Alabama Civil War Site: Bon Secour Salt Works

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Bon Secour Salt Factory Drawing by Hazel and Richard Brough from the book “Food, Fun, and Fable.”

Hazel and Richard Brough

Bon Secour Salt Factory Drawing by Hazel and Richard Brough from the book “Food, Fun, and Fable.”

Alabama Civil War Timeline

September 8, 1864

Union Troops Destory Bon Secour Salt Works

Bon Secour Salt Factory Drawing by Hazel and Richard Brough from the book “Food, Fun, and Fable.”

Hazel and Richard Brough

Bon Secour Salt Factory Drawing by Hazel and Richard Brough from the book “Food, Fun, and Fable.”

BALDWIN COUNTY MAIN PAGE

Baldwin County Alabama contributed to the Confederate Civil War activities through production of salt from the Bon Secour Salt Works which went into production in early 1863. The salt production facility was was comprised of long open sheds with a brick firebox running down the center of the shed. Iron containers positioned along the fire box and were heated by a fire and as the hot air traveled through a fire box, it boiled the brine solution in the pots leaving the salt to be collected. The brine was taken from pits dug into the area’s salt marshlands. 

In September, 1864, Union troops proceeded to Bon Secour to destroy the salt works. Captain C.W. Stone of the 6th Michigan Volunteers recorded that forces under his command destroyed 990 of the iron vats and hauled away 30,000 feet of lumber. In his official report, Captain Stone mentioned that his forces burned all that was left behind at Bon Secour including

“a number of buildings having been constructed by the Confederate forces as quarters for soldiers, the place being known as Camp Anderson.”

 

USS Rodolph 1863

On September 8, 1864, a combined army-navy raiding party led by Acting Volunteer Lieutenant George Wiggin, USN, left the Fort Morgan anchorage at 7:00 a.m. Wiggin commanded three naval gunboats, the USS Tritonia, the USS Rodolph, and the USS Stockdale and one army transport, the steamer Planter, which had two barges in tow. The transport and barges carried 250 soldiers commanded by Major Pettibone of the Twentieth Wisconsin Volunteers. Wiggin’s objective was, as Admiral David Farragut expressed it, “the destruction of [the] extensive salt works on Bon Secour Bay.”

Wiggin anchored off Salt House Point, one mile above Bon Secour Bar at 10:30 a.m. The raiders then went ashore and attacked the salt works. Over the next two days, they broke 55 furnaces and 990 pots, cut the pumps, tore up the brick work, and dismantled 20 buildings. Two of the works, estimated to have cost $60,000 and $50,000 respectively, were so well built they had to be blown up. The raiders also destroyed Camp Anderson, a permanent Confederate base one and a quarter mile away. The soldiers loaded about 30,000 board feet of lumber into the barges. Anything that could not be carried away was burned.1

  1. Vicinity of Salt Works and Camp Anderson
    “Salt Is Eminently Contraband”
    Civil War Trail Battle for Mobile Bay

ALABAMA CIVIL WAR MAIN PAGE

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