Attempting to seize St. Augustine, the Patriots established a garrison at Fort Picolata on the St. Johns river. To build national support for their "spontaneous" revolt, Patriot John McIntosh wrote to Monroe, emphasizing the perils that his men faced because of Florida's unruly blacks:
"Our slaves [are] incited to rebel, and we have an army of Negroes raked up in this country
.... Let us ask, if we are abandoned, what will be the situation of the southern states with this body of men in the neighborhood? St. Augustine, the whole province, will be the refuge of fugitive slaves; and from thence emissaries can, and no doubt will, be detached, to bring about a revolt of the Black population in the United States."
Smith Plot 207-11, State Papers 156.
Part 1, Early Years: l