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The effect of the Indian frontier as a consolidating agent in our history is important. From the close of the seventeenth century various intercolonial congresses have been called to treat with Indians and establish common measures of defense. Particularism was strongest in colonies with no Indian frontier. This frontier stretched along the western border like a cord of union. The Indian was a common danger, demanding united action. Most celebrated of these conferences was the Albany congress of 1754, called to treat with the Six Nations, and to consider plans of union. Even a cursory reading of the plan proposed by the congress reveals the importance of the frontier. The powers of the general council and the officers were, chiefly, the determination of peace and war with the Indians, the regulation of Indian trade, the purchase of Indian lands, and the creation and government of new settlements as a security against the Indians. It is evident that the unifying tendencies of the Revolutionary period were facilitated by the previous cooperation in the regulation of the frontier. In this connection may be mentioned the importance of the frontier, from that day to this, as a military training school, keeping alive the power of resistance to aggression, and developing the stalwart and rugged qualities of the frontiersman.
This mountain range extends from the Potomac River and runs the depth of eastern Maryland into Pennsylvania. Elements of both armies moved from the Frederick area to the Antietam battlefield over the South Mountain. As Lee began concentrating around Sharpsburg, he ordered the gaps defended. Federals, trying to relieve the siege at Harpers Ferry, attacked Crampton’s Gap Sept. 14, 1862, while other Union forces assaulted Fox's Gap and Turner's Gap, following Lee’s army. The thin but stubborn Confederate defense purchased much-needed time for Lee – both to capture Harpers Ferry and construct a defense near Sharpsburg.
All three gaps offer interpretation of the battle.
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