24 March 2006
Back in 2002, Timothy J. Reese launched his Crampton’s Gap website. Before that, the 1862 battle was woefully underrepresented online. Prior to his books (1998, 2004*), the battle was underrepresented in print, as well.
I believe his crusade to get Crampton’s respect and formal recognition as a battlefield park were the original motives for putting the website up. The political winds strong against him, he has taken the site down. Taking a break. Tired of banging against it.
I was very sorry to see the work he’d done online disappear, so I asked him to let me pull it over onto AotW and get it back on the air. For the last few days I’ve been importing his page content and illustrations, and formatting them to work with the rest of the AotW site. Assuming Tim approves of what I’ve done, I hope to have it up this weekend.
Although the decision to save his stuff was instinctive, I am expecting to hear from people who do not agree with his perspective.
There are those who think Tim’s out to lunch when he asserts the Battle of Crampton’s Gap is separate tactically and strategically from the other combat on South Mountain (at Turner’s and Fox’s Gaps) that day, and when he makes a case for the pivotal nature of Crampton’s in the Maryland Campaign, with impact greater than its size.
There are folks who have been rather adamant in opposition to his drive for a Crampton’s Gap Battlefield Park. I might hear from them, also.
Personally, I think Mr Reese makes a reasonable case from the evidence, and that’s what I’m saving. His is not the majority view, but one well worth considering. He might even be wrong (mightn’t we all); but there are too few, like Tim, who see the study of history as more than a canned recital of the same-old same-old, and dig a little deeper, looking to the facts to explain events.
That’s worth hanging on to.
* Sealed With Their Lives: The Battle for Crampton’s Gap, Burkittsville, Maryland, September 14, 1862 (Butternut and Blue Press, 1998) and High-Water Mark: The 1862 Maryland Campaign in Strategic Perspective (Butternut and Blue Press, 2004).