The Florida National Guard has invited all Historic City News readers to participate when they celebrate the 451st anniversary of the birth of the militia in the continental United States during a ceremony in St. Augustine.
Officer and enlisted platoons will form for the ceremony Friday, September 16th, at 4:00 p.m. at Patriot Field, St. Francis Barracks, Florida National Guard headquarters, 82 Marine Street, St. Augustine.
Members of Florida Living History, Inc. will demonstrate a traditional Spanish firing detail.
The “First Muster” took place on September 16, 1565, when Pedro Menendez de Aviles gathered around him the Soldiers of his small Spanish army, as well as the civilian settlers who accompanied him to the newly established presidio town of St. Augustine.
He was about to march north to the French settlement of Fort Caroline near the mouth of the St. Johns River. Because his plan called for the use of the majority of his regular Soldiers, Menendez drew upon Spanish laws governing the militia in an imperial province.
As both the civil governor and the commander-in-chief of the military establishment, he had the authority to call all free male settlers in the presidio province to active service.