Located only a few miles from downtown Frederick is the Monocacy National Battlefield where the Battle of Monocacy Junction was fought in the American Civil War on July 9, 1864. During this battle the Confederate troops held back and defeated the Union troops and was the last battle the southern troops would carry out in northern territory. While the north lost the battle, it actually won because the delay prevented the Confederates from entering Washington, DC.
The battlefield straddles the Monocacy River and is the site of many walking trails. There is an informative Information Center with free parking off Route 355/Urbana Pike. The battlefield is a good stop for those interested in Civil War history. Additionally, several more Civil War battlefields are located within an hour of Frederick – Antietam, Gettysburg, and Harpers Ferry, all well worth a visit.
Sugarloaf Mountain is a small mountain just a few miles southeast of Frederick. Historically, the mountain was used as a lookout and signal station by Union troops during the American Civil War during the Maryland Campaign of 1862. Sugarloaf Mountain was also considered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a possible Presidential retreat site; however, the nearby Catoctin Mountains area north of Frederick is where Camp David was finally built.
Today, Sugarloaf Mountain is still owned and maintained by the Strong Foundation and is free and open to the public. There are a variety of hiking trails on the mountain and areas for parking. It is peaceful and beautiful. Gordon Strong, who purchased much of the land in the early 1900s, built the Strong Mansion, a beautiful home which is used today for private functions and weddings (my son’s wedding reception was held at the mansion).
The Sugarloaf Mountain website below has links to trail maps and other details about visiting Sugarloaf Mountain. It makes a nice day outing from Frederick.
As you enter the downtown district of Frederick, you pass a beautiful area surrounding Carroll Creek. This revived area is a wonderful place to stroll along the creek with its many bridges, including the famous Community Mural Bridge, fountains, and flowers. Rest alongside the creek on one of the many benches or enjoy drinks or a meal at one of the nearby restaurants. In the early morning, this part of Frederick is particularly relaxing.
The park is located between E. Patrick Street and E. All Saints Street. Nearby is the Frederick Tourist Information Office. Street parking and municipal garage parking is plentiful and inexpensive.
One of the more beautiful spots in downtown Frederick is the Community Mural bridge which spans the Carroll Creek in the Carroll Creek Park area. This bridge is well known for its realistic trompe l'oeil mural which is supposed to represent ‘community’ and has a design influenced by Frederick residents that sent in their ideas to artist William Cochran.
It definitely worth spending some time looking – from a distance it appears to be a stone bridge until you get close enough to see that it is really painted stones.
The bridge is located in the middle of the park along the creek between E. Patrick Street and E. All Saints Street.
Frederick County Tourism has a nice app for both Iphone and Android
one is A Frederick City Walking Tour and the other is a Visitors Guide,
There is also a Frederick City walking your app as well as a Civil War trails app.
Sadly, none of these are free. ($6.99 for most of them)
If you take I-70, two miles south is the Monocacy National Battlefield. This was a significant battle in the summer of 1864 where Confederate General Jubal Early lead his 15,000 troops and threatened to take over Washington DC. Union General Lew Wallace (later governor of New Mexico) led the union troops. He fought a delaying action, knowing the Confederates were stretched. They had attempted to take the war into the north. Though the union lost this particular battle, they gave reinforcements valuable time to arrive with the effect that the Confederates could not possibly hold this position as they were too isolated and didn't have enough backup. This became known as the "battle that saved Washington DC"
I have to say that Frederick County did a great job with this center. Located in a remodelled warehouse, they put together several attractive mutimedia exhibits along with the standard racks of information about the County and the attractions. They had a particularly good selection of material about the Civil War and the sites and activities in the area having to do with that. I found staff to be quite friendly. Good job folks!
You recieve FREE 3 hour parking at a nearby parking garage for being an out of county visitor!!!
hours- 9 am to 530 pm, every day 361 Days a year
The American Civil War was a horribly bloody conflict and Frederick was right at the crossroads of it, near to several major Civil War battlefields. This museum traces the development of treating the war wounded- this ranged from field hospitals to surgery. An interesting museum for seeing how modern military medicine evolved.
This museum was renovated and expanded in the last few years.
Frederick still has lots of farmland around it. Some of this land was of course occupied by large estates. As you get close to the main downtown area you will find a relatively high number of stores that specialize in antiques and collectibles. Have a fun time at least browsing. The Antiques are not usually very old but you can find a pretty good deal on other things
the area around the 14 th vermont monument marks the approximate center of the union line. just to the east of this site about 350 union soldiers guarded monocacy junction. general lew wallace's line repulsed two attacks by general early's forces before a third and final confederate assaut forced them to retreat across the monocacy river. the union line is stop number two on the battlefield auto tour.
the battle of monocacy also known as the battle of monocacy junction was the northern most confederate victory in the civil war. the defeat of lew wallace's forces at monocacy allowed jubal early to proceed to march on to washington. early reached fort stevens in northern washington but did not have enough man power to attack the city. after the battle of monocacy general wallace proposed a monument to read "these men died to save the national capital, and they did save it".
gambrill mill was built in 1830 and was run by an interior undershot water wheel. the mill could produce sixty barrels of flour a day. during the battle of monocacy union troops occupied the mill and used it as a field hospital. after the confederate victory at thomas farm general wallace retreated east over the monocacy river and the mill was occupied by the confederates. gambrill mill is stop number five on the battlefield auto tour.
caught between the two armies, the thomas house became the focal point of the battle, as confederates on worthington farm and union troops on thomas farm faced off in the most furious fighting of the battle. confederate artillery pummeled the thomas house to drive off union sharpshooters. the thomas house was captured and recaptured as the battle lines moved back and forth across the farm. a final thrust by confederate general john gordon's infantry division finally broke the union line late in the day. the thomas farm is stop number four on the battlefield auto tour.
confederate cavalry led by general john mc causland crossed the monocacy at worthington-mc kinney ford , then dismounted and formed a line on the fields behind the worthington house. as they marched east toward thomas farm they ran into general james ricketts' line concealed behind a fence separating the worthington and thomas farms. the union opened fire and drove the confederates back to worthington farm. the confederates then positioned artillery batteries at worthington farm house and began to bombard the thomas house. during the battle this beautiful 1851 federal style farm house was used as a confederate hospital. worthington farm is stop number three on the battlefield auto tour.
next to the pictured building is the site of the l'hermitage slave village. the family of victoire vincendiere moved to the united states in 1793 from haiti to escape the 1791 haitian slave revolt. by 1800 victoire vincendiere owned 90 slaves and was one of the largest slave holders in frederick county. vincendiere was famous for her mistreatment of her slaves. in 1798 legal action was brought against her for "excessively cruel and unmerciful " beatings, torture, and denial of proper food and clothing for her slaves. recentlly foundations of vincendiere's slave village have been discovered by archaeologists.