On April 21, 1864, the state salt works in New Hanover County were attacked by Federal forces and about a third of the site was destroyed.
An important ingredient for the preservation of the meat, salt was essential for the security of the food supply during the era. Salt works were established in Currituck County and near Morehead City, though both were captured by federal troops who controlled much of northeastern North Carolina by the end of 1863.
For the remainder of the war, state salt production was anchored in the Wilmington area, where numerous private salt works had previously been operated. The state brought 220 acres near Myrtle Grove Sound for its works, and soon began assembling the required furnaces. In November 1862, Governor Zebulon B. Vance reported 200 kettles in operation, producing 1,200 bushels of salt per day. At peak of production, the facility was putting out 8,500 bushels each day.
Late in the war Gen. W. H. C. Whiting, the Confederate commander at Fort Fisher, suspended state salt works operations in the Cape Fear region, and principal center of production shifted to the mountains of Virginia.
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