Stone Sentinels, battlefield monuments of the American Civil War

Winchester - Rose Hill (First Battle of Kernstown)

The Order for Retreat

The marker is the sixth stop on the self-guided walking tour of the First Kerstown battlefield at Rose Hill.


How to get there

Take Virginia Route 37 (the Winchester bypass) to Cedar Creek Grade (County Route 622). Take Cedar Creek Grade 0.4 mile west. Turn south on Jones Road. After 0.5 mile the road curves east, then south again. The entry to the Rose Hill property is off the second curve. (39.151688° N, 78.215518°; see map)


Rose Hill is administered by the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. The walking tour of the Rose Farm is open for a fee at limited times. Check with the Museum's website for availability.


Text from the marker


The Order for Retreat


Northern commander Colonel Nathan Kimball 1.5 miles away (over the hill on your right) on Prichard's Hill faced the threat of defeat. He decided to seize the initiative and order a second assault against the Southern artillery atop Sandy Ridge. At approximately 5:00 p.m., the first of these troops arrived, causing some of the Southern artillery to withdraw and threatening the Southern right flank behind the stone wall.


The troops behind the stone wall were now under Southern Brigadier General Richard B. Garnett's command. "Stonewall" Jackson was not near the front lines.


By 6:00 p.m., things were looking desperate to Garnett. His men were gathering ammunition from fallen comrades. He encouraged them to "aim low and pick your men." Now fighting in two directions, casualties mounting, ammunition nearly exhausted, darkness imminent, and no orders to the contrary from Jackson, Garnett made the decision to withdraw his troops from the stone wall just minutes before sunset.

Jackson was furious.


Within ten days Jackson ordered Garnett arrested and relieved of command for "neglect of duty on March 23 at Kernstown." In August, a court-martial convened but was interrupted by the war and never finished. Garnet died riding a horse in Pickett's Charge.

About the Author • ©2007-2014 Steve Hawks