Virginia Battlefields in 1864
Battle of Saltville and the Saltworks Campaign Civil War History
Virginia witnessed more Civil War battles and bloodshed than any other state.
While Virginia during the Civil War was the ground that drank the blood
of the men who fell on four of the conflict's ten deadliest battlefields, many principal battles were here, such as 1st
and 2nd Bull Run, Spotsylvania, Wilderness, Cold Harbor, Fredericksburg, Petersburg, and Chancellorsville. The Battle
of Bull Run, known also as Manassas, was the first major land battle of the Civil War, and Appomattox, VA, was the location
that Lee surrendered to Grant. The Battle of Hampton Roads saw ironclads, predecessors of the modern battleship, engaged
in a classic in your face duel with CSS Virginia v. USS Monitor. What else was Virginia known for during
the American Civil War?
|(Virginia) Washington to Richmond Map
|Distance between the opposing capitals...
The State was host to Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, and it housed
both capitols, Richmond and Washington, and armories, shipyards, costal fortifications, and a myriad of other war making
capabilities. But one of the lesser known discussed assets of the war would be the contest of both Union
and Confederate armies.
Southwestern Virginia was very important to the Confederacy though it experienced
few battles during the Civil War. The Virginia and Tennessee Railroad ran through the region, connecting the eastern
and western theaters of operation. Saltville, Virginia, also hosted salt and lead mines that were vital to the Southern
war effort. Salt was necessary for preserving food, it was a staple of daily living, and it was an integral part of the
leather curing process. An army may march and fight well on a full stomach, but it would have to do just that without
leather, because there would be no saddles. Both sides committed and lost many men in contested efforts to secure the
"Salt Capitol of the Confederacy."
|Virginia Civil War 1864 Battlefield Map
|The Virginia Civil War Map of the Major Battles and Battlefields
Salt was necessary for life itself and it enabled both armies
the ability to prosecute the Civil War.
Salt played a role during the
Civil War. Salt not only preserved food in the days before refrigeration, but was also vital in the curing of leather.
Union general William Tecumseh Sherman once said that "salt is eminently contraband," as an army that has salt can adequately
feed its men.
But of all Virginia's mineral contributions, perhaps none was more crucial
to both the civilian population, as well as the military forces of the Confederacy, than salt. Of course, salt is essential
in the human diet and during the Civil War, every soldier's ration included it. Salt is also necessary for livestock; a hoof
and tongue disease that appeared among the cavalry horses of Lee's army in 1862 was attributed possibly to a lack of salt.
During the Civil War, salt was by far the primary means of preserving meat. Additional uses included packing certain foodstuffs
(particularly eggs and cheese) and preserving hides during leather making, as well as being employed in numerous chemical
processes and various medications. See also American Civil War: The Virginia Saltworks Campaign.
Reading: The Official Virginia Civil War Battlefield Guide. Review: This is one of the most useful guides I've ever read.
Virginia was host to nearly one-third of all Civil War engagements,
and this guide covers them all like a mini-history of the war. Unlike travel books that are organized geographically, this
guide organizes them chronologically. Each campaign is prefaced by a detailed overview, followed by concise (from 1 to 4 pages,
depending on the battle's importance) but engrossing descriptions of the individual engagements. Continued below…
make this a great book to browse through when you're not in the car. Most sites' summaries touch on their condition--whether
they're threatened by development (as too many are) and whether they're in private hands or protected by the park service.
But the maps are where this book really stands out. Each battle features a very clear map designating army positions and historical
roads, as well as historical markers (the author also wrote “A Guidebook to Virginia's Historical Markers”), parking, and visitors'
centers. Best of all, though, many battles are illustrated with paintings or photographs of the sites, and the point-of-view
of these pictures is marked on each map!
Reading: Saltville Massacre (Civil War Campaigns
and Commanders). Description: In October 1864, in the mountains of southwest Virginia,
one of the most brutal acts of the Civil War occurs. Brig. Gen. Stephen Burbridge launches a raid to capture Saltville. Included
among his forces is the 5th U.S. Colored Cavalry. Repeated Federal attacks are repulsed by Confederate forces under the command
of Gen. John S. Williams. Continued below…
As the sun
begins to set, Burbridge pulls his troops from the field, leaving many wounded. In the morning, Confederate troops, including
a company of ruffians under the command of Captain Champ Ferguson, advance over the battleground seeking out and killing the
wounded black soldiers. What starts as a small but intense mountain battle degenerates into a no-quarter, racial massacre.
