The Monocacy National Battlefield Park
By Ally Xu
Have you ever heard of the Monocacy National Battlefield?
Chances are, you haven’t. But the battle is an inflection point in the history of the United States. During the Civil War, the conflict between Confederate and the Union escalated into a fatal battle. This battle, fought on the very own lands of what stands today as the Monocacy National Battlefield, was a significant mark in the US history timeline.
In the Summer of 1864, Confederate General Robert E. Lee made a bold plan to cross Potomac River and invade Maryland to put pressure on Washington DC, the Union Capital. On July 9th that year, a one-day battle in Monocacy of resulted in over 2000 casualty and ended with a victory of Confederate Amy. Despite the loss of the battle, the Union gained valuable time and delayed the Confederates’ advance to Washington DC. Therefore, this battle has been known as “The Battle That Saved Washington.”
The battlefield now is a historic site features a visitor center, a museum, and historical relics. Several bronze cannons imitating the ones used in their war are displayed scattered on ground coated with yellow dry grass around the visitor center.
The visitor center is located on the first floor of a two-story building. The reception desk and a display shelf were stacked with pamphlets and brochures of the historic center and other sites and trails nearby. It is also a small gift shop with souvenirs ranging from post cards, decorative magnets to miniature weapons and soldier caps during the civil war.
The upper level of the building serves as the battlefield museum with displays featuring facts about the Civil War, background information on the battle, and previous ownership of the now open-to-public land. The exhibition includes various civil war artifacts, such as weapons, soldier uniforms, and recreational items (e.g., clay marble, chess pieces carved from bullets).
The museum didn’t have many visitors at this time of the year and not many events were hosted during this period. Joel, a tour guide at the Monocacy National Battlefield told us, “In the summer, we usually hold many events on the battlefield, many of which, exhibits the battle in reality, to educate people on this topic that completely changed history.”
The vast barren scape of land of Monocacy, one might mistake this land to be a typical farmland, but its historic significance should never be forgotten. Just as Maryland Senate Joint Resolution stated in 1931, when Congress designated the Battlefield Park, “Such a park would become a resting place and a shrine where thousands of travelers and tourists could rest and renew their patriotism.”