The American Civil War in Maryland's State Parks

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 Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park. Get outside, explore and learn about some of Maryland’s most significant Civil War sites.

South Mountain Battlefield

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 war. The Union victories at South Mountain and Antietam (fought three days later) led President Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.South Mountain Battlefield Troops

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.

Point Lookout State Park

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.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park

Opened in March 2017, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park Visitor Center invites visitors to experience Tubman’s world through exhibits that are informative and emotive. In addition to having the opportunity to understand Tubman’s early years spent in the Choptank River region of Maryland along with the resistance movement of the Underground Railroad, visitors can learn about her role in the Combahee River Raid in June, 1863. Guests will also gain an appreciation of Tubman’s legacy as a leader, liberator and humanitarian. Further appreciate the life and legacy of this great American heroine by attending a ranger-led program or exploring additional sites along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway.

Patapsco Valley State Park

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.

Fort Frederick State Park

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.

Additional State Park Civil War Sites

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