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Cliff Boyd. Salt Production and the Civil War in Saltville, Virginia
Arts Array - Civil War Lecture Series
Date: 2/27/2014 7:30 PM
Cost: Free for Everyone
Location: Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center
Abingdon, Virginia
The town of Saltville in southwestern Virginia has been the location of commercial salt production since the 1700s. Salt production reached its peak during the Civil War and, by 1864, Saltville was the major producer of salt for the Confederacy. The strategic importance of the salt production facilities (called furnaces) led Confederate engineers to construct a series of fortifications to defend the Saltville Valley from Union attack. This strategic importance also led Union forces to attempt the capture of Saltville on two occasions in late 1864. This presentation describes the industrial process of salt manufacture through the use of historical records and archaeology and the sequence of events and consequences of the two battles for Saltville. Boyd is co-director of Radford University’s Forensic Science Institute and a professor of anthropological sciences.