Save Ohio's Civil War Battlefield : Buffington Island

  • Author:
    n/a
  • Send To:
    State of Ohio
  • Sponsored By:
    Freinds of Buffington Island
  • More Info at:
For The People,
One hundred & thirty seven years ago, as the guns roared at Gettysburgh an event of lesser fame was taking place.
On July 2, 1863 Confederate General John Hunt Morgan began his Great Ohio Raid. On approval from his superior, Gen. Braxton Bragg he was to enter into Union held Kentucky and attack Louisville. This movement was to divert Union troops from Tennessee in an attempt to help Gen. Bragg free Tennessee from the Union.
Crossing the Cumberland River, Morgan led his 2500 men brigade into Kentucky. But instead of attacking Louisville, he opted to disobey his orders and cross the Ohio River. After which, Morgan and his men led the Union on a two-week raid through the tip of Indiana and across the entire southern half of Ohio. During this time, 50,000 union troops were diverted to catch Morgan. Morgan made his way to Buffington Island on the 19 of July 1863.
Seeking to cross the ford across the Ohio River there, the Union army finally caught up with Morgan.
The battle took place on the morn of the 19th, with the Union cavalry, gunboats guarding the ford and the forces of nature against him (severe rain that month had caused the river to rise). Morgan was defeated, he lost half his force there in dead & wounded, only himself & 400 others to escape and be captured a week later.
Buffington Island is located in Meigs County, Ohio, on the Great Bend of the Ohio River. This is situated in the southeastern corner of Ohio.
This battlefield is significant for many reasons.
1) It is one of the few battles that all branches of the service were involved
2) Two future presidents rode with the Union that day
3) Daniel McCook was mortally wounded there
4) It is Ohio's only Civil War battlefield
Today this battlefield sets almost as it did then, the opportunity for it to be a teaching center, or park are very great. This is not just an issue over preserving a very historic and valued place, but of ethical issues too. Over 60+ men are buried on the battlefield in unmarked graves, without any idea where the are. These are men from both sides of the war that rest now where they gave their most for what they thought was right.
Now, this would be fine if the park system owned the land, but it doesn't. A gravel company owns this very prestigious piece of land and has filed a claim to build a gravel operation on the site.
They have agreed to set aside 40 acres that will not be touched, where most of the soldiers are presumed to be buried. But as said before no one can account for all their whereabouts. This is very wrong in the fact that if they are all found, they will be reentered in a "safe" place where they will lose the ONLY identity these men have. Also, the fact that the men that aren't found may one day be dug up, and if not seen, will be shipped down the river with the rest of the gravel. This is a very sad thing.
We have to draw a line,People. Is commerce so great that we are willing to sell our history? If so, whenever progress inches closer to our historical sites, will they be plowed over, just to be only known forever more in books? Can anyone fathom building condos at Gettysburgh? Can anyone say yes to destroying the Serpent Mound of Ohio or bulldozing Fort Ancient (also in Ohio) over, just because the view is nice? Can you ever imagine, the year 3000 we go out to Pearl Harbor & drag the Arizona out of her grave? This would be around the same time line as this is taking place, mind you. Oh yeah, it'd go " well, we needed to dock our cruise liners and geeeez it was always leaking that oil." Yep, don't laugh it could happen. Land will only get scarcer & the fight will grow more difficult to save our heritage. We need to say" No" to this at Buffington Island. We have too much history to lose, but, the men there have the most to lose. For without Buffington Island they might as well not exist, they will no longer stand for much of anything if they do not have something to represent them.
We do not want to lose another piece of our precious and ever-dwindling historical resources. The men of Buffington Island should be allowed to continue their rest, unmolested. The Gravel Company should be compensated for their loss of the use of the land, and the people of the U.S should keep the battlefield, and care for it with pride, knowing the right choice was made.

Signed,
Friends of Buffington Island

If you would care to know more on Buffington Island Email me at [email protected]