Tuesday, April 5, 2016

First Battle of Kernstown March 23, 1862 Part 2 Afternoon Action: The Stone wall

~Orders of Battle~
Union Forces

BG. James Shields

Col. Erastus Tyler Brigade

7th OH Inf                        6 stands
7th IN Inf                         5 stands
1st WV Inf                      5 stands
110th PA Inf                    3 stands
29th OH Inf                     7 stands

Col. Nathan Kimball Brigade

5th OH Inf                        8 stands
84th PA Inf                       4 stands
67th OH Inf                       6 stands
8th OH Inf                         5 stands  


Confederate Forces

Maj. Gen Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson

Brig Gen Samuel Fulkerson

23rd VA Inf                          3 stands
37th VA Inf                          4 stands

Brig Gen Richard Garnett  "Stonewall Brigade"

2nd VA Inf                        3 stands
4th VA Inf                         3 stands
27th Va Inf                        2 stands
33rd Va Inf                        3 stands

Brig Gen Jesse Burks

21st Va Inf                       3 stands
1st Va Bn (Irish)              2 Stands


During the morning engagement, Ashby's Cavalry skirmished with Union Infantry under Col. Sullivan. Confederate Brig. Generals Fulkerson and Garnett marched their brigades to the west of Prichards Hill in an attempt to get behind Union General James Shields troops. Historically Shields was wounded in the early morning hours and gave operational command to Col. Nathan Kimball. This scenario picks up with Shields still in command.

Turn 1. Confederate Initiative. Jackson deploys the brigades of Fulkerson and Garnett along the stone wall that runs from the Opequon Creek on the Confederate Left to the woods on the right. General Burks brigade deploys along the edge of the woods protecting the Confederate right.

Maj. Gen. Stonewall Jackson surveying the situation before him. Finding himself with a ready made fortification to his front is beneficial to his small force. Now he will bring the Enemy to  him.

Men of the 37th Va of Fulkersons Brigade. They are anchored with the Opequon Creek to their left.

Brig Gen. James Shields with Col. Erastus Tyler's Brigade making their way off the Cedar Creek Grade to engage Jackson's men.

Historically, Col Tyler lead his men onto the field in "Close column of division" This was a bit unorthodox maneuver. It placed the lead regiment in a two company front spearhead.

Tyler's brigade moves forward. as does Kimball's brigade on the Confederate right. 

The Confederates can't believe what they are seeing...............

Stonewall watches silently as the events unfold.

Turn 2. Federal Initiative. Tyler's brigades continue forward. The Confederates continue to hold their fire. Kimball's brigade becomes confused in the thickness of the woods and orders are not received. Some of the Regimental commanders are able to move their men on their own initiative.

Turn 3. Confederate Initiative. Burks brigade opens fire on the 84th Ohio. the 21st and 33rd Va Infantry open fire on the 5th Ohio. The 23rd Va on the stone wall opens fire on the leading regiment from Tyler's Brigade.

The firing was intense and the 5th Ohio fall back.

The 67th Ohio makes its way to the edge of the woods and begins to left wheel onto the field.

Turn 4. Confederate Initiative. The 1st Va Bn (Irish) cannot take a sustained encounter. The unit is forced to retire from the line. Tyler's brigade stalls. The regiments following aren't sure what to do.

Turn 5. The 7th Ohio is routed and they retreat from the spearhead. The rest of the confederate line of the stonewall open fire. The casualties begin to mount. The 2nd Va Infantry from Garnetts brigade move to fill the hole made by the 1st Va Bn when they retired.

General Fulkerson encouraging his men to continue the fight.

Ol' Blue light  sits calmly on "Little Sorrel" sucking a Lemon as minnie balls whistle by.

General Shields moves to the front to help encourage the attack and keep it from faltering.

Turn 6. Federal Initiative. The Attack column from Tyler's Brigade decides to go into line so they can get into the fight. The 2nd Va Infantry deploys to the right of the 21st Va. 

Turn 7. Federal Initiative. The 67th Ohio opens up with a devastating fire. The 4th Va is all used up. They fall back and a hole opens in the front line.

Turn 8. Confederate Initiative. Garnett orders the 33rd VA to fill the hole in the line. the fighting continues all along the line.

"Hurry men. Make haste. Their is a devil to pay!"

Col. Jesse Burks watches through the smoke.

Col. Tyler rides back and forth behind the line giving orders and motivating his men.

Turn 9. Confederate Initiative. the last of Col. Burks regiments breaks and falls back. The right flank is in danger. No reserves left. General Jackson becomes concerned.

Turn 10. Federal Initiative. Fulkerson's 23rd Va breaks and retreats from the wall. Jackson watches in quiet indignation as his men quit the field.

Turn 11. Confederate Initiative. Too many Confederate regiments have broken. The stonewall can not be held. The rest of the force retires from the field. The Federals have won the day.

~After Action Report~ I was a bit surprised at the Napoleonic style attack column plan. I didn't expect it to get as far as it did. Garnett and Fulkerson should have opened up with ALL their regiments instead of just one. If the first Attacker could have been driven off IT may have been different. The Confederate right flank was in a weak position. They did the best they could with the numbers they had.
~Historically this was a defeat for Stonewall Jackson, his only defeat during the war. Jackson was lead to believe that the Federal force was at or near the same strength as his own. However it was nearly doubled his size. In the grand picture, it was a strategic victory in that it kept soldiers tied down in the valley because of Stonewall's threat he posed to Washington D.C. This battle may not have went the way Jackson wanted it, But it really didn't go well for Richard Garnett either.
    After the Battle, Stonewall Jackson had him arrested for "disobeying orders." and retreating from the enemy. The Courts martial started in August but was suspended due to General Lee's Northern Virginia Campaign. Lee ordered Jackson to release Garnett and he was assigned to Longstreets Corps. The stigma of the accusation of being a coward may have been too much for him. He lead a brigade at Antietam and performed admirably.
 At the Battle of Gettsburg, Garnett lead a brigade in General George Pickett's division. On the Fateful day of Picketts charge, Garnett was in no condition to lead a infantry charge. He was suffering from a fever and a injured leg from when his horse kicked him. He could not walk. Instead of sitting out, he insisted on leading his troops on horseback which made him a visible target. Garnett got to within 20 yards of the "angle" on Cemetery Ridge before he was shot dead from his horse.

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