Stone Sentinels, battlefield monuments of the American Civil War

Markers for the First and Second Battles of Kernstown at Opequon Church

Kernstown in the Civil War was a separate village a few miles south of Winchester on the Valley Pike. It was the scene of two battles that, though small, had large strategic results.

 

The First Battle of Kernstown on March 23, 1862 was the opening battle of "Stonewall" Jackson's famous Valley Campaign. It was also his first independent battle - and his only tactical defeat. But in spite of losing the battle, he accomplished his strategic goal of forcing the Federals to divert from the main attack on Richmond several times the number of men he had in his army.

 

The Second Battle of Kernstown in July of 1864 was an easy victory for Confederate General Jubal Early. But it convinced Union General Grant to place General Sheridan in command of an overwhelming force in the Shenandoah that by winter destroyed Early's army and eliminated the Shenandoah Valley as the major supply source in the east for the Confederacy.

Over time, four historical markers were placed a short distance from the Valey Pike near the hstorical Opequon Church and Cemetery overlooking the fields were the battles were fought. Along with the Battle of Kernstown marker a short distance away on the Pike itself, for years these were the only signs commemorating the battlefields.

 

(above, from left to right)

Battle of Kernstown Circle Tour (set of 2 markers)

Kernstown Battles

Battle of Kernstown

 

As development around Winchester threatened the battlefields, two important tracks of land, Pritchard's Hill and Rose Hill,

were preserved and now host interpretive trails that also help tell the story of the Kernstown battlefields:

 

Location and Directions

Take the Valley Pike (U.S. 11) south from downtown Winchester or north from Virginia Route 37 (the Winchester bypass) to Opequon Church Lane, which is 150 feet south of Shawnee Drive and 0.4 mile north of Apple Valley Road. Opequon Church Lane heads west 0.2 mile and ends in a turnaround next to the signs, as well as a historic graveyard that holds both Civil War and Revolutionary War veterans. (39.140050° N, 78.194617° W; see map)






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