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

The First Battle of Kernstown

The Beginning of “Stonewall” Jackson’s Valley Campaign

 
 
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 First Battle of Kernstown, fought by 10,000 Americans on March 23, 1862, was the first battle waged in the Shenandoah Valley. Throughout the morning, sixteen Union cannon crowned the knolls of Pritchard’s Hill (the high ground immediately north of here) to hold an overmatched Confederate force in place. Shortly after noon, Major General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson delivered the remainder of his Confederate army to the battle. Relying on faulty intelligence, Jackson attacked a force that outnumbered him by 3,000 men. Unsuccessful in dislodging the Union artillery by direct assault, Jackson shifted his infantry and half of his artillery to a dominant ridge line one mile west of here and by 3:30 P.M. he exchanged fire with the Union cannon. Colonel Nathan Kimball, commanding the Union force here, sent 4,500 infantrymen to attack the
The First Battle of Kernstown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 25, 2007
2. The First Battle of Kernstown Marker
This is a previous iteration of the marker. While the information is identical, the formatting is slightly different.
new Confederate position. At sunset, the Union infantry routed Jackson’s army and sent it streaming southward. Although Jackson suffered his only defeat at Kernstown, the U.S. War Department ordered an additional 15,000 soldiers to the Valley instead of other areas where they were sorely needed. This set the stage for Jackson’s subsequent campaign, which made “Stonewall” Jackson the most famous military nickname in the Civil War.

On July 24, 1864, Union and Confederate forces clashed again on the rolling terrain near Kernstown in a larger battle than the 1862 contest. Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal A. Early overpowered the Union defense of Pritchard’s Hill commanded by Brigadier General George Crook. Within Early’s Confederate force was Colonel George S. Patton, the grandfather and namesake of the famous World War II general. Patton helped defeat an overmatched Union force containing two future U.S. Presidents: Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes and Lieutenant William McKinley. Early’s victory was the last one enjoyed by the Confederates in the Shenandoah Valley.
 
Erected by
The First Battle of Kernstown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, October 31, 2020
3. The First Battle of Kernstown Marker
Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, 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° 8.609′ N, 78° 11.828′ W. Marker is in Kernstown in Winchester, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Battle Park Drive, on the right when traveling west. Located at the east edge of the parking area next to the Visitors Center, in Kernstown Battlefields and Pritchard-Grim Farm Park. 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 Second Battle of Kernstown (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Second Battle of Kernstown (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Pettus Cousins in the Battle of First Kernstown
Pritchard's Hill Today image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 25, 2007
4. Pritchard's Hill Today
(about 700 feet away); a different marker also named The First Battle of Kernstown (approx. 0.2 miles away); Second Battle of Winchester (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named The First Battle of Kernstown (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named The Second Battle of Kernstown (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Kernstown.
 
More about this marker. The marker displays a portrait of General Jackson with the caption, “Major General Thomas J. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson dazzled and frustrated portions of three Union armies in the Shenandoah Valley throughout the spring of 1862. Nearly one quarter of his total Valley casualties were inflicted at Kernstown, the first battle of the campaign.”

A photograph of Pritchard’s Hill carries the caption, “Pritchard’s Hill looms in the left distance of this 1885 photograph. Union cannon occupied this height in three Civil War battles.”

A map on the lower left side displays the roads and vegetation as extant at the time of the battle.
 
Regarding The First 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 . . .
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1. Kernstown Battlefield Association. (Submitted on August 25, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. First Kernstown. From the National Parks Service study of the battles in the valley. (Submitted on August 25, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 25, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,195 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on November 2, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   2. submitted on August 25, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3. submitted on November 2, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   4. submitted on August 25, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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Feb. 24, 2021