1863 - 1865
Hammock Landing Battery (CSA)
Torreya State Park
2576 N.W. Torreya Park Road, Bristol, 32321
A Confederate battery was constructed at Hammock Landing on the Apalachicola as part of an extensive defensive scheme to prevent Union gunboats from traveling up the river. The Apalachicola River served a vital agricultural region in Florida and Georgia, and the signficant Confederate manufacturing center of Columbus, Georgia.
The river defenses included several batteries and obstructions placed across the channel downstream from the batteries themselves. The batteries in operation on the river changed with time, but included works at Hammock Landing, Alum Bluff, Ricco Bluff, Fort Gadsden, and at Battery Cobb and Battery Gilmer.
Construction of the Battery at Hammock Landing began in early 1863 with slave labor under supervision of a Confederate engineer. The battery included six guns, organized in three sections of two guns sharing a powder magazine connected by a traverse (trench). The cannons incuded two 32 pound smoothbore cannon, one 24 pound smoothbore cannon, and three 18 pound smoothbore cannon. These guns were mounted en barbette (over the parapet). The magazines were ordered rebuilt in early 1864 after inspections reported them to flood easily during heavy rains.
The battery today is well preserved--it is the best example of a Civil War battery in Florida. It is protected within the Torreya State Park, and is accessible via a hiking trail (very steep, however, and not surfaced). There is very little on-site interpretation.
One gun emplacment (number 2) and the powder magazine serving gun emplacements 1 and 2 were excavated in the summer of 2010 by the University of West Florida. The excavations provided excellent information on the use and construction of this battery, and surprisingly showed excellent preservation of the timber floor of the gun emplacement and of the timber walls of the powder magazine.
Excavation of the powder magazine revealed amazing details about its construction. Results of this work will be presented in the Masters Thesis of Anthropology Department graduate student Brian Mabelitini under the guidance of Dr. William Lees of UWF.
A byproduct of this research will be design and installation of new interpretive waysides at the trailhead and at the battery itself.
Torreya State Park is open daily from 8:00 AM to sundown. Admission is $3 per vehicle and $2 for pedestrian and bicycle.