On July 24, 1864, two years after the First Battle of Kernstown, Confederate Gen. Jubal A. Early marched against Union Brig. Gen. George Crook's divisions at Winchester. A battle erupted at the Pritchard farm, where Union artillery fired on the Confederates from atop Pritchard’s Hill. Here two future United States Presidents fought - Col. Rutherford B. Hayes and Lt. William McKinley, both from the Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Kernstown Pritchard House

The Pritchard family hid in the basement of their home during the battle. Afterward, Mrs. Pritchard tended both Union and Confederate soldiers when the Pritchard home became a field hospital.

Early managed to break the Federal line, forcing Union retreat behind the stone wall. Confederate sharpshooters drove the Union soldiers into a fighting retreat, and Crook’s remaining divisions retreated through Winchester back across the Potomac. Early's astonishing victory resulted in the appointment of the aggressive Union Gen. Philip Sheridan as commander of Union forces in the Valley. Fightin' Phil - as he was known - would lead the Union Army on a campaign of systematic looting, burning and destruction of the Valley that ultimately sent Early into retreat.

Kernstown Samuel Pritchard room

The Pritchard-Grim House at Kernstown was built in 1854 by wheelwright Samuel Pritchard for himself, his wife Helen, a Union sympathizer from New Jersey, and their children.

After 'The Burning' - as it is called - of the Shenandoah Valley, the Pritchard farm was taken over by the Union Army as a camp and headquarters. A successful businessman, Samuel Pritchard owned a 200-acre farm as well as a wheelwright shop and transportation company that hauled freight up and down The Valley between New Jersey and Tennessee. By the end of the War the Pritchards were broke with nearly everything they had taken from them. Samuel Pritchard filed with the Southern Claims Commission for over $5,000 in property loss, yet he was unable to collect as the Commission ruled that he had been a traitor to the Union.

Visiting the Kernstown II Battlefield

Your best bet to visit Kernstown II Battlefield is to begin at the visitor center at The Kernstown Battlefield on the Pritchard-Grim Farm. Here there is a museum, gift shop, artillery display, the ca. 1854 Pritchard House, and the Kernstown Battlefield Walking Trail as well as guided tours with local historians, special events, and re-enactments with costumed interpreters. Operated by the Kernstown Battlefield Association, the park is open seasonally on weekends. A scenic hiking trail takes you through major areas of battle action along a grassy track that is a little hilly in places and climbs Pritchards Hill. There are guided tours of the Pritchard House that tell you about the history of the home and the Pritchard family and about the Kernstown Battlefield Association's ongoing restoration of this magnificent period home.

Kernstown Pritchard House front door transom

Two Civil War battles raged over the Pritchard Farm at Kernstown, and the manor home served as a Union headquarters and field hospital for both.

Kernstown Costumed Interpreters

Costumed interpreters make history come alive at Kernstown Battlefield.

Kernstown Nature Trail

Kernstown Battlefield features self-guided battlefield and nature trails as well as guided walking tours.

Historical Photo

Kernstown Pritchard House Scary

The ca. 1858 Pritchard House at Kernstown Battlefield was pretty scary looking prior to its restoration by the Kernstown Battlefield Association.

Pictured at the very top: During the Kernstown Battles Union artillery was positioned atop Pritchards Hill, a strategic location for the defense of Winchester. It's said that Winchester changed hands from Union to Confederate more than 70 times during the Civil War.

Visit Civil War Trust and Kernstown Battlefield Association for battle details and information about the preservation of this battlefield.