From Staunton, Maj. Gen. T.J. Jackson marched his army west along the Parkersburg Road to confront two brigades of Frémont’s force (Milroy and Schenck), advancing toward the Shenandoah Valley from western Virginia. At McDowell on May 8, Milroy seized the initiative and assaulted the Confederate position on Sitlington’s Hill. The Federals were repulsed after severe fighting, lasting four hours. Afterwards, Milroy and Schenck withdrew into western Virginia, freeing up Jackson’s army to march against the other Union columns threatening the Valley.
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