Friday, December 20, 2013

Defeat And Destroy

The Second Battle of Saltville was fought December 20th and 21st 1864 near the town of Saltville, Virginia.

The Union tried once in October 1863 to destroy the saltworks at Saltville, Virginia, but was defeated.  In early December 1864, Union General George Stoneman brought together a force of about 1,400 men, including a brigade commanded by Brigadier General Alvan C Gillem to try again.

The Union force began its advance on Saltville with a Confederate defeat at Marion, Virginia on December 18th 1864.  At Saltville Confederate Colonel Robert Preston had 500 men, with a brigade of cavalry commanded by General Basil W Duke on its way.

The Union troops attacked on December 20th 1864, with two columns joining up.  There was some determined skirmishing before the Union troops overwhelmed the Confederate defenses.  Preston had to order his men to retreat.  Stoneman’s men entered the town the next day and accomplished the objective by destroying the saltworks.

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