Monday, December 31, 2007
Watching for 2008 from Turner's Gap
This recent comment prompted a quick trip up the mountain this morning:
I'm currently re-reading "Landscape Turned Red" by Stephen W Sears and am on the chapter on the battles at Turners and Foxes Gaps. Where are you located in relation to that fight?
Turner's Gap is just up the road from (east of) Boonsboro, Maryland.
Looking east into Frederick County from Turner's Gap, at the edge of Washington County. Middletown is about six miles down the road.
Two much-visited structures mark the gap, Dahlgren Chapel (at the top of this post and below) and the Mountain House Inn. The historic Inn was Confederate general D.H. Hill's headquarters during the South Mountain fight and it is the place that the wounded General Garland was taken to die. Today the Inn is a very fancy (and, I'm told, good) resturant.
This beautiful and tiny gothic revival chapel was built in the 1880s by the widow of Admiral Dahlgren, and is (as you might imagine) a popular place to hold weddings...hmmm, how convienient is it that the resturant is right across the road? Wonder if the parson might also front a polka band.
The chapel and Inn are intersected by both the Old National Road (highway 40) as well as the Appalachian Trail (A/T).
Aside from these two remarkable buildings and an eastern view there are also lots of interpretive markers including the always well done Maryland Civil War Trails waysides as well as the ubiquitious War Department tablets (below).
Turner's Gap is the northern-most of the South Mountain Battlefields and also the site (if you keep going uphill to the north) of
Washington Monument State Park, home of Maryland State Park Ranger Al Preston, the "go-to guy" when it comes to info on the Battle of South Mountain.
Continuing South along the spine of the mountain the A/T hiker will encounter Fox's Gap, location of the Reno Monument, and several more miles Southward comes Crampton's Gap the third of the three fields of the South Mountain Battle.
South Mountain is an often-overlooked and very important battle in Lee's 1862 Maryland campaign. It's definately worth a few hours when you come out this way.
This was a nice jaunt with which to bring to a close another "Year of Living Rangerously".
Very best wishes for a happy and healthy 2008!
From Rangers Mannie and Smokey