Monocacy

Monocacy Battle Hero.jpg

Monocacy

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After marching north down the Shenandoah Valley from Lynchburg, the Confederate army of Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early side-stepped the Federal garrison at Harpers Ferry and crossed the Potomac River at Shepherdstown into Maryland on July 5-6th, 1864. On July 9th, a makeshift Union force under Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace attempted to stop Early’s invading Confederate divisions along the Monocacy River, just east of Frederick. The strategic area was near the junction of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the Georgetown Pike. Wallace, joined by Brig. Gen. James B. Ricketts’s Division of the Sixth Corps that had been rushed from the Petersburg lines, was outflanked by Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon’s Division and defeated after putting up a stiff resistance. The day after defeating Wallace, Early continued his advance towards Washington DC. Hearing of Early’s incursion into Maryland, Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant embarked the rest of the Sixth Corps on transports at City Point, sending it with all dispatch to Washington. Wallace’s defeat at Monocacy bought time for these veteran troops to arrive to bolster the defenses of Washington. Early’s advance reached the outskirts of Washington on the afternoon of July 11th, and the remaining divisions of the Sixth Corps began disembarking that evening. Although Wallace was defeated there, Monocacy was called the “Battle that Saved Washington.”

Battle Facts

Result

Confederate Victory
COMMANDERS
Forces Engaged
19,800

Union

5,800

Confederate

14,000
Total Estimated Casualties
2,194

Union

1,294

Confederate

900