Thanks to my best friend Anne-Marie for always thinking, I can tell you what the sign by the cannon states. She did a search and found it! ( I didn't take a photo of both signs, just the one by the cannon)
The interpretive sign titled, "Invasion through the Gap" reads:
"For the North, Cumberland Gap was a natural invasion route into the South - providing access to vulnerable railroads and valuable minerals and salt works in East Tennessee and southwest Virginia.
For the South, the Gap was a gateway for an invasion of Kentucky to drive out the Federal foe.
Cumberland Gap exchanged hands four times during the Civil War.
The interpretive sign titled, "Defense of the Gap" reads:
"During the Civil War this earthwork - called Fort Rains by the Confederates and Fort McCook by the Federals - was one of many fortifications ringing Cumberland Gap.
These defenses were considered too formidable to be taken by direct assault, which accounts for the small number of soldiers killed here. The poor roads and rough country of the Gap made it difficult to resupply the outposts. An attacker could simply cut off supply lines, leaving the forts with little tactical value.
Later in the war, General Ulysses S. Grant visited this area and declared the Gap unusable as an invasion route because of the roads. Defense of the Gap was no longer strategically important."
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