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

The First Battle of Kernstown

An Unheralded Commander's Unique Victory

 
 
The First Battle of Kernstown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, October 31, 2020
1. The First Battle of Kernstown Marker
Inscription.  
At 9:00 A.M. on March 23, 1862, Confederate artillery unlimbered near the Valley Turnpike and fired on this height, called Pritchard's Hill, to begin the First Battle of Kernstown. Union artillery rolled onto these knolls and responded by discharging 700 rounds of shot and shell over the next five hours. More than 300 Union soldiers crowded the height to protect the artillery while Colonel Nathan Kimball, the Union battlefield commander, set up headquarters on this same hill.

Kimball successfully repulsed Confederate infantry in its attempt to dislodge the artillery from this ground early in the afternoon, only to watch helplessly as General Jackson swiftly shifted his Confederate artillery from the Valley Turnpike to the crest of Sandy Ridge (the ridge line one mile to your right). By 3:30 P.M., Jackson's cannon suppressed the Union artillery position. Perched on this hill, Kimball countered aggressively by launching two infantry attacks in quick succession in an effort to force "Stonewall" Jackson from his commanding position.

By sunset, Kimball's assaults dislodged Jackson's troops from Sandy Ridge, capturing two
The First Battle of Kernstown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, October 31, 2020
2. The First Battle of Kernstown Marker
cannon and 250 healthy soldiers by nightfall. The Confederates also suffered 450 killed and wounded within their ranks from the day-long battle. Colonel Kimball's men, killed and wounded numbered nearly 600 for the day. His victory earned him a promotion to the rank of brigadier general. Kimball, an Indiana physician before the war, became the only field commander in the Civil War to defeat both Robert E. Lee (Cheat Mountain in West Virginia) and "Stonewall" Jackson (Kernstown) in separate engagements.

[Sidebars:]
Colonel Nathan Kimball
Colonel Nathan Kimball's solid leadership at Kernstown was repeated in later Civil War campaigns. Breveted Major General in 1865, Kimball retired from the army after participating in 22 victories against three losses.

Colonel William Murray
Colonel William Murray spent most of the Kernstown battle on this knoll with his 84th Pennsylvania infantry until ordered to charge the Confederate cannons on Sandy Ridge late in the afternoon. Murray was killed 40 yards from the Southern artillery, the highest ranking officer to die on March 23, 1862.

 
Erected by Shenandoah At War; The Knowledge Point, Shenandoah University Historical and Tourism Center.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this
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topic list: War, US Civil.
 
Location. 39° 8.769′ N, 78° 11.817′ W. Marker is in Winchester, Virginia. Marker is on Battle Park Drive half a mile west of Saratoga Drive, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 610 Battle Park Dr, Winchester VA 22601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Second Battle of Winchester (a few steps from this marker); The Second Battle of Kernstown (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named The First Battle of Kernstown (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Pritchard House (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named The Second Battle of Kernstown (approx. 0.2 miles away); Pettus Cousins in the Battle of First Kernstown (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Second Battle of Kernstown (approx. ¼ mile away); Kernstown Battlefield (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Winchester.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This marker has replaced the linked marker.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 2, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 50 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 2, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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Mar. 2, 2021