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Monocacy National Battlefield
Closest available address
5201 Urbana Pike, Frederick, MD 21704
Visitor center = 8:30-5:00 & park = 8:00 to 20 minutes after sunset.
Best time to visit
The battle of Monocacy is an interesting, little-known engagement that took place in Maryland in the summer of 1864. It resulted from the Confederacy’s long-shot attempt to relieve pressure on a besieged Richmond by capturing Washington, DC via a surprise attack. Union troops met the Confederates at Monocacy creek near Frederick, Md., and the battle ensued.
Confederate General Jubal Early and 15,000 troops were engaged by approximately 6,000 Union troops under the command of General Lew Wallace (who later wrote the novel Ben-Hur). The one-day battle was mainly a draw till late in the day when strength in numbers and well-executed flanking movements led to a Confederate victory. However, the delay caused by the engagement enabled other Union troops to reinforce the capital and defeat the Confederate’s larger war aims.
The 1,600 acre battlefield has a new visitor center which opened subsequent to 2008. The battlefield itself is fairly spread out so a drive and walk combination makes sense. While recent preservation efforts have protected most of the battlefield, a glaring exception is an interstate highway which runs through the middle of it and mars the experience. Aside from the highway, using a park brochure and stopping at approximately 5 main stops, one can appreciate the engagement well in a few hours time.
Visiting Monocacy makes sense when already in the area, for example as a complement to the nearby Antietam battlefield. However, making a special trip just to see Monocacy would not be a good choice except for perhaps the most die-hard of Civil War fans.
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