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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Kernstown in Frederick County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The First Battle of Kernstown

Fulkerson's Virginians Attack!

 
 
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.  
The low, marshy ground stretching from here to the distant road lay uncontested throughout the five-hour artillery duel that opened the First Battle of Kernstown. The scene changed dramatically at 2:00 p.m. when 900 Virginians marched toward this position from the leafless woods standing across the road. Col. Samuel Fulkerson led this Confederate attack. A lawyer from Abingdon, VA, Fulkerson received his orders directly from Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson, who ordered him to "turn a battery of the enemy" on Pritchard's Hill (the hill directly behind you). To protect his men from the sixteen cannon that opposed him, Fulkerson placed the 37th Virginia and the 23rd Virginia in a formation that spanned 80 yards across and 200 yards deep. With Fulkerson leading his men on a white horse, 600 Virginians paced with him, followed by the 33rd Virginia marching 150 yards behind them. As the head of the 37th Virginia passed by this position, the tail of the 33rd Virginia crossed the distant road into this field.

Union artillery fired upon the approaching Virginians, tearing gaping holes into the deep ranks of troops as they marched through the
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
field. When Fulkerson shifted his men to the left, the horror intensified as the Confederate flanks became hopelessly exposed to the unrelenting cannon fire. Unable to reach his destination at the base of Pritchard's Hill, Fulkerson rushed his men westward across Middle Road (to your right) and up the wooded edge of Sandy Ridge. Perhaps as many as 80 Confederates were killed and wounded in the charge. One company, from Col. Fulkerson's hometown, lost 24 men in this daring but fruitless assault.

[Sidebars:]
Colonel Samuel V. Fulkerson
Commending his men for fighting "with desperate courage," Colonel Fulkerson conspicuously led the assault across the fields in front of Pritchard's Hill. Fulkerson was considered "a great favorite" of "Stonewall" Jackson, and his death at Gaines' Mill, three months after Kernstown, moved Jackson to tears.

Edward Lindsey Clarke (left) was struck in the leg and arm by shell fragments during the charge against Pritchard's Hill, while his brother Clordoma (right) suffered a lesser wound. The brothers, serving in the 23rd Virginia infantry, survived their injuries and the remainder of the war.

 
Erected by Shenandoah At War; Kernstown Battlefield Association.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil
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Location. 39° 8.483′ N, 78° 11.947′ W. Marker is in Kernstown, Virginia, in Frederick County. Marker can be reached from Battle Park Drive half a mile west of Saratoga Drive, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Winchester VA 22602, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Pettus Cousins in the Battle of First Kernstown (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Second Battle of Kernstown (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named The Second Battle of Kernstown (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named The First Battle of Kernstown (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Pritchard House (approx. 0.2 miles away); 1790 Stone Church (approx. ¼ mile away); Battle of Kernstown (approx. ¼ mile away); Opequon Presbyterian Church (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Kernstown.
 
 
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 39 times since then and 3 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. 4, 2021