1862 March 23rd

March 23 1862 Sunday

First Battle of Kernstown, VA (CWSAC Major Battle Union Victory)

Burnside’s Expedition to North Carolina
Peninsula Campaign
Island No 10 Campaign
Sibley’s Operations in New Mexico
Kernstown Campaign

Go to March 24 1862

CSA. George Wythe Randolph formally succeeded Judah Philip Benjamin as Confederate Secretary of War, having been appointed on 18 March 1862.

Great Britain. The future CSS Florida, sailing as the British steamer Oreto, cleared Liverpool, bound for Nassau under the command of Lieutenant John Newland Maffitt CSN. This was the first ship acquired in England as a commerce raider for the Confederacy. CSS Florida‘s four 7-inch rifled guns were sent separately to Nassau aboard the steamer Bahama.

Arkansas. Despite the defeat at Pea Ridge, Confederate Major-General Earl Van Dorn was determined to maintain the strategic initiative west of the Mississippi. As his army of 18,000 men marched northwards towards St Louis, aiming for the gap between Ironton and Rolla in Missouri, he had received instructions from the Confederate authorities to turn eastwards and to cross the Mississippi in order to reinforce General Pierre Gustave Toutant near Corinth, Mississippi. He was ordered to concentrate first at Des Arc and then to cross the Mississippi at Memphis, Tennessee. The movement of this force across the Mississippi effectively conceded control of Missouri to the Union. Despite raids and persistent guerilla activity, the Confederates were never able to collect as strong a field force again to regain the initiative in the region.

Florida. Skirmishes at New Smyrna and Smyrna.

Missouri. Skirmish at Carthage and Sink Pole Woods.

Missouri. Union expedition from New Madrid to Little River by Major Jonas Rowalt (7th Illinois Cavalry).

Missouri. At Island No 10, Union Brigadier General John Pope was growing increasingly impatient with the inactivity of the ironclad flotilla above the enemy fort. He telegraphed Captain Andrew Hull Foote USN daily asking him to make a move downriver. In desperation, Pope had ordered a canal cut across the Missouri peninsula to open a passage for the ships. Colonel J W Bissell and an engineer detachment finished the effort on 2 April 1862. The major part of the work involved cutting a path through the flooded bayous, which Bissell’s engineers accomplished by devising an ingenious method of sawing through trees below the waterline.

New Mexico Territory. Confederate Brigadier-General Henry Hopkins Sibley pressed on from Santa Fe towards Fort Union, sixty miles to the east, in order to replenish his dwindling supplies. He sent a force of 200 to 300 Texans under the command of Major Charles L Pyron on an advance expedition over the Glorieta Pass, a strategic location on the Santa Fe Trail at the southern tip of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains southeast of Santa Fe. The pass was at the mouth of Apache Canyon which led towards Las Vegas and Fort Union, the main base for all the Union garrisons gathered from across the territory. Control of the pass would allow the Confederates to advance onto the High Plains and to make an assault on Fort Union, the Union stronghold along the invasion route northward over Raton Pass.
Sibley also intended six companies under the command of Colonel Thomas Green to block the eastern end of Glorieta Pass, thereby turning any Union defensive position in the Sangre de Cristos. The main body of Sibley’s column now numbered around 600 men, having been reduced by losses and detachments from its original strength of 3,800 men in December 1861.

North Carolina. Siege of Fort Macon began. Union Brigadier-General John Grubb Parke sent a message from his headquarters at Carolina City to Confederate Colonel Moses J White, demanding the surrender of Fort Macon near Beaufort. He offered to release the garrison on parole if the fort was turned over intact. White refused the demand. Meanwhile, Parke’s troops occupied Newport in force and the siege of Fort Macon commenced.

Tennessee. Reconnaissance to Cumberland Gap ended.

Virginia. Two divisions of Union Brigadier-General Samuel Peter Heintzelman’s III Corps (Army of the Potomac) disembarked at Fortress Monroe on the Yorktown Peninsula. They were the advance guard of the Army of the Potomac. Shortage of transportation delayed the beginning of their march towards Yorktown for two weeks. Between March and April, more of the Army of the Potomac was sent to join the expedition on the peninsula.

