1862 May 8th

May 8 1862 Thursday

Battle of McDowell, VA (CWSAC Formative Battle – Confederate Victory)

Peninsula Campaign
First Corinth Campaign
Jackson‘s Shenandoah Valley Campaign

Go to May 9 1862

Alabama. Skirmish at Elkton Station, near Athens.

Louisiana. Capture of Bayou Grand Caillou.

Louisiana. A landing party from USS Iroquois, Commander James Shedden Palmer, seized the Arsenal and occupied Baton Rouge.

Mississippi. Union reconnaissance to Farmington and Corinth.

Mississippi. Skirmishes at Corinth and Glendale.

North Carolina. Expedition to Gatesville ended.

Virginia. Reconnaissance to Mulberry Point ended.

Virginia. Reconnaissance to Clay County and Roane County began.

McDowell, Virginia, also known as Sitlington’s HillBull Pasture, or Bull Pasture Mountain. Starting at dawn, Confederate Major-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson’s army crossed Shaw’s Ridge, descended to the Cowpasture River at Wilson’s House, and ascended Bull Pasture Mountain twenty-five miles from Staunton. The advance was unopposed. Reaching the crest of the ridge, Jackson and his topographical engineer Major Jedediah Hotchkiss conducted a reconnaissance of the Union position at McDowell from a rocky spur to the right of the road.
At about 10am, Union Brigadier-General Robert Cumming Schenck arrived with reinforcements after a forced march from Franklin. Being senior to Brigadier-General Robert Huston Milroy, Schenck assumed overall command at McDowell with his headquarters at the Hull House. He deployed his artillery of 18 guns on Cemetery Hill and near the McDowell Presbyterian Church to defend the bridge over the Bullpasture River. He deployed his infantry in line from McDowell southwards along the river for about 800 yards. He placed one regiment (2nd West Virginia Infantry) on Hull’s Hill east of the river and overlooking the pike. Three companies of cavalry covered the left flank on the road to the north of the village. Schenck and Milroy sent out skirmishers to contest the base of Sitlington’s Hill along the river.
Confederate Brigadier-General Edward Johnson continued the advance to the base of Sitlington’s Hill. Expecting to meet a roadblock ahead, he diverged from the road into a steep narrow ravine that led to the top of the hill. After driving away the Union skirmishers, Johnson deployed his infantry along the long, sinuous crest of the hill. Jackson asked his staff to find a way to place artillery on the hill and to search for a way to flank the Union position to the north. As the Confederate forces on the crest of the hill increased in numbers, Schenck and Milroy conferred. Union scouts reported that the Confederates were attempting to bring artillery to the crest of the hill, which would make the Union position on the bottomland at McDowell untenable. In the absence of an aggressive Confederate advance, Schenck and Milroy attempted a spoiling attack of their own. Milroy advanced with his brigade (25th Ohio Infantry, 32nd Ohio Infantry, 75th Ohio Infantry, 3rd West Virginia Infantry) and the 82nd Ohio Infantry of Schenck’s brigade, about 2,300 men. At about 3 pm, Milroy personally led the attacking force, which crossed the bridge and proceeded up the ravines that cut the western slope of the hill.
Jackson had been content to hold the crest of the hill while searching for a route for a flanking movement to the north. He had declined to send artillery up the hill because of the difficulty of withdrawing the pieces in the face of an attack. Union artillerymen on Cemetery Hill elevated their pieces by digging deep trenches in the ground for the gun trails and began firing at the Confederates in support of the advancing infantry. Schenck also had at least one six-pounder gun hauled by hand to the crest of Hull’s Hill to fire on the Confederate right flank above the turnpike.
The Union line advanced resolutely up the steep slopes and closed on the Confederate position. The 3rd West Virginia advanced along the turnpike in an attempt to turn the Confederate right. Jackson reinforced his right on the hill with two regiments and covered the turnpike with the 21st Virginia Infantry. The 12th Georgia Infantry at the centre and slightly in advance of the main Confederate line on the hill crest bore the brunt of the Union attack and suffered heavy casualties. The fighting continued for four hours as the Union attackers attempted to pierce the centre of the Confederate line and then tried to envelop its left flank. Nine Confederate regiments were engaged, opposing five Union regiments in the fight for Sitlington’s Hill. At dusk, the Union attackers withdrew from Sitlington’s Hill and re-crossed to McDowell.
Schenck and Milroy ordered a general retreat along the turnpike from McDowell toward Franklin. The 73rd Ohio Infantry held their skirmish line in position along the river until near dawn when they withdrew and acted as rear guard for the retreating column. Ten men of the regiment were inadvertently left behind and captured. Shortly after the Union troops retired, the Confederates entered McDowell. Schenck established a holding position but only minor skirmishing resulted.
Jackson commenced a pursuit from the battlefield at McDowell but failed to catch Milroy’s column as it marched for Franklin. For nearly a week, Jackson pursued the retreating Union army, almost as far as Franklin, before commencing a return march to the Shenandoah Valley on 15 May.
Union casualties were 256 or 259 (34 killed, 220 wounded, 5 missing), Confederate losses were 420 (116 killed, 300 wounded, 4 missing) or 498. (CWSAC Formative Battle – Confederate Victory)


