Saltpetre Cave

Sweet Root Gap

Saltpetre Cave is located in the Sweet Root Gap.

Entrance to the Cave

A saltpetre cave was discovered near the top of Tussey Mountain. Michael Huff mined the saltpetre for Jacob Rowland who made gun powder for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.
Black powder consists of potassium nitrate (saltpetre), sulfur and charcoal.

Entrance to the cave

Looking into the cave

According to Joseph Leconte (1832-1901):

"The general conditions necessary to the formation of saltpetre are: 1st, the presence of decaying organic matter, animal or vegetable, especially the former; 2nd, an alkaline or earthy base, as potash or lime; 3rd, sufficient moisture; 4th, free exposure to the oxygen of the air; and 5th, shelter from sun and rain."

Billy Knee sitting on a ledge

Billy Knee sitting on a ledge deep into Sweet Root Gap, near the saltpetre cave.

The same area at least 60 years later.