Cumberland Gap

DESCRIPTION: Stories of the settlement of Cumberland Gap. Texts may have a variety of verses, about exploration or the Civil War. The chorus is diagnostic: "Lay down boys and take a little nap; (Fourteen miles to the) Cumberland Gap."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1924 (recording, Uncle "Am" Stuart, followed in the same year by recordings by Land Norris, Gid Tanner & Riley Puckett)
KEYWORDS: exploration settler Civilwar dancing dancetune
1750 - Thomas Walker explores and names Cumberland Gap
Jun 18, 1862 - Union troops under G.W. Morgan occupy the Gap after James Rains (who is outnumbered by two to one) evacuates the pass
Sep 17, 1862 - Morgan evacuates the Gap, his retreat having been cut off by Bragg's and Kirby Smith's campaigns in Kentucky
Oct 22, 1862 - Confederate troops from Braxton Bragg's army occupy the Gap
Sept 10, 1863 - Confederates forced from the Gap by troops under Burnside. The Gap will remain in Union hands thereafter
REFERENCES (15 citations):
Randolph 498, "Cumberland Gap" (1 fragment)
BrownIII 329, "Cumberland Gap" (1 text)
BrownSchinhanV 329, "Cumberland Gap" (1 tune plus a text excerpt)
Roberts, #51, "Cumberland Gap" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fuson, pp. 176-178, "Cumberland Gap" (1 text)
Thomas-Devil's, pp. 136-137, "Cumberland Gap" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-CivWarFull, pp. 227-228, "Cumberland Gap" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-CivWarAbbr, pp. 62-63, "Cumberland Gap" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 274-276, "Cumberland Gap" (1 text, 1 tune, composite)
Lomax-FSNA 80, "Cumberland Gap" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cohen-AFS1, p. 251, "Cumberlan Gap" (1 text)
Arnett, p. 31, "Cumberland Gap" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-SoFolklr, p. 714, "Cumberland Gap" (1 text, 1 tune)
PSeeger-AFB, p. 67, "Cumberland Gap" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 49, "Cumberland Gap" (1 text)

ST R498 (Partial)
Roud #3413
Dock Boggs, "Cumberland Gap" (on Boggs3, BoggsCD1)
Jack Burchett, "Cumberland Gap" (on WatsonAshley01)
Rufus Crisp, "Cumberland Gap" (on Crisp01)
The Hillbillies, "Cumberland Gap" (Vocalion 5024, rec. 1926)
Frank Hutchison, "Cumberland Gap" (OKeh 45570, 1932; rec. 1929)
Buell Kazee, "Cumberland Gap" [fragment] (on Kazee01)
[Byrd] Moore, [Richard] Burnett & [Leonard] Rutherford, "Cumberland Gap" (Gennett 6706/Champion 15653 [as Norton, Bond & Williams]/Supertone 9310 [as Southern Kentucky Mountaineers], 1929 -- a primarily instrumental version; on BurnRuth01, KMM)
Land Norris, "Cumberland Gap" (OKeh 40212, 1924)
Fiddlin' Powers and Family, "Cumberland Gap" (Victor, unissued, 1924)
Don Reno & Red Smiley, "Cumberland Gap" (King 5002, c. 1956)
Fiddlin' Doc Roberts Trio, "Cumberland Gap" (Conqueror 8239, 1933)
Pete Seeger, "Cumberland Gap" (on PeteSeeger07, PeteSeeger07a)
Arthur Smith, "Cumberland Gap" (on McGeeSmith1)
Uncle "Am" Stuart, "Cumberland Gap" [instrumental] (Vocalion 5035/Vocalion 14839, 1924)Gid Tanner & Riley Puckett, "Cumberland Gap" (Columbia 245-D, 1924)
Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers, "Cumberland Gap" (Columbia 15303-D, 1928)
Gordon Tanner, Smokey Joe Miller & Uncle John Patterson, "Medley: Cumberland Gap/Gid Tanner's Bucking Mule/Hen Cackle" (on DownYonder)
Wade Ward, "Cumberland Gap" [instrumental] (on Holcomb-Ward1)
Williamson Bros. & Curry "Cumberland Gap" (OKeh 45108, 1927)

cf. "Bonnie George Campbell" [Child 210] (tune)
cf. "Dogget's Gap"
cf. "Big Stone Gap" (form)
NOTES [167 words]: This melody is played as a dance tune throughout the southeast. - PJS
Fuson's unusually long text has also been heavily localized: "September morn in Sixty-two... Morgan's 'Yankee' all withdrew." "They burned the hay, the meal, and meat... And left the rebels nothing to eat." "Braxton Bragg with his rebel band... He run George Morgan to the bluegrass land." (Compare Thomas's text, which has most of the same lyrics.)
Union general George W. Morgan (1820-1893) had occupied the Gap on June 18, 1862 with a division after the oversized Confederate brigade of James E. Rains withdrew. (Rains, incidentally, did his own burning of stores as he pulled out.)
In September 1862, though, two Confederate armies under Braxton Bragg and Edmund Kirby Smith were moving into Kentucky (the Perryville campaign). Kirby Smith's force threatened Morgan's communications, and on September 17, he conducted an orderly evacuation. There was no battle, but it would be another year before the Union recaptured the Gap. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.5
File: R498

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