Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Camp Walton - Fort Walton Beach, Florida
The modern city of Fort Walton Beach takes its name from a Confederate camp established there in 1861 by the Walton Guards.
Later a company in the 1st Florida Infantry, the Guards were formed at Eucheeanna in Walton County during the early days of the war. The soon moved down to the Narrows of Santa Rosa Sound (today's Fort Walton Beach) where they established a semi-permanent camp at a prehistoric mound group dating from the Mississippian time period (A.D. 900-A.D. 1500).
Named Camp Walton, the outpost was occupied until the summer of 1862. It was attacked on April 1st of that year by a force of 200 Union soldiers that marched down Santa Rosa Island from Fort Pickens on Pensacola Bay after learning that Confederates from Camp Walton had skirmished with sailors from a blockade vessel. The Federals opened fire on the camp with rifled artillery, driving off the Walton Guards who were able to do little more than return fire with small arms.
After learning of the attack, Gen. Braxton Bragg sent an 18-pounder carronade from Fort Walton to assist in the future defense of the camp. When the Walton Guards left Camp Walton during the summer of 1862, they buried the cannon in a shell mound.
Later recovered, it is now on display at Fort Walton Beach's Heritage Park, which preserves part of the site of the Confederate outpost. Markers provide information on the significance of the site. For more information, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/fortwalton.