Battle of Kernstown Facts & Summary | American Battlefield Trust
Kernstown Battle

Kernstown

First Kernstown

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In the spring of 1862, Confederate Maj. Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson maneuvered his 3,800-man division in the lower Shenandoah Valley, tying up a larger Union force sent there to contain him. When some of the Union troops were sent east in early March, Jackson went on the offensive. Defending Winchester were 8,500 Federals under Brig. Gen. James Shields. They skirmished there with Confederate cavalry under Col. Turner Ashby on March 22 where Shields was wounded, and command fell upon Col. Nathan Kimball. The next day, Kimball established a defensive position at Kernstown on the outskirts of Winchester. Jackson sent Ashby forward on his right, and attacked Kimball from his left with two infantry brigades, including his namesake Stonewall Brigade. Kimball counterattacked, but Jackson's men fought hard. Late in the day, the Confederates, low on ammunition, pulled back without Jackson's orders. Jackson tried in vain to rally his outnumbered and outgunned troops. Despite the Union victory in the first battle of Jackson's 1862 Valley Campaign, President Abraham Lincoln was disturbed by Jackson’s threat to Washington and returned Union reinforcements to the Valley.

Battle Facts

Result

Union Victory
Forces Engaged
12,300

Union

8,500

Confederate

3,800
Total Estimated Casualties
1,308

Union

590

Confederate

718