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

The Second Battle of Kernstown

Two U.S. Presidents Fought at Kernstown

 
 
The Second Battle of Kernstown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, October 31, 2020
1. The Second Battle of Kernstown Marker
Inscription.  
Colonel James A. Mulligan's Union command of 1,800 men encamped on these heights on the night of July 23, 1864, when Confederate cavalry drove Union cavalry back toward Kernstown on the morning of the 24th, Mulligan deployed two cannons on the hill checking the Confederate advance. Mulligan subsequently advanced his small command to the support of the Union cavalry.

Mulligan's immediate supervisor, Major General George Crook, doubted several reports indicating the presence of Lieutenant General Jubal A. Early's entire Confederate army at Kernstown. Instead, Crook ordered an attack. Future U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes led his 1,300 Ohioans and West Virginians into position on the east side of the Valley Pike, advancing with Mulligan. Minutes later, Major General John C. Breckinridge's Confederates advanced from behind the ridge to the east (containing present-day I-81), striking Hayes in his flank and rear, and throwing most of his troop into the utmost confusion. Colonel Hayes rallied what men he could on Pritchard's Hill. While Mulligan's men made a brief stand along the lane at the foot of the hill.

From the
The Second Battle of Kernstown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, October 31, 2020
2. The Second Battle of Kernstown Marker
hill, Hayes saw the 13th West Virginia Infantry located in an orchard (where the present day Saturn dealer is located) to the east, bravely but vainly resisting Breckinridge's attack. Hayes sent his young aide Lieutenant William McKinley, another future U.S. President, to retrieve the "Mountaineers" from the orchard before they were overwhelmed. Riding amidst a torrent of artillery and rifle fire, McKinley reached them and delivered Hayes's order to withdraw. The 13th West Virginia fired one last volley and retreated to Winchester.

Among the attacking Confederates were Colonel George S. Patton, grandfather of the famous World War II commander and Swedish-born Colonel Augustus Forsberg, both leading Virginia brigades.

[Sidebars:]
Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes
Born in Delaware, Ohio, in 1822, Hayes received an appointment as major of the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry in 1861. After being seriously wounded at the Battle of South Mountain in 1862, he returned to the army and successfully led his troops throughout the 1864 Valley Campaign, earning a general's star. He was elected President by the House of Representatives in the disputed election of 1876 and served for one term.

Lieutenant William McKinley
In 1861, McKinley enlisted as an 18-year-old private in the 23rd Ohio
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Volunteer Infantry and rose to the rank of major by the war's end. He was elected President of the United States in 1896 and 1900 before being assassinated by an anarchist in 1901.

 
Erected by Shenandoah At War; The Knowledge Point, Shenandoah University Historical and Tourism Center.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & PoliticsWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #19 Rutherford B. Hayes, and the Former U.S. Presidents: #25 William McKinley series lists.
 
Location. 39° 8.77′ N, 78° 11.804′ 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 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 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Pettus Cousins in the Battle of First Kernstown
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(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 78 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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Feb. 24, 2021