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Advancing north through the Shenandoah Valley in June 1864, Lt. Gen. Jubal Early sought to divert Union attention from the Siege of Petersburg.  Crossing into Maryland, he captured Frederick and was in position to menace lightly defended Washington, DC.  Pulling together a scratch force, Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace (right) established a defensive line along the Monocacy River and soon was reinforced by veteran troops from VI Corps.  Attacked by Early on July 9 at the Battle of Monocacy, Wallace's men fought a stubborn defensive battle.  Though outnumbered nearly 3-to-1, they succeeded in delaying Early by a full day.  This allowed reinforcements to arrive and reinforce Washington's defenses.  Reaching the capital's defenses on July 11, Early was unable to proceed further and soon commenced a retreat back to Virginia.  Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant later wrote of the action:   "General Wallace contributed on this occasion by the defeat of the troops under him, a greater benefit to the cause than often falls to the lot of a commander of an equal force to render by means of a victory."

Civil War - The Overland Campaign:

Photograph Source: Public Domain


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