Winchester, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Second Battle of Kernstown
Mulligan’s Final Stand
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
Mulligan’s 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.” Mulligan’s 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 Pritchard’s 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 Breckinridge’s
(Right Sidebar, with portrait of Colonel James A. Mulligan): Mulligan was a charismatic Irish-American attorney from Chicago, Illinois, who raised “Mulligan’s 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 Mulligan’s 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.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil.
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. Located along the stone wall mentioned on the marker. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 610 Battle Park Drive, Winchester VA 22604, United States of America. Touch for directions.
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); The Second Battle of Kernstown (about 800 feet away); a different marker also named The First Battle of Kernstown (approx. 0.2 miles away); Battle of Kernstown (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Battle of Kernstown (approx. ¼ mile away); Kernstown Battles (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map 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(Submitted on November 11, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 4, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 28, 2007. This page has been viewed 3,311 times since then and 99 times this year. Last updated on August 14, 2020, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 28, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 5, 6. submitted on October 1, 2020, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.