151 years ago on July 9, Union General Lew Wallace and his men faced Confederate soldiers under the command of General Jubal Early. The odds were stacked against Wallace 2:1, but his ultimate goal was not for a victory. Wallace and his men only needed to halt and stall the Confederates so that General Grant could send reinforcements to Washington, DC. Despite the odds and heavy losses, Wallace and his men did just that; the Confederates were unable to march to Washington until July 10 and by the time they arrived at Fort Stevens outside the city, it was once again the most fortified city in the country.

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Photo: Hilary Grabowska

This past weekend, to commemorate this crucial loss, Monocacy National Battlefield recruited the help of a number of volunteers. We had one Union infantry group as well as two Confederate artillery groups. Throughout the day, these dedicated men and women demonstrated to the visitors what life was like in camp, how to load a rifle and how to fire a cannon, all day long without shade in 90º weather.

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Photo: Hilary Grabowska

The volunteers helped visitors to find a connection to their park: the visitors had the chance to stand on the battlefield, hear Civil War era rifles and cannons be fired, to see Confederate and Union soldiers and to experience camp life during the war. Often, many of the visitors remarked that they were from Frederick, but had never been to the battlefield! It was the talks and demonstrations that drew these people out to their local park and find enjoyment, despite the heat of the day.

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Photo: Hilary Grabowska