The Battle for Stone (Jug) Bridge

Jug Bridge was originally built in 1808-1809. In 1944, after a section had collapsed two years prior, the bridge was replaced. In 1955, a second bridge was built to carry travelers east, while the 1944 bridge carried travelers west. The 1944 bridge was closed permanently in 1985. The Jug Monument dedicated to the bridge builders was removed and relocated to its current location along Maryland Route 144, east of Frederick in 1965.

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During the Confederate Raid on Washington, a battle had erupted at a place called Monocacy Junction on July 9, 1864. It was at this battle where less than 7,000 Union soldiers stubbornly held back a 15,000 man Confederate army under the command of Lieutenant General Jubal Early and saved Washington. It was along the river banks of the Monocacy River where Union soldiers, some veterans along with 100 days men bought the necessary time for the defenses of Washington to be reinforced.

As visitors today learn about this important Civil War battle, they don’t realize that the first or last shots of the battle occurred a few miles to the north at a place called Stone (Jug) Bridge. Jug Bridge was important for the Union defenders to hold, as the National (Baltimore) Road transverses there was going to be used in case of retreat. It was also the extreme right flank of the Union defenders at Monocacy. Major General Lew Wallace noted there were two areas of importance that needed to be held. One mile north of Jug Bridge was Hughes’ Ford and one mile to the south was Crum’s Ford. If the Confederates attempted to ford in either of these two places, they could turn the entire Union right flank. Situated between the two fords was Jug Bridge.

Although, troop positions are sketchy on this the Jug Bridge portion of the battle, this map shows the layout of the whole battle.
Although, troop positions are sketchy on this the Jug Bridge portion of the battle, this map shows the layout of the whole battle.

Holding the Baltimore Road since sunset of July 8, were seven companies of the 149th and three companies of the 144th Ohio National Guard, under the command of Colonel Allison Brown. He was deployed on the western side of the Monocacy River along Reich’s ridge. He also protected Hughes’ Ford, a mile to the north. The following morning, the 144th Ohio National Guard was ordered to Monocacy Junction. Captain Edward Lieb, commanding a detachment of the 159th Ohio Mounted Infantry would take its place.

Situated a mile to the south, at Crum’s Ford, between Jug Bridge and Monocacy Junction were companies B, G and H of the 1st Maryland Potomac Home Brigade.  They were commanded by Captain Robert Bamford, and were positioned at the center of the Union battle line. Located behind the 1st Maryland Potomac Home Brigade was a portion of the 3rd Maryland Potomac Home Brigade protecting the flanks of the 1st Maryland Potomac Home Brigade. They had taken up two positions located on the high hills overlooking Crum’s Ford. Covering the right flank was companies C, D, and E and covering the left flank was companies A, B, and K. The remaining companies F, G, H, and I of Colonel Charles Gilpin’s 3rd Maryland Potomac Home Brigade was detached elsewhere. Positioned to their left was the 11th Maryland Infantry, commanded by Colonel William T. Landstreet. They had taken position on a high ridge that overlooked the Monocacy Junction.

On July 9, at 6:00 a.m., the Confederate army advanced into Frederick. Major General Stephen D. Ramseur’s division was the first to move through the city. Major General Ramseur ordered Brigadier General Robert Lilley’s Brigade to move through the city on the Baltimore Road and picket the area. About a mile from the city, Brig. Gen. Lilley deployed his skirmishers and began attacking Colonel Brown’s command.

Guarding Hughes’ Ford was one company of the 149th Ohio National Guard under the command of Captain Charles McGinnis. He had orders to hold that ford at all costs. If the Confederates attempted to forded there, the route of the Union retreat to Baltimore may be cut off or the Union right could collapse.

About a mile to the north of Hughes’ Ford, at Worman’s Mill (Route26), was where Brigadier General Bradley T. Johnson’s cavalry brigade had bivouacked for the night. He was ordered to raid Baltimore, and if practical, move to Point Lookout and free several thousand Confederate prisoners there. Upon hearing the sounds of battle committing the Union army at Monocacy, he was ordered to proceed with the plan.