Virginia. Confederate Major-General John Bankhead Magruder observed the arrival of Union troops on the Yorktown peninsula and reported that more than twenty transports were disembarking troops at Old Point Comfort, suggesting that as many as 35,000 enemy troops had landed. Magruder called urgently for reinforcements. It was unclear as yet whether the Union forces were staying permanently or were making their way to reinforce the Union troops in North Carolina; or whether they were a diversion to draw troops away from the main theatre of operations around Manassas. Confederate General Robert Edward Lee alerted Magruder and Major-General Benjamin Huger at Norfolk each to be ready to reinforce the other once Union intentions had been discerned. Reinforcements could not yet be released from General Joseph Eggleston Johnston’s Army of Northern Virginia on the Rapidan River. Johnston had already lost two brigades that were sent to operate in North Carolina. Gradually, between 24 March and 4 April, three of General Joseph Eggleston Johnston’s six divisions would be transferred from the Rapidan River to the Peninsula to reinforce Magruder, shadowing the Union movement.

Virginia. The Confederate James River defences at Drewry’s Bluff, eight miles from Richmond, were strengthened and the capital’s reserves (two regiments of infantry and some cavalry) were sent to Major-General John Bankhead Magruder.

First Kernstown, Virginia, also known as Kernstown or Winchester. Union Major-General Nathaniel Prentiss Banks was preparing to leave the Shenandoah Valley with the majority of his command, leaving Brigadier-General James Shields with a garrison of one division around Winchester. Shields had delegated command of the division temporarily to Colonel Nathan Kimball. Confederate Major-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson marched 15 miles towards Kernstown and attacked aggressively before 11 am in order to overwhelm what he had been informed incorrectly was a much inferior enemy.
Jackson performed no personal reconnaissance before he sent Colonel Turner Ashby on a feint with his cavalry and Colonel Jesse S Burks’ brigade against Kimball’s main position across the Valley Turnpike while his main force (the brigades of Colonel Samuel V Fulkerson and Brigadier-General Richard Brooke Garnett) attacked the Union artillery position on Pritchard Hill. Fulkerson was repulsed so Jackson decided to move around the Union right flank about two miles to the west along Sandy Ridge, which appeared to be unoccupied. A successful march would allow his men to advance along the spine of the ridge into the Union rear and to block their escape route to Winchester.
Kimball countered the flanking maneuver by moving Colonel Erastus Barnard Tyler’s brigade to the west. Fulkerson’s men reached a stone wall facing a clearing on the ridge ahead of the Union men. Jackson’s aide Lieutenant Alexander Pendleton obtained a clear view from the ridge of the Union forces arrayed against them and he estimated that there were 10,000 men present, greatly outnumbering Jackson.
Around 4 pm Tyler attacked Fulkerson and Garnett using an unorthodox approach by his brigade in “close column of divisions”, a brigade front of two companies in 24 lines. This formation was difficult to control and lacked firepower at the front. The Confederates were temporarily able to blunt this narrow frontal attack with their inferior numbers from behind the stone wall.
Jackson, finally realising the strength of the force opposing him, rushed reinforcements to his left, but by the time they arrived around 6 pm, Garnett’s Brigade had run out of ammunition and he had pulled his brigade back, leaving Fulkerson’s right flank exposed. Jackson tried in vain to rally his troops but the entire Confederate force was forced into a general retreat. The Confederates fell back four and a half miles to Newton, but Ashby’s cavalry deterred the cautious Union pursuit about one and a half miles south of Kernstown. Garnett was relieved of command of his brigade by Jackson for ordering a withdrawal without permission.
Union casualties were 590 men (118 killed, 450 wounded, 22 captured or missing). Confederate losses were 718 men (80 killed, 375 wounded, 263 captured or missing). (CWSAC Major Battle Union Victory)


