Stephen Mallory lived here. He is buried here and the Confederate Naval Jack flies over his grave. I have some material on the building of the forts here and at Ft Jefferson that some who are so wrapped up in the Union cause wouldn't want to hear. Not only did William Chase oversee the building of our 3 main forts but he also included the Redoubt just across the way from Ft Barrancas. This is before the war. Mallory wrote a letter listing his concerns on the treatment of some of his slaves who were contracted out to work on the forts. His slaves were taken to Ft Jefferson to work also and he felt that was a breach of contract. The US leased or rented slaves from many local people. We had a number of lumber mills and brickyards in the area and there were skilled workers who were also slaves. Mallory was concerned because he felt they were being mistreated and shorted pay and supplies such as food and clothes. In the parts of his letters that I have it is clear he knew his people well. He was looking out for their best interest, not his own as the slave owner. These are the little things that show the inconsistancy in the general belief the slave owner was uncaring or more interested in the income value in this leasing process.
We also had a naval yard here and there was a ship almost completed when the war started. It ended up being destroyed to keep it out of union hands.
I met Admiral Semmes GreatGrandson a few years ago. He gave a talk at a meeting I was at and it was fascinating. A funny little aside to this is he, the Admiral and I share the same birthdate, but not the year of course. This was after the wreck of the Alabama had been found by the French team and they were bringing up artifacts. He had been back and forth between his home in Mobile and France quite a bit. His telling of the story of the Alabama was special because he had the personal family information to add to it. The artifacts and the pictures he had to show us were a real treat. I believe the Hunley was built in the shipyard in Mobile. That is another close to local tidbit that gives us a better understanding on why the ports in our part of the Gulf were important to the Union.
The scope of that war is even larger when we learn about more aspects of it. Wouldn't it be wonderful if one day, there would be a more open avenue to teaching these things that also had an important place in the events taking place in that war? The more I learn, I find there's more I need to learn. It's like the Never Ending Story.