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

The Second Battle of Kernstown

Two Future U.S. Presidents Fought at Kernstown

 
 
The Second Battle of Kernstown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 25, 2007
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 23-24, 1864. When Confederate cavalry drove Union cavalry back toward Kernstown on the morning of the 24th, Mulligan deployed two cannon on this hill checking the Confederate advance. Mulligan subsequently advanced his small command to support the Union cavalry south of Kernstown.

Mulligan’s immediate superior, 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 in unison 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 troops 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 hill, Hayes saw the 13th West Virginia Infantry fighting alone in an orchard to the east (near the modern commercial area along U.S. Route 11). Hayes sent his young aide Lieutenant William
Looking East Past the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 25, 2007
2. Looking East Past the Marker
Readily apparent is the modern subdivisions and commercial zones which have changed the landscape the battle was fought over.
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.

As the last Union troops abandoned Pritchard’s Hill, Breckinridge’s victorious troops swarmed up the eastern slope. While the Confederate ranks contained no future presidents, several interesting personas led Breckinridge’s brigades in battle. Colonel George S. Patton was the grandfather of America’s WWII hero of the same name. Colonel Augustus Forsberg was one of the few Swedish-born Confederates to obtain high rank in the Southern armies. Colonel Thomas Smith was the son of Virginia governer and Confederate Brigadier General William “Extra Billy” Smith.

(Left Sidebar, with portrait of Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes): Born in Delaware, Ohio in 1822, Hayes received an appointment as a 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.

(Right
Kernstown Battlefield Markers image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 28, 2007
3. Kernstown Battlefield Markers
Two markers are at this location on the Kernstown Battlefield tril. The Two Future Presidents marker is seen here on the right.
Sidebar, with portrait of Lieutenant William McKinley):
In 1861, McKinley enlisted as an 18-year-old private in the 23rd Ohio 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 Valley Battlefields National Historic District.
 
Location. 39° 8.725′ N, 78° 11.703′ 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 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 First 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 500 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
Looking Down Pritchard's Hill image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 25, 2007
4. Looking Down Pritchard's Hill
Roughly a southwesterly view from the hill, Federal troops fell back across this slope, chased by Breckinridge's men.
(about 800 feet 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.
 
Regarding The Second 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 . . .
1. Kernstown Battlefield Association. (Submitted on August 29, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. Second 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. Hayes and Middletown, MD. As referenced on the marker, Rutherford B. Hayes recuperated from his wounds suffered at South Mountain at a hospital in Middletown, MD. (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
 
 
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 1,803 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 29, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3. submitted on November 26, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   4. submitted on August 29, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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