As Lilley’s Virginians skirmished, by 10:00 a.m., Colonel Brown saw Confederate cavalry closing in on Hughes’ Ford to the north. Colonel Brown quickly sent a dispatch to his brigade commander Brigadier General Erastus Tyler for additional troops. Colonel Brown then ordered Captain Thomas Jenkins’ company of the 149th Ohio National Guard to Hughes’ Ford to reinforce Captain McGinnis. Captain Lieb and his detachment of the 159th Ohio Mounted Infantry had been ordered from Monocacy Junction to Jug Bridge. From there, he quickly moved to Hughes’ Ford and helped to repel the Confederate attack. The Confederate cavalry fell back and remained in skirmish formation.

Major General Robert Rodes, CSA.
Major General Robert Rodes, CSA.

At around 11:00 a.m., Confederate Major General Robert Rodes’ Division marched into Frederick.  Rodes’ Division was ordered to relieve Brig. Gen. Lilley’s position so they could rejoin their division along the Georgetown Pike. Upon relieving, Brig. Gen. Lilley, Major General Rodes’ was ordered to keep pressure on Colonel Brown’s position at Jug Bridge to force Major General Lew Wallace at Monocacy Junction to send reinforcements away from the Union center.

Major General Rodes quickly orders his sharpshooters to deploy, freeing up those skirmishers from Brig. Gen. Lilley’s Brigade. The sharpshooters deployed about 500 yards from Colonel Brown’s main position along the crest of a hill. While under fire, Rodes’ will begin deploying his division. As the sharpshooters went to work, Union Lieutenant Edward Goldsborough recalled “So accurate was their fire that it was dangerous for our men to even show their heads above the hilltop.”

081782pvConfederate Brigadier General William Cox’s Brigade deployed on the left of the Baltimore Road, and Brigadier General Philip Cook’s Brigade deployed on the right of the road. The remaining brigades of Brigadier General Bryan Grimes and Brigadier General Cullen Battle’s Brigade, commanded by Colonel Charles Pickens, were kept in reserve.

At 11:30 a.m., Maj. Gen. Rodes launched his first attack, increasing the pressure on Colonel Brown’s line. Brigadier General Cook’s Brigade attacked the Union left, pushing them back to within 100 yards of Jug Bridge. Colonel Brown received the three companies of the 144th Ohio National Guard just in time. The Confederate sharpshooters who had taken position earlier in the morning in Simpson’s log house still pinned down the Ohioans.

At 12:00 p.m., the 149th Ohio National Guard, Company B was ordered to charge the Confederate skirmishers in an attempt to regain lost ground. The charge was repulsed. Colonel Brown, then ordered the three companies of the 144th Ohio National Guard to attack. This attack pushed Rodes’ skirmishers back, and the Ohioans managed to retake the ground that had previously been lost. Colonel Brown wrote “During this charge my loss was quite severe owing to the fact that the enemy was posted behind a fence, while my men were compelled to charge across an open field, up the hill in Fairview, and within short range of his guns.” Colonel Brown immediately began extending his line along Reich’s ridge.

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Between 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., Maj. Gen. Wallace had ordered Colonel Brown to his position “to the last extremity.” The road that lay east of the Jug Bridge was to be used for the retreat of the Union defenders at Monocacy. Once Colonel Brown had bought enough time, he would then abandon his position on Reich’s Ridge. Shortly after being ordered to hold his position, Colonel Brown could hear the sounds of the battle dieing to the south.

At 6:00 p.m., Maj. Gen. Rodes launched his final attack on Jug Bridge, attacking the left flank. Soon, word came that Maj. Gen. Wallace had already made his escape and that Confederate infantry had already penetrated into the woods and were making their way toward the Baltimore Road. Reports of Maj. Gen. Ramseur’s division moving from the south, upstream to the rear of Colonel Brown’s position were also heard.

monocacy-hotchkiss-925Colonel Brown and his Ohioans were on the verge of being cut off from their retreat. As soon as Rodes’ artillery opened on the Ohioans, they quickly began to abandon their positions, and make a dash for the bridgehead. Shells came thundering down, and with rumors of the Confederate movement from the south, the soldiers began throwing down their weapons and loosing their accoutrements as they ran across the bridge.

Colonel Brown was able to rally 300 men before the total collapse of his line. He was able to stall Rodes for a short time, but was forced to give up the bridge, as the Confederates overwhelmed the position. Colonel Brown retreated to New Market.

