South Mountain on horizon, Crampton's Gap center (photo: T. Reese)

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.

[Tim’s Crampton’s Gap material begins here]

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).

8 Responses to “Keeping Crampton’s Gap alive”

  1. John Banks says:

    I think it’s great the information from Tim’s Web site has been saved. I was wondering where it was a week ago when I went surfing for it. Took the grand tour of Crampton’s Gap battlefield with Tim last year and enjoyed it immensely. He’s a good egg.

  2. Brian Downey says:

    Thanks John, I agree about the egg. We’re not alone.

  3. Bruce Wunderlich says:

    Who was Crampton Gap named after and what year?
    Any ideas?

  4. Brian Downey says:

    I don’t have the answer, but I’ll dig a bit, Bruce.

  5. Tim Reese says:


    The place name “Crampton’s Gap” derives from the first colonial resident to inhabit its west side, Thomas Crampton. In the 1760s Crampton was hired by county authorities to lay out and construct roads throughout Pleasant Valley down to the Potomac including those hard by his own incipient land holdings below the gap. In exchange he was paid in more land so that all ground became his lying between Townsend Rd., Gapland Rd. and MD Rt. 67… the “triangle”. The name accrued over time by common ID parlance of lately arriving settlers/neighbors, no particular year. All this was documented in Washington County land records formerly held in Hagerstown, since moved to the State Archives in Annapolis.

    Crampton lands were gradually parceled off after the war due to expenses inflicted from wartime occupation. The Feds refused to pay their war claims they being suspected of Southern sympathies, a common excuse. By the 1880s all the land had left family hands. Today only the gap preserves their name locally.

  6. Brian says:

    Thanks Tim – good to hear from you. Hope you’re keeping well.

  7. Ronald Crampton says:

    Thank you so much for the above information. I just returned from Crampton’s Gap, MD, trying to research the origins of Crampton’s Gap. April 21, 2013

  8. Gina C6 says:

    Thank you for the information on Cramptons Gap.Thomas Crampton is my husband’s 5th great grandfather; and we were amazed to find this history when we visited. Enjoyed walking the area of the monument,masoleum, buildings of Gapland, and the mountain. Now I have a better understanding of what he did to go along with his name.
    May 2022

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