Last weekend my father and I attended a ranger-led walking tour of the Thomas Farm on the Monocacy National Battlefield. The weather was a bit cooler than it had been on July 9, 1864, when the Confederate army, led by General Jubal Early, achieved the only Confederate victory on Union territory against the much smaller Union force, led by General Lew Wallace. But the skies were clear, the sun was bright, and the fields, still actively farmed, were full of soybeans ready for harvesting. On the Thomas farm, there are only rare glimpses of the Monocacy River, which played a pivotal role during the battle’s action. Its 2.5 miles of shoreline are much more easily accessed by other trails on the battlefield, such as the loop at the Gambrill Mill and the easy walking paths at the Worthington House. The Monocacy Battlefield’s visitor center, just off of Rte. 355 (historically known as Urbana Pike), is worth visiting if you have any interest in Maryland during the Civil War. The Battle of the Monocacy doesn’t have the fame of nearby Antietam and Gettysburg, but it does of the distinction of having saved Washington, D.C.
Some might call that a dubious distinction, especially these days.