Join us for a Civil War reenactment of the St. Andrews Bay Saltworks Raid! The reenactment will be held across the street from 328 Beach Drive from 10am – 4pm each day. Want a fun history lesson on this beautiful Friday?
“Salt works are as plentiful in Florida as blackbirds in a rice field.”
–New York Herald January 5, 1864
Between 1861 and 1865, the St. Andrew Bay Saltworks, one of the largest producers of salt in the South, contributed to the Confederate cause by providing salt, fish, and cattle for southern troops and citizens. A necessary preservative in those times, salt sold for as much as $50 per bushel, and was produced in wood-fired saltworks on the perimeter of the West Bay, East Bay and North Bay and Lake Powell (Lake Ocala). An estimated 2,500 men, primarily from Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, were exempted from combat duty in order to labor in the saltworks. The salt was transported to Eufaula, Alabama, then to Montgomery, for distribution throughout the Confederate states. Because of the importance of St. Andrew Bay Saltworks to the Confederacy, acting Master W. R. Browne, commander of the U.S. Restless, was instructed to commence a series of assaults beginning in August 1862.
In December 1863, additional Union attacks occurred, which Confederate home guards could not resist. The attacks resulted in the destruction of more than 290 salt works, valued by Master Browne at more than $3,000,000. The St. Andrew Bay Saltwork employees promptly rebuilt them, and they remained in operation through February 1865.