Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20, 1864 - At Camp in Okaloosa County

General Asboth and his 700 Union troops remained at the Narrows of Santa Rosa Sound in what is now Okaloosa County on October 20, 1864, making final preparations before turning inland to begin the raid through Walton, Holmes and Jackson Counties to Marianna.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the camp was in the area that is now Fort Walton Beach. While most visitors think of the city as one of the major gateways to the beautiful white sand beaches of the Gulf Coast, it also has a fascinating history and has one of the nicest heritage park areas in Florida.

The city's Heritage Park and Cultural Center is located in the heart of downtown and centers around the famed Fort Walton Temple Mound. In addition to the mound and adjacent Indian Temple Mound Museum, which features a remarkably variety of artifacts, the park also includes the carronade from Camp Walton, the historic Camp Walton schoolhouse and the Garnier Post Office. Both of the latter structures have been beautifully restored and date to before 1920.

The complex is a great place to explore coastal history, from prehistoric times to the early settlement of the area and development of its beautiful coastal areas. It is also a good place to view the general area of Asboth's camp. Here the day of the 20th was spent taking on additional supplies from the Lizzie Davis and preparing for the march to begin the next morning. The men prepared cooked rations and all was put in place for the real raid to begin.  According to individual soldiers in the Union ranks, heavy rain continued.

To learn more about Fort Walton's Heritage Park and Cultural Center, please visit

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