In 1810, American residents of West Florida’s Baton Rouge District overthrew the local Spanish authorities, seized the corresponding fort, and requested protection from the United States. President James Madison authorized William C. C. Claiborne, governor of the Territory of Orleans, to seize West Florida from the Mississippi River to as far east as the Perdido River. Claiborne only occupied the area west of the Pearl River (the current eastern boundary of Louisiana), a.k.a. the Baton Rouge District.
Madison sent George Mathews to deal with the disputes over West Florida. When an offer to turn the remainder of Florida Occidental over to the U.S. was rescinded by the governor, Mathews traveled to Florida Oriental to incite a rebellion similar to that in the Baton Rouge District.
The residents of East Florida were happy with the status quo, so the U.S. raised a force of volunteers in Georgia with a promise of free land. On March 13, 1812, insurgents known as the “Patriots of Amelia Island” seized the island with the aid of some U.S. Navy gunboats.
Although the seizure of Fernandina was initially authorized by President Madison, he later disavowed it. However, the Patriots were unable to take the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine. The increasing tensions and the approach of war with Great Britain led to an end of the American incursion into East Florida.
In 1813, an American force succeeded in seizing the Mobile District (today’s coastal Mississippi and Alabama), from the Spanish. Before the Patriot army withdrew from Florida, the Seminole, as allies of the Spanish, began to attack them.