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Monocacy National Battlefield

Monocacy National Battlefield

In the Summer of 1864, Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early launched a campaign down the Shenandoah Valley with a corps of approximately 15,000 troops. The campaign was a last attempt to carry the war into the north and to relieve some pressure from General Robert E. Lee in the south. Early's ultimate objective for the campaign was to march down the Valley, to swing to the east through Frederick, and to attack and capture Washington, D.C.

Although the battlefield landscape is agrarian and may appear to be rural, the park is located less than two miles south of the city of Frederick, Maryland and has numerous amenities even closer. It is always a good idea to wear sturdy walking shoes on our trails and bring your own water, sunscreen, and insect repellent during hot or dry weather.

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Image Credit: Mr.TinDC / Flickr Commons

Hours

The Park is open daily from 7 a.m. to Sunset

The Monocacy National Battlefield Visitor Center is open daily,
9 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Closed New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)

Fees

There are no fees at Monocacy National Battlefield.

Activities

The interactive and multimedia exhibits located on the second floor of the Visitor Center include numerous vignettes which take the visitor to important locations related to the Battle as well as electronic maps, historical artifacts and interpretive displays of the Battle of Monocacy.

Visitors may enjoy a self-guided auto tour as well as several walking trails. It is recommended that you pick up a brochure at the visitor center to begin your visit.

Battle Orientation:

20 minute introduction to the Battle of Monocacy.

Ranger's Choice:

30-60 minute program that may include:

Hikes (Up to 1 Mile)
Interpretive Talks
Museum Tours
Demonstrations (Some activities may require visitor participation)

Artillery Drill
Infantry Drill
Antique Cart Show - handling reproduction artifacts

History


By the mid-nineteenth century, Frederick County, Maryland was quite prosperous. The county’s largest city, Frederick, was an important commercial and industrial center, and a number of transportation arteries converged there. These included the Georgetown Pike which led south to Washington, D.C., and the National Road that connected with Baltimore to the east. The Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad, the nation’s first railroad, passed nearby at Monocacy Junction.
 
Frederick’s industrial and commercial importance made it a strategic target during the Civil War. Both Union and Confederate forces were active in the area throughout the conflict, particularly during the Maryland Campaign in 1862, the Gettysburg Campaign in 1863, and Jubal Early’s Raid in 1864. In order to protect Monocacy Junction, a long-term Union encampment was located nearby and two blockhouses were constructed.
 
By the summer of 1864, the Confederate Army was paralyzed at Petersburg, Virginia. A Union defeat at Lynchburg, however, left the Shenandoah Valley and the path to Washington, D.C. virtually undefended. Seizing this opportunity, Confederate General Robert E. Lee devised a plan to alleviate the pressure by threatening the Union capital. In mid-June, he dispatched Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early with a corps of roughly 15,000 men north; by July 8 they had reached the outskirts of Frederick.
 

Agents of the B&O Railroad learned of the Confederate movement and alerted John Garrett, the president of the B&O Railroad. Garrett informed Union Major General Lew Wallace, in command of the Middle Department at Baltimore, who hastily organized a force of 6,550 men at Monocacy Junction in an attempt to delay Early’s advance on the capital. On the morning of July 9, 1864, Confederate and Union forces engaged each other along the banks of the Monocacy River.

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Last updated: June 30, 2020
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