Sunday, November 30, 2008

Attack on the St. Joseph Saltworks - 1862

This is a wartime sketch of the U.S. Navy attack on a salt-making facility on St. Joseph Bay in Northwest Florida.
Built using brick from the "lost city" of St. Joseph, once the largest city in Florida, the saltworks were located out on St. Joseph Peninsula just off Highway 30-A.
Capable of producing about 150 bushels of salt each day, they were massive in scale. The presence of the facility was not long in attracting the attention of the Union navy, which was under orders to impede the production of salt along the Gulf Coast.
At issue was the outcome of the war itself. The Confederacy used Gulf Coast salt to preserve beef and pork being used to feed its soldiers in the field. Without salt for curing, the meat would spoil and the soldiers would starve.
On September 8, 1862, the U.S.S Kingfisher moved in on the works as they were in full operation. The ship bombarded the establishment from offshore, sending the workers fleeing for safety, and then boat parties moved ashore to complete the destruction with sledge hammers and explosives.
The area is now the location of Old Saltworks Cabins, a vacation resort at Cape San Blas.

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