Battle of Monocacy - July 9, 1864

On July 9, 1864, US and Confederate forces clashed near the City of Frederick in one of the most strategically important, if often overlooked, battles of the Civil War. The Battle of Monocacy played a crucial role in the defense of the Union capital in the summer of 1864. Monocacy National Battlefield interprets this vital clash of arms, while also detailing the area's history of agricultural slavery and the recruitment of United States Colored Troops during the Civil War. 

The History 

On July 9, 1864, US Army forces led by General Lew Wallace engaged a much larger Confederate force commanded by Jubal Early about three miles south of the City of Frederick. Confederate forces, after ransoming numerous Maryland communities including Middletown and Frederick, marched south toward Washington. Wallace's forces stood in their way. 

Lew WallaceGeneral Lew Wallace - Library of Congress

The Battle of Monocacy raged across farm fields and railroad tracks on the banks of the Monocacy River. After a day-long battle, Confederate forces drove the Union soldiers from the field, clearing the way towards the capital at Washington, DC.

Lew Wallace may have lost the battle, but his forces delayed the Confederates long enough for the defenses of Washington to be reinforced. The engagement, the largest to occur in the vicinity of the City of Frederick during the Civil War, quickly became known as "The Battle That Saved Washington." The fight resulted in more than 2,100 casualties. Many of those killed or mortally wounded were interred at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick. 

Scenes in the aftermath of the Battle of MonocacyScenes in the aftermath of the Battle of Monocacy, July 9, 1864



Monocacy National Battlefield now preserves and interprets the battlefield of July 9, 1864. Explore the visitor center and museum exhibits on the Urbana Pike, attend a ranger talk or a living history program, and hike the network of trails crisscrossing the battlefield.

Monocacy National Battlefield

This National Park Service sites also interprets the history of the farms and landscapes where the battle took place, including the site of a plantation known as L'Hermitage, now known as the Best Farm, the site of a United States Colored Troops depot, and railroading history highlighting the former Baltimore and Ohio Railroad that stretches across the park. 

Learn more about how Monocacy National Battlefield shares the region's Black History 



What's Nearby

Located just south of the City of Frederick, Monocacy National Battlefield is close to numerous shopping areas, including Westview Promenade, with a variety of restaurants. 

Monocacy is also located three miles from Downtown Frederick, about a 10 minute drive, with a 50-block historic district hosting more than 200 locally-owned shops and restaurants. Explore more of the region's Civil War history at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, Heritage Frederick, and at Brewer's Alley, the site of the Ransom of Frederick that happened as the Battle of Monocacy raged. 

Trinity Chapel in Downtown FrederickThe famous "Clustered Spires" of Downtown Frederick are all part of the Civil War-era architecture of this historic city. 

Spending the night? Look no further than the many hotels and bed and breakfasts in close proximity to Monocacy National Battlefield. 


More Resources 

Books (access through and make sure to support Frederick bookseller Curious Iguana

Determined to Stand and Fight: The Battle of Monocacy, July 9, 1864 by Ryan Quint 

Battle of West Frederick, July 7, 1864: Prelude to Battle Of Monocacy by Joseph Collins


"The Battle of Monocacy" - National Park Service 

"A Civilian Remembers the Battle of Monocacy" - Ryan Quint for Emerging Civil War Blog 


The Battle of Monocacy - July 9, 1864 - American Battlefield Trust