Union Mountain Department: Major-General John Charles Frémont
Cheat Mountain District: Brigadier-General Thomas Mealey Harris
Schenck’s Brigade, Cheat Mountain District: Brigadier-General Robert Cumming Schenck
Milroy’s Brigade: Cheat Mountain District: Brigadier-General Robert Huston Milroy

Confederate Department of Northern Virginia: General Joseph Eggleston Johnston
District of the Valley: Major-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson
Army of the Valley: Major-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson
2nd Brigade, Army of the Valley: Colonel J A Campbell
3rd Brigade, Army of the Valley: Brigadier-General William Booth Taliaferro
Johnson’s Division, “Army of the Northwest”: Brigadier-General Edward Johnson
1st Brigade, “Army of the Northwest”: Colonel Z T Conner
2nd Brigade, “Army of the Northwest”: Colonel W C Scott

Virginia. After blocking the Union landings at Eltham’s Landing, Confederate Major-General Gustavus Woodson Smith moved his and Major-General John Bankhead Magruder’s divisions through New Kent Court House, to a point near Bottom’s Bridge over the Chickahominy River, about nineteen miles from Barhamsville. The two Confederate divisions of Major-General James Longstreet and Major-General Daniel Harvey Hill camped five miles further downstream at Long Bridge. Their arrival at the crossings of the Chickahominy brought the 54,000 men of General Joseph Eggleston Johnston’s army within reach of safety in the Richmond defences after their water-logged retreat from Williamsburg.

Virginia. Union Major-General George Brinton McClellan requested all available forces to be sent by sea to his new base of operations at West Point, at the confluence of the Mattapony and Pamunkey Rivers and the terminus of the Richmond & York River Railroad. This new base shorted his lines of communications and avoided reliance on supplies and equipment travelling along the long muddy roads of the Yorktown peninsula from Fort Monroe.

Virginia. The USS Galena and two gunboats moved up the James River to support the operations of the Army of the Potomac. They silenced two shore batteries and forced the gunboats CSS Jamestown and CSS Patrick Henry to retreat further up the James River.

Virginia. USS Currituck, Acting Master William F Shankland, conducted a reconnaissance of the Pamunkey River and captured the American Coaster and Planter. Shankland reported that some twenty schooners had been sunk and two gunboats burned by the Confederates above West Point.

Virginia. Union Brigadier-General Jacob Dolson Cox advanced towards Pearisburg in western Virginia by way of Princeton. However, when Confederate Brigadier-General Humphrey Marshall replied by advancing towards Princeton from Tazewell, Cox had to pull back to Flat Top Mountain. Union Brigadier-General George Crook’s brigade continued with the onward march to Lewisburg.

