The battle at McDowell.

interesting details of the fight by a Participant.

[Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
Camp of Northwestern Anne. May 16, 1862.
Old Stonewall has kept us continuously on the march ever since the battle of McDowell, so that I have not had a spare moment here; to fore to give you an account of that battle. For the space of ground fought over, it was one of the fiercest and bloodiest it that has occurred during the present war.

Generals Jackson and Johnson having driven the enemy from Shenandoah mountain in great precipitation, they relied on the main body of their forces at McDowell, where they made a stand. That village is very strongly situated for defence from an attack from the East--there being a very narrow gorge between the mountains. through which the turnpike runs before entering the village. Generals Jackson and Johnson having since a fried there position, and that is was impossible to very it by an attack on the waited the top of a high with called"calling Washington's Hill, on the left of the turnpike, for the purpose of reconnoitering the position of the enemy.--General Milroy at once saw that this hill commanded his position, and deter mined that we should not occupy it if he could prevent it. During the reconnaissance Gen. Edw. Johnson's command, consisting of Col. W. C. Scott's brigade, composed of the 55th regiment, commanded by Lieut. -- Col.Board, Col. S. H. Letcher being since; the 44th Georgia, Maj Norvell Cobb, Lieut. Col. A. C. Jones billing abstention detached service; the 5th regiment by Colonel M. G Harmen; Brice's battery and Miller's battery, and Col.Connor's brigade, composed of the 12th Georges, commanded by Major Hawkins, Lieut,Col.Smead acting as Adjkcen, to General Johnson; the 25th regiment, by Col. George Smith; the 31st regiment, by Col. Johnson Hoffidan, Lieut. Colonel A. H, Jackson, and Maj. Jas. Ontueworth, and the Ese battery, commanded by Capt Raine, were brought on the hill.

The hill is denuded of tress, but has a few clumps of busher in some parts of it. Col. Scott formed his line of battle on the crest of the hill, and his men faced west. This was a mere prevention to guard against attack, which he did not expect; but, very unexpectedly, the enemy made a vigorous, attack on Col. Scott's right wing immediately the battle became fierce and furious. In a short time several regiments of the enemy were sent to the Col.. Scott's right flank, but Col.Connor's brigade was then formed at right angles to Col. Scott's, to resist them, The battle was then general and uninterimitting. At one time the enemy, by covering themselves by a hill, appeared suddenly in a very short distance of Col. Scott's right wing, and poured into it so deadly a fire as to cause his men to recoil some fifteen or twenty yards.

Scott's situation was then perilous in the extreme. He placed himself on his line of battle before his men with not more than a dozen men who had not left, and waving his hat around his head, appealed to his men in the most animating manner to rally to his support. He asked them if Virginians would let a parcel of Yankees make them run on their own soil? By such appeals as this he soon rallied them, and as they returned to the charge, he waved his hat and cheered most vociferously. His men then ponder into the enemy, who had by this time got very near to his line, so deadly a fire as to drive them down the hill, During this fire his men shot down the flag bearer, shot the flagstaff in two or three places, and during the temporary flight of the enemy Major Colsy, of the Fifty-eight Regiment, ran out and got the flag which is still in the possession of that regiment. As soon as the enemy were driven down the hill, Colonel Scott proposed three cheers for old Virginia, which were given with a will.

The battle was equally fierce with Colonel Connor's Brigade. Indeed, It was fiercest where the left wing of Connor's and the right wing of Scott's united at right angles to each other, The 12th Georgia was nearer the left of Connor's and suffered most. Connor's suffered more than Scott's, because Scott's line of battle was on the west of the hill, and as his front rank would fire he would cause it to fall back a few paces and lie down and load, while Connor's had no such advantage But for that it is generally believed that a majority of Scott's right wing would have been killed. General Taliaferro's Brigade came up before the battle closed, but I am not advised as to the part it bore in the action. It is highly complimented. The battle commenced about 5 o'clock, and did not close until nearly 9 P. M. In this action all the officers and men behaved most gallantly--Gen. Ed. Johnson, as usual, displayed great gallantry, and had his horse killed under him, and was wounded in the ankle.

Col. Harman was wounded in the arm early in the action, and his regiment was then well commanded by Lieut. Col. Skinner and Mufor Ross. Col. Taliaferro's, of the 23d regiment, had his horse killed; Col.Scott, also, had his horse killed under him by two balls. Indeed, it looks like a miracle that he should have, escaped unhurt. No one in the battle distinguished himself more.

I visited the field of battle again yesterday, and saw the marks of the enemy's balls, and it is my opinion, and the opinion of nearly all with us , that no one could have stood on any one place during the whole battle, near Col.Scott's right wing, without being hit. The artillery on our side was not in action.


another account.

A correspondent of the Lynchburg Republican, writing from the camp in Pendleton county, Virginia, May 12th, gives the following interesting particulars of the recent fight at McDowell's in Highland;

On Monday, May 5th, we left camp at Valley Mills, Augusta county, six miles north of Staunton, with five day's rations, without tents and baggage, save blankets, under the command of Gen. Ed. Johnson, and the next day the advance guard, under Col. Letcher fell in with the outposts of the enemy--one cavalry company and a body of infantry — near the forks of the Jennings's Gap and the Parkersburg turnpike roads, 21 miles from Staunton. Letcher fired upon the enemy, killing three, wounding several, and taking one prisoner.

