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On October 2, 1864, one of the worst battles of the American Civil War was fought. 2800 Confederate soldiers squared off against 4500 Union soldiers. The battle is forever recorded in American history as one of the worst atrocities that has ever occurred on US soil. After a day of intense fighting, shots continued throughout the night muffling the cries of wounded Union soldiers. Later an eyewitness to the carnage reported that a Confederate renegade walked up to a wounded Union cavalry soldier identified as Crawford Hazelwood and asked him if he wanted to be shot in the face or the back. As the soldier pleaded for his life, he was shot in the face. With the intense fighting and the great loss of life, you would think that the battle had been fought for a great cause, fought for some great strategic value to shorten the war; but, the truth is, the battle was fought over a mineral. It was a mineral so valuable that more wars have been fought over it than gold. The battle was waged for salt. One of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War was fought over Saltville, VA--the largest supplier of salt to the Confederate army.

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