Union Organisation

Commander in Chief: President Abraham Lincoln
Vice-President: Hannibal Hamlin
Secretary of War: Edwin McMasters Stanton
Secretary of the Navy: Gideon Welles

North Atlantic Blockading Squadron: Louis Malesherbes Goldsborough
South Atlantic Blockading Squadron: Samuel Francis Du Pont
West Gulf Blockading Squadron: David Glasgow Farragut
East Gulf Blockading Squadron: William McKean
Pacific Squadron: Charles H Bell
Western Gunboat Flotilla: Andrew Hull Foote
Potomac Flotilla: Robert Harris Wyman

Chairman of the War Board: Ethan Allen Hitchcock

Department of the Mississippi: Henry Wager Halleck

  • District of West Tennessee: Ulysses Simpson Grant
    • Army of West Tennessee: Ulysses Simpson Grant
  • District of the Mississippi: Isaac Ferdinand Quinby
    • Army of the Mississippi: John Pope
  • District of the Ohio: Don Carlos Buell
    • Army of the Ohio: Don Carlos Buell
  • District of Cairo: William Kerley Strong
    • Sub-District of Columbus: Isaac Ferdinand Quinby

Department of the Missouri: Henry Wager Halleck

  • District of St Louis: Lewis Merrill
  • District of Central Missouri: James Totten
  • District of Southwest Missouri: Samuel Ryan Curtis
    • Army of the Southwest: Samuel Ryan Curtis
  • District of Southeast Missouri: Frederick Steele
  • District of Northeast Missouri: John Montgomery Glover
  • District of Northwest Missouri: Benjamin Franklin Loan

Department of the Gulf: Benjamin Franklin Butler

  • Army of the Gulf: Benjamin Franklin Butler

Department of Kansas: James Gilpatrick Blunt

Middle Department: John Adams Dix

  • District of the Eastern Shore of Maryland: Henry Hayes Lockwood

Mountain Department: John Charles Frémont

  • Cheat Mountain District: Thomas Maley Harris
  • Railroad District: Benjamin Franklin Kelley
  • District of the Kanawha: Jacob Dolson Cox
  • District of the Gap: Samuel Powhatan Carter
  • District of the Valley of the Big Sandy River: James Abram Garfield

Department of New Mexico: Edward Richard Sprigg Canby

  • Central and Northern District of New Mexico: Benjamin Stone Roberts

Department of New York: Edward Denison Morgan

Department of North Carolina: Ambrose Everett Burnside

Department of the Pacific: George Wright

  • District of the Humboldt: Francis James Lippitt
  • District of Oregon: Justis Steinburger
  • District of Southern California: James Henry Carleton

Department of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan

  • Army of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan
    • II Corps Potomac: Edwin Vose Sumner
    • III Corps Potomac: Samuel Peter Heintzelman
    • IV Corps Potomac: Erasmus Darwin Keyes

Department of the Rappahannock: Irvin McDowell

  • Military District of Washington: James Samuel Wadsworth

Department of the Shenandoah: Nathaniel Prentiss Banks

Department of the South: David Hunter

  • Northern District of the South: Henry Washington Benham
  • Southern District of the South: John Milton Brannan
  • Western District of the South: Lewis Golding Arnold

Department of Texas: Vacant

Department of Virginia: John Ellis Wool

Confederate Organisation

CSA: The District of Lewisburg was discontinued.

Commander in Chief: President Jefferson Finis Davis
Vice-President: Alexander Hamilton Stephens
Secretary of War: George Wythe Randolph
Secretary of the Navy: Stephen Russell Mallory

Military Adviser to the President: Robert Edward Lee

Department No 1: Mansfield Lovell

Department of Alabama and West Florida: John Horace Forney temporary

  • Army of Mobile: William L Powell

Department of Middle and Eastern Florida: Joseph Finegan

Department of East Tennessee: Edmund Kirby Smith

  • Army of East Tennessee: Edmund Kirby Smith

Department of Henrico: John Henry Winder

Department of the Indian Territory: Douglas Hancock Cooper

Department of North Carolina: Theophilus Hunter Holmes

  • District of Cape Fear: Samuel Gibbs French
  • District of Pamlico: Robert Ransom temporary
  • District of Roanoke Island: Henry Marchmore Shaw

