Much of the South's small arms ammunition came from lead mines over near Austinville (in close proximity to a town with the catchy name, Lead Mines) in Wythe County. And salt, a commodity taken for granted these days but considered precious - like sugar, coffee, and tobacco - in those years, came from mines in and around (catchy, once again) Saltville in Smyth County.
I was reminded of this bit of trivia by some local news:
Preserving Saltville's Civil War battlefieldsLead Mines and Saltville. As important to the South as were Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.
Dan Kegley, Staff, Smyth County News
Saltville took its first step toward adopting a battlefield protection program Thursday in a meeting that explored the importance of the town’s two 1864 Civil War battles sites.
[Dr. Robert Whisonant of Radford University], a geology professor who has led projects to map the Saltville battlefields, told the gathering of local historians, re-enactors, Museum of the Middle Appalachians board members and others that the Confederate earthworks on hills surrounding the vital salt wells and evaporation furnaces is a defensive system important enough to understanding the area’s military actions to deserve national status. (link)
News you can use.