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Civil War Trust

Monocacy

History Under Siege - 2009 Most Endangered Battlefields

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Battle of Monocacy

In the summer of 1864, the Confederate Army of the Valley, under Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early, marched down the Shenandoah Valley and into Maryland. An impromptu force of largely inexperienced Union soldiers under the command of Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace moved to block the Southern invasion force before it could threaten Washington, D.C. or Baltimore.

By the time the forces clashed on July 9, Wallace had received veteran reinforcements but remained outnumbered nearly three to one. His men took up strong positions at bridges and fords across the Monocacy River and braced for battle. The Confederates attacked all along Wallace’s front, outflanking and overpowering the Union troops. Union forces fell back in the late afternoon after suffering more than 20 percent casualties. Although he was defeated, Wallace’s “Battle that Saved Washington” bought valuable time and enabled veteran troops to reinforce the Union capital just before Early arrived at its outskirts.

Threat

Monocacy Photos
Photos: Monocacy, by Chris Heisey

Officials in Frederick County, Md., are weighing the possibility of building a “waste-to-energy facility” along the banks of the Monocacy River near the historic Worthington Farm. The $527 million facility would process trash from Frederick and Carroll counties, burning up to 1,500 tons per day. The proposed 350-foot smokestack would dominate the skyline across virtually all of Monocacy National Battlefield. The 100-foot-tall main facility would also be visible from many key vantage points.

The proposed site, which lies only a few hundreds yards from the edge of the national park and within the National Historic Landmark boundary of the battlefield, was first discussed in 2008 but was largely dismissed by officials in favor of other sites in the county. However, in February 2009, it became apparent that all other sites under consideration had been abandoned. Local citizens are concerned that in addition to affecting the battlefield, building the facility alongside the river could have serious ecological ramifications, some of which may not become apparent for years. In late February, state senators Alex Mooney and Brian Frosh sponsored legislation that would bar construction of any incinerator facilities within one mile of a National Park.

CWSAC has classified Monocacy as a Priority I, Class B battlefield.

 

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