A detailed account from eyewitness reports of the most blatant battlefield atrocity of the war.
Lee's Endangered Left: The Civil War In Western Virginia, Spring Of 1864. From Kirkus Reviews: A competent, well-executed addition to the ever-growing horde of Civil War literature, by Duncan
(History/Georgetown University). The author reconsiders Union General Ulysses S. Grants attempts to destroy the Confederates,
led by General Robert E. Lee, at their traditional stronghold in western Virginia and his
efforts to threaten Lynchburg during the spring and summer
of 1864. Continued below…
here is crisp; refreshingly, our chronicler pays sharp attention to the effects of the campaign on civilians as the Union
army penetrated beyond its supply lines and came to live off the countryside in one of the Confederacy’s richest agricultural
regions, bringing home the harsh realities of war to civilians. The campaign swung back and forth, with Northern victories
at Cloyd's Mountain and New
River Bridge and Confederate routs at New Market, followed by a Union
failure to seize Lynchburg. Though the campaign proved costly
to the South, overall the Unions hope to capture the Shenandoah Valley foundered and the Confederates then went on to threaten
Washington, D.C. Duncan sensitively employs a wide variety of sources, military and civilian, to add to the coherence of his
account. Still, the books scope remains narrow, focusing on a not terribly glamorous period in the wars history; then, too,
wed do well to have the volume trimmed by a third. Duncan’s contention that the Unions
severity in dealing with civilian populations was directly reciprocated when the Confederates took Chambersburg,
Penn., creating a chain of vengeance that culminated when Sherman marched through the South, is insightfully argued, offering a fresh analysis to the
historical debate. Casual readers of the Civil War genre (and many die-hard buffs, as well) may want to leave this superbly
researched yet ultimately too specialized study for the historians to ponder. Includes 20 photographs.
(VA) (Images of America), by Jeffrey C. Weaver (Author), The Museum of the Middle Appalachians (Author): Description:
Saltville, Virginia, lies on the banks of the North Fork of the Holston River on the border between Smyth and Washington Counties.
Its history began very long ago; in fact, archeological evidence suggests extensive human habitation there for more than 14,000
years. Saltville was named because it was a source of salt,-and by the end of the 18th century, a thriving industry was born.
During the Civil War, Saltville attained considerable importance to the Confederate government as a supply of salt. Continued
A large Confederate
army garrison was maintained there, and extensive fortifications were constructed. After the Civil War, the town led the way
in industrialization of the South. Flip through the pages of Images of America: Saltville to learn why Saltville is one of
the most historic places in the world. About the Author: The Museum of the Middle Appalachians, located on Palmer Avenue
in Saltville, was established by the Saltville Foundation in the 1990s. It has become the repository for fossils, artifacts,
and photographs of the region. Author Jeffrey C. Weaver holds degrees in American history from Appalachian State University,
and after serving in the U.S. Army for several years, he worked as a contracting officer for the U.S. Department of Energy.
He is currently the manager of the Chilhowie Public Library.
Reading: Stonewall in the Valley: Thomas J. Stonewall Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign,
Spring 1862. Description: The Valley Campaign
conducted by Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson has long fascinated those interested in the American Civil War as well
as general students of military history, all of whom still question exactly what Jackson
did in the Shenandoah in 1862 and how he did it. Since Robert G. Tanner answered many questions in the first edition of Stonewall
in the Valley in 1976, he has continued to research the campaign. This edition offers new insights on the most significant
moments of Stonewall's Shenandoah triumph. Continued below…
About the Author:
Robert G. Tanner is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute. Tanner is a native of Southern California, he now lives
and practices law in Atlanta, Georgia. He has studied and lectured
on the Shenandoah Valley Campaign for more than twenty-five years.
Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864 (McFarland & Company). Description: A
significant part of the Civil War was fought in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, especially in 1864. Books and articles
have been written about the fighting that took place there, but they generally cover only a small period of time and focus
on a particular battle or campaign. Continued below...
