The "1864 Attack on Washington" Civil War Trail is now open.
- Download the new map and other Trails material at MAPS.
- Request a printed copy of the map through CivilWarTraveler.com FREE INFO (request "Maryland").
Maryland's Civil War
Early's Raid on Washington
As if Robert E. Lee t needed more trouble as he faced U.S. Grant at Cold Harbor near Richmond in June 1864, the Confederate commander found himself threatened on another front. Union Gen. David Hunter had burned parts of Lexington and was advancing east toward Lynchburg, threatening Lee's supply lines from the west.
Lee dispatched Gen. Jubal Early to meet the threat. "Ol Jube" blocked Hunter at Lynchburg, then chased "Black Dave" back into West Virginia.
Early, with Lee occupied keeping Grant out of Petersburg, headed north "down" the Shenandoah Valley in an attempt to draw Union strength away from the main Confederate army in Virginia.
The Confederates crossed the Potomac at Shepherdstown July 5, bypassed Federal defenders at Harpers Ferry and pushed into Hagerstown, then to Frederick.
Early's intent was to threaten Washington DC and raid the prison camp at Point Lookout to free 17,000 Confederates there.
As Early moved through Maryland, alarms began ringing in Washington. Union Gen. Lew Wallace drew up in battle lines along the Monocacy River to delay the Confederate march. The battle there July 9, 1864, although eventually a Confederate victory, bought time for Union reenforcements to arrive in Washington.
The Confederates moved to the Federal fortifications at Washington July 11. The northern forts were defended thinly at first, but troops were pouring in from Grant's command. Fighting outside Union Fort Stevens July 12 drew curious onlookers from Washington including Abraham Lincoln. The Confederates, after moving close enough to see the Capitol dome, never seriously threatened the city. Early's little campaign was over.
Early's men re-crossed the Potomac River into Virginia. The Confederates fought a rear guard action at Cool Spring on the Shenandoah River, then continued into the Valley. Early also defeated his pursuers at the Battle of Second Kernstown south of Winchester.
Lynchburg VA–Washington DC
Battle of Lynchburg
See Battle of Lynchburg Driving Tour
Hanging Rock Battlefield
Near Salem just off Route 311 about 0.5 mile north of I-81 exit 41
Markers and monuments mark the spot of a running battle fought June 21, 1864, between Confederate forces under Jubal Early and Union troops under David Hunter as Hunter was withdrawing from Lynchburg. A new park with an interpreted battle trail and Civil War Trails interpretation.
"Middletown: Ransom Demands"
Trails sign located at yhe Main Cup, 14 W Main St, Middletown MD 21769
The leading elements of Confederate Gen. Jubal Early's troops began arriving in Middletown July 7, 1864. Over the next few days, the town was stripped of food. The Confederates also demanded a $5,000 ransom. The town paid part of the money, but escaped paying most of the ransom as Union cavalry action forced a Confederate withdrawal toward Frederick July 8.
Battle of Frederick
Trails sign located at the Red Horse Restaurant, 996 W Patrick St, Frederick MD 21703
On July 7, 1864, lead elements of Confederate Gen. Jubal Early's army clashed with Union soldiers coming toward Frederick from Monocacy Junction about 3 miles south of here. The little battle was a standoff. The small Union force withdrew toward the junction when the rest of Early's army approached. The much bigger Battle of Monocacy followed two days later.
Battle of Monocacy: See nps.gov/mono
"Urbana: Capture & Escape"
Trails sign located in Urbana Park, 3636 Urbana Pike, Frederick MD 21704
Confederate cavalry caught up with the Union rearguard here following the Battle of Moncacy June 9, 1864. The Southern attack stalled when the Federals captured a flag during fighting in the streets of Urbanna. Confederate Gen. Jubal Early's command rested here briefly the next day before heading on toward Washington DC.
Fort Stevens: See CivilWarTraveler.com/EAST/DC
Maryland Cavalry Action Johnson/Gilmor Raid
"Gen. Bradley Johnson: A Visitor in his Hometown"
Located at the Frederick Visitor Center, 151 S East St, Frederick MD 21701
On June 8, 1864, Confederate Gen. Bradley Johnson spearheaded Gen. Jubal Early's army into Frederick, Johnson's hometown. Johnson left a fine home and a thriving law practice to raise the 1st Maryland Infantry early in the war. From here, Johnson led his cavalry east to burn railroad bridges andcut telegraph lines. His ultimate goal, freeing prisoners at Point Lookout, proved to be a pipe dream.
"Gen. Bradley Johnson's Raid: A Ransom Cancelled"
Trails sign located at 1838 Emerald Hill Road, Westminster MD 21157
On July 9, 1864, Confederates under Maj. Harry Gilmor dashed into Westminster, scattering a small Union force there and cutting telegraph lines. Gilmor's superior, Gen. Bradley Johnson, ordered Westminster to pay a ransom but Gilmour persuaded him to drop the demand. The fast-moving Confederate cavalry moved on later that day.
"Gen. Bradley Johnson's Raid: Looting in New Windsor"
Trails sign located at New Windsor Park, off Route 31 in New Windsor MD
Confederate Gen. Bradley Johnson's 1,500 cavalry, detached from the command of Gen. Jubal Early, arrived here July 9, 1864, as the Battle of Monocacy began south of Frederick. The Southern troopers moved into New Windsor where they ransacked businesses in the small town.
"Gilmor's Raid: Capturing Cockeysville"
Trails sign located at 1320 Papermill Road, Cockeysville MD 21030
Confederate Gen. Jubal Early's planned not only to threaten Washington DC but also to cut rail and telegraph communication from Baltimore and free Southern prisoners at Point Lookout. Part of Confederate Gen. Bradley Johnson's command under Maj. Harry Gilmor set out to burn railroad bridges. Gilmor destroyed the bridge at Cockeysville July 10, 1864, before moving on to burn the Northern Central Railway bridge across the Gunpowder River.
Trails sign located at the Grille at Peerce's, 12460 Dulaney Valley Road, Phoenix MD 21131
While carrying out orders to burn railroad bridges behind Federal lines in July 1864, Confederate Maj. Harry Gilmor visited his parents at his boyhood home at Glen Ellen near here.
Jerusalem Mill (Gilmor's Raid)
Trails sign northeast of Baltimore off Route 1 on Jerusalem Road
Confederate cavalry taking part in Gen. Jubal Early's 1864 campaign to threaten Washington arrived here July 11 and "requisitioned" supplies and horses. This detachment of Southern cavalry, under Maj. Harry Gilmor, was ordered north of Baltimore to sever communications with the North.
Retreat into Virginia
"Battle of Cool Spring: Union Advance & Confederate Counterattack" and "Confederate Counterattack & Union Retreat"
Trails signs located 1400 Parker Lane, Bluemont VA 20135
On July 17, 1864 Union forces chasing Confederate Gen. Jubal Early's troops reached the Shenandoah River. Assaults late that afternoon against Confederate forces on the other side of the river initially succeeded but Southern counterattacks pushed the Federals back across the river, allowing Early to escape.
Trails signs located north of Winchester, west of Route 11, 0.3 miles north of the I-81 intersection (exit 317)
A cluster of signs tells the story of the battles at this strategic location along the main road north of Winchester. On July 20, 1864, a Union force in pursuit of Gen. Jubal Early's army (recently turned away from Washington DC) caught up with the Confederates here, pushing them aside.
Second Kernstown – See kernstownbattle.org