The Battle of McDowell

The Battle of McDowell (HMAVU)

Location: McDowell, VA 24458 Highland County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 19.718', W 79° 28.542'

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May 8, 1862

In the spring of 1862 Confederate fortunes seemed to have gone from bad to worse. Union forces had won several key battles in the West, while the U.S. Navy was establishing its coastal blockade and Major General George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac threatened Richmond. General Robert E. Lee, military advisor to President Jefferson Davis, ordered a diversion to prevent additional Union reinforcements from being sent against the Confederate capital. Lee ordered Major General Thomas J/. "Stonewall" Jackson to make an attack in the Shenandoah Valley.

As his diversionary strike, Jackson decided to attack the Federal forces converging on Staunton. Through the rain, Jackson pushed his Confederates westward on a forced march towards Staunton. On May 7, the Southerners discovered Union pickets about thirty miles from Staunton near McDowell. The Federal commander, Brigadier General Robert H. Milroy, withdrew his forces across the Bull Pasture River and requested reinforcements from his superior, Brigadier General Robert Schenk. On May 8, the Federals deployed in a defensive position across Sitlington's Hill. However, with only 6,000 men to Jackson's 10,000, Schenk decided to withdraw. In the early afternoon, to delay the Confederates while his main force retreated, Schenk launched an attack.

The Confederate victory at McDowell was the first clash in the 1862 Valley Campaign that tied down 60,000 Federals and firmly established Jackson's military reputation.
Placed ByCivil War Preservation Trust and Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 1st, 2014 at 1:56am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 633233 N 4243377
Decimal Degrees38.32863333, -79.47570000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 19.718', W 79° 28.542'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 19' 43.08" N, 79° 28' 32.52" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 243 Highland Turnpike, McDowell VA 24458, US
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