Stone Sentinels, battlefield monuments of the American Civil War


Winchester - Pritchard's Hill (1st & 2nd Kernstown)

Second Battle of Winchester
June 13, 1863

The marker is on the summit of Pritchard's Hill on the Pritchard-Grim Farm, owned and operated by the Kernstown Battlefield Association south of Winchester, Virginia. The farm is open to the public from the second weekend in May through October. See the Association's website for more information.

How to get there

From Interstate 81 take exit 310 onto Virginia Route 37 and immediately exit onto US 11 north, the Valley Pike. Stay on the Valley Pike for 1.5 miles, then turn left onto Battle Park Drive at the fifth light. Stay on Battle Park Drive for two blocks and enter the battlefield grounds through the iron gates. The marker is along a short but steep walking trail north of the Visitor Center. (39.14609° N, 78.196669° W; see map)

 

Text from the marker

 

2nd Battle of Winchester
***

June 13, 1863

 

When Confederate General Richard S. Ewell's Second Corps spearheaded the Army of Northern Virginia's second invasion of the north in June 1863, his first task was to destroy Gen. Robert H. Milroy's command of approximately 8000 troops who guarded the lower Shenandoah Valley. Gen. Ewell's lead elements first encountered Gen. Milroy's troops on June 12 in Middletown, eight miles south of this position. The following day Milroy took precautions to protect the southern approaches to Winchester by sending Gen. Washington Elliot's brigade to guard the Valley Pike. Milroy also ordered Elliot to move a portion of his command from its position on the southern outskirts of Winchester further south to Kernstown, acting as a reconnaissance in force.

 

Col. Joseph Warren Keifer of the 110th Ohio led the reconnaissance which consisted of his own regiment plus the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry and two guns from Battery D, 1st West Virginia Artillery. Col. Keifer advanced his detachment south and easily pushed aside a small Confederate force, a unit of the 2nd Maryland Infantry Battalion. As Keifer continued to advance along the Valley Pike and the firing intensified, Gen. Elliot sent reinforcements who, as they got closer to Kernstown, viewed Gen. Ewell's massive advancing columns. Instead of withdrawing, Elliot decided to block the Confederate advance by taking advantage of two key pieces of high ground, Pritchard's Hill and Sandy Ridge, just west of the Valley Pike near Kernstown.

 

The two guns from Battery D, 1st Virginia, supported by two Ohio regiments, took a position here on Pritchard's Hill. Gen. Elliot then sent the 12th West Virginia Infantry further to the west (your right) to a position atop Sandy Ridge to protect his western flank.

 

To crack this position Gen. Ewell turned to Gen. Jubal Early's division. Early, in turn, sent Gen. Harry T. Hays' Louisiana Brigade to advance further to the west and drove the defenders from Sandy Ridge. Despite some well-aimed shots from the artillery on Pritchard's Hill, numerical strength outweighed the geographical superiority and the Union defenders withdrew from this hill and reformed closer to Winchester.

 

For two more days Ewell's and Milroy's commands battled in the forts and fields north and northwest of Winchester. By the morning of June 15, 1863, Milroy's force had been crushed and the path into Pennsylvania for the Army of Northern Virginia had been cleared.

 

From the left sidebar:

Gen. Jubal A. Early's success here as a division commander on June 13, 1863, would be topped by his astonishing victory almost a year later at the 2nd Battle of Kernstown.

 

From the right sidebar:

Gen. Robert H. Milroy, although remembered most for his defeat at the 2nd Battle of Winchester, was the first Union general to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation in the Shenandoah Valley.



The Advance of Tyler's Brigade, the fourth stop in the self-guided tour of the First Kernstown battlefield at Rose Hill.
(above and below) Wayside marker on the Beginning of 'Stonewall' Jackson's Valley Campaign behind the Pritchard House and next to the Visitor Center of the Kernstown Battlefield on the Pritchard-Grimm farm.

The Advance of Tyler's Brigade, the fourth stop in the self-guided tour of the First Kernstown battlefield at Rose Hill.
(below) Map from the marker of the early phase of the 2nd Battle of Winchester that took place around Pritchard's Hill
Map from the marker of the early phase of the 2nd Battle of Winchester that took place around Pritchard's Hill

 






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