By the end of 1862, the people of Madison County had a new enemy:hunger. The worst hardship, by far, was the lack of salt, about the only way to preserve meat. No salt, no meat to sell and no meat to eat.In North Carolina, the salt shortage was deadly. The state had no internal source of supply except for the costal distillation plants and very little of that ever got to the western counties. By the winter of 1862-1863, the price of salt had climed from 12 dollars a sack to 100 dollars a sack. This was tightly controlled by Confederate agents in the towns, the poor people in the hill country got nothing, This was a policy designed to punish them for Union sympathies and cause deserters to give themselves up.-just so their family could get enough salt to survive the winter. A party of about 50 men raided the town of Marshall to get enough salt to survive the winter. If it had stopped there, nothing else might have happen. However they ransacked the house of Colonel Allen of the 64th regiment. He wasn't at home, but Mrs. Allen and her three children were, two of whom were critically ill. This would come back to haunt them...the Shelton Laurel Massacre. William R. Trotter says in his book, Bushwackers, that though there were no large battles fought in these mountains: "Acre for acre, there were more gunfighting and gratuitous cold-blooded murder in Appalachian North Carolian during the Civil War than was in any comparable chunk of the Wild West during any four-year period you care to name"