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This stretch of farmland was the site of a little-known but important Civil War encounter, the Battle of the Monocacy. General Jubal Early led 15,000 Confederates against a Union force of 5,800 under General Lew Wallace in July 1864. Though the Confederates won, their forces were so weakened that Union troops at Fort Stevens could push them back from Washington and save the nation's capital from capture. Today, the battlefield remains mostly unchanged. The newly built visitor center has an expanded display of uniforms (even one kids can try on), swords and medals, and an optic-fiber map that relates the battle story. An auto tour is 6 miles round-trip; five walking trails offer historic and scenic vistas. The short Gambrill Mill Trail offers a view of the railroad bridge Union troops were forced to use to retreat. From May through August, events are scheduled the first weekend of the month; a commemoration of the battle is held on a weekend near July 9.