Saltville, Virginia

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Saltville is a town in Smyth and Washington counties in the U.S. state of Virginia. The population was 2,204 at the 2000 census. It is part of the KingsportBristol (TN)Bristol (VA) Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – commonly known as the "Tri-Cities" region.

Contents

History

Saltville was named for the salt marshes in the area. Prior to European settlement, these marshes attracted local wildlife. Excavations have recovered several well preserved skeletons of now extinct species dating back to the last ice age.[3] Indigenous peoples of varying cultures hunted at the marshes. The historic Native American people in the area were the Chisca.

During the spring of 1567, Hernando Moyano led a combined force of natives and Spanish northward from Joara, a city in what is now western North Carolina. The force attacked and burned the Chisca village of Maniatique before they left. (The present-day Northwood High School in Saltville is located at the former village site.)

During the American Civil War, Saltville was one of the Confederacy's main saltworks. The saltworks were considered vital to the Confederate war effort because the salt was used in preserving meat for Confederate soldiers and civilians. Because of its importance, the town was attacked by Northern forces intent on capturing the saltworks and removing it from Confederate control. On October 2, 1864 the Battle of Saltville was fought here. In the battle Union forces attacked Saltville but were defeated by Confederate troops. Two months later General George Stoneman, a Union cavalry commander, led a second attack on the saltworks. This time the Confederates were defeated and the saltworks were destroyed by Union troops. The loss of the Saltville works was considered a major blow to the Confederacy's dwindling resources.

Geography

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