Friends of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park Presents Historic Letter to Park

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Friends of Cumberland Gap NHP Chairman John Brown and Superintendent Mark Woods

photo by Harold Jerrell

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News Release Date: May 22, 2013

Document Confirms United States Colored Troops Presence at the Gap

A significant yet lesser-known chapter of the history of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park (NHP) has recently come to light, in large part thanks to the Friends of Cumberland Gap non-profit group. A park supporter had noticed a Civil War letter for sale earlier this year, and purchased it. The Friends of Cumberland Gap NHP then learned of the letter and offered to buy it for the park's archives.

Written by Lieutenant Colonel James F. Wade of the United States Colored Troops (USCT), 6thCavalry, the letter is dated November 28th, 1864, and originates from Cumberland Gap. In the letter, designated "General Order No. 1," Wade "hereby assumes command of the 3rdBrigade, consisting of the 5thUSC Cavalry 13thKy Cavalry - 30th, 37thand 43rdRegts. Ky Mtd. Inf."

"This is a part of the Gap's Civil War history that is only just beginning to be explored," shared Superintendent Mark Woods. "Thanks to the generosity of our Friends Group, we are able to have this tangible link to the presence of the USCT here at Cumberland Gap."

Friends Chairman John Brown remarked, "The purchase and donation of this letter fits well with the mission of the Friends group, formed in 2009, as we strive to 'strengthen awareness of and assist the National Park Service in its mission to preserve, protect, and enhance the natural and cultural resources of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.' We are pleased to be able to bring this important historical find back home where it belongs." 

For more information about Friends of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park visit their website at: or find them on facebook at:


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