Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Stonewall's One Loss

Fought in Winchester, Virginia on March 23rd 1862, the First Battle of Kernstown was the opening of Confederate Major General Thomas J Stonewall Jackson’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign.

Confederate Major General Thomas J Jackson’s move into the Shenandoah Valley was an attempt to keep Union forces there occupied. The Union troops were under the command of Major General Nathaniel P Banks. Jackson’s intelligence told him there was a small force led by Union Colonel Nathan Kimball, but in truth it was a full infantry division. Jackson moved his men from Woodstock, Virginia, getting in front of the Union position in Kernstown about 11am on March 23rd 1862. The Confederate Cavalry attacked and was forced back. Jackson reinforced them with an infantry brigade. He then turned to rolling up the Union right with his two remaining brigades. They attacked the Union artillery on Pritchard Hill. However Union Colonel Erastus B Tyler’s brigade prevented this move and was backed up by Kimball’s brigade. Jackson’s aide Alexander Swift Pendleton got a view of the Union forces in the Confederate front, and estimated them to number about 10,000. By 6pm the Confederates were running out of ammunition, panic set in among the troops, and caused them to flee, forcing a Confederate retreat. For the first and only time Jackson was driven from the field and defeated.

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