POMEROY — Planning for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Buffingtion Island, the only Civil War battle to take place in Ohio, continued Saturday as representatives of the Ohio Historical Society met with local organization representatives at the Meigs County Historical Society’s museum annex.
Karen Hassel of the Ohio Historical Society who is working on event plans, said that reenactors are scheduled to arrive at the camp site in the area of the Buffington Island Memorial Park at Portland or at a Bashan farm site on Friday, July 19.
She added that an emphasis of the weekend activities will be geared to providing activities as they relate to life during Civil War times which will appeal to both adults and children. Being planned are tours of the battle fields in wagons, Civil War battle reenactments, and, of course, an official commemoration of the event with speakers to include representatives from the Governor’s office and legislative branches as well as local officials.
The commemorative celebration will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 20. That will be followed by the annual memorial service led by Cabot-Blessing 126 Camp with Commander Jim Oiler and Benjamin Fearing Camp 2 with Dan Hinton. Also expected to participate is the Auxiliary to the Ohio Department Daughters of the Confederacy. That service will include the traditional laying of the wreath at the monument.
Battle skirmishes between the Union and Confederate reenactors are to be held Saturday afternoon along with tours of the battlefields in the wagons with narration by someone portraying a character of that historic time. Negotiations are being made with the Portland Community Center for use of the land between the Center and Memorial Park for the skirmishes and other activities, Hassel reported.
A living history by the 91st OVI will take place, along with games of that time period for the children on Saturday at the Park site. Plans for dinner arrangements in Portland and Chester are on the agenda. The traditional Civil War Ball in Chester will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. under the big tent pitched on the Chester Commons.
Sunday events include plans for church services around 10 a.m., and time for viewing museum exhibits, both at the Portland Community Center and at the Meigs Museum where the voting ballots of soldiers in the year when Lincoln was seeking a second term will be on display.
The major skirmish between the Confederate and Union militia is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. and continue for approximately two hours bringing the 150th commemorative observance of the Battle of Buffington Island to a conclusion.
During Saturday’s meeting, it was emphasized that things are still in a planning stage, Mike Holbrook of the Ohio Historical Society, and a Union reenactor, reported that at this time there is no way to determine the number of reenactors who will be available to come to Meigs County to participate in the skirmishes. He did say that while he and other Union reenactors will be participating in the Gettysburg event, there is still interest in coming here for the Buffington Island event. It was noted that Edd Sharp, a Confederate reenactor, was unable to attend the meeting but has indicated that he expects good participation in the reenactment here.
Attending the planning session were Margaret Parker and Mike Parker, representing the Meigs County Historical Society; Jimmy Stewart, George Morrison and Mary Powell of the Chester-Shade Historical Association which hosts the Civil War Ball, Harry Spencer of Basham who has been involved in providing camping and battle site in years past, along with Haskel and Holbrook, and Jenny Hand and Ann Miller of Chester and Columbus.
The next planning session was set for March 16 at the Meigs Museum.