Captain Leib’s detachment of 159th Ohio Mounted Infantry tried to hold the bridgehead. But soon afterward realized that his position was being cut off, and he was forced to retreat northward along the western banks of the Monocacy River to Hughes’ Ford, where he forded the river. There, Captain Leib directed Captain McGinnis’ company of the 149th Ohio National Guard to the best route to use for the retreat. They took the Linganore Road to Mount Pleasant.

The ridge line has been developed, but the fields still exist. A golf driving range is located on one side, and the Maryland National Guard is located on the other side. It would be great to eventually see interpretive waysides explaining this portion of the Battle of Monocacy, or even having this portion of the battlefield preserved as part of the NPS unit or a regional park. 081780pv

Reference:
Bearss, Edwin C. Edited by Mark Spaulding. The Battle of Monocacy, A Documented Report. Civil War Enterprises, Vermont. 2003
Cooling, Benjamin Franklin, Jubal Early’s Raid on Washington, University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, AL, 1989.
Leepson, Marc, Desperate Engagement, St. Martun’s Press, New York, 2007.
Schilt, John W. Drums along the Monocacy, Antietam Publications, 1991.
Spaulding, Brett W. Last Chance of Victory, Jubal Early’s 1864 Maryland Campaign, Self published, 2010.
Vandiver, Frank E. Jubal’s Raid, General Early’s Famous Attack on Washington in 1864, University of Nebraska, 1988.
Wenger, Warren D., Monocacy, the Defeat that Saved Washington, Eugene Printing, Bridgeton, N.J., 1996
Worthington, Glenn H. Fighting for Time, The Battle of Monocacy, White Mane Publishing, Shippensburg, PA. 1994.
Official Records Series 1, vol 37, Part 1 (Monocacy)
Official Records Series 1, vol 37, Part 2 (Monocacy)
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Washington’s Last Line Of Defense; The Battle of Fort Stevens

lincoln_monument_Two hundred years ago, on August 24, 1814, the battle of Bladensburg erupted as British troops under the command of Major General Robert Ross engaged the American forces. Once he drove off the American army led by Brigadier General William Winder, the road to Washington was open. That same day, Maj. Gen. Ross and the British army occupied the American capital, and began to set fire to the city. By August 26, the British army moved out of Washington. For the first time in American history, an enemy force had taken Washington. Fast forward to July of 1864, almost fifty years to the day, it looked as if another enemy force would do the same.

After a temporary delay along the banks of Monocacy River the day before, Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early led his army down the Georgetown Pike early in the morning on July 10. As Brigadier General John McCausland cleared the way for the Confederate army, he ran into resistance at Rockville, skirmishing with Union cavalry. The Confederate army had marched within four miles of Rockville in the unbearable summer heat. By the time the men laid down for the night, the temperature was still holding in the 80’s.

Meanwhile near Fort Stevens, Company K, 150th Ohio National Guard was on picket duty during the night. They watched as civilians fled for safety in the advance of the Confederate army. By dawn of July 11, the landscape became silent and empty. Washington was not prepared for what was coming, similar to the situation in 1814. Most of the Union troops that were there defending the city were sent to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia. By 9:00 a.m. civilians and quartermaster officers, along with militia were reporting for duty. The Veteran Corps was enacted and reported for duty. Soon thousands of men began preparing to meet the Confederate army. Lieutenant General Grant also sent reinforcements to Washington, which consisted of the VI Corps and a portion of the XIX Corps. They boarded steamers and headed for the capital city.

Brigadier General John Imboden’s brigade moved in the advance of the Confederate army with Major General Robert Rodes’ division taking 7th Street Road from Rockville. Major General John C. Breckenridge brought up the rear of the Confederate army. Brigadier General McCausland continued his movement down the Georgetown Pike, headed toward Fort Reno and Fort De Russy. Brigadier General William Jackson’s cavalry brigade was positioned between the 7th Street Road and Rockville Road.

04232v By noon, the main body of the Confederate army was in Silver Spring. Between the forced marches of the campaign and the summer heat, the Confederate ranks were fatigued. Lieutenant General Early sat upon his horse urging his men forward without delay. To make matters worse, the Union cavalry had formed another skirmish line across the Rockville Pike, and skirmishing continued throughout the day.

