Maryland, a slave state that remained loyal to the Union, is an ideal place to understand the causes, impact, and results of the America’s most violent conflict: the Civil War.
The Maryland Park Service hosts several significant Civil War sites, such as South Mountain and Point Lookout, and the forthcoming Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park. Get outside, explore and learn about some of Maryland’s most significant Civil War sites.
South Mountain State Battlefield seeks to preserve and interpret the first major Civil War battle to take place in Maryland. Fought on September 14, 1862, the Battle of South Mountain was a critical turning point in the American Civil War. The Union victories at South Mountain and Antietam (fought three days later) led President Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
The state battlefield, located along the gaps of South Mountain, includes valuable farm and forestland, and is home to diverse wildlife. Only here does the Appalachian National Scenic Trail intersect a major Civil War battlefield.
Situated on a narrow peninsula where the Potomac River empties into the Chesapeake Bay, Point Lookout was the site of a 40-acre prisoner of war camp that housed up to 52,264 Confederate prisoners from 1863 to 1865.
The Thomas Viaduct - a stone-arched railroad bridge crossing the Patapsco River - proved crucial to the Union's effort to keep its armies supplied and to protect Washington, D.C. The circa-1835 railroad bridge is one of the nation's oldest. It is still used by CSX and MARC trains, and it best viewed from the valley floor along the park's Avalon Area entrance.
Known more for its role in the French and Indian War, Fort Frederick's stone fort also played a minor part in Union efforts to protect both the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad - both vital supply and transportation links for Union troops in the eastern theatre.
Several other state parks also host notable Civil War-related sites, including:
To learn more about the Civil War in Maryland, see the Maryland Civil War Trails website at: www.civilwartraveler.com/EAST/MD/
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