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

The First Battle of Kernstown

An Unheralded Commanderís Unique Victory

 
 
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. At 9:00 A.M. on March 23, 1862, Confederate artillery unlimbered near the Valley Turnpike and fired on this height, called Pritchardís Hill, to begin the First Battle of Kernstown. Union artillery rolled onto these knolls and responded by discharging 700 rounds of shot and shell over the next five hours. More than 300 Union soldiers crowded the height to protect the artillery while Colonel Nathan Kimball, the Union battlefield commander, set up headquarters on this same hill.

Kimball successfully repulsed Confederate infantry in its attempt to dislodge the artillery from this ground early in the afternoon, only to watch helplessly as General Jackson swiftly shifted his Confederate artillery from the Valley Turnpike to the crest of Sandy Ridge (the ridge line one mile to your right). By 3:30 P.M. Jacksonís cannon suppressed the Union artillery position. Perched on this hill, Kimball countered aggressively by launching two infantry attacks in quick succession in a effort to force “Stonewall” Jackson from his commanding position.

By sunset, Kimballís assaults dislodged Jacksonís troops from Sandy Ridge, capturing two cannon and 250 healthy soldiers. The Confederates also suffered 450 killed within their ranks from the day-log battle. Colonel Kimballís men killed and wounded numbered nearly 600 for the day. His
Close Up View of the Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 25, 2007
2. Close Up View of the Map
victory earned him a promotion to the rank of brigadier general. Kimball, an Indiana physician before the war, became the only field commander in the Civil War to defeat both Robert E. Lee (Cheat Mountain in West Virginia) and “Stonewall” Jackson (Kernstown) in separate engagements.

(Left Sidebar, with portrait of Colonel Nathan Kimball): Colonel Nathan Kimballís solid leadership at Kernstown was repeated in later Civil War campaigns. Breveted Major General in 1865, Kimball retired from the army after participating in 22 victories against three losses.

(Right Sidebar, with portrait of Colonel William Murray): Colonel William Murray spent most of the Kernstown battle on this knoll with his 84th Pennsylvania Infantry until ordered to charge the Confederate cannon on Sandy Ridge late in the afternoon. Murray was killed 40 yards from the Southern artillery, the highest ranking officer to die on March 23, 1862.
 
Erected by Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District.
 
Location. 39° 8.716′ N, 78° 11.729′ W. Marker is in Winchester, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Battle Park Drive, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Located in the Pritchard-Grim Farm, Kernstown Battlefield, on Pritchard
Looking West past the Marker on Pritchard Hill image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 25, 2007
3. Looking West past the Marker on Pritchard Hill
Hill. 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 Second Battle of Kernstown (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named The First Battle of Kernstown (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Pritchard House (about 600 feet away); a different marker also named The First Battle of Kernstown (about 700 feet away); a different marker also named The Second Battle of Kernstown (approx. 0.2 miles away); Battle of Kernstown (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Kernstown (approx. 0.4 miles away); Kernstown Battles (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Winchester.
 
More about this marker. The marker also has a map detailing the tactical situation and movements.
 
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
Markers on the Kernstown Battlefield Trail image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 28, 2007
4. Markers on the Kernstown Battlefield Trail
Two markers are on the hilltop on the Kernstown Battleground walking trail. The First Battle of Kernstown marker is seen here on the left.
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 . . .
1. Kernstown Battlefield Association. (Submitted on August 29, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. First Battle of Kernstown. From a National Parks Service survey of the Civil War battles in the Shenandoah Valley. (Submitted on August 29, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

3. Short Biography of General Kimball. (Submitted on August 29, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
4. 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
 
Looking Southeast toward the Pritchard-Grim Farm image. Click for full size.
April 18, 2009
5. Looking Southeast toward the Pritchard-Grim Farm
View is across Rt. 37 bypass from Sandy Ridge on the southeast corner of the Rose Hill farm. The view of Pritchard Hill is mostly obscured by trees.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 29, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,049 times since then and 51 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 29, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   4. submitted on November 26, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   5. submitted on April 18, 2009. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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