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

Second Battle of Winchester

June 13, 1863

 
 
Second Battle of Winchester Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, October 31, 2020
1. Second Battle of Winchester Marker
Inscription.  
When Confederate Gen. Richard Ewell's Second Corps spearheaded the Army of Northern Virginia's second invasion of the North in June 1863, his first task was to destroy Gen. Robert Milroy's command of approximately 8,000 troops who guarded over the lower Shenandoah Valley. Gen. Ewell's lead elements first encountered Gen. Milroy's troops on June 12 in Middletown, eight miles south of this position. The following day Milroy took precautions to protect the southern approaches to Winchester by sending Gen. Washington Elliot's brigade to guard the Valley Pike. Milroy also ordered Elliot to move a portion of his command from its position on the southern outskirts of Winchester further south to Kernstown, acting as a reconnaissance in force.

Col. Joseph Warren Keifer of the 110th Ohio led the reconnaissance, which consisted of his own regiment plus the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry and two guns from Battery D, 1st West Virginia Artillery. Col. Keifer advanced his detachment south and easily pushed aside a small Confederate force, a unit of the 2nd Maryland Infantry Battalion. As Keifer continued to advance along the Valley pike and the
Second Battle of Winchester Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, October 31, 2020
2. Second Battle of Winchester Marker
firing intensified, Gen. Elliot sent reinforcements who, as they got, closer to Kernstown, viewed Gen. Ewell's massive advancing columns. Instead of withdrawing, Elliot decided to block the Confederate advance by taking advantage of two key pieces of high ground, Pritchard's Hill and Sandy Ridge, just west of the Valley Pike near Kernstown.

The two guns from Battery D, 1st West Virginia, supported by two Ohio infantry regiments, took a position here on Pritchard's Hill. Gen. Elliot then sent the 12th West Virginia Infantry further to the west (your right) to a position atop Sandy Ridge to protect his western flank.

To crack this position, Gen. Ewell turned to Gen. Jubal Early's division. Early, in turn, sent Gen. Harry Hays' Louisiana Brigade to advance against the western flank of Pritchard's Hill to silence the guns. Gen. John Gordon's brigade advanced further to the west and drove the defenders from Sandy Ridge. Despite some well-aimed shots from the artillery on Pritchard's Hill, numerical strength outweighed the geographical superiority and the Union defenders withdrew from this hill and re-formed closer to Winchester.

For two more days Ewell's and Milroy's commands battled in the forts and fields north and northwest of Winchester. By the morning of June 15, 1863, Milroy's force had been crushed and the path into Pennsylvania for the Army of
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Northern Virginia had been cleared.

[Sidebars:]
Gen. Jubal Early's success here as a division commander on June 13, 1863, would be topped by his astonishing victory almost a year later at the Second Battle of Kernstown.

Gen. Robert Milroy, although remembered most for his defeat at the Second Battle of Winchester, was also the first Union general to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation in the Shenandoah Valley.

 
Erected by Shenandoah At War; Kernstown Battlefield Association.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil.
 
Location. 39° 8.765′ N, 78° 11.807′ 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. The Second Battle of Kernstown (a few steps from this marker); The First 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
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(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.
 
 
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 45 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 2, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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Feb. 24, 2021