Middlesboro in Bell County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Where you see a picnic ground today, imagine a seven-sided structure made of earth and wooden walls, approximately 40 feet by 70 feet. The outer walls of this Civil War fort were approximately five feet high with an earth-covered powder magazine in the center, and a 750-foot rifle pit curving underneath to protect the fort.
This outpost - like the other forts, rifle pits, and cannon batteries here in the Gap - was garrisoned from 1861-65 alternately by Confederates, then by Federals. Troops posted here guarded Harlan Road, the best way up Pinnacle Mountain.
(Cumberland Gap) is the roughest place in the world, but we are going to stick the mountain full of cannon to prevent the Lincolnites from crossing.
- Letter of Confederate soldier, November 1861
(center) Fort McRae's outer earthworks were built with gabions - rounded wicker baskets filled with earth and rocks, similar to this photo (left) taken at Petersburg, Virginia - to reinforce its outer defenses.
(lower left) Confederates called this outpost Fort Mallory. Union soldiers renamed in Fort McRae after Union Captain Alexander McRae killed in battle in 1862.
Erected by National Park Service.
Location. 36° Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Middlesboro KY 40965, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Defense of the Gap (approx. 0.2 miles away); Invasion through the Gap (approx. 0.2 miles away); Boundaries Settled (approx. 0.3 miles away in Virginia); Pinnacle Overlook (approx. 0.3 miles away); Two-Way Traffic (approx. 0.4 miles away); Generations Have Enjoyed this View (approx. 0.4 miles away in Virginia); Morgan's Retreat (approx. 0.4 miles away but has been reported missing); A Maze of Mountains (approx. 0.4 miles away in Virginia). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Middlesboro.
Also see . . . Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. National Park Service (Submitted on September 15, 2015.)
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 14, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 247 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 14, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.