25 January 2009 by Published in: Battlefield preservation 5 comments

We had our quarterly meeting of the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation yesterday. We learned some good news. The Ohio Historical Society has set aside funds to establish an interpretive kiosk at the four-acre battlefield park that it owns. Consequently, the two architects and the display designer who will be responsible for setting up this display attended the meeting. This is great news, as there is almost n interpretation on the battlefield.

In addition, we learned that more than 600 signs will be installed along the route of Morgan’s Ride through Ohio during 2009 and 2010. Obviously, some of this interpretation will affect the battlefield at Buffington Island. My view on it is the more the merrier. We can’t have too much interpretation.

Also, my efforts to develop an advisory board for the Foundation are beginning to pay some dividends. So far, Bud Hall, Mark Grimsley, Lesley Gordon, Pete Carmichael, Mark Snell, Ethan Rafuse, Ken Noe, and Brooks Simpson have all agreed to serve on our advisory board. They will make great additions to our efforts, and I appreciate their agreement to do so.

After the meeting, we paid a visit to the battlefield. It’s actually been a couple of years since my last visit. In fact, the last time I was there, the sand and gravel company had not commenced mining operations there yet. It was very only about 20 degrees and quite breezy yesterday, meaning that it was REALLY cold out there, and the conditions were less than ideal for an extended session of battlefield stomping. Consequently, we did an abbreviated tour intended to show the OHS folks what they needed to see in order to do their work at the battlefield.

It broke my heart to see what the sand and gravel company has done to the heart of the battlefield. It looks like a war zone. There are deep pits, and lots of heavy machinery present to remove the gravel from the battlefield. A big chunk of the section of the field where the heaviest and most protracted fighting occurred is torn up forever. Unfortunately, the sand and gravel company’s contract with the Army Corps of Engineers permits them to mine the area and then leave it as ponds and the like. They have no obligation to restore the ground in any fashion, so the ground that it has dug up is forever destroyed.

The only good news is that we are being told that the sand and gravel company is not finding the concentration of gravel that it hoped to find there. Hopefully, that will mean that they will terminate their mining operations early and without destroying as much of the battlefield as they had originally intended to dig up. We don’t know this for certain, but it is what we’re hearing. Let us hope that that’s true.

I will keep everyone posted as to our progress.

Scridb filter

Comments

  1. Steve Basic
    Mon 26th Jan 2009 at 3:38 am

    Eric,

    While I am saddened to read your descriptions of what the battlefield looks like now, I guess the silver lining is that there will be interpretation of what took place there.

    It’s been a long time since I visited the area, and first time I ever learned about what took place there was when I was attending Ohio University. It is not that far a drive from Athens, and gave me my Civil War fix while I was in SE Ohio.

    Hope all is well.

  2. Tue 27th Jan 2009 at 11:34 am

    Hi Eric. I just wanted to clarify on the Morgan’s Raid Trail signage that I believe there are about 65 signs planned rather than 650. The trail is over 500 miles long in total.

    It was great to meet the Buffington Island group this weekend, and I know all of us at OHS are really excited to help in your efforts to bring this great resource to life for Ohioans!

  3. Fri 30th Jan 2009 at 1:00 am

    I visited visited Buffington Island over a year ago. I was sad to see Ohio’s only major battlefield in such bad shape. Our state should be embarassed to have it in such a state. The few monumounts I seen had the plaques removed and the place was very unkept. I did notice next to the sight an old school. In the window it said civil war muesum. Is it open?

  4. Tim Viezer
    Tue 16th Jun 2009 at 9:51 am

    Eric,
    I understand the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation is looking for some volunteers. I am a reenactor (Co B, 8th OVI), member of the CWPT, and work for the University of Cincinnati’s endowment. I like to find out how I can help the Buffington Island preservation efforts. – Tim Viezer

  5. mike kelly
    Wed 18th Nov 2009 at 5:05 pm

    From across the river at Ravenswood I used to visit the site many times and still hope they will protect it to some degree. Never really thought the sand and gravel mining would ever happen but seems we were all wrong.Hoping for the best outcome. Good luck. We are presently working on civil war markers here in wv and maybe that will help you all across the river too. Mike kelly

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