This work covers
the entire year of 1864 so that readers can clearly see how one event led to another in the Shenandoah Valley and turned once-peaceful
garden spots into gory battlefields. It tells the stories of the great leaders, ordinary men, innocent civilians, and armies
large and small taking part in battles at New Market, Chambersburg, Winchester, Fisher’s
Hill and Cedar Creek, but it primarily tells the stories of the soldiers, Union and Confederate,
who were willing to risk their lives for their beliefs. The author has made extensive use of memoirs, letters and reports
written by the soldiers of both sides who fought in the Shenandoah Valley in 1864.
Reading: Shenandoah Summer: The 1864 Valley Campaign. Description: Jubal A. Early’s disastrous battles in the Shenandoah Valley
ultimately resulted in his ignominious dismissal. But Early’s lesser-known summer campaign of 1864, between his raid
on Washington and Phil Sheridan’s renowned fall campaign, had a significant impact on the political and military landscape
of the time. By focusing on military tactics and battle history in uncovering the facts and events of these little-understood
battles, Scott C. Patchan offers a new perspective on Early’s contributions to the Confederate war effort—and
to Union battle plans and politicking. Patchan details the previously unexplored battles at Rutherford’s Farm and Kernstown
(a pinnacle of Confederate operations in the Shenandoah Valley) and examines the campaign’s
influence on President Lincoln’s reelection efforts. Continued below…
He also provides
insights into the personalities, careers, and roles in Shenandoah of Confederate General John C. Breckinridge, Union general
George Crook, and Union colonel James A. Mulligan, with his “fighting Irish” brigade from Chicago.
Finally, Patchan reconsiders the ever-colorful and controversial Early himself, whose importance in the Confederate military
pantheon this book at last makes clear. About the Author: Scott C. Patchan, a Civil War battlefield guide and historian, is
the author of Forgotten Fury: The Battle of Piedmont, Virginia, and a consultant and contributing writer for Shenandoah, 1862.
descriptions of the battles are very detailed, full or regimental level actions, and individual incidents. He bases the accounts
on commendable research in manuscript collections, newspapers, published memoirs and regimental histories, and secondary works.
The words of the participants, quoted often by the author, give the narrative an immediacy. . . . A very creditable account
of a neglected period."-Jeffry D. Wert, Civil War News (Jeffry D. Wert Civil War News 20070914)
Summer] contains excellent diagrams and maps of every battle and is recommended reading for those who have a passion for books
on the Civil War."-Waterline (Waterline 20070831)
is interesting and readable, with chapters of a digestible length covering many of the battles of the campaign."-Curled Up
With a Good Book (Curled Up With a Good Book 20060815)
Summer provides readers with detailed combat action, colorful character portrayals, and sound strategic analysis. Patchan''s
book succeeds in reminding readers that there is still plenty to write about when it comes to the American Civil War."-John
Deppen, Blue & Grey Magazine (John Deppen Blue & Grey Magazine 20060508)
"Scott C. Patchan
has solidified his position as the leading authority of the 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign with his outstanding campaign
study, Shenandoah Summer. Mr. Patchan not only unearths this vital portion of the campaign, he has brought it back to life
with a crisp and suspenseful narrative. His impeccable scholarship, confident analyses, spellbinding battle scenes, and wonderful
character portraits will captivate even the most demanding readers. Shenandoah Summer is a must read for the Civil War aficionado
as well as for students and scholars of American military history."-Gary Ecelbarger, author of "We Are in for It!": The First
Battle of Kernstown, March 23, 1862 (Gary Ecelbarger 20060903)
has given us a definitive account of the 1864 Valley Campaign. In clear prose and vivid detail, he weaves a spellbinding narrative
that bristles with detail but never loses sight of the big picture. This is a campaign narrative of the first order."-Gordon
C. Rhea, author of The Battle of the Wilderness: May 5-6, 1864 (Gordon C. Rhea )
is a `boots-on-the-ground' historian, who works not just in archives but also in the sun and the rain and tall grass. Patchan's
mastery of the topography and the battlefields of the Valley is what sets him apart and, together with his deep research,
gives his analysis of the campaign an unimpeachable authority."-William J. Miller, author of Mapping for Stonewall and Great
Maps of the Civil War (William J. Miller)
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