The first years of the Civil War brought prosperity to Bagdad, but a blockade of Pensacola Bay deprived the mill access to former markets. On March 11, 1862, Confederates, burned Bagdad's industries, shops, and the major buildings in the Pensacola navy yard and other sites to keep them from falling into Union hands. In addition to the mill, many homes were destroyed.
The destruction in Santa Rosa County totalled nearly $1 million and turned local sentiments against the Confederacy. Toward the end of the war, Union troops raided the county. The Maine Fifteenth seized logs, cattle, hogs, food and furniture from Bagdad residents. The war crippled industrial production in the South, and Santa Rosa was placed under martial law by the federal government. Ezekiel Simpson had invested money in Northern banks prior to the war, making it possible for him to build an island mill in 1867 and a gang mill in 1870 near Blackwater River. The population of Bagdad in 1899 was 500, and the village boasted its own post office, private school, and machine shop. The need for low-cost building materials in western Europe led to a period of expanding lumber markets. High quality pine construction timber became one of the world's most important building materials, and northwest Florida became one of the world's most reliable sources.
Middle: Sidebar-Bagdad Village Museum with sign
Right, top: Burning Pensacola dry dock 1861
Right, middle: Pensacola confederate monument 1900