Two Civil War battles were fought at Kernstown, Va. -- one a Union victory on March 23, 1862, and another a Yankee defeat on July 24, 1864. The day after First Kernstown, considered Stonewall Jackson's only loss as commander, the Rebel general wrote his wife: "Our men fought bravely, but the enemy repulsed me. Many valuable lives were lost. Our God was my shield. His protecting care is an additional cause for gratitude." The Union commander at First Kernstown, Colonel Nathan Kimball, was the only field commander during the Civil War to defeat Robert E. Lee (Cheat Mountain in West Virginia) and Jackson.
If you count the battle preservationists have fought to protect the old Pritchard-Grim farm, let's just say that three battles were fought there. Last Wednesday afternoon, after a frustrating attempt to understand the Third Battle of Winchester, I headed south down the historic Valley Pike to Kernstown, a battlefield bordered by housing subdivisions, a Better Beer Store, a business park, a nail salon and other urban schlock. Kernstown was technically closed, but I talked my way onto the field, took photos and walked alone on the chilly, overcast afternoon to the top of Pritchard Hill, from which Union artillery shelled the Rebs during both battles. If you look hard enough, you could even see where the Rebels were positioned along the Valley Pike. Just look for the car dealership.
of the back and front (below) of the Pritchard House, used as a hospital
during both battles, and the surrounding landscape.
(CLICK ON IMAGES FOR FULL-SCREEN INTERACTIVE PANORAMA.)