About this time "Old Stonewall" passed up the road and had a conversation with General Johnson. Soon after the consultation, Johnson's army pushed up the road in pursuit of the enemy towards Shenandoah Mountain, followed by Jackson's. When we arrived at the foot of the mountain, on the east side, we found a regiment of Yankees has been camped there but had left on hearing of our appearance, leaving behind all their tents, clothing, commissary stores, and a number of small arms, most of which they broke the stocks off; but several cases were left unopened and in fine order.

After scouting the mountain thoroughly, we found that three regiments had been camped upon the top, but upon our approach had made a hasty retreat.

When we arrived upon the summit we could see the enemy in hasty retreat on the east side of Bull Pasture Mountain, about five miles in advance, It being late in the day our commander thought it prudent to half and go into camp for the night.

At sunrise the next morning we were again on the line of march in pursuit of the enemy. When we arrived at Bull Pasture Mountain we ascended to its summit, when Ashby's scouts reported that the Yankees had placed four pieces of artillery on the road leading into McDowell, on the west side of the mountain, where the road passes through a narrow gorge. The heights commanding Monterey were also in possession of the enemy, with artillery planted.

The Lee Battery, of Lynchburg, was selected to go in advance with its rifle guns, but after reaching the summit of the mountain they were ordered back — Gens Jackson and Johnson deciding that no position could be obtained.

Johnson's army (that is the infantry) was placed upon the top of the mountain. After the Generals had reconnected for several hours, it becoming late they concluded to postpone an attack until the following morning; but, the enemy receiving reenforcements, made an attack upon as about 8 o'clock, After a desperate fight, which lasted five hours, we drove the enemy from the field.

During the engagement Gen. Johnson came near being captured. Gen. Jackson, not knowing his position gave orders for the 44th Va regiment to fall back, but the Richmond Zouaves Captain Alfriend, seeing the perilous position of their brave commender, Gen, J, disobeyed orders and charged upon the enemy, thereby saving him from the Yankees'clutones.

Our loss is estimated at about 800 killed, wounded, and missing. About one hundred of the number were killed and mortally wounded.

During the battle Gen. Johnson's horse was killed under him, and the General received a wound in the ankle from a sail passing through the small bone of the legs but I am happy to state that the wound, though quite painful, is not of a serious character.

The 12th Georgia regiment did most of the fighting, and suffered very severely. They lost 182 killed, wounded and missing; among them were many brave and gallant officers. One company of the 12th Georgia lost all of its officers save the 4th Corporal.

There were only two brigades of three regiments each both of Johnson's army, engaged int the fight. The first was commanded by Col. Z. T. Conner, of Georgia, and the second by Col. Wm. C. Scott, of Virginia, of both of whom Gen. Johnson speaks in the highest terms for their gallantry and bravery on this occasion.

We expected to renew the fight the next morning, but the bird had flown, leaving behind, at McDowell, where 3,000 encamped, all his camp equipage, a large quantity of ammunition, a number of cases of Enfield rifles, together with about 100 head of cattle, which they had stolen, being mostly milch cows.

At McDowell, Milroy's headquarters, great destruction was done to private property.

The Yankees had been enjoying themselves finely. They had erected large bake-ovens, and the officers' kitchens were all provided with large cooking stoves of the most improved pattern.

On the retreat our cavalry overtook and captured a large number of prisoners; among them was a Colonel, and an able-bodied negro worth at least $1500.

We have found a number of dead and many graves along the road, besides abandoned wagons and broken-down horses. I learn this morning that 703 dead Yankees have been found in a mountain hollow near McDowell's, covered with brush.

People along the road tell us that they pressed all their horses to carry off their artillery, &c.

We arrived at this place yesterday (Sunday) about 3 o'clock P. M., On our approach the enemy took to the mountains, where they had planted artillery, and set fire to all the works. So dense was the smoke that we could not find their position until nightfall, when it was too dark to shell them. In fact, it is very hard to drive an enemy from the mountain heights, as you can seldom get a position for artillery. This morning our scouts are out in search of a position and to watch the movements of the Yankees, but I have not yet heard from them.

Northwestern Virginia is now nearly free of the scoundrels.

I do not knew our destination, as General Jackson never tells any one his plans, not even his Brigadiers and Aids.

The Yankees had put up a telegraph wire almost to Monterey, but on our approach abandoned the work, leaving several tons of wire, ladders, &c., behind.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Edward Johnson (14)
W. C. Scott (13)
Connor (7)
Gens Jackson (6)
McDowell (3)
S. H. Letcher (3)
Taliaferro (2)
William C. Scott (2)
Milroy (2)
Virginians (1)
George Smith (1)
Smead (1)
Skinner (1)
Mufor Ross (1)
Raine (1)
James Ontueworth (1)
Elizabeth Miller (1)
A. Catesby Jones (1)
Johnson Hoffidan (1)
Hawkins (1)
Harman (1)
Gen (1)
Z. T. Conner (1)
Colsy (1)
Norvell Cobb (1)
Brice (1)
Ashby (1)
Alfriend (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
December, 5 AD (1)
May, 5 AD (1)
May 16th, 1862 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: