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Traveling Vest Virginia
Organ Cave
An Ancient Cave With A Wartime Past


Organ Cave was mined for saltpeter, the principal ingredient of gunpowder, during the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. Confederate General Robert E. Lee and his troops held a church service in the main entrance room of the cave during the war. Remains of the Civil War mining are in an excellent state of preservation and are seen on the commercial tour.

The early saltpeter miners discovered the bones of a large, unknown animal. The owner of the cave sent some of the bones (a forearm and a hand with giant claws) to Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson described them as "Megalonyx" (Latin for Giant Lion). This was the first reported find of a giant ground sloth in the United States. Jefferson soon determined that the animal was actually an extinct sloth, not a lion, but the Genus name "Megalonyx" is retained to this day. This particular genus is now known as Megalonyx jeffersoni.

Organ Cave

Organ Cave Person Interviewed: Janie Morgan
Title: Owner
Date: Year round
Location: Greenbrier County, West Virginia
Address: 9 miles west of White Sulphur Springs on Rt. 63
Phone: 304 645-7600
Website: www.organcave.com/
EMail: janie@organcave.com

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