- Sep 19, 2017
Wytheville had lead mines. It was taken and held for only a day shortly after Gettysburg.Another answer to this would be all the lead and salt mines used in Southwest Virginia. I don’t believe they were specifically targeted by Union troops because there were simply too many small ones in operation, especially in the Wytheville area (do I have the spelling right?). I’ve been there for another reason and love that area and there are a number of historical signs pointing to where various salt mines and lead mines were.
Another problem for the Union would have been that Virginia really had it all when it came to Caves supplying niter and I don’t mean guano. Minerals supply niter to and for millennia, the spring runoffs drain through the cave systems and supply the necessary minerals for making gunpowder.
It wouldn’t have been remotely practicable till very, very late in the war for the Union to even try to take control of the innumerable cave systems and and big and little mines that dot the Southwestern Virginia area.
Saltville was attacked Oct 1864, U.S. Cavalry was beaten soundly. On the next try in Dec Saltville was taken.