Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Civil War in Panama City - Part Three
Resuming our series on the Civil War in and around Panama City, Florida, this unique artifact is a surviving Confederate salt kettle.
Now on display in a small park off Beach Drive near downtown Panama City, the kettle is one of the few surviving such artifacts still found in an area that was a major source of salt for the Confederacy.
From 1861 - 1865, particularly beginning in 1862, St. Andrew Bay and the adjoining waters produced thousands of tons of badly needed salt for the Confederate war effort. Florida, Alabama and Georgia were major sources of beef and pork for the Confederate armies and salt from the area was a vital component in preserving meat for use by the soldiers in the field.
At one point, hundreds of men were engaged in operating saltworks that stretched for miles along the shores of the bay. The Union navy constantly raided these operations, but the salt they produced was so badly needed that they were rebuilt and returned to service almost immediately.
In the next posting in this series, we'll take a closer look at some specific actions against the St. Andrew Bay saltworks.