|Ruins of saltpetre works in Tennessee 1863 Saltpetre being one of the necessary ingredients of powder, it was inevitable that when cotton-mills, iron-works, and every useful industry were suffering destruction by the Union cavalry in Tennessee, the salt-petre factory should share the same fate. The works were foredoomed, whether by the Union cavalry or by the Confederate cavalry, in order to prevent them from falling into Union hands. The enterprising photographer seized a moment when the cavalry was at hand. A dejected charger is hanging his head by the side of the ruined mill. Two men are standing at the left of the house, of which nothing remains but the framework and chimney. The importance of destroying these works could hardly have been over-estimated. It was the case half a century later, as stated by Hudson Maxim and other military authorities, that collision between America and a foreign country with a powerful navy would bring, as that country's first move, the cutting off of our saltpetre supply from South America and thus the crippling of our ability to manufacture powder.|
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