Union Department of the Potomac: Major-General George Brinton McClellan
Army of the Potomac: Major-General George Brinton McClellan
V Corps (Potomac): Major-General Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
1st Division, V Corps (Potomac): Brigadier-General James Shields, Colonel Nathan Kimball
1st Brigade, 1st Division, V Corps (Potomac): Colonel Nathan Kimball
2nd Brigade, 1st Division, V Corps (Potomac): Colonel Jeremiah Cutler Sullivan
3rd Brigade, 1st Division, V Corps (Potomac): Colonel Erastus Barnard Tyler
Cavalry Brigade, V Corps (Potomac): Colonel Thornton F Brodhead

Confederate Department of Northern Virginia: General Joseph Eggleston Johnston
District of the Valley: Thomas Jonathan Jackson
Army of the Valley: Major-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson
R B Garnett’s Brigade (Valley): Brigadier-General Richard Brooke Garnett
Burks’ Brigade (Valley): Colonel Jesse S Burks
R S Garnett’s Brigade (Valley): Colonel Samuel V Fulkerson
Cavalry (Valley): Colonel Turner Ashby

Union Organisation

Commander in Chief: President Abraham Lincoln
Vice-President: Hannibal Hamlin
Secretary of War: Edwin McMasters Stanton
Secretary of the Navy: Gideon Welles

North Atlantic Blockading Squadron: Louis Malesherbes Goldsborough
South Atlantic Blockading Squadron: Samuel Francis Du Pont
West Gulf Blockading Squadron: David Glasgow Farragut
East Gulf Blockading Squadron: William McKean
Pacific Squadron: Charles H Bell
Western Gunboat Flotilla: Andrew Hull Foote
Potomac Flotilla: Robert Harris Wyman

Chairman of the War Board: Ethan Allen Hitchcock

Department of the Mississippi: Henry Wager Halleck

  • District of West Tennessee: Ulysses Simpson Grant
    • Army of West Tennessee: Ulysses Simpson Grant
  • District of the Mississippi: John Pope
    • Army of the Mississippi: John Pope
  • District of the Ohio: Don Carlos Buell
    • Army of the Ohio: Don Carlos Buell
  • District of Cairo: William Kerley Strong

Department of the Missouri: Henry Wager Halleck

  • District of St Louis: John McAllister Schofield
  • District of Central Missouri: James Totten
  • District of Southeast Missouri: Frederick Steele
  • District of Southwest Missouri: Samuel Ryan Curtis
    • Army of the Southwest: Samuel Ryan Curtis
  • District of Northeast Missouri: John Montgomery Glover
  • District of Northwest Missouri: Benjamin Franklin Loan
  • District of Kansas: James William Denver awaited

Department of the Gulf: Benjamin Franklin Butler

  • Army of the Gulf: Benjamin Franklin Butler

Middle Department: John Adams Dix

  • District of the Eastern Shore of Maryland: Henry Hayes Lockwood

Mountain Department: William Starke Rosecrans interim John Charles Frémont awaited

  • Cheat Mountain District: Robert Huston Milroy
  • Railroad District: Benjamin Franklin Kelley
  • District of the Kanawha: Jacob Dolson Cox
  • District of the Cumberland: Robert Cumming Schenck
  • District of the Gap: Samuel Powhatan Carter
  • District of the Valley of the Big Sandy River: James Abram Garfield

Department of New Mexico: Edward Richard Sprigg Canby

  • Southern District of New Mexico: Benjamin Stone Roberts

Department of New York: Edward Denison Morgan

Department of North Carolina: Ambrose Everett Burnside

Department of the Pacific: George Wright

  • District of the Humboldt: Francis James Lippitt
  • District of Oregon: Albemarle Cady
  • District of Southern California: James Henry Carleton

Department of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan

  • Army of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan
    • I Corps Potomac: Irvin McDowell
    • II Corps Potomac: Edwin Vose Sumner
    • III Corps Potomac: Samuel Peter Heintzelman
    • IV Corps Potomac: Erasmus Darwin Keyes
    • V Corps Potomac: Nathaniel Prentiss Banks

