Battle of McDowell

Battle of McDowell (HM16QD)

Location: McDowell, VA 24458 Highland County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 19.457', W 79° 27.95'

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Confederates Hold the High Ground

— 1862 Valley Campaign —

Beyond the ridge you are facing is Sitlington's Hill. On the afternoon of May 8, 1862, Gen. Edward "Allegheny" Johnson directed two brigades of Confederate infantry to take position on the hill facing the Federals across Bull Pasture Creek in front of the village of McDowell. As the afternoon grew late, the Federals commanded by Gen. Robert H. Milroy, crossed the swollen Bull Pasture Creek using the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike bridge and advanced against the right of Johnson's position held by the 31st Virginia Infantry. The Federals gained some success until this portion of the Confederate line was stabilized by the arrival of Gen. William Taliaferro's brigade of Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's Valley Army en route from Staunton.

The Federals launched a furious assault against the Confederate center held by the 12th Georgia Infantry supported by Taliaferro as his regiments came onto the field. As darkness fell, the fierce volleys continued claiming heavy casualties on both sides. Col. Samuel Gibbons of the 10th Virginia Infantry was killed as General Johnson was removed with a severe ankle wound. Shortly before 9 p.m., the Federals broke off their unsuccessful attack, burned their camps, and began their retreat toward Franklin.

1) The hiking trail to your right leads to the top of Sitlington's Hill. The trail, marked by blue-painted stripes, is a steady incline approximately one mile long. The trail ends at the Confederate position on Sitlington's Hill and affords spectacular views of the surrounding terrain. Appropriate clothing is recommended.

2) Callie Smith (cira 1880-1982) This parking area is built upon land donated by Lt. Col. Leonard Harris, U.S. Army (Ret.) and his cousin John Howard "Duffy" Smith. Their family was deeded property here shortly after the Civil War. Allegedly, Robert Sitlington, a wealthy landowner, gave small parcels of land to slaves he had freed. The cousins' great grandfather, John Smith, was a free man and community leader in the African American community near McDowell called Anthony's Burg. Leonard Harris was raised by his grandparents, Ulysses Grant Smith and Callie Stewart Smith. He remembers many Civil War artifacts in the old homestead, including a well-preserved rifle and bayonet.
HM NumberHM16QD
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, October 3rd, 2014 at 2:12am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 634104 N 4242909
Decimal Degrees38.32428333, -79.46583333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 19.457', W 79° 27.95'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 19' 27.42" N, 79° 27' 57.00" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 100 Highland Turnpike, McDowell VA 24458, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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