A minor American Civil War battle, fought in the Shenandoah Valley in the period after Jubal Early’s raid into Maryland. Having reached the outskirts of Washington, Early had been forced to pull back by the arrival of increasingly strong Federal forces in the city. Back in the Shenandoah his main aim was to stop Grant from recalling those forces back to the main campaign outside Richmond.
He chose to do this by threatening to repeat his raid into the North. To do this he remained in the northern part of the Shenandoah Valley, from where he could also threaten the Baltimore and Ohio Railway and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, both of which were close to the Potomac River.
While the main threat to Early was to come from General Sheridan, who Grant appointed to command in the Shenandoah on 1 August 1864, there were other Union forces in the area. On 23 July Early attacked one such force, commanded by General George Crook, at Kernstown. There he won yet another Confederate victory in the valley, inflicting over 1,000 casualties on the Union force, and forcing it to retreat back towards the Potomac.