Thursday, March 22, 2012

March 22, 1862

March 22, 1862: Eastern Theater, Shenandoah Valley Campaign - Kernstown. As McClellan’s command attempts a sleight-of-hand move to sidle out of the Shenandoah Valley, Gen. Alpheus Williams’ division moves out from Centreville to head for the Peninsula, and Gen. Nathaniel Banks, in the Valley, prepares to move his corps out of Winchester to take William’s place at Centreville. Gen. Shields, whose division had chased Jackson south, withdrew to Kernstown, just south and east of Winchester. Gen. Stonewall Jackson, CSA, marches north rapidly to Strasburg. Jackson’s cavalry under Turner Ashby rides ahead and probes Shields’ position, skirmishing, and unlimbers some artillery and begins shelling Shields’ supply train. As Union infantry are rushed forward to deal with the pesky Rebel cavalry, Gen. Shields finally rides forward to see for himself. As he rides into view, Ashby directs his guns to shell the Union general and his staff. A shell explodes right over their heads, and Shields is thrown from his horse by the blast, with fragments in his arm and shoulder. De facto command falls to Col. Nathan Kimball. Kimball rallies some infantry that puts Ashby to flight. Ashby returns to report only four Union regiments remain in Winchester—a gross underestimate.

—Against orders from Col. Canby, Col. John Slough, in command at Ft. Union, New Mexico, marches out from the fort with 1,400 men toward Santa Fe, hoping to meet Canby’s column somewhere along the way.

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