“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Saltville in Smyth County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Battle at Cedar Branch

Salt Works Defended

Battle at Cedar Branch Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, October 14, 2012
1. Battle at Cedar Branch Marker
Inscription.  You are standing on the Confederate battle line that stretched for more than two miles along the bluffs on this side of the North Fork of the Holston River. The Cedar Branch Creek flows into the Holston River near the ford on the North Road to Saltville. The highway bridge in front of you crosses the original ford.

On Sunday, October 2, 1864, Union Gen. Stephen G. Burbridge arrived behind the hills in front of you with more than 5,000 troops from Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan, including several hundred African-American soldiers of the 5th and 6th Colored Cavalry. The Union objective was to destroy the town's salt works. Many of the more than 2,000 Confederates were Kentuckians, facing opponents from their home state.

Around noon, Union Gen. Edward Hobson attacked the river ford. To avoid Confederate cannon and rifle fire, Hobson charged in three columns. One column charged down Sanders Hill, one down the Holston River and the third from the base of Little Mountain across Broady Bottom.

After wading across the ford, the Union troops fought their way to the top of Cemetery Hill, pushing the Confederates toward the
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back of the hill into the Elizabeth Cemetery. Reserves were ordered forward to reinforce the Confederate line. After 15 minutes of close combat, often within 50 yards, the Union troops were forced back across the river. Confederate Col. Edwin Trimble was killed in the cemetery while directing the fire of his men.

By 5 p.m., firing along the battle line had ceased, except for sporadic Confederate artillery fire. Federal losses - killed, wounded and captured - were approximately 290. Confederate losses were approximately 160.

During the night, Burbridge's command began a hasty retreat toward Kentucky, leaving his dead and many of his wounded, including African-American troops. The next morning, some of these wounded and captured troops were murdered in what has been called the "Saltville Massacre."
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is October 2, 1934.
Location. 36° 53.349′ N, 81° 44.97′ W. Marker is in Saltville, Virginia, in Smyth County. Marker can be reached from Buckeye Street, 0.2 miles east of East Main Street, on the left. There is a parking lot adjacent to Buckeye Street.
Action in the Center of the Battlefield image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, October 14, 2012
2. Action in the Center of the Battlefield
Close-up of map on marker
The marker is located on top of the knoll next to the open-sided shelter. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Saltville VA 24370, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Saltville (approx. 1.3 miles away); History of Saltville Valley (approx. 1.3 miles away); U.S. General Stoneman's Raid (approx. 2.1 miles away); Saltville Defenses (approx. 2.1 miles away); Sulphur Springs Church and Campground (approx. 6.6 miles away); Chilhowie Methodist Episcopal Church (approx. 7.1 miles away); Chilhowie (approx. 7.3 miles away); Farthest West, 1750 (approx. 7.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Saltville.
McClung's Battery image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, October 14, 2012
3. McClung's Battery
Close-up of illustration on marker
View of Battlefield image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, October 14, 2012
4. View of Battlefield
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on December 19, 2012, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 1,024 times since then and 68 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on December 19, 2012, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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May. 28, 2023