Department of the South: Thomas West Sherman temporary David Hunter awaited

  • Western District of the South: Lewis Golding Arnold

Department of Texas: Vacant

Department of Virginia: John Ellis Wool

Military District of Washington: James Samuel Wadsworth

Confederate Organisation

CSA: The District of Aquia was extended to include all territory in Virginia and North Carolina south of the operational area of the Army of Northern Virginia.
CSA: Major-General Gustavus Woodson Smith arrived to assume temporary command of the District of Aquia, succeeding Brigadier-General Robert Augustus Toombs.

Commander in Chief: President Jefferson Finis Davis
Vice-President: Alexander Hamilton Stephens
Secretary of War: George Wythe Randolph
Secretary of the Navy: Stephen Russell Mallory

Military Adviser to the President: Robert Edward Lee

Department No 1: Mansfield Lovell

Department of Alabama and West Florida: Braxton Bragg

  • Army of Mobile: William L Powell

Department of Middle and Eastern Florida: James Heyward Trapier interim William Scott Dilworth temporary awaited

Department of East Tennessee: Edmund Kirby Smith

  • Army of East Tennessee: Edmund Kirby Smith

Department of Henrico: John Henry Winder

Department of the Indian Territory: Douglas Hancock Cooper

Department of Norfolk: Benjamin Huger

Department of North Carolina: Joseph Reid Anderson

  • District of Cape Fear: Samuel Gibbs French
  • District of Pamlico: Robert Ransom temporary
  • District of Roanoke Island: Henry Marchmore Shaw

Department of Northern Virginia: Joseph Eggleston Johnston

  • District of Aquia: Gustavus Woodson Smith
  • Army of Northern Virginia: Joseph Eggleston Johnston
    • Right Wing Northern Virginia: James Longstreet
    • Left Wing Northern Virginia: Gustavus Woodson Smith
    • Centre Wing Northern Virginia: Daniel Harvey Hill
  • Valley District: Thomas Jonathan Jackson
    • Army of the Valley: Thomas Jonathan Jackson

Department of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder

  • Army of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder

Department of South Carolina and Georgia: John Clifford Pemberton

  • District of Georgia: Alexander Robert Lawton
  • District of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley
    • 1st Sub-District of South Carolina: Arthur Middleton Manigault.
    • 2nd Sub-District of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley
    • 3rd Sub-District of South Carolina: Nathan George Evans
    • 4th Sub-District of South Carolina: Maxcy Gregg
    • 5th Sub-District of South Carolina: Daniel Smith Donelson
    • 6th Sub-District of South Carolina: Thomas Fenwick Drayton

Department of Southwestern Virginia: William Wing Loring

  • District of Lewisburg: Henry Heth

Department of Texas: Paul Octave Hébert

  • Eastern District of Texas: Paul Octave Hébert
  • Western District of Texas: Henry Eustace McCullough
  • Sub-District of Houston: John C Bowen
  • Sub-District of Galveston: Ebenezer B Nichols
  • Sub-District of the Rio Grande: Hamilton Prioleau Bee awaited
  • Defences of Pass Cavallo: John W Glenn

Western Department: Albert Sidney Johnston

  • Trans-Mississippi District: Earl Van Dorn
  • District of North Alabama: Daniel Ruggles
  • Army of Mississippi: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
    • First Grand Division (Mississippi): Leonidas Polk
    • Second Grand Division (Mississippi): Braxton Bragg
    • Reserve Corps (Mississippi): George Bibb Crittenden
  • Army of Central Kentucky: Albert Sidney Johnston
  • Army of the West: Earl Van Dorn