Department of Northern Virginia: Joseph Eggleston Johnston

  • District of Aquia: Gustavus Woodson Smith
  • Army of Northern Virginia: Joseph Eggleston Johnston
    • Right Wing Northern Virginia: James Longstreet
    • Left Wing Northern Virginia: Gustavus Woodson Smith
    • Reserve Northern Virginia: John Bankhead Magruder
  • Valley District: Thomas Jonathan Jackson
    • Army of the Valley: Thomas Jonathan Jackson

Department of South Carolina and Georgia: John Clifford Pemberton

  • District of Georgia: Alexander Robert Lawton
  • District of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley
    • 1st Sub-District of South Carolina: Arthur Middleton Manigault.
    • 2nd Sub-District of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley
    • 3rd Sub-District of South Carolina: Nathan George Evans
    • 4th Sub-District of South Carolina: William Stephen Walker
    • 6th Sub-District of South Carolina: Thomas Fenwick Drayton

Department of Southwestern Virginia: William Wing Loring

  • District of Abingdon: Humphrey Marshall

Department of Texas: Paul Octave Hébert

  • Eastern District of Texas: Paul Octave Hébert
  • Western District of Texas: Henry Eustace McCullough
  • Sub-District of Houston: John C Bowen
  • Sub-District of Galveston: Ebenezer B Nichols
  • Sub-District of the Rio Grande: Hamilton Prioleau Bee
  • Defences of Pass Cavallo: John W Glenn

Western Department: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard

  • Trans-Mississippi District: Earl Van Dorn
  • District of North Alabama: Daniel Ruggles
  • Army of Mississippi: Braxton Bragg
    • I Corps Mississippi: Leonidas Polk
    • II Corps Mississippi: Thomas Carmichael Hindman
    • III Corps Mississippi: William Joseph Hardee
    • Reserve Corps Mississippi: John Cabell Breckinridge
  • Army of the West: Earl Van Dorn

District of Arizona: Henry Hopkins Sibley

  • Army of New Mexico: Henry Hopkins Sibley

Forces in Richmond: Charles Dimmock

Union Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

Major-General USA

George Brinton McClellan
John Charles Frémont
Henry Wager Halleck

Major-General USV

Asterisk indicates concurrently Brigadier-General USA

John Adams Dix
Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
Benjamin Franklin Butler
David Hunter
Edwin Denison Morgan
Ethan Allen Hitchcock
Ulysses Simpson Grant
Irvin McDowell*
Ambrose Everett Burnside
William Starke Rosecrans*
Don Carlos Buell
John Pope
Samuel Ryan Curtis
Franz Sigel
John Alexander McClernand
Charles Ferguson Smith
Lewis Wallace
Ormsby McKnight Mitchel
Cassius Marcellus Clay
George Henry Thomas
George Cadwalader
William Tecumseh Sherman
Edward Otho Cresap Ord
Edwin Vose Sumner*
Samuel Peter Heintzelman
Erasmus Darwin Keyes
Joseph Hooker

Brigadier-General USA

Brackets indicates concurrently Major-General USV

John Ellis Wool
William Selby Harney
(Edwin Vose Sumner)
Joseph King Fenno Mansfield
(Irvin McDowell)
Robert Anderson
(William Starke Rosecrans)
Philip St George Cooke

