GALLIPOLIS — Nationally-known author and historian Lester V. Horwitz will be on hand at 2 p.m. this Saturday at Bossard Memorial Library to discuss his Pulitzer Prize nominated book, “The Longest Raid of the Civil War.”
The work, first published in 1999 and later nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in history, tells the true story of John Hunt Morgan, a Confederate general who conducted the longest cavalry raid in the Civil War as he led a Rebel force through Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio — a journey that included the 1863 rampage of areas in Gallia and Meigs Counties.
On July 13, 1863, approximately 2,000 of Morgan’s Raiders entered Ohio and by July 17, they had reached northern Gallia County where they pillaged and later destroyed the bridge in the Village of Vinton.
Following this raid in Gallia County, the Rebels continued north into Meigs County where they fought a major battle the next day at Buffington Island.
A large detachment of the raiders then fled back into Gallia County where they were trapped at Coal Hill near Cheshire. Hundreds of the Rebels surrender there.
Led by Morgan, a separate group of men continued on to Athens County where they destroyed canal boats and property in Nelsonville. A week later, on July 26, 1863, they were captured just 70 miles south of Cleveland.
Following the raid, 4,375 Ohioans filed claims for damages by the Rebel force that swept through Ohio.
According to the historical marker that stands in Vinton near where the raiders crossed and then burned the 120-foot covered bridge over Raccoon Creek, no lives were lost during the July-raid as Morgan’s Raiders plundered the village for horses, food and forage.
In total, the Rebels had covered 1,000 miles in 24 days from their Tennessee camp, into central Kentucky, through southeastern Indiana and into northern Ohio, making theirs the longest raid of the Civil War.
Horwitz first became interested in Morgan’s Raid after he learned that his historic home in Cincinnati was raided by Morgan in 1863, and, following two decades of research, he began writing and collecting stories later included in “The Longest Raid of the Civil War.”
After the publication of his work, Horwitz became the first Civil War author to be filmed and broadcast nationwide on C-SPAN and subsequently completed the musical drama, “The Rebels Are Coming!” adapted from his book.
During his presentation on Saturday, Horwitz will not discuss the process of researching the longest raid of the Civil War, but also the oral history of the raid in Gallia County that indicates that the Rebel force traveled through Bidwell and the Crown City area.
Bossard Memorial Library is located at 7 Spruce Street, Gallipolis. The event is free to the public. The program was made possible through the Ohio Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and has been sponsored by the Friends of Bossard Library.
For more information about the book, visit www.LongestRaid.com.
For more information on Saturday’s presentation, contact Bossard Library at (740) 446-READ (7323).