District of Arizona: Henry Hopkins Sibley

  • Army of New Mexico: Henry Hopkins Sibley

Forces in Richmond: Charles Dimmock

Union Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

Major-General USA

George Brinton McClellan
John Charles Frémont
Henry Wager Halleck

Major-General USV

Asterisk indicates concurrently Brigadier-General USA

John Adams Dix
Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
Benjamin Franklin Butler
David Hunter
Edwin Denison Morgan
Ethan Allen Hitchcock
Ulysses Simpson Grant
Irvin McDowell*
Ambrose Everett Burnside
William Starke Rosecrans*
Don Carlos Buell
John Pope
Samuel Ryan Curtis
Franz Sigel
John Alexander McClernand
Charles Ferguson Smith
Lewis Wallace

Brigadier-General USA

Brackets indicates concurrently Major-General USV

John Ellis Wool
William Selby Harney
Edwin Vose Sumner
Joseph King Fenno Mansfield
(Irvin McDowell)
Robert Anderson
(William Starke Rosecrans)
Philip St George Cooke

Brigadier-General USV

Samuel Peter Heintzelman
Erasmus Darwin Keyes
Andrew Porter
Fitz-John Porter
William Buel Franklin
William Tecumseh Sherman
Charles Pomeroy Stone
Thomas West Sherman
George Archibald McCall
William Reading Montgomery
Philip Kearny
Joseph Hooker
John Wolcott Phelps
Charles Smith Hamilton
Darius Nash Couch
Rufus King
Jacob Dolson Cox
Stephen Augustus Hurlbut
Robert Cumming Schenck
Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss
Benjamin Franklin Kelley
Alpheus Starkey Williams
Israel Bush Richardson
James Cooper
James Brewerton Ricketts
Orlando Bolivar Willcox
Michael Corcoran
George Henry Thomas
Henry Hayes Lockwood
Louis Blenker
Henry Warner Slocum
James Samuel Wadsworth
John James Peck
Ormsby McKnight Mitchel
George Webb Morell
John Henry Martindale
Samuel Davis Sturgis
George Stoneman
Henry Washington Benham
William Farrar Smith
James William Denver
Egbert Ludovicus Vielé
James Shields
John Fulton Reynolds
William Farquhar Barry
John Joseph Abercrombie
John Sedgwick
Silas Casey
Lawrence Pike Graham
George Gordon Meade
Abram Duryée
Alexander McDowell McCook
Oliver Otis Howard
Eleazar Arthur Paine
Charles Davis Jameson
Ebenezer Dumont
Robert Huston Milroy
Willis Arnold Gorman
Daniel Butterfield
Horatio Gouverneur Wright
Edward Otho Cresap Ord
William Nelson
William Thomas Ward
John Gross Barnard
Innis Newton Palmer
Seth Williams
John Newton
Winfield Scott Hancock
Thomas Leonidas Crittenden
George Wright
Isaac Ingalls Stevens
Thomas Williams
George Sykes
William Henry French
William Thomas Harbaugh Brooks
John Milton Brannan
William Wallace Burns
John Porter Hatch
David Sloane Stanley
William Kerley Strong
Albin Francisco Schoepf
Lovell Harrison Rousseau
James Scott Negley
Thomas John Wood
Richard W Johnson
Adolph Wilhelm August Friedrich Von Steinwehr
Joseph Bennett Plummer
John Gray Foster
George Washington Cullum
Jeremiah Tilford Boyle
Christopher Columbus Augur
Schuyler Hamilton
Jesse Lee Reno
George Washington Morgan
Julius Stahel
John McAllister Schofield
Thomas Jefferson McKean
John Grubb Parke
Zealous Bates Tower
Jefferson Columbus Davis

John McAuley Palmer
William High Keim
James Abram Garfield
Lewis Golding Arnold
Frederick Steele
William Scott Ketchum
Abner Doubleday
John Wynn Davidson
Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana
David Bell Birney
Thomas Francis Meagher
Henry Morris Naglee
Andrew Johnson
James Gallant Spears
Eugene Asa Carr
Thomas Alfred Davies
Daniel Tyler
William Hemsley Emory
Andrew Jackson Smith
Marsena Rudolph Patrick
Isaac Ferdinand Quinby
Hiram Gregory Berry
Orris Sanford Ferry
Daniel Phineas Woodbury
Henry Moses Judah
Richard James Oglesby
John Cook
William Hervey Lamm Wallace
John McArthur
Robert Latimer McCook
Jacob Gartner Lauman
Horatio Phillips Van Cleve
John Alexander Logan
Speed Smith Fry
Alexander Asboth
James Craig
Grenville Mellen Dodge

