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Winchester, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Second Battle of Kernstown

Mulliganís Final Stand

 
 
The Second Battle of Kernstown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 25, 2007
1. The Second Battle of Kernstown Marker
Inscription. Late in the afternoon on July 24, 1864, 1,800 Union soldiers led by Colonel James A. Mulligan fell back to this lane. Major General John B. Gordonís Confederate force attacked from the ground beyond Opequon Church. Mulligan held off Gordon briefly, but Confederate Major General John C. Breckinridgeís devastating flank attack struck the Irishman from the east side of the Valley Pike. Breckinridge, a former U.S. Vice President, personally led his men forward. One soldiers deemed him, “the bravest man I ever saw.” To the west, sharpshooters from Major General Stephen D. Ramseurís Confederate command attacked Mulliganís right flank, a short distance beyond the wheelwright shop.

As the Union battle line crumbled, Mulligan rode up behind his old Irish Brigade, the 23rd Illinois Infantry, “Never did he look better,” recalled one of the soldiers, “his penetrating eyes flashing as he beheld his brigade, the last in yielding to the pressure of the enemy.” With Confederates closing in from all sides, Mulligan ordered a fighting withdrawal. When he rose up in his saddle to cheer his men on, Confederate sharpshooters concealed in the streambed hit Mulligan. As his dedicated soldiers rushed to his side, two more bullets struck him in rapid secession. The sharpshooters also killed Lt. James Nugent, Mulliganís
Marker Beside the Stone Wall image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 25, 2007
2. Marker Beside the Stone Wall
19-year-old brother-in-law, who had been holding the regimental colors.

Mulliganís soldiers attempted to carry him from the field, but many fell under the blistering Confederate musketry. Mulligan saw the heavy losses his men were enduring and ordered “Lay me down and save the flag.” Mulliganís men complied. Confederate soldiers later carried the mortally wounded Mulligan into the Pritchard House where he died two days later.

The victorious Confederates swept up Pritchardís Hill and through Winchester, driving back the entire Union army in confusion to Bunker Hill, West Virginia. The Union army lost 1,200 men, while Early suffered only 200 casualties. A Virginia veteran summed up the Second Battle of Kernstown as “the most easily won battle of the war.”

(Left Sidebar, with portrait of Major General John C. Breckinridge): Considered a reluctant Confederate, Breckinridge served as the U.S. Vice President from 1857 to 1861 and was a presidential candidate in 1860. In the turbulent summer of 1861, he retained a seat in Congress as Senator from Kentucky, attempting to reconcile the fractured nation. Only when Kentucky Unionists plotted Breckinridgeís arrest in the fall of 1861, did he join the Confederate army.

(Right Sidebar, with portrait of Colonel James A. Mulligan): Mulligan was a charismatic Irish-American attorney
The Stone Wall Looking East image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 25, 2007
3. The Stone Wall Looking East
The direction of Breckinridge's flank attack
from Chicago, Illinois, who raised “Mulliganís Irish Brigade” for the Union cause in 1861. While he fought in the Valley in 1864, his pregnant wife and their two young daughters remained in Cumberland, Maryland, waiting for his return. Upon learning of Mulliganís wounding at Kernstown, his wife hurried to Winchester to care for her husband, but he died before she arrived.
 
Erected by Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District.
 
Location. 39° 8.636′ N, 78° 11.593′ W. Marker is in Winchester, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Battle Park Drive, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Located along the stone wall mentioned on the marker. Marker is at or near this postal address: 610 Battle Park Drive, Winchester VA 22604, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Pritchard House (within shouting distance of this marker); The First Battle of Kernstown (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named The First Battle of Kernstown (about 500 feet away); a different marker also named The Second Battle of Kernstown (about 800 feet away); a different marker also
The Stone Wall Looking West image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 25, 2007
4. The Stone Wall Looking West
The direction from which Ramseur's attack.
named The First Battle of Kernstown (approx. 0.2 miles away); Battle of Kernstown (approx. 0.3 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Kernstown (approx. 0.3 miles away); Kernstown Battles (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Winchester.
 
Regarding The Second Battle of Kernstown. This is one of six battlefield interpretive markers in the park. See the related markers link below for a listing of the walking tour, or the Kernstown Battles Virtual Tour by Markers in the links section for a driving tour.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
 
Also see . . .
1. Kernstown Battlefield Association. (Submitted on August 28, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. Second Kernstown. From the National Parks Service survey of Shenandoah Battlefields. (Submitted on August 28, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

3. Kernstown Battles Virtual Tour By Markers. This marker is related to several markers in the area detailing the actions of two separate battles occurring around Kernstown during the Civil War. The sites include walking trails at the Pritchard-Grim Farm and Rose Hill. (Submitted on November 11, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,947 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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