Salt and Warfare

Salt and Warfare

Salt production facilities in Virginia and Louisiana were early targets of the Union Army. The North fought for 36 hours to capture Saltville, Virginia, where the salt works were considered crucial to the Rebel army. So crucial, that Confederate President Jefferson Davis offered to waive military service to anyone willing to tend coastal salt kettles to supply the South’s war effort. In addition to dietary salt, the Confederacy needed the precious mineral to tan leather, dye cloth for uniforms and preserve meat.
The word “salary” was derived from the word “salt.” Salt was highly valued and its production was legally restricted in ancient times, so it was historically used as a method of trade and currency. The word “salad” also originated from “salt,” and began with the early Romans salting their leafy greens and vegetables. Undeniably, the history of salt is both broad and unique, leaving its indelible mark in cultures across the globe. But did you know that Salt was also the source of many battles throughout history? Just to name a few:

The effects of salt deficiency are highlighted in times of war, when human bodies and national economies are strained to their limits. Thousands of Napoleon’s troops died during the French retreat from Moscow due to inadequate wound healing and lowered resistance to disease—the results of salt deficiency.

So Salt through history has made it’s mark!


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