SALT-MAKERS OF THE CONFEDERACY
When the word "salt" is mentioned most people picture the cook
adding a few pinches to make the food more savory. Few know that this
everyday commodity was the cause of much bitter fighting in Florida
and that millions of dollars worth of property was destroyed in the
struggle between the salt-makers of the South and the Union Navy
during the War between the States.
The manufacture of salt was a necessity to the Confederate
states. Salt was not only necessary as a food but was also needed to
preserve the beef that went to feed the hungry Confederate troops. Ice
for refrigeration was not available during the 1860's.
The South looked to its seawater for salt, and to the settlers along
the coast to make it. Salt-works were quickly built along the lagoons and
inlets of the Gulf Coast which the deep-draught Union gunboats could
not reach. In a short time hundreds of these salt-cookeries had sprung
up. The fires of their furnaces burned night after night along the entire
coast, while the skies were especially bright over the larger factories of
Tampa and St. Andrews Bay. The works of the latter, the most elaborate
and the largest, were owned by the by (1) the (2) Confederate Government
and valued at $3,000,000.