PORTLAND — Numerous individuals and organizations came together on Saturday to commemorate the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Buffington Island.
Buffington Island, located near Portland, was the location of Ohio’s only significant Civil War battle on July 19, 1863.
The Battle of Buffington Island was the major engagement during General John Hunt Morgan’s Great Raid into Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. The battle, 155 years ago, lasted about two hours, involving 1,800 of Morgan’s Confederate calvarymen and 3,000 Union artillery, calvary, and infantry supported by navy gunboats, according to information provided by event organizers.
While Morgan’s troops had planned to cross the river at Buffington Island, the Union gunboats and troops stopped the crossing and captured nearly a third of Morgan’s command. Morgan and the remaining forces moved north, with Morgan captured on July 26 in Columbiana County.
The ceremony included a brief presentation by Commander Kerry Langdon of the Ohio Department Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
“The Civil War was one of if not the most important event on United States soil,” said Langdon. “Brothers fought brothers, fathers shot sons,” added Langdon, recalling the battles of the Civil War which put family members on opposing sides.
Several wreaths were placed at the monument by the organizations involved in the day’s events.
To conclude the ceremony, a firing salute was conducted, along with the playing of Taps.
Following the program at the memorial site, the day’s events moved to the Portland Community Center for lunch, music by Steve Free and a presentation by reenactor William Donegan.
Free, accompanied by his wife, performed two songs during the memorial service, before entertaining the crowd at lunch.
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 performed the program “The General in General”as Union General William Stark Rosecrans.
The General in General introduces the audience to the life of West Point graduate General William Stark Rosecrans, United States Army. Donegan’s presentation shared Rosecrans’ 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 the country and for General Rosecrans, and today is honored for his contributions.
Donegan, a 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.
Organizations taking part in the Battle of Buffington Island Memorial Service included, Ohio Department Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Ohio History Connection, Auxiliary to Ohio Department SUVCW, McClellan Camp and Auxiliary, Auxiliary for the John Townsend Camp #108, Sister Anthony O’Connell Auxiliary, Gen. Benjamin Fearing Camp #2 SUVCW, Cadot-Blessing Camp #126 SUVCW, Brooks-Grant Camp #7, Portland Community Center, and Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation.