PORTLAND "We are here to celebrate and remember what took place on this very ground almost 150 years ago," said Ted Prasse of the Ohio Historical Society, in dedicating the recently completed kiosk located in the Buffington Island Memorial Park at Portland.
Prasse told the large crowd attending that the eight interpretive panels in the steel framed kiosk tells the story of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan's raid through 20 counties in Southeastern Ohio, the arrival of his troops in Portland nearly a century and a half ago, their encounter with the Union military, and their defeat in a bloody battle.
Passe said the kiosk, built by the Ohio Historical Society in cooperation with several organizations including the Meigs County Historical Society, stands as a "permanent reminder to today's generation of those who fought and died in the battle of Buffington Island, the only Civil War battle fought on Ohio soil.
In his talk Prasse also announced that next year the Heritage Trail, consisting of 57 markers tracking the trail taken by Morgan and his men across Southeastern Ohio and ending at Buffington Island, will all be in place.
The interpretive signs will go up at Langsville, Cook's Gap, the junction of SR 7 and SR 143, Rock Springs, Chester, Bashan, the edge of the woods at Johnson's Camp, the south end of Dry Run, Old Portland Road, north of the village, Long Bottom, Reedsville, and Tuppers Plains. The Buffington Island sign is one of the eight installed in the kiosk.
Others speaking briefly at the kiosk dedication, emceed by Jim Oiler of Cadot-Blessing Camp 126, Sons of Union Veterans, were Rep. Debbie Phillips who called on those attending to "nurture liberty and love of country;" Edd Sharp of the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation who described the event as a "great day for Meigs County," and Ralh Widowski of the Sons of Confederate Soldiers and a member of Morgan's Men's Association, asking that everyone "remember all Americans who fought and died in this battle"
The honor guard of the Cabot-Blessing Camp 126, Sons of Union Veterans Civil War, opened the ceremony with a gun salute and concluded the kiosk dedication by leading those attending to the park's Civil War monument where wreaths were laid in memory of those who gave their all in the battle of Buffington Island.