Brigadier-General USV

Andrew Porter
Fitz-John Porter
William Buel Franklin
Charles Pomeroy Stone
Thomas West Sherman
George Archibald McCall
William Reading Montgomery
Philip Kearny
John Wolcott Phelps
Charles Smith Hamilton
Darius Nash Couch
Rufus King
Jacob Dolson Cox
Stephen Augustus Hurlbut
Robert Cumming Schenck
Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss
Benjamin Franklin Kelley
Alpheus Starkey Williams
Israel Bush Richardson
James Cooper
James Brewerton Ricketts
Orlando Bolivar Willcox
Michael Corcoran
Henry Hayes Lockwood
Louis Blenker
Henry Warner Slocum
James Samuel Wadsworth
John James Peck
George Webb Morell
John Henry Martindale
Samuel Davis Sturgis
George Stoneman
Henry Washington Benham
William Farrar Smith
James William Denver
Egbert Ludovicus Vielé
James Shields
John Fulton Reynolds
William Farquhar Barry
John Joseph Abercrombie
John Sedgwick
Silas Casey
Lawrence Pike Graham
George Gordon Meade
Abram Duryée
Alexander McDowell McCook
Oliver Otis Howard
Eleazar Arthur Paine
Charles Davis Jameson
Ebenezer Dumont
Robert Huston Milroy
Willis Arnold Gorman
Daniel Butterfield
Horatio Gouverneur Wright
William Nelson
William Thomas Ward
John Gross Barnard
Innis Newton Palmer
Seth Williams
John Newton
Winfield Scott Hancock
Thomas Leonidas Crittenden
George Wright
Isaac Ingalls Stevens
Thomas Williams
George Sykes
William Henry French
William Thomas Harbaugh Brooks
John Milton Brannan
William Wallace Burns
John Porter Hatch
David Sloane Stanley
William Kerley Strong
Albin Francisco Schoepf
Lovell Harrison Rousseau
James Scott Negley
Thomas John Wood
Richard W Johnson
Adolph Wilhelm August Friedrich Von Steinwehr
Joseph Bennett Plummer
John Gray Foster
George Washington Cullum
Jeremiah Tilford Boyle
Christopher Columbus Augur
Schuyler Hamilton
Jesse Lee Reno
George Washington Morgan
Julius Stahel
John McAllister Schofield
Thomas Jefferson McKean
John Grubb Parke
Zealous Bates Tower
Jefferson Columbus Davis
James Henry Lane
John McAuley Palmer
William High Keim
James Abram Garfield
Lewis Golding Arnold
Frederick Steele
William Scott Ketchum
Abner Doubleday
John Wynn Davidson
Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana
David Bell Birney
Thomas Francis Meagher
Henry Morris Naglee
Andrew Johnson
James Gallant Spears
Eugene Asa Carr
Thomas Alfred Davies
Daniel Tyler
William Hemsley Emory
Andrew Jackson Smith
Marsena Rudolph Patrick
Isaac Ferdinand Quinby
Hiram Gregory Berry
Orris Sanford Ferry
Daniel Phineas Woodbury
Henry Moses Judah
Richard James Oglesby
John Cook
John McArthur
Robert Latimer McCook
Jacob Gartner Lauman
Horatio Phillips Van Cleve
John Alexander Logan
Speed Smith Fry
Alexander Asboth
James Craig
Mahlon Dickerson Manson
Gordon Granger
Edward Richard Sprigg Canby
Grenville Mellen Dodge
Robert Byington Mitchell
James Gilpatrick Blunt
Francis Engle Patterson
Quincy Adams Gillmore
Amiel Weeks Whipple
Cuvier Grover
George Lucas Hartsuff
Rufus Saxton
Benjamin Alvord
Napoleon Bonaparte Buford
William Sooy Smith
Nathan Kimball
Charles Devens
James Henry Van Alen
Carl Schurz
Samuel Wylie Crawford
Henry Walton Wessells
Milo Smith Hascall
Leonard Fulton Ross
John White Geary
Alfred Howe Terry
Andrew Atkinson Humphreys
James Henry Carleton
Absalom Baird
John Cleveland Robinson
Truman Seymour
George Dashiell Bayard
Henry Prince
Abram Sanders Piatt
Thomas Turpin Crittenden
Maximilian Weber
Pleasant Adam Hackleman
Jeremiah Cutler Sullivan
Alvin Peterson Hovey
James Clifford Veatch
William Plummer Benton
Henry Bohlen
John Curtis Caldwell
Isaac Peace Rodman
Neal S Dow
George Sears Greene
Samuel Powhatan Carter
John Gibbon

