Chris Monaco


Fort Mitchell, the former capital of the "Republic of East Florida" during the Patriot War, has never attained distinction. Erected in January of 1814, the twenty-five-foot square, two-story blockhouse was reported to hav been abandoned in May of the same year. When viewed in either military or political terms, the fort was a failure. However this small outpost on the Alachua frontier was originally intended as the nucleus of a self-sustaining, long-term agricultural colony.2 While short-lived Fort Mitchell is especially noteworthy because it was the first substantial Anglo-American settlement in the interior of Spanish East Florida.3 By 1821, seven year after the fort was abandoned and after Florida was ceded to the United States, many former rebels returned permanently to the area and achieved position of prominence, becoming sheriffs, judges, militia officers, and legislators." This finding challenges the view of historians who have portrayed Patriots-most of whom were Georgians-as anti-scoundels.5 Unfortunately, the true nature and achievements of the Florida pioneers, deeply rooted in the "emotion of maniest destiny," have gone largely unrecognized.