National Landmark Fort Mose recreates the
Battle of Bloody Mose
June 25, 2022
Fort Mose Historic State Park, 15 Fort Mose Trail, St. Augustine, FL
Reenactments at 11 am and 1 pm
When the cannon smoke clears, who will control St. Augustine?
Experience the Battle of Bloody Mose at Fort Mose Historic State Park. This unique event unfolds on the 281st anniversary of the original conflict, on the original battle site!
It’s 1740. British troops have captured Spanish forts in the area — including Fort Mose. Next stop, the Castillo de San Marcos. The stakes couldn’t be higher!
Watch as a coalition of Fort Mose militia, Spanish forces and Native allies surprise the British in an early morning raid.
Formed in 1738, Fort Mose was home to the first legally sanctioned free Black community in North America. It was the destination of our country’s original Underground Railroad, running south. The Fort Mose site is now designated a National Historic Landmark.
Taking place on June 26, 2021, the Battle of Bloody Mose event includes battle reenactment, the launch of Fort Mose Historical Society’s 25th Anniversary celebration, and unveiling of what is believed to be the world’s first historically accurate depiction of the original Fort Mose community and fortress. Throughout the day there will be musket demonstrations, foodways exhibits, colonial craft making, and special activities for children.
10:00 am Opening Ceremony
10:10 am 25th Anniversary Celebration, Fort Mose Historical Society
10.20 am Unveiling: ‘In Community’ Painting: 1738 Fort Mose Community
10.50 am Cannon firing: Battle Cry
11:00 am Reenactment: Battle of Bloody Mose
12.10 pm Wreath Ceremony
12.50 pm Cannon firing: Battle Cry
1.00 pm Reenactment: Battle of Bloody Mose
1.45 pm Closing Ceremony
Foodservice is available onsite.
The Battle of Bloody Mose event is open to the general public at no cost. Donations and Membship Enrollment are greatly appreciated.
Please view FortMose.org often for event updates.
This event is supported in part by a Visitor Experience grant from the St. John’s County Tourist Development Council and by a State of the Arts grant made possible by the St.
Johns Cultural Council.
We’re also grateful for invaluable assistance from our Partners including Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine Garrison and numerous reenactor groups who serve as ‘opposing forces’.
Limited parking is available on site at Fort Mose.
Satellite parking is available throughout the day in St. Johns County Health Department parking lot located at 200 San Sebastián View, St. Augustine, FL, 32084.
Coastal Transportation will begin complimentary shuttle service from the County Health Department lot to Fort Mose at 9:30 am. Tipping is appreciated. Shuttle service will be available to and from Fort Mose throughout the day. Last shuttle departure to the satellite lot will occur at 2:30 pm.
Did you know?
Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, or Fort Mose, was the destination of the original Underground Railroad, running south. It was home to the first legally sanctioned free Black community in North America!
In 1740, British troops invaded Spanish St. Augustine, laying siege to Fort Mose and claiming it as their own. General James Oglethorpe of Georgia led the charge.
But 16 days later, a defensive battalion of Spanish soldiers, Fort Mose militia and Yamassee warriors surprised the British in an early morning attack. They quickly reclaimed Fort Mose through a fierce display of force. Casualties were high, inspiring the British to name this encounter ‘The Battle of Bloody Mose’. Following this stunning victory by the Spanish, British troops retreated from Spanish Florida.
The Battle of Bloody Mose: June 26, 1740
Authored by: Dr. Richard Shortlidge, Fort Mose Historian
Using the War of Jenkin's Ear as a pretext, Georgia's Governor and General James
Oglethorpe convinced the South Carolina General Assembly to sanction and support
an invasion of Spanish Florida in 1739. By late spring and early summer 1740, General
Oglethorpe had surrounded Saint Augustine and captured most of the Spanish outer
most defensive network including the northern forts of Diego and Mose and the
western forts of Pupo and Picolata on the Saint Johns.
Saint Auguistine was under siege. The British Navy maintained a sea blockade. General
Oglethorpe commanded operations from camps on the northern end of Anastasia
Island opposite the City of Saint Augustine from which he bombarded Saint Augustine
daily with cannon fire. A contention of 170 British Regulars, Highland Independent
Company of Darien, Creek and Uchise occupied Fort Mose under the command of
Colonel John Palmer from which they conducted occasional raids against fortified
Toward the end of June 1740, it was virtually a stalemate. General Oglethorpe's
strategy was to starve and harass the Spanish into surrender.
Florida's Governor Montiano's strategy was to hold out as long as he could until
reinforcements arrived from Havana. To buy himself time and take advantage of the
weaknesses that his spies reported about the British encamped at Mose, he decided
to launch a surprise counter offensive in the pre-dawn hours of June 26, 1740.
Montiano’s spies had reported that there was bickering among the officers and men at
Fort Mose. The British didn't trust the Scottish Highlanders and vice versa. Likewise
the Creek and Uchise didn't trust either the Highlanders or the British. Besides the
daily quarreling and feuding, many of the soldiers and Native Americans occupied
themselves rounding up wild horses to sell to the British army. Needless to say, the
situation at Mose was ripe for the Spanish to exploit to their advantage.
Under the command of Spanish Captain Antonio Salagado, a force of 300 Spanish
Regulars, the Fort Mose Militia commanded by Captain Francisco Menendez and
Seminoles departed the Castillo de San Marcos two hours before dawn on June 26th.
Despite its size, the force was able to advance undetected to within musket range of
the British camped inside the fortification and town at Mose.
The British were caught totally off guard. In the resulting battle, of the 170 British
troops 75 were killed and 35 captured. Among the Spanish, out of 300 troops, 10 were
killed and 20 wounded.
The near annihilation of the British force at Mose destroyed morale among the rest of
General Oglethorpe's troops. The British Navy decided to abandon its blockade. With
the arrival of the Spanish navy and reinforcements, General Oglethorpe was forced to
lift the siege and retreat back to Georgia and South Carolina at the end of June and in
The decisive battle and Spanish victory at Mose was the last major military effort by the
British to arrest control of Florida from Spain by force. Spain was eventually forced to
relinquish Florida to the British by the treaty ending the French Indian War in 1763. in
exchange for the return of Havana and Cuba. Members of the St. Augustine
Community and the Fort Mose Community fled to Cuba for safety.
Fort Mose Historical Society
Incorporate June 26, 1996
25 Years of ‘Telling the Fort Mose Story’
Selected Awards & Honors
Site of Memory, UNESCO Slave Route Project
US National Historic Landmark
Site, National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom
Citizen Support Organization of the Year, FL Park Service