Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Searle's Raid 2013

The annual reenactment of Searle's Raid on St. Augustine was held March 1 & 2. This was the last major pirate (privateer) attack on the city and led to the construction of the still-standing stone fortress.

The actual raid was long and bloody, ranging from one end of the town to the other.

The Raid consists of two events. On the first Friday of March, the Spanish troops march through town warning the inhabitants that the English have been sighted. For this part, everyone is Spanish. We assembled at the Cathedral and marched up St. George Street at drum beat. I didn't get a good count but I think there were around 40 people involved in that part.

Dinner was served at a historic bakery on St. George although most people slipped across the street to the Taverna for a drink.

The weather on Friday was cooler than usual but pleasant. Saturday was colder and windy with gusts over 40 MPH. By the end of the day all of the shade flies had blown down or been taken down.

The troops were camped on the Fountain of Youth Archeological Park although we were in a different location than usual. A wedding party had reserved our regular spot under the trees. The new spot made it easier to see how large the camp actually is and made the event seem a bit more military.

The pikes drilled and the swordsmen practiced their choreography during the day. Many people did not arrive until Saturday. I counted at least 80.

At 4:00 the trolly took us to town for the actual battle. The English assembled a couple of blocks further south, fired a few volleys, then marched onto the square where we had our first battle. This fight was shorter than usual. We were only given a 15 minute permit instead of the usual 30 minute one. The Spanish made an orderly retreat followed by the British. At various times we stopped and exchanged fire. We also took the opertunity to loot some of the businesses and take some women hostage.

The Spanish made their stand just north of St. George Street where the English besieged them until they surrendered and agreed to pay us to leave (mainly in cattle).

A few observations - the English musket volleys were much better. The Spanish had ragged volleys while the English had crisp ones. There were around 40 on each side to it was a credible battle.

I've been to this event three times and this was the first time that the food was served on time. My compliments to the kitchen crew.

After dark it got downright cold so several of us went to Dunkin Donuts to warm up.

The event in general is a blast. Everyone is friendly and funny.

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