave to offer to your excellency the assurance of the great respect with which
I have the honor to be, Your most obedient servant,
His Excellency, Governor Kindelan.
56 Miscl. Sen. Doc. No. 55, p. 91.
Gov. Kindelan to Gen. Pinckney 57
St. Augustine, Florida April 16th, 1813.
I have this moment received your letter of the 7th instant, in consequence of which I
pray you to do me the honor to communicate to me, previously, the day you may
determine upon to withdraw from the river St. John's and Amelia island, the
troops under your command, that I may order those of mine to occupy, on the same day,
those points, with the view of preventing any excess that might be attempted by any
one or more of the rioters upon the properties and persons of the inhabitants of this
province, which, I think may be prevented. If you think proper, those that are upon
the said river should evacuate first, that from thence I may provide for sending the
garrison destined to Amelia island, and that neither one nor the other point should
be for one moment without a garrison, to cause the good order, to which you and
myself aspire to be kept.
As I have no doubt of the interest you take in the most speedy tranquillity on the
borders, I dare supplicate you will interpose your authority to prevent that persons
of no character, or vagabonds from the state of Georgia, should assemble those
discontented persons who there yet may be, owing to this new order of things,
remaining in this territory still ; because the excess to which such a class of
people might ordinarily proceed might compromit that peace which ought to make both
countries (happy), and consequently, disturb the good harmony existing so happily
between the two powers.
57 Secret Acts, Resolutions & Instructions etc. . . . Washington, 1860, p. 65.
Gen. Pinckney to Gov. Kindelan 58 St. Mary's, 16th April, 1813.
I had the honor of addressing your excellency from Savannah, on the 7th of this
month, to inform you that in consequence of your communication of the 31st March, the
troops of the United States would be speedily removed from East Florida, and having
arrived at this place, with the intention of carrying this measure into effect, I
again dispatch my aid-de-camp, Mr. Morris, to be the bearer of my respects to your
excellency, and to inform you of the arrangements made for the above purpose.
You may with confidence rely on what he shall say to you concerning it in my behalf.
I have the honor to be with great respect,
Your excellency's obedient servant,
His Excellency, the Governor of East Florida.
Gen. Pinckney to Maj. Manning 59
[Addressed to Major Manning, 8th Infantry, Commanding United States troops, Camp New
Hope, East Florida.]
St. Mary's, 16th April, 1813.
You are hereby directed to withdraw the troops of the United States under your
command from Camp New Hope, on the 29th of this month, and convoy them by water, to
Point Petre, on the St. Mary's river. You will bring with you all the ordnance,
ammunition and stores belonging to the United States, and
58 Miscl. Sen. Doc. No. 55, pp. 92-93.
59 Secret Acts, Resolutions & Instructions, etc.; p. 68.
afford, if required, a guard for the protection of the stores of the contractor,
which he will have to remove. I have given Maj. Massias instructions for the
evacuation of Fernandina, which will not be executed until the troops under your
immediate command have reached Point Petre.
The removal of the troops from East Florida is not to be considered in the light of
the evacuation of an enemy's territory, but as restoring to a state of neutrality
a territory which our Executive deemed expedient to occupy, until the government of
that terri tory should comply with a reasonable requisition made to them. This
requisition having been complied with, the territory must be considered as restored
to its neutral character ; therefore in withdrawing the troops, you will prevent the
removal or destruction of anything appertaining thereto ; and, in general, conduct
the movement in that liberal mode which will do honor to the discipline and correct
principles of the army.
You are neither to give assistance to the agents of the Spanish government, in any
attempts against the revolutionists, nor are you to assist the latter in any
operations against the Spaniards ; but you may afford to such of them as wish to
withdraw their property from Florida, such assistance as may be in your power. On
your arrival at Point Petre, you will report yourself to headquarters at St.
By command of the General.
(Note : The orders to Capt. Massias at Fernandina were similar to the above, with the
Gen. Pinckney to Gov. Kindelan 60
St. Mary's, April 18, 1813.
At the moment in which my aid-de-camp, Mr. Morris, is about to embark for the purpose
of making known to your excellency, the mode and time in which I propose to withdraw
the troops of the. United States from the posts they have occupied in East Florida, I
am honored with your dispatch of the 16th of this month ; and I am flattered by
observing that the measures I had directed him to propose coincide so nearly with the
desire expressed by your excellency. I am here vested with the military, but have no
control over the civil authority ; but you may be assured that my best endeavors
shall not be spared to maintain the harmony which is so much the interest of our
respective nations to cultivate.
I have the honor to be, with high considerations and respect,
Your excellency's most obedient servant,
The Governor of East Florida.
Gov. Kindelan to Gen. Pinckney 61 St. Augustine, Florida April 26, 1813.
I have received by your aid-de-camp, Mr. Morris, your two letters, of the 16th and
18th of the present month, in which you have been pleased to do me the honor of
communicating to me your orders relative to the evacuation of the troops of your.
command, and in consequence whereof Mr. Morris, authorized by you,
60 Miscl. Sen. Doc. No. 55, p. 93.
61 Miscl. Sen. Doc. No. 55, p, 95.
and myself have agreed that those stationed on the river St. John's should retire
in all on the 29th day of the same month, and those upon Amelia Island the 6th of
next coming May.
I am also flattered that my anticipated arrangement should coincide with those of
your own ; a casu alty [sic] which I believe attributable to the uniformity of
principles animating us both, and for which I offer you my most sincere thanks.
I have the honor of offering, with the highest consideration, my respect for you,
praying God will pre serve your life many years. SK. [ Sebn. Kindelan]
General Thomas Pinckney.
Gov. Kindelan to Gen Pinckney 62
St. Augustine, Florida
April 28th, 1813.
I enclose to you the within letter, which was delivered to me on the evening of the
25th by your aid de-camp, to be forwarded to the commander of the United States
troops stationed upon the river St. John's, and which was returned to me by the
dragoon whom I sent it by, as when he arrived there at seven in the morning of the
27th, they had already embarked, leaving the place of their encampment in flames, a
circumstance which you and myself were desirous of preventing, with the view that it
would facilitate for the present convenient lodgings for the garrison under my
command, who were to occupy it on the 30th. This, sir, is of little consequence, and
I therefore should not have troubled you by mentioning it were it not for the
circumstances of their having consigned also to the
62 Ibid, p. 96.
flames the machinery and houses of the inhabitants, Hollingsworth and Creagh, which
compels me to call your attention to favor the persons injured. All countries abound
with inconsiderate persons, the unwar rantable proceedings of which class of people
very often disconcert the best concerted plans and measures. But I am persuaded that
this disagreeable accident will in no manner change the just course which you and
myself have pursued.
I remain, as always, with the highest considerations, at your service.
God preserve your life many years. S.K.
Gen. Thomas Pinckney
Camp New Hope was evacuated by Major Manning on April 26, 1813. Ten days later, May
6th, Captain A. A. Massias lowered the American flag at Fort San Carlos, Fernandina,
and with the remaining troops crossed the channel of the St. Marys River and joined
Major Manning at Point Petre, thus bringing to a close a remarkable episode in the
history of the United States Army.
T. FREDERICK DAVIS