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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Middlesboro in Bell County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
 

Defense of the Gap

 
 
Defense of the Gap Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 5, 2010
1. Defense of the Gap Marker
Inscription.  During the Civil War this earthwork - called Fort Rains by the Confederates and Fort McCook by the Federals - was one of many fortifications ringing Cumberland Gap.

These defenses were considered too formidable to be taken by direct assault, which accounts for the small number of soldiers killed here. The poor roads and rough country of the Gap made it difficult to resupply the outposts. An attacker could simply cut off supply lines, leaving the forts with little tactical value.

Later in the war, General Ulysses S. Grant visited this area and declared the Gap unusable as an invasion route because of the condition of the roads. Defense of the Gap was no longer strategically important.
Please do not walk on these remaining earthworks.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Forts or CastlesWar, US Civil.
 
Location. 36° 36.518′ N, 83° 40.468′ W. Marker is near Middlesboro, Kentucky, in Bell County. Marker can be reached from Pinnacle Road, on the right when traveling east. Located on a foot
Plans of Fort McCook image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 5, 2010
2. Plans of Fort McCook
path leading from a parking area to the Fort McCook site in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Middlesboro KY 40965, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Invasion through the Gap (within shouting distance of this marker); Dirt-and-Log Forts (approx. 0.2 miles away); Two-Way Traffic (approx. 0.2 miles away); Daniel Boone's Trail (approx. 0.3 miles away in Tennessee); Boundaries Settled (approx. 0.4 miles away in Virginia); Generations Have Enjoyed this View (approx. half a mile away in Virginia); Pinnacle Overlook (approx. half a mile away); A Maze of Mountains (approx. half a mile away in Virginia). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Middlesboro.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Cumberland Gap Civil War Defenses
 
Also see . . .  Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. (Submitted on September 14, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
 
Map of the Fortifications image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 5, 2010
3. Map of the Fortifications
The map uses topographical survey data, and plots the locations of the wartime forts.
Marker and Cannon in the Remains of Fort McCook image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 5, 2010
4. Marker and Cannon in the Remains of Fort McCook
Bastion of Fort McCook image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 5, 2010
5. Bastion of Fort McCook
The field piece is a rifled 6-pdr field gun. It was made in 1861 by Marshall & Company of St. Louis, Missouri. It has registry number 31 on the muzzle and a weight stamp of 869 under the knob. It has seven groove, right-hand twist rifling.
Cumberland Gap Visitor Center- Two Armies Struggling for Control image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, March 30, 2012
6. Cumberland Gap Visitor Center- Two Armies Struggling for Control
Cumberland Gap Visitor Center - Civil War Fort Model image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, March 30, 2012
7. Cumberland Gap Visitor Center - Civil War Fort Model
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on September 14, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,194 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 14, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   6, 7. submitted on September 14, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
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Jul. 12, 2020