Brigadier-General USA (Staff)

Montgomery Cunningham Meigs (Quartermaster-General)
Henry Knox Craig
Lorenzo Thomas (Adjutant-General)
James Wolfe Ripley (Ordnance)
William Alexander Hammond (Surgeon-General)

Confederate Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission


Samuel Cooper
Robert Edward Lee
Joseph Eggleston Johnston
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
Braxton Bragg

Major-General PACS

Leonidas Polk
Earl Van Dorn
Gustavus Woodson Smith
Theophilus Hunter Holmes
William Joseph Hardee
Benjamin Huger
James Longstreet
John Bankhead Magruder
Mansfield Lovell
Thomas Jonathan Jackson
Edmund Kirby Smith
George Bibb Crittenden
John Clifford Pemberton
Richard Stoddert Ewell
William Wing Loring
Sterling Price
Benjamin Franklin Cheatham
Samuel Jones
John Porter McCown
Daniel Harvey Hill
Jones  Mitchell Withers
Thomas Carmichael Hindman
John Cabell Breckinridge

Brigadier-General PACS

Alexander Robert Lawton
Charles Clark
John Buchanan Floyd
Henry Alexander Wise
David Rumph Jones
Henry Hopkins Sibley
John Henry Winder
Richard Caswell Gatlin
Daniel Smith Donelson
Samuel Read Anderson
Richard Heron Anderson
Robert Augustus Toombs
Arnold Elzey
William Henry Chase Whiting
Jubal Anderson Early
Isaac Ridgeway Trimble
Daniel Ruggles
Roswell Sabine Ripley
Albert Pike
Paul Octave Hébert
Joseph Reid Anderson
Simon Bolivar Buckner
Albert Gallatin Blanchard
Gabriel James Rains
James Ewell Brown Stuart
Lafayette McLaws
Thomas Fenwick Drayton
Lloyd Tilghman
Nathan George Evans
Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox
Robert Emmett Rodes
Richard Taylor
James Heyward Trapier
Samuel Gibbs French
William Henry Carroll
Hugh Weedon Mercer
Humphrey Marshall
Richard Griffith
Alexander Peter Stewart
William Montgomery Gardner
Richard Brooke Garnett
William Mahone
Lawrence O’Bryan Branch
Edward Johnson
Maxcy Gregg
Raleigh Edward Colston
Henry Heth
Johnson Kelly Duncan
Sterling Alexander Martin Wood
John George Walker
John King Jackson
George Edward Pickett
Bushrod Rust Johnson
James Patton Anderson
Howell Cobb
George Wythe Randolph
Joseph Brevard Kershaw
James Ronald Chalmers
Joseph Lewis Hogg
Ambrose Powell Hill
James Johnston Pettigrew
Carter Littlepage Stevenson
Daniel Leadbetter
William Whann Mackall
Charles Sidney Winder
Robert Ransom
John Bell Hood
Daniel Marsh Frost
Winfield Scott Featherston
Thomas James Churchill
William Booth Taliaferro
Albert Rust
Patrick Ronayne Cleburne
Samuel Bell Maxey
Hamilton Prioleau Bee
James Morrison Hawes
George Hume Steuart
William Duncan Smith
James Edwin Slaughter
Charles William Field
John Horace Forney
Paul Jones Semmes
Lucius Marshall Walker
Seth Maxwell Barton
Dabney Herndon Maury
John Bordenave Villepigue
Henry Eustace McCullough
John Stevens Bowen
Benjamin Hardin Helm
John Selden Roane
States Rights Gist
William Nelson Pendleton
Lewis Addison Armistead
Joseph Finegan
Martin Luther Smith
Franklin Gardner
William Nelson Rector Beall
Thomas Jordan
William Preston
Roger Atkinson Pryor
Henry Little
John Echols
George Earl Maney
Jean Jacques Alfred Alexandre Mouton
John Stuart Williams

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