War Department Report 1904

Between the Florida Wars with the Seminoles and the Civil War, the U.S. Army spent a lot of time in St. Augustine during the 19th century, but by 1904, they didn’t have much use for our city. Here’s the Annual Report of the War Department from June 1904:

The military reservations in the vicinity of St. Augustine, Fla., are as follows:
” A.” Powder or magazine lot, containing an area of 11 acres.
” B.” The St. Augustine National Cemetery, formerly the post cemetery, containing an area of about fifty-eight hundredths of an acre.
” C.” The St. Francis Barracks and hospital lot, containing about 5 acres.
” D.” Two islands, near St. Augustine, in the main channel of the Mantanzas River, containing about 2 acres.
” E.” Fort Marion, an old Spanish work said to have been commenced in 1565 and completed in 1756, under the name of Castle of St. Mark. The fort and adjacent land contain about 22 acres.
” F.” Anastasia Island Military Reservation, containing about 700 acres.

The national cemetery contains the remains of the officers and enlisted men killed in the Dade massacre and Florida wars from 1835 to 1842.

Old Fort Marion serves no useful purpose, but is attractive as a relic. If a portion of this reservation could be set aside as a national cemetery and the remains moved from the present cemetery it would seem advisable, for historic and sentimental reasons, to retain the Fort Marion Reservation, marking accurately and properly its boundaries as determined by proper surveys, or selling to the parties who are located thereon under revocable licenses such portions of the reservation as they hold, carefully bounding and marking the remaining portion and prohibiting any further encroachment or trespass thereon. Then the lands embraced in what is now St. Francis Barracks, the adjoining hospital lot, national cemetery, and the powder or magazine lot might be disposed of.

The buildings at St. Francis Barracks are going to ruin, the post will probably never be occupied again, and it seems useless to expend any money for repairs. An ordnance-sergeant alone is in charge of these reservations, and has a care taker for the Fort Marion Reservation and one for the national cemetery. The sergeant manages all affairs and attends to all his duties in a very satisfactory and businesslike way. His relations with the city authorities and all concerned seem very cordial.


Castillo de San Marcos

That ordnance-sergeant was quite a character, St. Francis Barracks is now the headquarters for the Florida National Guard, the St. Augustine National Cemetery honors those who served throughout the 19th and 20th century and this is what that old “relic” looks like today as a national monument.

4 thoughts on “War Department Report 1904

  1. That little comment hospital lot is more than what it seems. That’s the hospital lot from the War of the Rebellion Department of the South hospital that was built in St. Augustine. I wonder how or if it corresponds to the old “pile of barracks from the British period.


    • I’m not sure If it originated from the Seminole war period or the Civil War, but the hospital building still exists. It was moved across Marine St. To the bayfront and was a boarding house, then apartments and now a residence. I don’t think it’s a single-family residence but not sure its exact status.


  2. A house would have been a Post Hospital. There are probably several located around St. Augustine especially up by the Castillo. Each regiment when they came through St. Augustine apparently declared their own “hospital” throughout the war years.

    The large hospital located by St. Francis was a 200 bed Convalescent Hospital where they sent men from South Carolina, Georgia and Florida – to keep from sending them north. The hospital was completed and used. (See http://www.drbronsontours.com/bronsonhistorypageamericanstaugustinecivilwarp2.html) If you ever run across a picture of this building or anything else about it, feel free to yell. I have it on a 1880s map so I’m not sure when it was torn down. I’m encountered very little information about it so far but we’ll see.

    I’m surprised that the above list also missed the lot where the School board is now located. The land was deeded over to the school board by the Federal government to build the building. (It may be considered part of the Fort lands.)


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