Upon seeing the first Confederate soldier in the distance, the Ohioans quickly moved to the safety of Fort Stevens, firing at the Confederates. Skirmishing quickly broke out along the rifle pits, as the 62nd Virginia Mounted Infantry was fully in view. The Confederate sharpshooters quickly went to work, engaging the picket line. By 1:00 p.m., portions of the 2nd District of Columbia Volunteers and the 25th New York Cavalry formed the skirmish line in front of Fort Stevens. Artillery from nearby Fort De Russy opened on the Confederate line, in support of the skirmish in front of Fort Stevens. Soon, Union reinforcements from nearby Camp Stoneman arrived and deployed in a line of battle. After a half an hour, the Confederate line began falling back. Lieutenant General Early delayed a major attack until he could see if the defenses were fully operational with Union reinforcements.

04143vBy 3:00 p.m., Maj. Gen. Rodes was ordered to take his division and advance on Fort Stevens, probing the defenses. Confederate artillery came up on his right and deployed in support of the attack. Confederate sharpshooters took up position in several of the buildings in front of Fort Stevens and Fort De Russy. The 9th Veteran Corp was ordered to relieve the dismounted skirmishers of the 25th New York Cavalry. The Union XXII Corps and the Department of Washington were among the front line of defenders during the attack. Heavy and siege artillery began to fire from the nearby ring of forts that were in range of the Confederate army.

Skirmishing was kept up during the evening and into the night. As darkness fell upon the battlefield, the fighting got intense. Flashes of musketry illuminated the ground for a second or two. While, the Confederates kept on through the night, Lt. Gen. Early decided to hold a council of war with his commanders to decide their next move, and what options they had. The Confederate army was tired, as the summer heat took a toll on the men. The decision was tabled until daylight the next morning. During the night, Lt. Gen. Early received word from Brigadier General Bradley T. Johnson, who was outside of Baltimore, about two Union corps coming to reinforce the defenses of Washington.

During the night, Fort Stevens was reinforced by civilian contractors and other troops arrived, ready to go work the next day in the defense of the city. Veteran troops who were sent up from Virginia also began taking their positions. The Confederate high command would be faced with a major decision come daylight, as to whether they should attack Fort Stevens.

As dawn lightens the battlefield on July 12, hopes of taking Washington quickly faded. For Lt. Gen. Early, realized that his army was at the high water mark of the campaign. With additional reinforcements of Union soldiers, came the realization that if the Confederate army got into a situation that turned for the worse, Lt. Gen. Early had no reinforcements of his own to come to his aid. Lieutenant General Early decided not to launch an all out assault. Instead he would maintain a defensive position and wait till nightfall to begin withdrawing from Fort Stevens. Lieutenant General Early would keep the pressure on the Union defenders with skirmishers and sharpshooters.

Major General Rodes and Major General John Gordon would deploy their divisions to cover the retreat that would later come. During the morning, the artillery at Fort Stevens and Fort De Russy opened on the Confederate skirmishers but no Confederate attack came. The morning was spent with sharpshooters and artillery.

By noon, President Lincoln, his wife, and Secretary of War Edwin Staunton took a carriage ride to Fort Stevens for observation purposes. As President Lincoln watched, a minie ball hit the parapet, and then struck surgeon Crawford standing next him. Major General Horatio Wright, commander of the Department of Washington was there and quickly ordered Lincoln off the parapet. Other men were also telling Lincoln to get to safety. Later in life, Captain Oliver Holmes claimed to have yelled “Get down you fool!” to Lincoln.

At 5:00 p.m., the Confederate left gave way when a cannonade was launched from the nearby forts in range of the Confederate army. After the thirty-sixth shot, Colonel Daniel Bidwell’s brigade of the VI Corps advanced on the Confederate line. The Confederates reinforced their line, but never regained the lost ground. By 10:00 p.m., the fighting at Fort Stevens was over.

By 7:00 p.m., those Confederates not engaged were already marching to Rockville. Major General John C. Breckinridge and his division were first, followed by the wagon train. By midnight, Maj. Gen. Rodes’ division was on the move and Major General Stephen D. Ramseur brought up the rear of the infantry. As the Confederate army retreated, Major Henry Kyd Douglas recalled Lt. Gen. Early telling him, “We hadn’t taken Washington, but we scared Abe Lincoln like hell!” Lieutenant General Early began moving toward the Potomac River, fording at midnight on July 14. The Confederate army would continue fording the Potomac River during the morning, and camp near Leesburg that night.

