Although I live less than 10 miles away, it’s sad to say that I’ve never visited the Civil War Battle of Monterey Pass site, other than to drive by on my way someplace else. I changed that his week by hiking the Monterey Peak Trail and walking all of the other trails in the park, which preserves a small portion of Pennsylvania’s second largest Civil War battle.
The Peak Trail is a little steep, but all of the other trails were quite easy. As you can see, the climb is worth the effort!
History of the Battle
Following the Battle of Gettysburg, the Confederates headed south with 60 miles of wagons loaded with supplies needed to sustain Lee’s arm. Twenty miles of those wagons made their way via Monterey Pass, and were attacked on the night of July 4th, by 5,000 Union troops in the middle of a raging thunderstorm.
There are many accounts from surviving soldiers of the terror the night induced because of the steep and treacherous roads. The sheer number of wagons is almost incomprehensible.
For several hours in the rain and darkness, the opposing forces engaged in some of the most confusing and chaotic fighting of the Civil War. In some instances, the soldiers could only tell where the enemy was by muzzle flashes or lightning that illuminated their positions.
The Monterey Pass Battlefield Park is located about 15 miles from Gettysburg in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.
The history of the area dates back to 1747, when immigrants looking for a new life traveled through the area to Appalachia on the Great Wagon Road. The park has wonderful walking trails with lots of wayside signs to explain the history of the area.