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Acclaimed Civil War Historian to Speak at Cumberland Gap

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Date: September 9, 2011
Contact: Martha Wiley, (606) 248-2817, extension 1051

Dr. Earl J. Hess
Dr. Earl J. Hess


Program One of Many in the National Park Service's Sesquicentennial Commemoration

Dr. Earl J. Hess, associate professor and Stewart W. McClelland Chair in History at Lincoln Memorial University, will be presenting the program, "The Civil War Comes to Cumberland Gap," on Saturday, September 17th at 2:00 p.m. in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park's visitor center auditorium.

The talk will explore the history of Cumberland Gap in the first year of the Civil War, addressing the first Confederate occupation from the summer of 1861 to June 1862. Hess will talk about the people on different levels of command who occupied the Gap, and relate how the Federals captured it bloodlessly, and generally examine the Gap itself as a strategic position during the war.

Dr. Hess has been a student of Civil War history since he was a teenager, growing up in rural Missouri. He completed his B.A. and M.A. degrees in History at Southeast Missouri State University. His Ph.D. in American Studies, with a concentration in History, was awarded by Purdue University in 1986. He has taught at a number of institutions, including the University of Georgia, Texas Tech University, and the University of Arkansas. Since 1989, he has been at Lincoln Memorial University. Hess has published 12 books, 23 articles, and more than 100 book reviews. Among his publications are Into the Crater - the Mine Attack at Petersburg; Trench Warfare under Grant and Lee - Field Fortifications in the Overland Campaign; Pickett's Charge - The Last Attack at Gettysburg; and Banners to the Breeze: The Kentucky Campaign, Corinth and Stones River. Immediately after the program, he will be signing copies of Banners to the Breeze and his latest book, Lincoln Memorial University and the Shaping of Appalachia.

Hess's program is the third of four being offered this year in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park's Hidden History Lecture Series, co-sponsored by the Friends of Cumberland Gap. For additional information on Cumberland Gap National Historical Park's programs, please call 606-248-2817, extension 1075 or visit

Did You Know?

President Richard Nixon

Vice President Richard Nixon visited Cumberland Gap on July 3, 1959 to commemorate the formal dedication of the park which took place the following day. While at the park he visited the scenic Pinnacle Overlook and attended festivities in the nearby town of Middlesboro, Kentucky.