On the first weekend in March, St. Augustine commemorates the "1668 Sack of St. Augustine," when the pirate Robert Searle and his buccaneers invaded St. Augustine, burned part of the town and killed a number of citizens. The weekend begins with an encampment on Friday and Saturday and ends with a battle on Orange Street on Saturday evening.
On Friday and Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., the Oldest House Museum Complex hosts a recreation of a typical 17th-century encampment. Historians and militia perform drills, demonstrations, and interpretations of living history, including weaponry, leatherwork, and cooking.
On Friday at 4:30 p.m., Searle's Buccaneers and the Men of Menendez march in a procession from the Cathedral Basilica, north on St. George Street, to the Santo Domingo Redoubt on Orange Street.
On Saturday, at 4:30 p.m., Searle’s Buccaneers and the Men of Menendez reenact Searle's sacking and burning of the town, and the efforts of St. Augustine's militia to protect the gold and citizens. Searle's Buccaneers march from the Plaza de la Constitución up St. George Street to the Domingo Redoubt on Orange Street. There, the Men of Menendez engage the pirates in battle, in an effort to save the town.
Admission: All events are free. Those who want to enjoy the regular exhibits in the Oldest House Museum will need to pay their normal entry fee.
- The encampment at the Oldest House Museum Complex is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2.
- At 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 3, the two groups proceed from the Cathedral Basilica, up St. George Street.
- On Saturday at 4:30 p.m., the reenactment of the battle takes place, beginning when Searle's Buccaneers march from the Plaza de la Constitución to the Santo Domingo Redoubt on Orange Avenue.
- The procession on Friday and the battle reenactment on Saturday begin around the Plaza de la Constitución in the center of St. Augustine's historic district and proceed north on St. George Street, ending at the Santo Domingo Redoubt on Orange Avenue, just across from Potter's Wax Museum.
- The encampment during the day on Friday and Saturday is at the Oldest House Complex, which is located at St. George Street.
More about Florida's Historic Militia: Both Searle's Buccaneers and the Men of Menendez are members of Florida's Historic Militia, which is an umbrella organization providing services for member individual militia groups. Florida's Historic Militia strives to present accurate historic information and demonstrations for the periods from the 16th through the 19th Century.
Those groups affiliated with FHM are:
- Men of Menéndez – 16th Century Spanish
St. Augustine Garrison – 18th Century Spanish
East Florida Rangers – 18th Century British
Searle’s Buccaneers – 17th Century British
Drake’s Men – 16th Century English