Picture of the day - May 16, 2005
Historic Saltville, Virginia
Saltville, Virginia, billed as "The Salt Capitol Of The Confederacy",
is a tiny southwestern Virginia town that played a very important role in the
American Civil War. The area's numerous salt mines provided "table
salt" to the Confederate army for the soldiers to season their food items
with. They also used it to cure any meat that was added to their meager rations
(when they actually had some).
Saltville was so critical to the South's hopes for success that the Union army
attacked the town twice with the mission of destroying the salt works. The
Confederates successfully defended the town against a Union attack in October
1864, but just two months later troops led by Major General George Stoneman
successfully destroyed Saltville's ability to mine and distribute the precious
mineral for the remainder of the war.
The subsequent lack of salt helped lower the morale of the Confederate troops
and quite possibly hastened the end of the war four months later on April 9,
Today, the salt works are no longer in operation, but Saltville keeps a strong
hold on its proud heritage. In addition to displays celebrating Saltville's
place in American history, the Museum Of The Middle Appalachians
features many ice-age era fossils that were recovered from local archeological digs,
and more fossils and artifacts are being found all the time.
If you find yourself traveling along I-81 in southwestern Virginia, why not take
a break for a couple of hours and pay historic Saltville a visit? Just take exit
35 at Chilhowie, Va and follow the signs for the short drive to Saltville.
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