Mark F. Boyd


Subsequent to the military operations about Pensacola in the first year of the Civil War, most of West Florida remained remote from the struggle. Its main contribution to the Confederacy was salt produced from numerous evaporating establishments along the coast, which were frequently demolished by raiding parties from vessels of the Federal blockading squadron. It was also an important source of agricultural produce. The scarcity of good agricultural lands and distance from markets had restricted plantation farming to limited areas of Jackson, Washington and Walton counties. Although sparsely inhabited, the widely separated communities contributed heavily to the man-power of the Southern armies. On the other hand, the very wildness of much of the region afforded harborage both to deserters from the Confederate army and evaders of conscription, who, from their lawless conduct, occasioned much disorder, in which they were encouraged by Federal authorities in Fort Barrancas on Pensacola Bay. From such contacts, the latter were led to believe that considerable Union sentiment prevailed throughout that area.