Battle of Monocacy could have changed outcome of Civil War


National Park Service is commemorating 155th anniversary of the Battle of Monocacy

FREDERICK, Md (WDVM) — The outcome of the civil war and the presidency of Abraham Lincoln could have been altered based on a battle that happened 155 years ago in Frederick.

“The Monocacy National Battlefield is one of the smaller civil war battlefields but many historians believe that it’s one of the most significant battles of the Civil War,” explained chief of resource education and visitor services at the Monocacy National Battlefield, Jana Friesen McCabe.

In the summer of 1864 and in the midst of the Civil War, Confederate Leader Jubal Early planned to take over the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C. during a time where Union Army efforts were concentrated in Virginia.

Word got back to Union Army General Lew Wallace and the two forces met at the Battle of Monocacy on July 9th, 1864.

“It’s a bloody, long day here from 8:30 in the morning to about 5 o’clock at night of cannons booming, guns being fired,” McCabe described.

About 6,500 Union soldiers fought against 15,000 in the Confederate Army.

In the end, about 900 Confederate soldiers and about 1,300 Union soldiers were either killed, captured or injured.

Though, the objective wasn’t to win but to delay the Confederates from storming Washington, D.C.

“If the union had not been able to slow down Jubal Early and his march to Washington, if the Confederates had been able to take the capital, Abraham Lincoln probably would not have won re-election in 1864. We might have a very different American history that we do today,” McCabe said.

This weekend the National Park Service is honoring how history played with the 155th anniversary of the battle.

A new exhibit tells the tale of the 10th Vermont Volunteer Infantry whose members fought in the battle, and how the valor of two soldiers earned them each a Medal of Honor.

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