Saturday, March 31, 2012

150-Years-Ago THE BATTLE OF KERNSTOWN, Virginia

Gen. Stonewall Jackson
The Richmond Daily Dispatch
March 31, 1862

     The Rockingham Register, of March 28th furnishes some detail of the fight at Kernstown, near Winchester, Va. We make some extracts, and refer the reader to the original account in another column of this paper for fuller details.
     As in the case of battles generally, many exaggerated and incorrect reports have gained circulation respecting the battle on Sunday last, between the forces of General Jackson and Gen. Shields, near Winchester. The belles is entertained in some quarters that General Jackson was most disastrously defeated. Not so, however. General Jackson's gallant little army maintained their ground fully until the shades of night closed on the felicity contending forces, and compelled each party to retire and so far as the result of the contest is indicative of victory, the triumph is on the side of General Jackson. His loss is not over fifty killed and one hundred and fifty wounded, while the loss of the enemy, both in killed and wounded, is, beyond doubt, at least three times that number. One regiment alone of the enemy lost fully half its men, by attempting to dislodge a regiment of Gen. Jackson, protected by a fence. When night came on Gen. Jackson retired with the great body of his army in good order, saving all his wagons and horses, and everything except two or three field-pieces (the horses of which had been killed) and two ambulances. This battle was a decided victory to our arms, and reflects the highest credit on the little Confederate army, that stood upon gallantly for two or three hours against. more than three times their number.
     After the battle, Gen. J. retired for the night immediately in the vicinity of the battle ground which is another indication that he was not defeated; and the following morning he retired slowly from Newtown to the vicinity of Strasburg, the enemy making no advance until a late hour in the forenoon.
     The proportion of wounded to the number killed of Gen. J's men, is large, yet it is gratifying to know that but few are seriously or mortally wounded.
Pvt. John J. Rhodes, Co. K,  5th Va. Inf.
(Library of Congress)
     The regiments engaged were the 2d Virginia, (Col. Allen,) 4th Va., 5th Va.33d Va., (Colonel Cummings,) 27th Virginia, (Colonel Echols, who was wounded in the right arm) 23d Virginia, 37th Virginia, the far famed Irish Battalion, the 21st Va., Ashby's Cavalry, Rockbridge Battery, (Col. Pendleton, who lost two Parrott guns.) West Augusta Battery, Carpenter's Battery, and Chew's Battery.
     Gen. Jackson has returned to Mt. Jackson, and will be ready, should the enemy come up the Valley high enough, to give him a chance to try his mettle again. Let every man now rally to the standard of the heroic Jackson, and assist in driving out the invader of our peaceful homes. Our Valley is surely worth the effort for its preservation.
     The Lynchburg Republican says:
We regret to hear that Captain William Bayliss Rector, from Campbell county, is reported among the killed in the late battle near Winchester. Private Walker Brown, a son of the Rev. Richard G. Brown, of this county, also shared the fate of his brave commander. There are four men missing from the company, who are supposed to have been taken prisoners. We could not ascertain their names.
     The Lynchburg Virginian has further advices, from which we copy:
The Second Virginia Regiment commanded by Colonel Allen, and composed chiefly of Jefferson and Frederick men, seems to have suffered terribly. Amongst the killed and wounded reported are several of our personal friends. Lieutenant Richard Henry Lee, wounded, was the Commonwealth's Attorney for the county of Jefferson, an elegant and accomplished Christian gentleman, who bears a great historic name. We sincerely trust that he is not seriously wounded. T H. Turner, of Shepherdstown, Jefferson county, represented his native county in the Legislature some years since, as did also his father before him. He was attached to the command of the late Colonel John F. Hamtramck, who commanded the Virginia Regiment in the Mexican war. We regret to hear that he was killed. Many of the best men in our native county of Jefferson were in the Second regiment, and we fear that little county, now overrun by the enemy, will be full of mourning for her gallant sons, slain by the ruffians and marauders of the North. B. B.

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