During the aftermath, one Union soldier recalled seeing a dead Confederate soldier, “There, behind the log, he lay on his back…The rifle and cartridge box were of English make, and the only thing about him which did not indicate extreme destitution. His feet, were wrapped in rags, had course shoes upon them, so worn and full of holes they were only held together by many pieces of thick twine. Ragged trousers, a jacket and a shirt of what used to be called “two-cloth”, a straw hat, which had lost a large portion of both crown and rim, completed his attire. His hair was a mat of dust and grime. A haversack hung from his shoulder. Its contents were a jackknife, a plug of twisted tobacco, a tin cup and two quarts of cracked corn… with perhaps an ounce of salt tied in a rag.”

Unlike, the American army on August 24, 1814 which was unable to hold the British back at the battle of Bladensburg, the Union forces in July of 1864 held back their enemy under many similar conditions. The battle of Monocacy is considered the battle that saved Washington, where the outnumbered Union forces held their ground until the very last moment, which bought the defenses of Washington the time they needed in order to prepare and meet the Confederate army. Almost fifty years to the day, history would not repeat itself.

Resources:
Cooling, Benjamin Franklin, Jubal Early’s Raid on Washington, University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, AL, 1989.
Leepson, Marc, Desperate Engagement, St. Martun’s Press, New York, 2007.
Schilt, John W. Drums along the Monocacy, Antietam Publications, 1991.
Spaulding, Brett W. Last Chance of Victory, Jubal Early’s 1864 Maryland Campaign, Self published, 2010.
Vandiver, Frank E. Jubal’s Raid, General Early’s Famous Attack on Washington in 1864, University of Nebraska, 1988.
Wenger, Warren D., Monocacy, the Defeat that Saved Washington, Eugene Printing, Bridgeton, N.J., 1996
Worthington, Glenn H. Fighting for Time, The Battle of Monocacy, White Mane Publishing, Shippensburg, PA. 1994.
Official Records Series 1, vol 37, Part 1 (Monocacy)
Official Records Series 1, vol 37, Part 2 (Monocacy)

The Battle That Saved Washington, The Battle of Monocacy

Union Major General Lew Wallace
Union Major General Lew Wallace

As the sun began to rise on July 9, 1864, Union Major General Lew Wallace knew that there would be a major contest just south of Frederick, MD. Major General Wallace had a total force of about 6,500 men. His command of the Middle Department consisted of mostly militia, and national guardsmen, with very little veteran experience. However, he was reinforced by two veteran brigades of Major General James Ricketts’ division of the VI Corps.

Major General Wallace had established a six mile defensive line along the eastern river banks of the Monocacy River that ran northeast to Hugh’s Ford and Jug Bridge on the Baltimore Pike, to the Southwest near the Worthington Farm, with Monocacy Junction in the center. The only obstacle standing in the way of L.t Gen. Early and his Confederate army and Washington was Maj. Gen. Wallace and the Monocacy River.

Area where the Ohio National Guard was deployed looking from the Confederate main position east of Jug Bridge.
Area where the Ohio National Guard was deployed looking from the Confederate main position west of Jug Bridge.

While the Union forces waited, in Frederick city Lt. Gen. Early began moving portions of his 15,000 man army. He was under the impression that he would be up against a Union force that lacked combat experience. Lieutenant General Early ordered Major General Robert Rodes’ division to march down the Baltimore Pike to Jug Bridge, relieving a brigade of Ramseur’s division, and attack the bridge in order to draw the attention of the Union troops away from Monocacy Junction.

Earlier, Major General Wallace had ordered Brigadier General Erastus Tyler to protect Jug Bridge. Brigadier General Tyler ordered the 144th and the 149th Ohio National Guard regiments to hold the bridge. By daylight, the 149th Ohio National Guard had deployed on the western side of river and waited. By 10:00 a.m., Maj. Gen. Rodes came in contact with the Ohioans under the command of Colonel Allison Brown. For several hours, Maj. Gen. Rodes’ skirmished with the Union force in his front.

At the center of the Union line, Lt. Gen. Early ordered Major General Stephen D. Ramseur’s division down the Georgetown Pike to secure the covered bridge that spanned the Monocacy River. For easy crossing of the river, the bridge needed to fall into Confederate hands. The Union defense at the junction and the bridge consisted of the 1st Potomac Home Brigade and small portion of the 10th Vermont Infantry. Across the river were Maj. Gen. Ricketts’ 3,300 veterans.

