OHIO VALLEY — Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation is partnering with Raiders on the Ohio project director Scott H. Dockus, of Lapstrake Marketing, to launch a fundraising campaign for the purpose of gathering stories and oral histories of descendants involved with or impacted by Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s Great Raid of 1863.
“This is a much-needed project to help us raise the awareness of this historic event and preserve Ohio’s largest Civil War battlefield, Buffington Island,” said David L. Mowery, author and foundation chair.
Buffington Island Battlefield Memorial Park is located at 55890 State Route 124 in Portland, the site of the only significant battle of the Civil War fought in Ohio.
Morgan and his band of 2,000 troops entered Ohio in Hamilton County after traveling through Kentucky and Indiana. The Raiders, as they became known, passed through 24 Appalachia Ohio counties before encountering Union troops supported by artillery, cavalry and navy gunboats on July 19, 1863 at Buffington Island.
Morgan’s Raiders had planned to cross the Ohio River at Buffington Island ford, escaping into Confederate Virginia territory. Instead, the military campaign that had covered over 1,000 miles ended 46 days later in a battle lasting around two hours.
With one third of Morgan’s forces captured and the remainder scattered, the threat from the raid was extinguished and Morgan himself was captured July 26 in Columbia County, Ohio.
Assisting Dockus in the project is Becky Stephens from Adams County, who is working with the meeting sites, county commissioners, travel bureaus and historical societies to organize and promote the information-gathering sessions. One of Stephens’ objectives is to manage the fundraising activities for the project and town hall events.
“I love fundraising, especially when it involves something I believe in,” she said. “The history behind Morgan’s Raid comes with so many wonderful personal stories and so many stories yet to be heard. To gather these stories and help preserve our heritage is an honor.”
In addition to heritage preservation, Dockus said the goal is also economic development.
“Heritage preservation is our primary objective, but we want to go a step further,” he said. “One of our goals within each county and Ohio’s Appalachia is to positively impact economic development through tourism.”
Dockus stated that with Stephens’ assistance, and through the promotion of the town hall events, they will be working with each county to promote its own heritage, local attractions, entertainment and restaurants.
“We are promoting not only Morgan’s Raid and the Buffington Island Battlefield, but participating counties, Ohio and Ohio’s Appalachia as well,” he said.
Dockus stated that support of this project has been tremendous. He shared that in order to make these events and the gathering of the stories and oral histories a success, funds are needed and the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation has launched a fund-raising campaign. Their goal is to raise $102,000 over the next four months.
To learn more about this project and the complete schedule of town hall meetings, to get involved and to donate, visit www.raidersontheohio.com.