Report of General T. J. Jackson.
headquarters Valley District, near Mt. Jackson, April 9, 1862.Major: I have the honor to submit the following report of the battle near Kernstown,1 Va., on Sunday, the twenty-third of March, 1862. On the preceding Friday evening a despatch was received from Colonel Turner Ashby, commanding the cavalry, stating that the enemy had evacuated Strasburg. Apprehensive that the Federals would leave this military district, I determined to follow them with all my available force. Ashby with his cavalry and Chews' battery were already in front. Colonel S. E. Fulkerson's brigade, consisting of the Twenty-third and Thirty-seventh regiments Virginia volunteers, and Shumaker's battery, was near Woodstock. Brigadier-General R. B. Garnett's brigade, consisting of the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Twenty-seventh, and Thirty-third regiments of Virginia volunteers, and McLaughlin's, Carpenter's, and Waters' batteries, was near two miles below Mount Jackson. Colonel J. S. Burks' brigade, consisting of the Twenty-first, Forty-second, and Forty-eighth regiments Virginia volunteers, and the First Virginia battalion P. A. C. S., and Marye's battery, was near two miles above Mount Jackson. The three brigades were ordered to march at dawn of the following morning. All the regiments except the Forty-eighth, Colonel John Campbell, which was the rear guard, arrived within a mile or two of Kernstown by two o'clock P. M. on the twenty-third, and directions were given for bivouacking. During the march, information had reached me from a reliable source that the Federals were sending off their stores and troops from Winchester; and after arriving near Kernstown, I learned from a source which had been remarkable for its reliability, that the enemy's infantry force at Winchester did not exceed four regiments. A large Federal force was leaving the valley, and had already reached Castleman's Ferry, on the Shenandoah. Though it was very desirable to prevent the enemy from leaving the valley, yet I deemed it best not to attack until morning. But subsequently ascertaining that the Federals had a position from which our forces could be seen. I concluded that it would be dangerous to postpone it till the next day, as reinforcements might be brought up during the night. After ascertaining that the troops — part of which had marched over fourteen miles since dawn, and Garnett's and Burks' brigades, which had made a forced march of near twenty-five miles the day previous — were in good spirits at the prospect of meeting the enemy, I determined to advance at once. Leaving Colonel Ashby with his command on the Valley turnpike, with Colonel Burks' brigade as a support to the batteries, and also to act as a reserve, I moved with one piece of Carpenter's battery and Colonel Fulkerson's brigade, supported by General Garnett's to our left, for the purpose of securing a commanding position on the enemy's right, and thus, turning him by that flank, force him back from his strong position in front, which prevented a direct advance. Soon after Captain Carpenter brought up his other pieces, also McLaughlin's and Waters' batteries came forward, the eminence was reached, and the three batteries, under their respective Captains, commenced playing upon the enemy, whose position was now commanded. We continued to advance our artillery, keeping up a continuous fire upon the Federals upon our right; whilst Colonel John Echols with his regiment, the Twenty-seventh, with its skirmishers thrown forward, kept in advance and opened the infantry engagement, in which it was supported by the Twenty-first, under Lieutenant-Colonel J. M. Patton, as no other regiment of Garnett's had yet come up. Well did these two regiments do their duty, driving back the enemy twice in quick succession. Soon a severe wound compelled the noble leader of the Twenty-seventh to leave the field, and the command devolved upon its Lieutenant-Colonel, the dauntless Grigsby; great praise is due to the officers and men of both regiments. Colonel Fulkerson having advanced his brigade, consisting of the Twenty-third and Thirty-seventh, which were respectively under Lieutenant-Colonel Taliaferro, and Lieutenant-Colonel R. P. Carson, to the left of Colonel Echols, judiciously posted it behind a stone wall, towards which the enemy was rapidly advancing, and opened a destructive fire, which drove the Northern forces in great disorder, after sustaining a heavy loss, and leaving the colors of one of their regiments upon the field. This part of the enemy's routed troops having, to some extent, rallied in another position, were also driven from this by Colonel Fulkerson. The officers and men of this brigade merit special mention. Soon after the Twenty-seventh had become engaged, General Garnett, with the Second, Fourth, and Thirty-third regiments, commanded respectively by Colonel J. W. Allen, Lieutenant-Colonel C. A. Ronald, and Colonel A. C. Cummings, moved forward and joined in the battle, which now became general. The First Virginia battalion, P. A. C. S., under Captain R. D. Bridgford, though it unfortunately became separated in advancing, was in the engagement, and from near five to half-past 6 P. M., there was almost a continuous roar of musketry. The enemy's repulsed regiments were replaced by fresh ones from his large reserve. As the ammunition of some of our men became exhausted, noble instances were seen of their borrowing from comrades by