Brigadier-General USA (Staff)

Montgomery Cunningham Meigs (Quartermaster-General)
Henry Knox Craig
Lorenzo Thomas (Adjutant-General)
James Wolfe Ripley (Ordnance)

Confederate Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

General ACSA

Samuel Cooper
Albert Sidney Johnston
Robert Edward Lee
Joseph Eggleston Johnston
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard

Major-General PACS

Leonidas Polk
Braxton Bragg
Earl Van Dorn
Gustavus Woodson Smith
Theophilus Hunter Holmes
William Joseph Hardee
Benjamin Huger
James Longstreet
John Bankhead Magruder
Mansfield Lovell
Thomas Jonathan Jackson
Edmund Kirby Smith
George Bibb Crittenden
John Clifford Pemberton
Richard Stoddert Ewell
William Wing Loring
Sterling Price
Benjamin Franklin Cheatham
Samuel Jones
John Porter McCown

Brigadier-General PACS

Alexander Robert Lawton
Charles Clark
John Buchanan Floyd
Henry Alexander Wise
David Rumph Jones
Henry Hopkins Sibley
John Henry Winder
Richard Caswell Gatlin
Daniel Smith Donelson
Samuel Read Anderson
Daniel Harvey Hill
Jones Mitchell Withers
Richard Heron Anderson
Robert Augustus Toombs
Arnold Elzey
William Henry Chase Whiting
Jubal Anderson Early
Isaac Ridgway Trimble
Daniel Ruggles
Roswell Sabine Ripley
Albert Pike
Paul Octave Hébert
Joseph Reid Anderson
Simon Bolivar Buckner
Leroy Pope Walker
Albert Gallatin Blanchard
Gabriel James Rains
James Ewell Brown Stuart
Lafayette McLaws
Thomas Fenwick Drayton
Thomas Carmichael Hindman
Adley Hogan Gladden
Lloyd Tilghman
Nathan George Evans
Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox
Robert Emmett Rodes
Richard Taylor
James Heyward Trapier
Samuel Gibbs French
William Henry Carroll
Hugh Weedon Mercer
Humphrey Marshall
John Cabell Breckinridge
Richard Griffith
Alexander Peter Stewart
William Montgomery Gardner
Richard Brooke Garnett
William Mahone
Lawrence O’Bryan Branch
Edward Johnson
Maxcy Gregg
Raleigh Edward Colston
Henry Heth
Johnson Kelly Duncan
Sterling Alexander Martin Wood
John George Walker
John King Jackson
George Edward Pickett
Bushrod Rust Johnson
James Patton Anderson
Howell Cobb
George Wythe Randolph
Joseph Brevard Kershaw
James Ronald Chalmers
Joseph Lewis Hogg
Ambrose Powell Hill
James Johnston Pettigrew
Carter Littlepage Stevenson
Daniel Leadbetter
William Whann Mackall
Charles Sidney Winder
Robert Ransom
John Bell Hood
Daniel Marsh Frost
Winfield Scott Featherston
Thomas James Churchill
William Booth Taliaferro
Albert Rust
Patrick Ronayne Cleburne
Samuel Bell Maxey
Hamilton Prioleau Bee
James Morrison Hawes
George Hume Steuart
William Duncan Smith
James Edwin Slaughter
Charles William Field
John Horace Forney
Paul Jones Semmes
Lucius Marshall Walker
Seth Maxwell Barton
Dabney Herndon Maury
John Bordenave Villepigue
Henry Eustace McCullough
John Stevens Bowen
Benjamin Hardin Helm
John Selden Roane
States Rights Gist
Martin Luther Smith


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