Gathland State Park
Walk Upon the Estate of George Alfred Townsend
George Alfred Townsend was born on January 30, 1841,
the son of an itinerant Methodist minister on Maryalnd's Eastern Shore.
He bacame one of the youngest correspondent of the Civil War and later became
one of America's most important journalists and novelists. He wrote,
at times, under the pen name of GATH, which was derived by adding
an H to his initials G.A.T. The pen name was inspired by a bible passage
related to Townsend's career as a writer (II Samuel 1:20), which reads
"Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askalon."
GATH reported on the events of General McClellan's Peninsular Campaign,
lectured in Europe and returned to report on the end of the fighting.
He became a syndicated columnist and wrote many novels. GATH's writings
were known from one end of the country to the other and he was regarded
with the affection that people bestow upon a columnist who becomes
part of their daily lives. GATH was so popular in his day that post
offices, race horses, pocket knives and a line of cigars bore his
While researching Lincoln's assassination, GATH admired land
on South Mountain in Maryland at Crampton's Gap, the site of a September
1862 Civil War battle. He purchased 100 acres in the Gap and built
his mountain estate, erecting a moument to honor Civil War Correspondents,
artists and photographers. The site is now Gathland State Park.
Picnic tables are available or you can rent a
picnic shelter for your family or group by calling The Friends of
South Mountain State Battlefield 301-371-4575.
The park's musuem is open during weekends in the
summer (April - October) or by request 301-371-4575. You'll see
many interesting artifacts from GATH's days and learn much more
about his life, his career and his estate.
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail passes through Gathland State
Park. You can hike the "A..T." from Maine to Georgia or for just a
few miles. If you are planning an overnight backpack outing, you can
park at Gathland State Park for a few days free of charge.
Visit a National Historic Monument
GATH's War Correspondents Arch is a National
Historic Monument. It was constructed in 1896 and stands fifty feet
high and forth feet broad. The monument and the plot it stands on
are admistered by the National Park Service.