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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
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 Craig Swain, August 25, 2007
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 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
Close Up View of the Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 25, 2007
2. Close Up View of the Map
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 Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District.
 
Location. 39° 8.669′ 
The Marker Stands between the Pritard House, in the Background, and Visitors Center image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 25, 2007
3. The Marker Stands between the Pritard House, in the Background, and Visitors Center
N, 78° 11.687′ W. Marker is in Winchester, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Battle Park Drive, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Located at the east edge of the parking area next to the Visitors Center, in Kernstown Battlefields and Pritchard-Grim Farm Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 610 Battle Park Drive, Winchester VA 22604, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Pritchard House ( about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named The First Battle of Kernstown ( about 300 feet away); The Second Battle of Kernstown ( about 300 feet away); a different marker also named The First Battle of Kernstown ( about 400 feet away); a different marker also named The Second Battle of Kernstown ( about 500 feet away); Battle of Kernstown ( approx. 0.3 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Kernstown ( approx. 0.3 miles away); Kernstown Battles ( approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Winchester.
 
More about this marker.
Close Up View of the 1885 Photograph image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 25, 2007
4. Close Up View of the 1885 Photograph
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
Pritchard's Hill Today image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 25, 2007
5. Pritchard's Hill Today
the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
 
Also see . . .
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.) 

3. Kernstown Battles Virtual Tour By Markers. This marker is related to several markers in the area detailing the actions of two separate battles occurring around Kernstown during the Civil War. The sites include walking trails at the Pritchard-Grim Farm and Rose Hill. (Submitted on November 11, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 25, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,009 times since then and 54 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 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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