Darnestown: A Strategic Point of Defense

Darnestown: A Strategic Point of Defense (HM1BL1)

Location: Gaithersburg, MD 20878 Montgomery County
Country: United States of America

N 39° 6.213', W 77° 17.448'

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The Civil War

By the summer of 1861, the Union recognized Darnestown as an ideal location for establishing a major division headquarters. The town was strategically situated at the intersection of roads leading to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and to Washington, D. C., and it was not far from the fords of the Potomac River.

President Lincoln and his generals feared that if Confederate troops crossed the Potomac River into Montgomery County, they might invade the Nation's capital from the north.

As a result of its rural valley of Darnestown and its citizens saw Union and Confederate movements throughout the Civil War.

Union Troops at Darnestown

Federal forces established a main line of defense and headquarters for three brigades of General McClellan's Army of the Potomac, under the command of Major General Nathaniel P. Banks. The patience, loyalties, and resources of Darnestown were soon tested with the coming of an entire Union division. The encampment lasted from August to December 1861. The 18,000 Union troops that doubled the total population of Montgomery County were camped on farmland around Darnestown at Seneca Creek, and in smaller encampments form Harpers Ferry to Muddy Branch.

Roster of Banks' Union Regiments at Darnestown, 1861

9th New York State Militia (83rd New York Infantry)
19th New York Infantry
28th New York Infantry
46th Pennsylvania Infantry
Collis' Zouaves (114th Pennsylvania Volunteers)
5th Connecticut Infantry
1st Maryland Infantry
16th Indiana Infantry
27th Indiana Infantry
3rd Wisconsin Infantry
2nd Massachusetts Infantry
13th Massachusetts Infantry
Company A, Rhode Island Light Battery
HM NumberHM1BL1
Year Placed2012
Placed ByMontogomery Parks
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 at 10:45pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 301914 N 4330766
Decimal Degrees39.10355000, -77.29080000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 6.213', W 77° 17.448'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 6' 12.78" N, 77° 17' 26.88" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)301, 240, 202
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 14015 Darnestown Rd, Gaithersburg MD 20878, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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