Civil War Sesquicentennial

150th Anniversary of the Battle of Monocacy - July 2014
"The Battle that Saved Washington"

The 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Monocacy will bring a number of special programs to the area commemorating the sesquicentennial of the July 9, 1864 “battle that saved Washington.” 

Monocacy National Battlefield is located just south of Frederick. Here, Union General Lew Wallace, who would years late author the novel Ben Hur, was greatly outnumbered by the Confederates under Gen. Jubal Early.  During the anniversary timeframe, various commemorative ranger programs will illustrate how the day-long battle won by the Confederates thwarted their plans to reach Washington, DC before it could be adequately protected. 

The $200,000 ransom of the City of Frederick by Gen. Early will also be commemorated, along with the ransom of the town of Middletown. Special events and exhibits are planned, and will be announced as details are confirmed.

About Jubal Early's 1864 Raid

In the Spring of 1864, Union commander-in-chief General Ulysses S. Grant launched simultaneous attacks against the Confederates throughout the South. He succeeded in maneuvering Lee closer to Richmond, Virginia, and finally overwhelmed him at the Confederate States of America’s (C.S.A.) capital city and at nearby Petersburg. Confederate General Jubal Early took Rebel forces north in a desperate attempt to turn the tide of the war by capturing the Union’s capital city.

Confederate soldiers took trains to Martinsburg, West Virginia, and then crossed by foot into Maryland near Sharpsburg. Towns such as Hagerstown, Middletown, and Frederick were ransomed by the invaders in an effort to collect much-needed money and supplies for the ragged Southern army. After collecting $200,000 from the town fathers of Frederick, Early’s Rebels were stalled by General Lew Wallace and a hastily assembled Union force at the Battle of Monocacy.

The Confederates were victorious at Monocacy, but they failed in achieving their final objective of overtaking Washington, DC. While Confederate troops were delayed in Frederick, the Union army replenished and strengthened defenses around Washington, DC. Because of this, the Battle of Monocacy is also known as the “Battle that Saved Washington.”

5 Key Events to Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Monocacy

  1. Huzza For Liberty! 1864 Civil War Exhibit
    June 14, 2014- December 31, 2014
    Museum of Frederick County History
    Frederick, MD 21701
    This exhibit features the City of Frederick's ransom documents. It also explores how the war came to Frederick in 1864, how the residents were affected, the Battle of Monocacy and the aftermath. Importantly, the exhibit will highlight the daily life of the residents and how they coped with the onslaught of war.  
  2. Monocacy 150th Commemoration
    July 5-14, 2014
    Monocacy National Battlefield
    Frederick, MD 301-662-3515
    The Battle of Monocacy commemoration will span ten days with interpretive programs, bus tours to Ft. Stevens, speakers, battlefield hikes, a memorial service at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, living history demonstrations, music, and a 5K race.
  3. 150th Commemoration of Maryland Emancipation
    July 12-13, 2014
    Monocacy National Battlefield
    Frederick, MD
    The end of slavery in Maryland will be commemorated with United States Colored Troops living historians, musical concerts, archeology programs, and talks on General Lew Wallace and emancipation.
  4. Commemoration of the Ransom of Frederick
    July 5, 2014
    Downtown Frederick, Maryland
    More Information
    Help “raise” the $200,000 ransom to save the City while enjoying First Saturday in Downtown Frederick.  Start at the Museum of Frederick County History to see the actual ransom note. Find out of the town was saved at Brewer’s Alley.
  5. Commemoration of the Ransom of Middletown
    July 12, 2014
    Downtown Middletown, Maryland
    Features a living history ransom program, walking tours, new interpretive exhibits, period music, dancing, docent-led carriage rides, local food and wine. 

More Information

For a complete listing of all Civil War related events, please visit the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area's full events calendar. Discover more about Frederick County's Civil War sites and stories.

tfc-hotcw-150-logo.gifFrederick County is located in Maryland's Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. For more events and to learn more about experiences "Below the Mason Dixon Line, above the Potomac, and at the Heart of the Civil War," visit