Buffington Island is the site of the only significant Civil War battle in Ohio. On July 19, 1863, a Union army routed a column of Confederate cavalry commanded by Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan in 1863.
From July 13-26, 1863, Morgan led a daring group of more than 2,000 men across Southern Ohio. His mission: to distract and divert as many Union troops as possible from the action in Middle Tennessee and East Tennessee. Union Troops under the command of Major General Ambrose Burnside gave chase.
It was at Buffington Island on July 19 that the Union forces corned Morgan and his men as the Confederates were trying to cross the Ohio River. The Union troops dealt a heavy blow to Morgan’s men and resources, but, despite losing half his men and all of his supplies, Morgan escaped. Major Daniel McCook, patriarch of the fighting McCook family, was mortally wounded in the fight.
Morgan’s remaining raiders turned north, exhausted and desperate to find another place to cross. On July 26, at Salineville, in Columbiana County, Union Cavalry under the command of Major W.B. Way and Major G.W. Rue surrounded Morgan's Raiders and succeeded in capturing Morgan and most of his command. Morgan's capture marked the end of Morgan’s Raid.
For more information on the battle of Buffington Island visit Ohio History Central.