The Battle of Piedmont: Casualty Comparison to more Famous Valley Battles

This analysis will focus on the killed and wounded of a number of Valley battles that occurred during the Civil War. Excepting Last Winchester and Cedar Creek which saw 9,000 and 8,000 casualties respectively and were fought by significantly larger armies, this analysis looks at all of the Valley battles and compares the men who were killed and wounded as a gauge of the intensity of the combat at Piedmont relative to the other battles. Some battles had large hauls of prisoners which were the result of brilliant maneuvers, but did not have the same level of combat intensity. The number shown is a total of soldiers killed and wounded.

Battle                                Killed and Wounded   /  # Engaged / % Loss

Opequon Crk  US: 4,680  CS: 2,404  Total: 7,084/55,500/12.76%

Cedar Creek   US:  4,104  CS: 1,860  Total: 5,964/47,000/12.68%

Piedmont         US: 805  CS: 565  Total 1,370/11,700/11.70%

New Market    US: 616  CS: 575   Total: 1,191/10,365/11.49%

Port Republic  US: 428  CS: 623  Total: 1,051/9,500/11.06%

1st Kernstown   US: 568  CS: 455  Total: 1,023/9,900/10.33%

2nd Kernstown  US: 719  CS: 177   Total:  887/22,300/3.97%

Cross Keys          US: 557  CS: 272   Total: 829/17,300/4.79%

2nd Winchester US: 443  CS: 252  Total: 695/19,500/3.56%

McDowell             US:  254  CS: 436  Total: 690/9,500/7.26%

1st Winchester   US: 205   CS: 397   Total: 602/22,500/2.68%

Front Royal          US:  83      CS:  36    Total: 119/4,000/2.98%

A note on sources, I have used various sources to include reports where available, Official Records War of the Rebellion, the NPS Battlefield Study, and applicable modern battle studies. For New Market I used Charlie Knight’s total for CS and William C. Davis’s for the US since his was higher and I wanted to make sure that I had the largest estimate for comparative purposes. These casualties show clearly just how heavy the combat was not only at Piedmont but also at New Market. These battles shared many similarities at the outset of the ’64 campaign. So you see, more men were killed and wounded at the battle of Piedmont than any single battle of Stonewall Jackson’s famous 1862 Valley Campaign, but yet it is a largely forgotten battle.

Some further thoughts on these numbers and reveal that 1st Winchester, 2nd Winchester, and 2nd Kernstown were highly successful battles for Stonewall Jackson, Dick Ewell, and Jubal Early respectively. Each of these commanders utilized maneuver, flanking attacks and cutting off lines of retreat to secure victories that netted a large haul of prisoners in addition to the killed and wounded. Ewell and Early especially excelled at minimizing their casualties.

Let’s remember those who fought, died and sacrificed there this year on the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Piedmont so that they will never again be forgotten.

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