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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

March 23rd, 1862 - The Battle of Kernstown

Conflict: American Civil War (1861-1865)

Combatants: Confederates vs. Federals

Location: West Virginia (USA)

Outcome: Federal victory

On this day in 1862, General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, in a rare misjudgment, marched 4,200 Confederates into Kernstown believing he would overwhelm a Federal rear guard. He instead stumbled into a Union force of 9,000 men under command of General James Shields. The Confederates were driven back taking about 700 casualties, including 80 killed, to the Federal's 500 with 110 killed. But, the Confederate soldiers had fought so fiercely Federal commanders believed Jackson's force to be much larger.

Jackson's Men Wading The Potomac At White's Ford by Allen C. Redwood; engraved by J.H.E. Whitney

Points of Interest:

  • When he encountered a Confederate soldier retreating for lack of ammunition, Jackson ordered the young man to turn around and "give them the bayonet!"

  • In May of 1863 Jackson would lose his left arm and his life to friendly fire. Robert E. Lee wrote to Jackson that while he had lost his left arm, Lee had had lost his right.

Stonewall Jackson in 1862 by Nathaniel Routzahn
General James Shields by Henry A. Castle



Bowers, John. (1989). Stonewall Jackson: Portrait of a Soldier. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.

Bowman, John S. (Ed.) (1983). The Civil War Almanac. New York: World Almanac.

Dupuy, Trevor N., Johnson, Curt, & Bongard, David L. (1992). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military Biography. New York: Castle Books (HarperCollins).

Dupuy, R. Ernest & Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military History. New York: HarperCollins.

Eggenberger, David (1985). An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

Long, E.B & Long, Barbara (1971). The Civil War Day by Day: An Almanac 1861-1865. New York: De Capo Press, Inc.

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