Monocacy Battlefield, Frederick, Maryland

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

In 1864, with Union forces attempting to encircle Richmond and threatening the vital rail junction at Petersburg, Lee decided on a diversion. He sent a force north to threaten Washington. They met Union defenders southeast of Frederick, Maryland near a rail junction called Monocacy Junction. After a day of fighting, the Union forces retreated. It was the northernmost Confederate victory of the war. But it gave the defenders of Washington an extra day to fortify and bring in additional defenders.

This battle is sometimes touted as "the battle that saved Washington," though Confederate forces could almost certainly not have held Washington. But they could have caused a great deal of chaos and disruption.

Like a number of Civil War battlefields, this one has a nice animated map of the battle. The broad white lines are the railroad. Roads are barely visible at this picture scale. The view looks north and the present Visitor Center is near the triangular junction in the far bend of the river.

After attempting a direct assault, the Confederates crossed the river downstream. Blue represents Union and red represents the Confederacy.

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Created 22 June 2007, Last Update 04 June 2020