Panorama of a Spanish Guardroom at the Castillo de San Marcos
Up to 40 Spanish soldiers were on duty at San Marcos at one time. The soldiers lived in town, but since the shifts were 24 to 48 hours long, they were able to rest in one of two guardrooms. At the far end of the room is a single window and one of only three fireplaces in the fort. The fireplace provided heat, light, and a place to cook. The beds are tilted at a slight angle. Through the arched doorway in the left wall can be seen the sallyport, which was the only way in or out of the fort. The wooden gate with the square holes is the portcullis. In an emergency, soldiers could quickly close the portcullis as the continued to shoot at the enemy. The portcullis allowed soldiers to quickly seal the fort while waiting for the drawbridge to slowly close.