Thursday, July 02, 2009

St. Augustine and the Revolution

St. Augustine Florida was a British Stronghold during the U.S.Revolutionary years. There were four signers of the Declaration of Independence held captive either in the fort, or for officers,throughout town in rented rooms, having the freedom to walk around. ("Now be sure to be back for tea, Col. Rutledge!"*) Class distinctions were important to the British. The four signer/prisoners were all members of the planter or monied aristocracy.

Prisoner letters home were permitted, and sometimes even encouraged. Prisoners could buy or exchange for food and clothing, including any money sent by their families. No "waterboading "here. "Parole"would allow prisoners some freedom, in exchange for their promise not to resume the war.('Tag!' Your Out!') Prisoners were encouraged to enlist in the army of the other side. Over the course of the war, as much as a quarter of each army had actually seen service on the other side.

Not everything was rosy for the common troops.When the war formally ended, those who survived the forced marches and camp fevers were sent home.

We recommend a decent movie about the "grunts" who served as troops and was roundly panned in 1985. "Revolution". Critics made fun of Pacino's accent and thought that the battle scenes weren't bloody enough. To us it is one of the best "Point Of View" films about the American Revolution. No stewing , smoldering, heroic Mel Gibson in this one, just schlubby Al Pacino's character trying to get through the day when his world was turned upside down.

* Edward Rutledge (the youngest signer of the Declaration at age 27) of S.C. was a prisoner held here in St. Augustine. He is depicted as the person on the extreme right in the 2 dollar bill engraving above. John Adams, never an admirer of the South Carolinians, who wrote in his diary "Young Ned Rutledge is a perfect Bob-o-Lincoln—a swallow, a sparrow, a peacock; excessively vain, excessively weak, and excessively variable and unsteady; jejeune, inane, and puerile." After reading this attack, we ask local readers.....Do you think that Edward Slavin is our regeneration of John Adams? Of course, Adams put this in his "private diary". How would Ed fare in a duel out on Fish Island and which City official would be the opponent? Answer to the last ....all of em!


  1. Anonymous03 July, 2009

    It is illegal to reproduce U.S. Currency. But that doesn't stop you guys does it?

  2. Whaaat?, Oh Come On !

  3. Anonymous03 July, 2009

    Hey, you have actually read the historic plaque on the plaza!

    Ed Slavin?
    He may be your "something" but he's not "our" anything.