Historic America

Monocacy National Battlefield

Monocacy National Battlefield is located along Urbana Pike, outside Frederick, Maryland. Fought July 9, 1864, the battle pitted Confederate Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early’s Corps against Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace’s VIII Corps in the American Civil War. The battle resulted in approximately 2,200 total casualties.

While Antietam is a well-known and popular battlefield, many are unaware that a second battle took place in Maryland. This battle was part of Jubal Early’s 1864 campaign to threaten Washington, D.C. and draw forces away from Ulysses S. Grant’s siege of Petersburg, Virginia.

While the battle was a Southern victory, Union forces delayed the Confederates long enough for reinforcements to arrive in Washington, D.C., earning Monocacy the moniker “the Battle that Saved Washington.” Nicely-designed interpretive signs explain various stages of the battle along a six-mile driving tour route.

The Monocacy battlefield is also known for the site where Union soldiers discovered Robert E. Lee’s lost Special Order 191 during the 1862 Maryland Campaign. This incident occurred near the Best Farm.

Monocacy was the northernmost Confederate victory of the war. Aside from a few monuments, most of the battlefield consists of open fields and reconstructed farms. The land was not acquired for a national park until the 1970s, with the Thomas Farm, scene of some of the most intense fighting, not acquired until 2001.

Monocacy National Battlefield straddles the Monocacy River southeast of the city of Frederick, Maryland. The visitors center is located at 4632 Araby Church Road. The park is open Sunday through Saturday, 7:00 a.m. to Sunset, and the visitors center is open Sunday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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