The Battle of Cumberland Gap

 In memory of  Henry Harrison “Yankee” Lancaster (1843-1919) 

His mother was Hannah Harriet Driskell, sister of my 3rd great grandfather.

 Several years ago our family visited Cumberland Gap. We spent the night in a 200 year old cabin, rich with history. Oh, if only walls could have talked!

The history of the area is a fascinating read and climbing the trails made history come alive for us. Henry Harrison Lancaster was my first cousin, 4x removed. He, too, climbed the trail up the mountain. But his mission was not to enjoy the view or take photos for a scrapbook page.

The Battle of Cumberland Gap

Henry enlisted as a Private in Company D, 55th Infantry Regiment Georgia on 17 May 1862. He mustered out on 15 Apr 1865 at Camp Douglas, Chicago, Illinois. His regiment was a part of the battle at Cumberland Gap on August 15, 1863 and then a few days later on September 9th. The Union forces won the last fight and took possession of the Gap.


Parrot Cannon at Cumberland

Parrot Cannon

The South used their vantage point to pick off every Union train bringing food, supplies and ammunition through the Gap to General Sherman down in Tennessee and Georgia. Novels and movies have been made of this episode, including the romance between the Rebel commander and the daughter of the Union General down in Cumberland Gap, Tennessee.One of the Union strategies was to lure the Rebel forces into using up their cannon balls. The North kept sending through trains either empty or loaded with rocks or bales of hay. The South was never fooled. But when the North tried to send through food, supplies or ammunition, the South would blow up the train. The North could never figure out how the soldiers up on the mountain always knew.After the war they discovered that the daughter down in town would angle a mirror in her bedroom to catch the sun and send a signal up to the mountain. On cloudy days, she lit a lantern. On the mountain, a sentry used the telescope to read her signal.”

A scrapbooked page in our journal of Cumberland Gap

From a page in our Cumberland Gap Scrapbook…

Over 140 years ago these rocks were seen by men in battle attire of boots and Confederate gray or Union blue.

Now two men in tennis shoes and denim jeans take their places among the rocks and cannon.


Source: The quote above was found online and permission was given for me to post it on Henry’s page.

Interesting Source for reference: The Complete Civil War by Philip Katcher. This book specifically mentions the uniform colors worn by all the different regiments.

This entry was posted in Family, Heritage, Photography, Scrapbook. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Battle of Cumberland Gap

  1. Belinda Rose says:

    My husband and I lived in Georgia when we first married and we visited many of the historic sites in the state. Our country is so rich in history and real life stories of our ancestors that fought for the freedoms we are blessed with. Let us pray our children and grandchildren enjoy the freedoms we have known.


  2. There are so many places that have connections to us. My husband and I want to visit Ireland to see some of those places we’ve only read about. He also wants to travel to Norway where some of his family is still living.


  3. Kathy Anne says:

    My husband and I have driven our four children through the Gap two times now. It is so rich with history. My kids talk about Daniel Boone. What a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing!


  4. 6ftmama says:

    Thanks for this, Ruth.


  5. Ethan Billhime says:

    I thought the Confederates were gray, and the Union was Blue. That’s interesting about the train and how the Confederates knew which was which.


  6. What an interesting story. I love how you’ve made a new history for your family in that place.


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