Chattanooga Civil War Round Table Meeting August 20

Topic is disruption of the Confederate saltpeter mining efforts in the Chattanooga area

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Chattanooga Civil War Round Table will hold its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, August 20, 2013.  The meeting is at 7 PM and will be held in the Millis-Evans Room of Caldwell Hall on the campus  of the The McCallie School (enter the campus from Dodds Avenue and follow the signs to the Academic Quadrangle and Caldwell Hall). 

Cave Historian Marion O. Smith is the speaker.  Historian Smith will speak on the disruption of the Confederate saltpeter mining efforts in the Chattanooga area as the Union army advanced 150 years ago.  The meeting is free and open to the public. 

 The retreat of Bragg's army on Chattanooga in early July, 1863, had not only put the Gateway to the Deep South city essentially on the front line, but it had also made one of the fledgling Confederacy's richest resource zones a part of that front line and very likely a battleground.

Just as the city of Chattanooga began adjusting to its new status, so too did the operatives of the Confederate States extractive industries in the greater Chattanooga region.  "Removing Govt Stores to the south side of Tenn. River," "moving tools materials &c from Sauta Cave," "Hauling Nitre & places of safety" and similar phrases appeared commonly on dozens of vouchers for services hired in July and August, 1863.  Confederate nitre works at Big Bone, Sauta, Battle Creek, Nickajack, Lookout, and a dozen other caves, potash works on Sand Mountain and at Chattanooga, the coal mines on Raccoon Mountain, the new Empire Iron Works, were all now threatened and the their product, equipment, labor, and operatives were all having to be relocated from within the now even more practical reach of the enemy.  In his talk this evening, Cave and Saltpeter Historian Marion Smith will relate this too often forgotten story that is another important impact of the Campaign for Chattanooga.  The Gateway to the Confederacy's developing military-industrial heartland changed hands, but lost too were rich resources for that vital heartland.  Come out and learn about another chapter in the vast and rich story of the events that unfolded here 150 years ago.

A native of Georgia, Marion Smith has previously spoken to the Round Table on subjects related to his topic this evening.  A researcher for years on the Papers of Andrew Johnson project at the University of Tennessee, he is now retired and pursuing his lifelong interest in caves and their historical uses on a full time basis.  He is the author of several publications including Confederate Niter Bureau Operations in Alabama (2007), Confederate Niter District Eight: Middle Tennessee & Northwest Georgia (2011), and Confederate Niter District Seven: East Tennessee (2012).

James Ogden, III, President

Chattanooga Civil War Round Table

 {The Chattanooga Civil War Round Table is a group of area citizens interested in the study of the American Civil War.  The Round Table meets on the third Tuesday of each month, normally in the Millis-Evans Room of Caldwell Hall on the campus of The McCallie School on Missionary Ridge (enter off Dodds Avenue at Union Street).  At each month’s meeting, a historian or author from the region or from across the nation, or a member, makes a presentation on some aspect of the conflict.  The meetings are free and open to the public and membership in the Round Table is open to all with an interest in the era of the War Between the States.}

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