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McDowell in Highland County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Battle Of McDowell

The Heart of the Battlefield

 
 
Battle Of McDowell Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bradley Owen, October 14, 2017
1. Battle Of McDowell Marker
Inscription.  You are standing at the center of the McDowell battlefield. Throughout the afternoon of May 8, 1862, hundreds or Union soldiers advanced doggedly uphill toward your position, loading and firing as they came. On either side of you, Confederate soldiers were returning fire with grimy musket barrels and suffering heavy casualties.

Union Gen. Robert H. Milroy had turned the tables on Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. His attack up the mountain surprised the Confederates, and he directed his men into ravines to minimize their exposure to the defenders' fire as they trudged uphill. From the ravines, Milroy's men launched several bayonet charges that pushed the Confederates farther up the hill.

The Federals also were generally equipped with rifles, which enabled them to fire more accurately at longer ranges than could the Confederates with their inferior muskets. Even though they were fighting their way uphill—a major disadvantage—the Federals inflicted 532 casualties on their foes while suffering only 259 themselves.

Confederate reinforcements rushed to this point through a storm of Union bullets. The
Closeup of Battle Of McDowell Map image. Click for full size.
By Bradley Owen, October 14, 2017
2. Closeup of Battle Of McDowell Map
Southerners held the line until nightfall, when the Federals withdrew down the mountain to McDowell.

"There's old Johnson—let's flank him!"
—Unnamed Union soldier

"Yes, damn you, flank me if you can!"
—Gen. Edward Johnson, CSA

(captions)
Union assaults nearly fractured the Confederate line on Sitlington's Hill. Only Confederate reinforcements, and a corresponding lack of Federal reinforcements, preserved the line.

Downhill to your right, the Union 3rd [West] Virginia Infantry clashed with the Confederate 31st Virginia Infantry (whose flag is shown here). Many of the men on one side had known men on the other before the war. When the firing began, the soldiers "called (each other) by name, and proceeded with the slaughter." Courtesy West Virginia University

Confederate Gen. Edward "Allegheny" Johnson held this sector of the field. Leading from the front, he was wounded and almost captured in a Federal charge. Courtesy Libarruy of Congres

 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list.
 
Location. 38° 
View Looking Towards The Marker In The Distance image. Click for full size.
By Bradley Owen, October 14, 2017
3. View Looking Towards The Marker In The Distance
The Confederate line stretched across this ridge line.
19.452′ N, 79° 28.507′ W. Marker is in McDowell, Virginia, in Highland County. Marker can be reached from Highland Turnpike (U.S. 250) 1˝ miles east of Virginia Route 656, on the right when traveling east. The marker can be reached from U.S. 250 by way of the Civil War Trust one mile hiking trail that leads to the top of Sitlington's Hill. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Mc Dowell VA 24458, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Battle of McDowell (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named The Battle of McDowell (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named The Battle of McDowell (about 700 feet away); a different marker also named The Battle of McDowell (approx. 0.3 miles away); Commemorating The Battle Of McDowell (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of McDowell (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of McDowell (approx. half a mile away); a different marker also named The Battle of McDowell (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in McDowell.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 2, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 28, 2021, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. This page has been viewed 55 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 28, 2021, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia.   3. submitted on January 30, 2021, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Wide shot of marker and its surroundings. • Can you help?
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Feb. 26, 2021