Monday, September 26, 2016

The Battle of Hastings Gap

The Battle of Hastings Gap
by Gary Graybill

    One hundred and forty five years ago the Civil War spilled over into the western territories and resulted in the little known battle of Hastings Gap.

    Hastings Gap was a little fly-speck of a town. It consisted of a few small homes, a few farmers and a scattering of small mining claims. It's one thriving business was a canvas roofed saloon which became the center of the towns social activities on Saturday nights.

    On one of those Saturday nights a newspaper had arrived with a long article about the battle of Gettysburg in the war raging back east. As the paper passed around the saloon 2 sides began forming - one group of miners who had come from the south and the other that were supporting the north. Harsh words were exchanged and before long the 2 groups had adjourned into 2 little sheds sitting directly across the road from each other. 

    One side called themselves the "Hastings Gap Volunteers" and began waiving a tattered American Flag. The other group, not to be out done, produced an old cloth with the words "States Rights" scribbled on it and declared themselves the "Hastings Confederate Irregulars". Weapons were brought out and it looked as if hostilities would break out at any minute.

    At the height of this activity an old shriveled miner, with a beard down to his waist, came walking calmly up the street pushing a wheel-barrow with a canvas cloth over the top. He stopped in the center of the street directly in the line of fire between the 2 sides. Putting his hands out, palms down, he signaled both sides to lower their weapons for a moment. He then delivered a 10 minute speech about how states rights and slavery were problems of the east. He told the 2 groups that they had come out west seeking their fortunes and had been working in harmony in the little town, giving each other encouragement and support. 

    The old miner then closed by saying he had a much better way for the 2 sides to spend their afternoon. Reaching down he pulled the canvas from his wheel borrow uncovering 2 dozen bottles of Irish Whiskey.

    The Battle of Hastings Gap ended with an agreement to call a truce until the whiskey could be safely put to good use... 

    The next morning the badly hung-over miners returned to working their claims and the Civil War was not fought in Hastings Gap again.

Live Long and Prosper....

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