PORTLAND — Ohio Department Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War will be hosting the Buffington Island Battlefield Memorial Service, July 21, at 11 a.m. at the Buffington Island Battlefield Park to remember the 155th anniversary of what has been called the only major American Civil War battle in Ohio’s history.
According to an Ohio History Connection program provided by James Oiler, commander of Cadot-Blessing Camp 126 with the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, on July 19, 1863, the Battle of Buffington Island commenced and was recognized as an engagement during “Morgan’s Great Raid” into Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. General John Hunt Morgan led roughly 1,800 Confederate cavalrymen against 3,000 Union artillery, cavalry and infantry, which were supported by gunboats on the Ohio River. The encounter lasted two hours, reportedly. Morgan’s Confederate forces were to cross the Buffington Island ford before meeting with and being defeated by Union resistance.
A third of Morgan’s command was considered captured and his forces “scatted to the north.” Morgan was captured July 26 in Columbiana County.
The battle reportedly also included Rutherford Hayes and William McKinley, two future Ohio presidents with Ohio ties.
Associated with the program are musician Steve Free and reenactor William Donegan.
According to program information, “Steve Free is an internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter and educator, living in southern Ohio. The winner of numerous music industry awards including 9 ASCAP awards, a Platinum Record and Grammy nomination, he has charted over 30 songs on the National and International Americana and Country and Billboard charts including 15 #1 songs. In 2000 he received a lifetime achievement award from Airplay International in Nashville. In 2008, he won the Governor’s Award in Ohio in 2009 and was honored by being named an ‘Ohio Treasure.’”
Donegan is associated with “The General in General” and according to Ohio History Connection information “The General in General introduces us to the life of West Point graduate General William Stark Rosecrans, United States Army. William E. Donegan shares his pre-war accomplishments, experiences as an architect and civil engineer and significant campaigns during the Civil War in which Rosecrans commanded forces at Rich Mountain, Carnifax Ferry and the Kanawha Valley. These campaigns helped to define him and shape his character. The year, 1863, was a year of great significance for our country and for General Rosecrans, and today we honor his contributions. William E. Donegan, native of Charleston, West Virginia, enjoys history and all things historical. He is a member of the West Virginia Reenactors Association and the Federal Generals Officers Corps. As a participant in the Officers Corp, William portrays Union General William Stark Rosecrans.”