The 91st Ohio Volunteer Infantry reenacting unit is hosting the reenactment which is actually one part of a two-day series of events celebrating not only the Battle of Buffington Island but the Civil War period.
“This free educational event features activities for the whole family,” Mike Harbour, event coordinator said. “Activities are planned throughout the day Saturday and early Sunday.”
Harbour said Saturday highlights include a 9:30 a.m. Battle of Corydon. Corydon took place in Indiana during Confederate Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s raid, before he crossed into Ohio and eventually fought at Buffington Island. A memorial service conducted by the Sons of Union Veterans will take place at 11 a.m., with a discussion of local history surrounding the original battle planned for 2 p.m. Other military drills, period games and activities will take place throughout the day.
Then, on Sunday, Harbour said the reenactment of the Battle of Buffington Island will take place at 11 a.m. Signs along the road will indicate the battle sites each day. The Buffington Island Civil War Museum within the Portland Community Center, adjacent to the park, will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.
The Portland Community Center and 91st Ohio Volunteer Infantry Civil War reenactment group are hosting the Buffington Island reenactment weekend, with assistance from Shelly Materials Inc. and the Ohio Historical Society.
An itinerary for this weekend’s events is as follows: Saturday, 7-9 a.m., breakfast available in the museum; 9 a.m., camps open to public and armies for battle; 9 a.m.-5 p.m., museum open (concession available for lunch); 9:30 a.m., skirmish; 11 a.m., memorial service; 1 p.m., ladies tea (silent auction bidding opens on items that pertain to the historical period or Civil War); 2 p.m., Battle of Buffington Island history discussion; 3 p.m., camp games (fastest shot, corn husking, cannonball toss, etc.); 5 p.m., camps close to the public; 5:30 p.m., dinner for paid participants; 6:30 p.m., bidding on silent auction closes (go to silent auction area for results and to settle bills); 7 p.m., Civil War Ball at Chester.
Sunday, 7-9 a.m., breakfast available in the museum; 9 a.m., camps open to public; 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. museum open; 11 a.m., 146th Anniversary Battle of Buffington Island; 1 p.m., break camp.
According to Harbour, on July 13, 1863, Confederate cavalry under Morgan crossed into Ohio from Indiana at Harrison. They were being pursued by Union cavalry under the direction of Generals Henry M. Judah and Edward H. Hobson. On July 19, Union forces caught up to Morgan’s raiders and the battle of Buffington Island was fought near Portland on the Ohio River. Of the 1,700 Confederate troops engaged, 900 were killed, wounded or captured. Only 25 of the 4,700 Union troops became casualties.
Morgan escaped the Buffington Island engagement with about 400 men and was captured on July 26 near Salineville in northeast Ohio while trying to find a safe place to cross the Ohio River. During the Ohio raid, Morgan’s men captured and paroled nearly 6,000 Union soldiers and militia, destroyed 34 bridges, disrupted railroads at more than 60 places and diverted tens of thousands of Union troops from other duties.
For more information about the Buffington Island reenactment weekend, interested people may contact Mike Harbour at 992-9467 or Kyle Sharp at 420-7777, both members of the 91st OVI.