The Thomas Farm
The Best Farm

By 8:30 a.m., Maj. Gen. Ramseur’s skirmishers had advanced along the Georgetown Pike, and soon the Confederates opened fire. A half an hour later, two companies of the 9th New York Heavy Artillery, and a detachment of the 106th New York Infantry crossed the covered bridge and deployed to protect it. Within minutes, the Confederate artillery on the Best Farm, west of the river, opened fire. The fighting quickly began to die down as Maj. Gen. Ramsuer determined it to be too hazardous to take the covered bridge.

The Railroad Bridge beyond the treeline.
The Railroad Bridge beyond the treeline.

By 11:00 a.m., Maj. Gen. Ramseur launched a second attack. This time he hit the Union right flank by the block house at the junction, and the railroad bridge not far up stream from the covered bridge. First Lieutenant George Davis and his detachment of the 10th Vermont Infantry held their ground and the Confederate attack was repelled.

The area where Confederate Brigadier General John McCausland formed his brigade.
The area where Confederate Brigadier General John McCausland formed his brigade.

As Maj. Gen. Ramseur did not take the bridge, Lt. Gen. Early ordered Brigadier General John McCausland to take his cavalry brigade down the Buckeystown Road and find a ford for easy access. By 10:30 a.m., Brig. Gen. McCausland forded the Monocacy River at the Worthington-McKinney ford, where he skirmished with portions of the 8th Illinois Cavalry. The 8th Illinois Cavalry fell back in order to warn Maj. Gen. Wallace of the Confederate advance now east of the river. As Brig, Gen. McCausland forded the river, Maj. Gen. Wallace heard the firing in that direction. He then sent Maj. Gen. Ricketts to the Thomas farm to form a defensive line.

Monocacy Junction today.
Monocacy Junction today.

With Maj. Gen. Ramseur pressing the Union center, and now a flanking attempt unfolding on the Union left, this presented a major problem for Maj. Gen. Wallace. Orders came from Maj. Gen. Wallace for the Union skirmishers west of the river to fall back to the eastern bank and destroy the bridge. A detachment of the 9th New York Heavy Artillery stacked some dried hay on the roof of the covered bridge and set fire to it. Near the block house, Lt. Davis’ skirmishers were unaware of what was happening. They would be forced to retreat using the railroad bridge during Maj. Gen. Ramseur’s third and final attack, which came around 3:30 p.m.

By 11:00 a.m., Brig. Gen. McCausland’s brigade of cavalry was dismounted in the fields near the Worthington Farm. Once ready, McCausland’s men advanced. Major General Ricketts ordered his men to hold their fire until the Confederates were within one hundred twenty-five yards of their position. As the Confederates reached that point, the Union troops unleashed a volley and sent lead flying in through the air. This forced the Confederates to fall back to the Worthington Farm.

The Thomas Farm
The Thomas Farm

Major General Ricketts reformed his battle line. Giving his men time to regroup, Brig. Gen. McCausland quickly studied the area for his next attack. By 2:00 p.m., the Confederates advanced, using the Thomas house itself, as a guide. As Brigadier General McCausland’s brigade moved forward, they threatened Ricketts’ left flank. Major General Ricketts ordered his division to fall back to the Georgetown Pike and reform their lines there, while the Confederates take the Thomas Farm.

Major General Wallace had sent a courier to Maj. Gen. Ricketts suggesting that the Thomas Farm be regained by charging the Confederate force there. The courier came across Captain William Lanius of the 87th Pennsylvania Infantry. As the courier relayed the message, Captain Lanius misinterpreted the message as an order to charge the Confederate position. Their brigade commander Colonel William S. Truex ordered the 10th Vermont infantry to support 87th Pennsylvania Infantry, and the 14th New Jersey Infantry as they charged across the field to the Thomas Farm.

By 3:00 p.m., the two regiments moved through the field and as they closed in on the Confederates, the fighting was very fierce. The Union troops retook the farm and within a half an hour, Brig. Gen. McCausland was forced to fall back to the Worthington Farm. Major General Ricketts quickly reestablished his lines, with his right flank situated near the river, and his left flank near Baker Valley Road.

