During the Civil War, Bagdad was a frequent target of Union raids from Pensacola because the Union needed building supplies for the navy yard. One such raid took place from October 25-28, 1864, and is recounted in the dispatches of Brigadier General Joseph Bailey of the U.S. Army Commanding District of West Florida and Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Spurling of the Second Maine Calvary Commanding Expedition. Evidence of the Union occupancy of the Thompson House was uncovered in 1976. Under a layer of plaster, charcoal graffiti was discovered that read: "Bagdad, Mr. Thompson, Spurling's First Fla. Calvary camped in your house, on 26th Oct. 1864." A similar message, dated October 28, was discovered in the upstairs hallway. Eventually the Union troops routed the Confederates and briefly occupied the town.
Lieutenant Colonel Andrew B. Spurling
Andrew B. Spurling was born in Maine in 1833 and moved to California at the age of 18. Opposed to slavery, Spurling joined the 1st Maine Cavalry at the beginning of the Civil War. He was promoted captain of the company in February 1863. A year later he was commissioned junior major of the Second Maine Cavalry and was sent in command of four companies to Brazier City, Louisiana. Spurling was very active in fighting guerrillas, and in June he was promoted to lieutenant
colonel.The regiment was transferred to Florida in June of 1864, and there Spurling distinguished himself. In March 1865 in Evergreen, Alabama, Spurling "advanced alone in the darkness beyond the picket line, came upon 3 of the enemy, fired upon them, wounded 2, and captured the whole party," an action for which he was later awarded the Medal of Honor. Spurling died in 1906 in Chicago.
Left: Skirmish historical marker
Right, top: Two graffiti writings that were found
Left, bottom: Medal of Honor & photo of Col. Spurling