|Deer Point and Santa Rosa Sound|
With a battalion of the 1st Florida Cavalry (U.S.) and two mounted detachments from the 82nd and 86th U.S. Colored Troops, the general pushed up the road from Deer Point (Gulf Breeze) to what is now Fort Walton Beach. The latter place was then known as Camp Walton, after an outpost established there in 1861 by the Walton Guards. This unit had been raised in Walton County and took up a position at the Narrows of Santa Rosa Sound to provide protection to Southern vessels making their way in and out of Choctawhatchee Bay.
It is a little known fact that schooners, steamboats and other commercial vessels leaving the bay once had to do so by way of Santa Rosa Sound. The sound, which ran behind Santa Rosa Island from Choctawhatchee Bay to Pensacola Bay, was a deep natural channel that allowed easy navigation between the two bays. The East Pass, the main inlet from the Gulf of Mexico into Choctawhatchee Bay, was too shallow most of the time and vessels could not safely pass. As a result they used the sound to travel down to Pensacola Bay and from there either to the wharves of Pensacola or out into the Gulf.
|Camp Walton Cannon at Fort Walton beach|
Asboth reached the former Camp Walton site on the afternoon of September 18, 1864, and established a second camp. The 2nd Maine Cavalry, which remained behind at Deer Point, would come up the next day. The quartermaster steamer Lizzie Davis paralleled the movement via Santa Rosa Sound and came up to the camp with additional supplies.
I will continue to post on the West Florida Raid over coming days. Learn more or follow along with a copy of my book, The Battle of Marianna, Florida. It is also available for the Amazon Kindle reading device or software as well as in the iBook store.
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