Thursday, August 07, 2008

Cumberland Gap

I'm back from my excursion to Cumberland Gap. I got to see some great Civil War related sites in Claiborn County, Tennessee, on Saturday –including some unmarked graves, a wartime church used as a hospital, the site of the battle of Tazwel, and plenty of other really interesting sites. Hats off to David Honeycutt for showing me around.

I went hoping to find the graves of a dozen members of the 58th North Carolina who died in September-November 1862 while on duty at the Gap. I was shown a site and told a story that the Confederates were buried here, and after the war were disinterred and taken to Chattanooga for reburial. Alas, I am not yet convinced. The depressions in the ground could have been burial trenches, but they might just as well have been the site of winter quarters/huts. I’ve read on other occasions of soldiers building log huts three or four feet high, and then excavating inside the huts another two or three feet so the occupants could stand up. And, why Chattanooga? Most of the Confederate dead in Chattanooga were later taken to Marietta. Why not Tazwell or Knoxville?

So, I am still on the lookout for the site of the Confederate cemetery in Cumberland Gap. Any ideas?


Christy said...

Oh, I can't wait until your book on the 58th comes out! You have corresponded with my husband Tim, who had several relatives in the 58th. Two who died in January and February of 1863 are interred in the DeLap Cemetery in Campbell County, TN. Until we discovered that a few months ago, no one in the family knew what had happened to them. We are really excited to get the bigger picture of the 58th, and to share what we learn with the family.

I hope you find the graves you are looking for now...

Drew@CWBA said...

I don't know anything about the cemetary, but I was wondering if you found any books about the Civil War at Cumberland Gap while you were in the area.


Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


Being a native Southerner, I'm sure you are familiar with "well witching" or "divining."

The same "technology" - :) - can be used to find old graves. As a matter of fact, I've discussed this with a fellow SCV member from Mississippi.

Would you want me to put you in touch with him?

Richard Williams
Old Virginia Blog

Patrick A said...

The Union was supposed to have burned and destroyed a stockpile of ordinance in skylight cave

Anonymous said...

Hello Michael, I've been on a decade long search to try to figure out where my 3rd gr gf William S. Jones of Hickman Co. TN, a private in Co. I of the 11th TN Vol. Inf., was buried after his death of "disease of the lungs" at Cumberland Gap in late Novenber 1861. Have you received any additional info about early war Confederate cemeteries in the area? Where is the church used as a hospital located? Do you know if it was used as a hospital in late 1861? Thanks and best wishes! David Jones

Michael Hardy said...

David - thanks for the note. I've not gotten back to this project yet. It is on the proverbial "to do" list.