The Brilliant Little Battle of Monocacy Itinerary

A 2019 BGES Day of History Program

October 5, 2019

This program was originally scheduled for July 21st. Due to the dangerously hot weather heat we rescheduled it for Saturday, October 5, 2019.

In the summer of 1864, a Federal threat to Lynchburg dissipated with the withdrawal of Federal forces into the mountains of western Virginia. This action released 18,000 troops under the command of Robert E. Lee’s “Bad Old Man,” Jubal Anderson Early, to operate in the lower Shenandoah Valley and into Maryland and Pennsylvania. This independence of movement threatened the security of the nation’s capital whose defenses had been stripped of manpower to make good the casualties of Grant’s Overland Campaign to the gates of Petersburg. The residual troops were under the command of a widely discredited field commander and political general, Lew Wallace. On the banks of the Monocacy, Wallace may very well have saved the nation. This program examines that premise.


Saturday, October 5, 2019

8:30 AM. The success of Jubal Early’s march through the Shenandoah Valley brought it into Maryland where a dash into Washington was considered. The move alarmed the government and militia and home guards were rushed to Monocacy Junction. Here along the banks they awaited the advancing Confederate corps, and when the day was done the threat would rapidly abate as Early fell back into Virginia.

After starting at the visitor center, Gloria will conduct an extensive walking and driving tour around the junction and along the river, taking in the various key positions of advance and defense. The field is relatively compact, but it does exist on either side of the river and around the railroad junction. Expect extensive conversation about the ramifications of the Confederate invasion and how it and Early’s subsequent operations would affect the national election and the use of the soldiers available to Grant in front of Petersburg. A great one-day themed program.

About the Faculty

Gloria Swift is a retired National Park Service historian and curator. She was the first historian for the new Monocacy National Battlefield and has done extensive work on Gen. Lew Wallace and other activities in and around the battlefield. Gloria currently serves as the BGES Membership Coordinator, newsletter editor, and as a Tour Manager. A first-rate historian whom you will enjoy immensely.

Travel Details

Hotel Information

This one-day program does not require a hotel. Should you want a hotel, we usually stay at the Hampton Inn on Buckeystown Pike in Frederick.


The servicing airport is Washington Dulles (IAD), Washington National (DCA), and Washington-Baltimore (BWI), and are all served by Southwest Airlines. The departure point will be the Monocacy Battlefield Visitor Center, centrally located and easily accessible via I-270, I-70, and US-15.

Recommended Reading

You will be provided with a handout upon arrival. The following books are suggested to enhance your readiness for the program. has a program to support non-profits IF YOU SIGN UP to support Blue and Gray Education Society (EIN 54-1720582) at AmazonSmile. When you sign up there rather than the normal Amazon site, one-half of one percent of your purchase price will be provided to BGES as a donation from Amazon. This will apply not only on this purchase but others you may make at other times.

Joseph V. Collins: Battle of West Frederick, July 7, 1864: Prelude to Monocacy
Benjamin F. Cooling III: Monocacy, The Battle that Saved Washington
Gail Stephens: Shadow of Shiloh: General Lew Wallace in the Civil War
Glenn H. Worthington and Brian C. Pohanka: Fighting for Time: The Battle of Monocacy

Register for this program using a secure PayPal link

Registration Type

To register by mail or fax, download this printable registration form: The Brilliant Little Battle of Monocacy