Salt was a strategic commodity during the Civil War. It was a food preservative and a critical element in the curing of leather. Saltville had one of the most important salt works in the South and produced two-thirds of all salt used by the Confederacy. U.S. forces attacked Saltville twice: in October 1864 when the Confederates fought off an attack and later executed African American prisoners of war; and in December 1864 when U.S. forces destroyed the salt works. Development, logging, relic hunting, and a lack of site identification threatened the battlefields. Radford University was awarded an American Battlefields Protection Program Battlefield grant in 2005 to survey, inventory, and map the battlefields. Building on this work, the University received another grant in 2007 to prepare a preservation and management plan and a National Register of Historic Places nomination. In 2010, the Saltville Battlefields Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Photo: Saltville Valley from the Route 107 Overlook
– Radford University, VA