Who fought in the Battle of Monocacy?
The Battle of Monocacy was fought between the 15,000 men of the Confederate Army of the Valley under Lieutenant General Jubal A. Early and 5,800 Union soldiers under Union Major General Lewis Wallace, commander of the Middle Department. More than half of Wallace’s men were from two brigades of the Third Division of the Sixth Corps of the Army of the Potomac who had been rushed north from the Siege of Petersburg to defend Washington.
Where was the Battle of Monocacy?
The Battle of Monocacy was fought two to three miles south and east of the city of Frederick, Maryland, along the banks of the Monocacy River. The river played a critical role in the battle as a defensive line for Union troops.
When was the Battle of Monocacy?
The Battle of Monocacy was fought on July 9, 1864. It was part of Confederate General Jubal Early’s Valley Campaign.
Why was the Battle of Monocacy fought?
In June of 1864 Confederate General Robert E. Lee had been forced by Union Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant into a defensive struggle around Richmond and Petersburg which he knew he could not win. Lee detached Jubal Early with the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia – about a third of Lee’s strength – in the hopes he could repeat ‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s brilliant 1862 campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. Jackson had aggressively used his small army to tie down Union forces many times his strength who would have been used against Lee around Richmond.
Early knew Washington’s strong defenses had been largely stripped of their garrisons to provide replacements for the Union army’s horrific casualties from the spring campaign. Whether or not he actually captured Washington, he hoped his bold threat to do so would force Grant to send troops back from the siege lines around Richmond and Petersburg.
Lew Wallace was a former combat division commander from the West who had taken a wrong road at the Battle of Shiloh and been banished to command the Union rear area department around Baltimore. Faced with a crisis, he scraped together all the units he had, put himself at their head and put his little army squarely in Early’s way, with one eye on the salvation of Washington and Baltimore and the other on the salvage of his military reputation. The last-minute addition of the tough combat veterans from the Sixth Corps probaby averted a disaster but Wallace’s instincts and execution were good.
Who won the Battle of Monocacy?
The South won a tactical victory, using their superior numbers to outflank the Northern troops and drive them from the field. Union troops retreated towards Baltimore in a great deal of disorder, leaving the turnpike to Washington open.
How many casualties were in the battle?
Wallace lost about 1,300 men. Early lost between 700 and 900.
What were the results of the battle?
Early’s Confederates marched to Washington the next day but arrived too hot and exhausted to press on into the Union fortifications. By the next morning it was plain that enough veteran Northern reinforcements had arrived that Washington could not be taken, and the Confederates reluctantly headed back to Virginia.
Lew Wallace had been relieved of military command by Grant, although he was reinstated later as evidence mounted that his stand on the Monocacy had possibly saved Washington. Wallace was never in doubt. The epitath he wrote for the men of his command was quite clear. “These men died to save the National Capital, and they did save it.”