Titusville, Florida Centennial — 1867-1967
Civil War and ReconstructionAlhough no actual fighting took place in Brevard County during the Civil War, many left their homes to fight for the Confederacy. As the naval blockade by the Federal forces became more effective, Sand Point and the Indian River became a haven for Confederate blockade runners.
The Northern army, by destroying what was said to be a three million dollar salt works at Panama City, forced the Confederates to' seek a suitable site for the construction of new salt works. They chose Titusville as the site, for it was a particularly safe haven. The Northern blockade ships to the east could not fire their cannons this great distance and the blockade runners had an abundance of inlets and channels in which to maneuver. The salt was evaporated from water in the Indian River in huge evaporating pans.
Because of shortages created by the war, the prices of various goods became exorbitant. As a result, the black market flourished.
Just north of Titusville was a large warehouse full of contraband goods for sale in the national black market. However, one night the entire building burned, destroying thousands of dollars worth of these valuable goods. Thus the picture of Titusville during the Civil War was one of blockade runners, fast sailing vessels, a center of blackmarket activity, and an enormous war-oriented salt works.
During the war, planting and development ceased as all able bodied men were needed in the fighting lines. At the end of the War those who returned were weary and demoralized. All the white people who were involved in the war were disenfranchised and all the freed Negro slaves were enfranchised. Carpet-baggers from the north took advantage of the newly franchised Negro and held most of the higher offices. In addition, the area was ruled by military law established by the Union soldiers.
The increase in the population of Brevard County following the war was phenomenal. The County census in 1860 was 260 persons while in 1870 it was 1,216. Most of this growth occurred between 1865 and 1870. In 1888 Brevard County was 180 miles long and encompassed the entire Indian River region. In 1905 the size of the county was reduced by designating the Southern half as St. Lucie with Fort Pierce being the County Seat.