"This American Gibraltar"
"Cumberland Gap is the strongest position I have ever seen except Gibraltar." These were Union General George W. Morgan's words after viewing the fortification around the Gap.
On June 19, 1862, he wrote to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, "The enemy evacuated this American Gibraltar this morning... and DeCourey's brigade took possession..."
In honor of the capture, the Stars and Stripes were raised from the pinnacle of this mountain in proud ceremony. Three months later it was the Union troops who withdrew.
What made the forts around the Gap so difficult to attack also made them difficult to resupply. It was easier for the war to just go around them.