First Battle of Kernstown - Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson Defeated the First and Only Time

The First Battle of Kernstown was fought on March 23, 1862, in Frederick County and Winchester, Virginia, the opening battle of Confederate Army Maj.

Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's campaign through the Shenandoah Valley during the American Civil War. Although the battle was a Confederate defeat, and in fact Jackson's only defeat in the war, it represented a strategic victory for the South and started Jackson on the road to being one of the most celebrated Confederate generals.

Description: Believing that Early’s army was no longer a threat in the Valley, Maj. Gen. Horatio Wright abandoned his pursuit and ordered the VI and XIX Corps to return to Washington, where they were to be sent to Grant’s “army group” before Petersburg. Wright left Brig. Gen. George Crook with three divisions and some cavalry to hold Winchester. Under orders to prevent reinforcements from being sent to Grant, Early marched north on July 24 against Crook. After an hour of stubborn resistance at Pritchard’s Hill, the Federal line collapsed and Crook’s divisions streamed back in disarray through the streets of Winchester. Col. James Mulligan commanding Crook’s 3rd Division was mortally wounded. Rutherford B. Hayes commanded a brigade against John C. Breckinridge’s wing. Crook retreated to the Potomac River and crossed near Williamsport on July 26. As a result of this defeat and the burning of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, on July 30, Grant returned the VI and XIX Corps and appointed Sheridan as commander of Union forces in the Valley.