• fog flows through Cumberland Gap

    Cumberland Gap

    National Historical Park KY,TN,VA

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  • Cumberland Gap Tip Line

    Help protect your national park! Report any crimes or suspicious activity including damage or theft of park resources. More »

  • No Cave Tours or Hensley Tours on September 27

    There will be no Gap Cave or Hensley Settlement tours offered on September 27, 2014 due to special Heritage Walk program. For more information please call the park visitor center at (606) 248-2817, extension 1075.

  • Sugar Run Trail Closed to Horses

    The Sugar Run Trail is temporarily closed to horse use due to the number of fallen trees as a result of recent storms. The trail is still open for hikers, but hikers should use caution.

  • Back the Bears!

    Support the park's "Back the Bears" campaign and help keep our bears wild and safe! More »

Civil War Comes to Cumberland Gap

Union forces retreating with munitions exploding behind them

Union forces evacuate the Cumberland Gap, leaving nothing useful behind

During the Civil War, both Union and Confederate forces vied for control of the Cumberland Gap which was a strategic stronghold for both sides. Union commanders viewed the gap as a way to cut the Confederacy in two and an opportunity to disrupt communication and supply lines along the southern railroad. Confederate commanders recognized this and saw the gap as a critical defensive position.

 
picture of norton copy285

Tin type photo of Seargant AB Norton of the 4th Tennessee Cavalry along with medal and journal

Both Union and Confederate troops spent months at a time at Cumberland Gap, watching and waiting for the enemy's next move. Although there were never any major battles at Cumberland gap, there were a number of skirmishes and strategic flanking movements. During the war both sides actually occupied Cumberland Gap twice!

Numerous programs and activities showcase the stories of the Civil War at Cumberland Gap!

 
civil war web page

More Information...

During the Civil War (542 KB)
Publication featuring timeline of the Civil War at Cumberland Gap and units that were at the gap during the war

Civil War: 150 Years
National Park Service website commemorating the Civil War sesquicentenial

Slavery: Cause and Catalyst of the Civil War (2.46 MB)
downloadable pdf brochure

 

Did You Know?

Pioneers cross Cumberland Gap

Between 1775 and 1810 some 300,000 settlers crossed Cumberland Gap and began settling the land west of the Appalachians. These brave pioneers were following dreams of prosperity in the wilderness of Kentucky.