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Home North Carolina Carteret County City of Morehead City Historical Markers Confederate Salt Works

Confederate Salt Works

Arendell Street, Morehead City, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 34° 43' 36.4692", -76° 46' 7.0572"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"The largest Confederate salt works in Carteret County was 50 yards S. It was burned by Union forces in April, 1862."
     In her classic study of the topic, Ella Lonn indicated that, during the Civil War, salt was a commodity of “transcendent importance.” Its uses were various but most importantly it was essential to food preservation. In 1864 the monthly allowance to the typical Confederate soldier was ten pounds of bacon, three pounds of rice, seven pounds of flour, and a pound and a half of salt. In the early stages of the war, the state geologist urged Governor Henry T. Clark to bore for salt. The governor chose instead to encourage the manufacture. Appointed salt commissioner initially was John Milton Worth, soon to be followed by his nephew David G. Worth, son of State Treasurer (and future governor) Jonathan Worth.

     Initially works were established in Currituck County but these, as a result of the loss of Roanoke Island and surrounding regions to federal troops, were taken over by federal authorities. Next, the state set up salt works near Morehead City but, again with the loss of New Bern and surrounding regions, the Confederates no longer held the region. After 1862, and for the duration of the war, the state salt works were in New Hanover County on Myrtle Grove Sound. The Cape Fear region also was the site of numerous privately operated salt works.

     The manufacture required erecting furnaces. In November 1862 Governor Zebulon B. Vance reported 200 kettles in operation, producing 1,200 bushels of salt per day. Late in the war Gen. W. H. C. Whiting, commander at Fort Fisher, suspended state salt works operations in the Cape Fear region, and principal supply to the Confederacy then transferred to Saltville, Virginia. A limited number of privately operated suppliers continued to work through the end of the war.

Ella Lonn, Salt as a Factor in the Confederacy (1933)
Isabel M. Williams and Leora H. McEachern, “Salt Production in the Lower Cape Fear,” Lower Cape Fear Historical Society Bulletin, XIV, 1 (October 1970)
Related Themes: C.S.A., Confederate States of America, Confederacy
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Confederate Salt Works Historical Marker Location Map, Morehead City, North Carolina