Monocacy National Battlefield was created
by congressional legislation in 1934 to help preserve the location of
the Civil War battle that took place there on July 8 and 9, 1864.
However, much of the property relevant to the battle remained in private ownership until the 1980s.
Thus, park lands were not
opened to the public until 1991. The Best Farm was among
properties acquired by the Park Service in 1993.
Best Farm is a multi-component cultural landscape that encompasses
nearly the full range of human occupation in Maryland. The Monocacy
River forms the southern and eastern boundaries of the farm property,
signifying the area likely contained remains of prehistoric sites, which
often were located near major water sources. In the first decades
of the 18th century, European settlers traded with the local Native
In the mid-18th century, the town of
Frederick was laid out and surrounding areas were divided into
farmsteads. During the Civil War, several important transportation
routes through the Monocacy area (Georgetown Pike, major railroads,
etc.) allowed significant troop movements through the region. The
Battle of Monocacy in 1864, led by Confederate General Jubal Early, was
counted as a Confederate victory, but the battle
helped prevent Early from making a successful assault on Washington,
D.C. John Best, the tenant on the farm at the time of the battle,
continued his agricultural pursuits following the battle.
archaeologists are utilizing a number of different methodological and
interpretive techniques, including GIS
(geographic information system,
see "New Perspectives"
article), in the investigations and have
developed a successful volunteer and public outreach program. Test
excavations thus far have produced artifacts ranging from the
prehistoric through the historic period.
This multi-year projects is being
conducted under the auspices of a cooperative agreement between the
Center for Heritage Resource Studies and the Regional
Archeology Program of the National Park Service, National Capital
Region. The results of this
study will assist the National Park Service in short- and long-range
planning, development, and interpretation at the Best Farm.