Here’s a link to and article on Crampton’s Gap Historic District.
The Burkittsville Preservation Association, Inc. (BPA) formed to save the Shafer Farm, an 1840 farmhouse that served as command post for Union General William Franklin during the Battle of South Mountain in September 1862. Situated at a high elevation overlooking Crampton’s Gap in the Burkittsville Historic District, the property includes a bank barn and stone smokehouse in addition to the farmhouse. The house has sat empty since the last Shafer occupant passed away, at age 103, in 2003. Today, the farmhouse’s most pressing preservation needs include sealing the roof from leaks, stabilizing the roof joist and supporting brick material, installing a gutter on the west wall to move water away from the foundation, and stabilizing the west wall and west roof apex. The 1840s barn structure requires stabilization due to the loss of a section of the roof. The volunteers who formed BPA envision the property as a publicly accessible historic site where for visitors can learn about the Maryland Campaign of 1862 as well as 19th century farm life.
It was a blustery fall day, but guests had enough interest in the Hamilton Willard Shafer house to brave the elements for BPA’s first “Open House!” Hot cider and food warmed the participants as they listened to some history and some plans for the future. They also took tours of the property and barn, as well as the interior of the house. We hope to have more events with nicer weather to let more people experience this historic treasure! Frederick County Council member Jerry Donald was present for the event and he has posted a short slide show here.
The townspeople cheered the Federal soldiers on their front porches while their summer kitchens were the targets of the Confederate artillery.
The 96th PA in action!
“In the van came Franklin himself surrounded by staff and his personal escort of Rush’s Lancers, their blood-red pennons imparting a medieval air to the cavalcade.”
“Behind them marched Company D, 95th Pennsylvania – ‘Gosline’s Zouaves’ – in their capacity as headquarters guard.”
“Franklin never ventured all that close to Burkittsville. Upon reaching the intersection with the Middletown-Petersville road (Catholic Church Road), he chose the farmhouse of Martin T. Shafer for his headquarters, well over a mile from town. Aides were soon superintending the erection of tents and other general’s paraphernalia to the rear of Shafer’s house where an excellent though telescopic view of the town and gap was afforded. The Sixth Corps tramped on past this domestic scene spearheaded by Bartlett’s brigade. Much to Harley’s displeasure, the column was diverted across his impeccable front lawn, crossed a narrow wagon road (Wiener Drive), and descended into a broad swampy ravine watered by Burkitt’s Run and its tributaries.”
“Here the men were permitted to fall out while the corps closed up. Small fires were started beneath the trees and haversacks were opened for a noon-day meal. Here they were visible to Manly’s pesky guns and any Confederates lurking below Crampton’s Gap.”
This video also talks about the topography making the Battles of South Mountain tough. Crampton’s Gap is featured at the end.