Celebrate The 150th Anniversary with Maryland 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. Over the next four years, Maryland State Parks will be marking the Civil War’s sesquicentennial.
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. This is a great time to get outside, explore and learn about some of Maryland’s most significant Civil War sites.
To learn more about the State Park’s history and upcoming events, check out the following links:
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 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.
- South Mountain State Battlefield general information
- Battle of South Mountain Summary
- South Mountain Recreation Area Adventure Guide
- Friends of South Mountain Battlefield
- The Battle of South Mountain, as written by a soldier in the battle
Fort Frederick State Park
The stone fort built in 1756 protected Maryland’s frontier settlers during the French and Indian War. Fort Frederick is unique because of its strong stone wall, large size, and roomy barracks. Fort Frederick also saw service during the American Revolution as a prison for British soldiers. For the next 131 years, the fort and surrounding lands were farmed. During the Civil War, Union troops were often stationed near the fort to guard the C & O Canal. In 1922, the State of Maryland acquired the fort. During the Great Depression of the 1930's, a company of the Civilian Conservation Corps restored the fort and began development of the state park. In 1975, the park reconstructed two soldier’s barracks inside the fort. These barracks are open seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day and on the weekends in the spring and fall. During those times, staff and volunteers dressed in 18th century clothing occupy the fort, demonstrating daily life in the 18th century.
Point Lookout State Park
This park's peaceful surroundings belie its history as the location of a prison camp which imprisoned as many as 52,264 Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. A museum on site recounts this vivid history. Point Lookout State Park offers recreational opportunities on a picturesque peninsula formed by the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River. Swimming, fishing, boating and camping are just a few of the activities to be enjoyed in this beautiful bay setting.
Patapsco Valley State Park
Avalon, once home of the Avalon Nail and Iron Works, has only a few remains of the bustling mill town that once dotted the shores of the Patapsco River. Today, this section of the park has large picnic shelters, playgrounds, and access to trails that travel through the river valley as well as up and out of the valley. The Avalon Visitor center is also found in this section of the park – open on weekends April – October this small visitor center is housed in one of the only remaining structures from the village that supported the Avalon Iron works. You travel through Avalon to reach the Orange Grove area.
Susquehanna State Park
Located within Susquehanna State Park is the Rock Run Mansion. The mansion was the home of John Archer, who was the first doctor to receive a degree in America. Rock Run Mansion was also the home of Gen. James Archer and Col. Robert Archer who both served with distinction during the Civil War as part of the Army of Northern Virginia. Fighting under the command of Stonewall Jackson, both saw combat at Second Manassas, Seven Pines, Antietam, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. At Gettysburg both officers were captured, later to be exchanged. This beautiful mansion can be located off of Rock Run Road in Susquehanna State Park.
Come visit Susquehanna to learn more about its connection to American History, from the early exploration of Maryland right up to the Civil War!
Gunpowder Falls State Park
Located on the banks of the Little Gunpowder Falls, Jerusalem Mill is a quaint historic village which includes several newly restored structures. Among these is the historic Jerusalem Mill, which houses the park headquarters and a small museum. The village also has a Blacksmith shop and gun factory, where gun stocks were crafted during the Revolutionary War. Visitors can also enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Little Gunpowder from the Mill to the Jerico Covered Bridge. The round-trip hike is less than one mile. The museum, staffed completely by volunteers, is open on weekends from 1p.m. to 4p.m. and is also available by special request. The park offices are located on the second floor of the Jerusalem Mill, and are open Monday - Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.