September 26, 1862: The Yankee war on salt


The Richmond Daily Dispatch reports a Union attack destroyed a Florida salt works. Necessary for preserving meats, salt was one of many crucial items denied the South by the blockade.

Destruction of Salt Works.
–The Yankees have broken up the salt works at St. Andrews’ Bay and St. Josephs, Fla. A letter says:
The Yankees first came ashore at St. Andrews under a flag of truce, to ask if any armed forces were there to protect them, and being told there were none, they returned to their vessels and got axes battering-rams, &c., and came on shore and broke every kettle, furnace, &c., and told our men if they attempted to make salt there any more they would shell them.

Salt was already scarce in the Confederacy, as indicated by this item from the Richmond Dispatch on September 16, reporting the city government’s purchase of a salt supply for distribution to citizens, and decrying the “extortionists” who were selling salt at high prices.

Salt — salt.

The city of Richmond, sometime since, appropriated $12,000 for the purchase of salt, to be distributed among the citizens according to an arranged plan. The advertisement of Messrs Harvey & Sports, agents in this day a issue, will apprise those who are interested that they are ready to begin operation. Every human being in the city is entitled to take one pound of salt for one month on paying five cents the pound therefore. Every head of a family can buy one pound at the same price for each member thereof. This will prove a great relief to our citizens, who are in the hands of the most merciless extortioners that ever lived since Jerusalem was besieged by Sennacherib, twenty six centuries ago. We trust in heaven they may meet with such retribution as they deserve, which is that their salt may be left upon their hands without a purchaser. Of course the store of Sports & Harvey will soon be crowded.

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