This month marks the 150th anniversary of Confederate Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s raid through Indiana and Ohio and the ensuing Battle of Buffington Island where Union troops caught up with Morgan’s Raiders -- the only Civil War battle fought in Ohio. The Ohio Historical Society and local history groups are commemorating the raid and battle with events in communities across the state.
Morgan’s Raid and the Battle of Buffington Island
From July 13-26, 1863, John Hunt Morgan led a daring group of more than 2,000 Confederate soldiers across Indiana and southern Ohio. His mission was to distract and divert as many Union troops as possible from the action in middle and east Tennessee.
Union troops under the command of Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside followed. It was at Buffington Island on July 19, 1863, that the Union forces cornered 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. Maj. Daniel McCook, patriarch of the family known as the Fighting McCooks, 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 Maj. W.B. Way and Maj. 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.
John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail
The John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail of Ohio is a self-guided driving tour across 561 miles of Ohio’s roadways and 19 counties. It is marked with 56 markers that tell the story of the raiders’ progress through Ohio with maps, photos, drawings and quotations. The trail is also marked with more than 600 directional signs that guide travelers from one marker to the next.
“This trail tells the story of Ohioans during this tumultuous moment in the Civil War,” says Amy Rohmiller of the Ohio Historical Society. “Ohio soldiers and civilians resisted and thwarted Morgan’s men throughout the raid and the trail is an excellent way to represent Ohioans’ collective experience.”
The Morgan Heritage Trail project is a collaboration of the Ohio Civil War Trail Commission, Ohio Department of Transportation and Ohio Historical Society.
As a companion to the markers, a 325-page Morgan Heritage Trail Guidebook including directional maps, side trips and additional information about the raid will be available for purchase on www.lulu.com later this year.
Communities across Ohio are commemorating Morgan’s Raid and celebrating the new John Hunt Morgan Trail this summer. Find related local events and more information at www.ohiocivilwar150.org/morgans-raid.
Battle of Buffington Island 150th Anniversary Commemoration
Travel to Meigs County in southeast Ohio July 20-21, 2013, for a weekend of activities commemorating the only Civil War battle fought in Ohio, the Battle of Buffington Island.
“The focus will be on the soldiers’ and civilians’ experience during Morgan’s Raid,” says Karen Hassel of the Ohio Historical Society.
“The weekend’s activities offer an opportunity to experience what it might have been like to live in southeast Ohio when Confederate and Union troops descended upon the quiet rural area,” Hassel says.
The official commemoration of the battle’s 150th anniversary and dedication of the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail markers begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 20, at Buffington Island State Memorial in Portland, followed by wagon tours of the battlefield, Civil War camp-life reenactments and a display of Civil War artifacts from Noon-5 p.m., plus rededication of the nearby McCook Monument at 3 p.m. Reenactors demonstrate Civil War camp life there again on Sunday, July 21, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
In nearby Chester, the all-day Chester Shade Days Festival on Saturday, July 20, concludes with a Civil War Ball on the town commons from 7-9:30 p.m.
Throughout the weekend, see Civil War and Buffington Island battle-related exhibits at the Meigs County Historical Society Museum in Pomeroy and the 1823 Courthouse in Chester. For more information, call 866.363.2652 or visit www.ohiohistory.org/buffington150 for a full schedule of the weekend’s events.
Find more information on visiting Meigs County at www.meigscountytourism.com.
Learn More About Ohio’s Civil War 150 Commemoration
Find more about Ohio’s many local commemorations of Morgan’s Raid, the Battle of Buffington Island and other Civil War sesquicentennial events, plus teacher and classroom resources and tools for observing Civil War 150 in your community at http://www.ohiocivilwar150.org, Ohio’s Civil War 150 website.
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Subscribe to our free Ohio Civil War 150 e-newsletter at www.ohiohistory.org/publications/email-lists.