Today we take salt for granted, and aside from cooking, don't bother much with it. But in the years of the Civil War, our ancestors relied on it for tanning leather, making dyes, curing meats and maintaining the health of their farm animals.
That's why when the Union soldiers blockaded the major salt mines and shipments from Europe the Confederate states began to ration salt to families. Aside from an interesting history lesson, there's a genealogical resource hidden away in the salt lists recorded by the courts in the southern states. While many have only been reproduced in print, some are online and indexed for researchers.