The Worthington House
The Worthington House

Just as McCausland was falling back, Lt. Gen. Early had ordered Major General John Gordon to take his division down Buckeystown Road to reinforce McCausland’s men. After fording the river, Maj. Gen. Gordon’s 3,500 man division, and two batteries began to deploy near the Worthington Farm. As Maj. Gen. Gordon studied the area, Brig. Gen. McCausland’s brigade arrived shortly after their disastrous fight. Major General Gordon’s plan consisted of a three pronged attack. However, several obstacles were in the way. Farms, fences, and stacks of wheat would make an assault difficult. At around 3:30 p.m., Brigadier General Clement Evans was the first to march out. Using the hill near his position, he was to hit the Union left flank near Baker Valley Road. The fighting was fierce as Brig. Gen. Evans closed in and began to stall.

Around 3:45 pm, Brigadier General Zebulon York, forming the center of the Confederate line, made his attack. The Confederate line was supported by artillery, which pounded the Union line. This forced Maj. Gen. Ricketts to fall back, toward the Georgetown Road. Even though the Confederates regained the ground lost by Brig. Gen. McCausland’s brigade, they were still unable to break through Ricketts’ line.

By 4:00 p.m., Brigadier General William Terry’s brigade attacked the Union right flank, pushing the Union troops past the Thomas Farm. As he hit the Union right, the line became unstable. Major General Gordon ordered Brig. Gen. Terry to hit the line again. This attack broke the Union right, and to make matters worse, the men of Ricketts’ division were running low on ammunition.

By 4:30 p.m., Maj. Gen. Wallace realized that the battle was now lost. He ordered Maj. Gen. Ricketts to retreat toward the Baltimore Pike. However, Ricketts’ right flank was being pushed toward the Gambrill Mill. A half an hour later, Ricketts’ men were in retreat, and they were pursued nearly two miles by the Confederates. After giving up the chase, the Confederates returned to the scene of the battle.

Major General Wallace had sent an order to Colonel Brown to cover the Union retreat. Colonel Brown ordered the battle line at Jug Bridge to be strengthened. An hour after Ricketts’ men had retreated from the Monocacy, Maj. Gen. Rodes launched his attack, forcing the two Ohio National Guard units back. Confederate artillery opened on the Ohioans causing much chaos. Colonel Brown rallied his men, which stalled Rodes’ attack, but only briefly. After learning of Maj. Gen. Wallace’s retreat, Colonel Brown fell back to New Market, where he arrived by 8:00 p.m.

The 14th New Jersey Monument
The 14th New Jersey Monument

The Battle of Monocacy is the third largest Civil War battle to occur in Maryland, and was the only major victory achieved by a Confederate army during the three northern invasions. This victory came with a cost to the Confederate invaders. It took Lt. Gen. Early the entire day to fight a battle he did not want to fight. In addition, the battle of Monocacy bought the defenses of Washington time to reinforce the city with troops.

Although a defeat for Maj. Gen. Wallace militarily, it was an overall victory, as the Union defenders at Monocacy kept back a much larger force, saving Washington from capture. The battle of Monocacy cost the Union more than 1,200 casualties of killed, wounded, and captured men. The Confederate army lost less than a thousand men killed, wounded, or captured. From Frederick, the Confederate army would push southward to Washington and by July 12, Lt. Gen. Early withdrew, and forded the Potomac River.

Resources:
Cooling, Benjamin Franklin, Jubal Early’s Raid on Washington, University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, AL, 1989.
Leepson, Marc, Desperate Engagement, St. Martun’s Press, New York, 2007.
Schilt, John W. Drums along the Monocacy, Antietam Publications, 1991.
Spaulding, Brett W. Last Chance of Victory, Jubal Early’s 1864 Maryland Campaign, Self published, 2010.
Vandiver, Frank E. Jubal’s Raid, General Early’s Famous Attack on Washington in 1864, University of Nebraska, 1988.
Wenger, Warren D., Monocacy, the Defeat that Saved Washington, Eugene Printing, Bridgeton, N.J., 1996
Worthington, Glenn H. Fighting for Time, The Battle of Monocacy, White Mane Publishing, Shippensburg, PA. 1994.
Official Records Series 1, vol 37, Part 1 (Monocacy)
Official Records Series 1, vol 37, Part 2 (Monocacy)