"Monocacy Battlefield - The Battle" Frederick Things to Do Tip by Ewingjr98

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  • Monocacy Battlefield - The Battle - Frederick
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  • Monocacy Battlefield - The Battle - Frederick
  • Monocacy Battlefield - The Battle - Frederick
  • Monocacy Battlefield - The Battle - Frederick
 

During the time of the Civil War, as it is today, Frederick was an important transportation route. These key transportation links included the B&O Railroad, the National Road, and the Georgetown Pike. The B&O Railroad had an important connection just outside of town called Monocacy Junction, named after nearby Monocacy River. The Union commanders knew the importance of this town, so it was well protected during the Battle of Antietam in 1862 and during Gettysburg in 1863.

By 1864 the Confederate Armies were being pushed back on all fronts. The Army of Northern Virginia, under Robert E. Lee was pinned in defensive trench warfare around Richmond and Petersburg. After a Union force suffered defeat around Lynchburg, Lee again sent his forces on the attack. He sent Jubal Early and about 15,000 men to threaten Washington DC. On July 8th Early reached Frederick, and Union forces were alerted to the danger. Union Major General Lew Wallace responded with about 6,500 men dispatched from Baltimore.

On 9 July 1864 the battle began. The Confederates under Early attempted a three pronged attack. One division attacked in the center along Georgetown Pike at the Best Farm. Another division attacked to the north on the National Road. The heaviest fighting occurred to the south along a fence between the Worthington and Thomas farms. At the end of the day the heavily outnumbered Union army was forced to retreat with some 1300 casualties compared to just 700 to 900 Confederate casualties. Despite the heavy losess and the retreat, General Wallace's forces were successful in delaying long enough for additional forces to arrive to block the route of Early's march to Washington.

On July 11th and 12th 1864 Jubal Early's forces skirmished with Union forces at Fort Stevens at the northern edge of Washington DC. Early eventually disengaged without any serious assaults, but not until after President Lincoln arrived to witness the battle firsthand. To this day Lincoln is the only sitting President ever to be on the front lines of combat. General Early and Union General Grant both credited Wallace with preventing a serious Confederate attack on Washington.

Monocacy National Battlefield was authorized by Congress in the 1930s, but the national park was not established until the 1970s. The National Park Service did not acquire the Thomas Farm until 2001.

Address: 4801 Urbana Pike Frederick, Maryland 21704
Phone: (301) 662-3515
Website: http://www.nps.gov/mono/

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  • Updated Jun 19, 2009
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