During the Summer of 1864 Union Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant was entrenched on the outskirts of Petersburg, Virginia. In an effort to lift the siege and draw the Union’s attention elsewhere the Confederate general Robert E. Lee sent General Jubal Early into Maryland in an attempt to attack the capital Washington. If successful it was hoped that at the very least troops would be diverted from Petersburg relieving the pressure on Lee. After meeting up with Confederate General John C. Breckenridge Early marched into Maryland. The Monocacy National Battlefield commemorates the battle that ensued. Just south of Frederick Maryland in a place called Monocacy Junction 3200 Union troops under Major General Lew Wallace med the rebels on the field of battle.
The Confederates ending up winning the battle over an outnumbered Union force but Wallace was successful in delaying the Confederate advance long enough to allow for reinforcements to be mustered for the protection of Washington. Although a small battle its importance cannot be underestimated and it is known as “The Battle That Saved Washington.”
There are several historic buildings on site and a nice museum at the visitor center. The park has more than 1600 acres of forests and farmland that provide nice strolling or picnicking opportunities.