[See Full Monocacy Battlefield Trail Guide for More Detail]
[Return to Main Trail Map]
[Return to Home]

Click here to go to Google map.

In previous Sugarloaf Regional Trail listings, this was a circular trail; however, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) no longer permits access to the tracks which formed a major part of the original loop trail. The National Park Service operates the battlefield and recommends no biking anywhere in the Battlefield area. Several places require foot traffic only.

The Battle of Monocacy
The Confederate Army’s Last Bold Challenge

1. Where to Begin: The Visitor Center
The tour begins at the Monocacy Battlefield Visitor’s Center, 4801 Urbana Pike, Rt. 355, Frederick MD, open daily from 8:30am to 5:00pm. Call 301-662-3515 for detailed information. The park rangers give frequent explanatory lectures on the deck overlooking the battlefield. Also on this level is the Battlefield Museum.

2. The Battle for the Triangle, July 9, 1864
General Jubal Early’s troops marched South along Urbana Pike. They met with a determined defense by Major General Lew Wallace, the Union commander, headquartered in a house south of the railroad. But the opening shots of the battle – extremely accurate artillery shells – killed several men and forced Wallace to shift to a more sheltered position on the bluffs overlooking the river. From this point he watched the engagement unfold.

Within the triangle bounded by the highway, the railroad and the river, 1st Lt. George E. Davis and 5 men of his 19th Vermont Volunteers distinguished themselves in day-long combat against immensely superior Confederate forces. Accompanying them were other troops. Soon Davis’s men were alone, opposed by a whole division under Major General Ramseur.

At length Wallace ordered the covered bridge over the Monocacy burned to prevent its capture. Still Davis and his men held on, protecting the railroad bridge, until 3:30 pm when they saw the rest of their division, on the other side of the river, begin to retreat from the battlefield. Only then did they yield the triangle and dash to safety across the railroad bridge. For his gallantry, witnessed by Wallace from his command post, Davis won the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Few traces remain today of the structures within the triangle that were there in 1864, although the basic layout of rail lines and highways and bridges is unchanged. At the time of the battle there was a large palisaded blockhouse near the highway, commanding the approaches to the bridges. It too was burned during the battle, and no trace of it remains.

Confederate Strategy: Virtually all of Wallace’s troops were posted on the hills and river terraces south and east of the Monocacy River. Because of the strength of this position, Confederate cavalry probed to the west and south in an effort to turn the defenders’ left flank and open the road to Washington. They made their first crossing a little over a mile southwest of the present Monocacy  bridge.

3. Worthington’s Farm and Best’s Barn
Drive south on 355, turn right onto Araby Church Road where battle monuments commemorate the 10th Vermont and Pennsylvania regiments. From the Vermont monument you will find a fine view of Araby.

Turn right onto Baker Valley Road. Proceed to the entrance of the Worthington Farm and hike along the gravel road into the farm. Across the river you can see the former Best farm where Confederate troops marched south and forded the Monocacy.

Reverse your route, then left at the Worthington Farm and left again into the Thomas Farm. This area became the focal point of the battle.

4. Michael's Mill
Exit Araby and turn right onto Baker Valley Road where you may view some of the loveliest rural scenes on the East Coast. After crossing the Monocacy on Fingerboard Road, turn right onto Michael’s Mill Road and into Buckeystown.

5. Buckeystown
Proceeding into Buckeystown, with Carroll's house on your left, turn right onto Route 85. Many Buckeystown buildings date from the early 1800s and a few go back to Revolutionary times.

6. Lime Kiln
Proceed North on Rt. 85 out of Buckeystown to  the settlement of Lime Kiln where McCausland re-formed his remaining cavalry, crossed over to the east bank of the river, and set off on a ride around Union troops.

The trail ends here, as the B&O Railroad no longer permits hiking along the track for security reasons. Continue north into Frederick, or turn around to go south to Washington or to return to Route 355 by way of Michael’s Mill and Baker Valley Roads.

Route 355 Monocacy River Bridge

The present highway bridge over the Monocacy is partly built on the foundations of earlier bridges. The 1864 bridge was a wooden covered bridge, burned during the battle to prevent Ramseur’s division from advancing across it and breaking the Union line.

© Sugarloaf Regional Trails 2010.
All rights reserved.
Website design by Stone Graphics