Destruction of Mercer Salt Works

Extracted From The New-Kanawha River and The Mine War of West Virginia, by Kyle McCormick (Charleston: Mathews Printing and Lithographing Company, 1959), 38.

Mercer Salt Works Destroyed

Before the Civil War, salt for the New River Territory was provided by an elaborate salt works on New River near the mouth of Lick Creek, now in Summers County, West Virginia, but then in Mercer County. It was known as the Mercer Salt Works.

The 23rd Ohio Regiment was encamped on August 10, 1862 at Camp Green Meadows near the mouth of Bluestone River - with Lieut. Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes in command.

He dispatched a detachment of cavalry to ride to the salt works and destroy it and it never operated after that date. The cavalry rode 50 miles that night. They reached the salt works at 2 A. M., found it going full blast, with steam operation, and it was burned out "root and branch." No one was hurt, but three horses were badly wounded.

One volley was fired, then the salt works was burned to the ground.

Civil War

West Virginia Archives and History