Desperate engagement : how a little-known Civil War battle saved Washington, D.C., and changed American history by Marc Leepson
Read: September 9 - September 14
Format: 236 pages
Source: Public library
Subject: Civil War, Battle of Monocacy, Capital defenses
Category: Civil War and its Leaders
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL, TIOLI
How amazing is it to live within a 50 mile radius of an area and never know the historical impact that it holds? We've all heard of Bull Run, Gettysburg, Appomattox but how many of you have ever heard of the Battle of Monocacy? I hadn't and I've lived in the area for nearly 40 years. How many of you knew that the Confederate Army ever threatened to invade Washington D.C.? Did you know that Abraham Lincoln was actually fired upon by a hostile army?
This book told the tale of the Confederate invasion of the state of Maryland in 1864 by Jubal Early and his regiments. They marched through most of the far northern suburbs of Washington D.C. - Frederick, Hagerstown, Urbana and were confronted by a small contingency of union soldiers led by Lewis Wallace (author of Ben-Hur) who knew that Washington was undermanned and also realized that for there to be enough time for reinforcements to arrive to man the fortifications of the capital, his men would have to engage and prevent Early's army from progressing beyond the Monocacy River for at least a day - 5,800 men against 16,000 - not promising but somehow the union soldiers held their ground for the necessary time before their retreat. Early moved on to Rockville, Silver Spring, Tenleytown - and were "knocking at the door of a nation's capital when the reinforcements from General Grant arrived in the night.
I found this book to be terribly engrossing probably because it told me facts about the Civil War that I never knew as well as about an area that I have lived in and never fully realized its impact in history. Definitely a book that should receive more exposure.