27 October 2008 by Published in: Battlefield preservation 9 comments

I attended my first meeting of the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation on Saturday. The meeting was held at the facility of the Meigs County Historical Society in Pomeroy, Ohio, which is the nearest town of any consequence to the Buffington Island battlefield. Pomeroy is also the county seat of Meigs County.

A couple of months ago, I was named one of the founding voting trustees of the organization, so this was my introduction to the group. It’s taken several years of political haggling and wrangling to get things to this point. Apparently striking a balance between folks from Meigs County and outsiders like me was one of the big hang-ups. Interestingly, the president and vice president are both outsiders, while the secretary and treasurer are local folks from Meigs County. I guess that’s as even a split as is possible. If it works, it’s fine by me.

The first order of business was for the trustees–there are nine of us, although the by-laws of the organization call for thirteen; we’re still looking to fill those four slots–to vote for the slate of officers put forward by the same nominating committee that proposed me as a trustee. I was nominated to serve as vice president and agreed to serve in that role if elected. Since I was running unopposed, my election was something of a foregone conclusion, but the formalities need to be obeyed. So, I am now officially the vice president of the BIBPF. As the vice president, I’m also now a member of several committees, including the historical interpretation committee and the fundraising committee.

To make a long story short, there is a lot of work yet to be done. Sadly, the sand and gravel country has begun its mining operations there, and a significant portion of the battlefield has been forever destroyed. They do not plan on filling in their ponds when done, so that part of the battlefield will never be restored. It’s sad, but it was inevitable, and there simply is nothing that can be done about it. That ball was set in motion ten years ago, and the Army Corps of Engineers approved the operation, which, in turn, cast the die.

The other big problem, of course, is that the Ohio Historical Society owns only four acres of the battlefield. The rest is in private hands, meaning that it’s all threatened. Prior attempts to purchase preservation easements have been met by the locals with great resistance, so we have our work cut out for us. There is no doubt about that.

The good news is that the Ohio Civil War Trails Commission plans on running its John Hunt Morgan trail through Meigs County in 2009. Using TEA-21 funds from the Federal government, the trail will bring interpretation and visitors to the battlefield, and we hope to be able to raise its profile among the public. One of our projects will be to come up with some standard interpretation of the battle’s main details, so that we’re ensuring that folks get a consistent interpretation of the events that occurred there.

This will be a long-term and challenging process, but I look forward to the challenge. I look forward to working with the other officers and trustees, and I likewise look forward to working with the Civil War Preservation Trust and other similar preservation organizations. I will keep you posted on our progress.

Scridb filter


  1. Randy
    Mon 27th Oct 2008 at 4:25 pm

    It’s always exciting to see another battlefield get much needed attention and hopefully, protection and development. Congratulations on being willing to take on this task.
    By the way, what is about quarry operations and Walmarts? They seem to be naturally drawn to CW skirmish and battle sites. Too bad.


  2. Mon 27th Oct 2008 at 9:21 pm

    I too am working on a local project for the upcoming 150th. We are planning The Keystone Civil War Center in Altoona, PA.

  3. Scott Mingus
    Tue 28th Oct 2008 at 7:29 am

    Being a native southern Ohioan, I have been saddened over the years by the political wrangling that lost this battlefield. Blue & Gray’s Dave Roth called attention to the potential problem long before it became a sad reality.

    The flip side is the good news of the Morgan Trail. I grew up in an area rife with Morgan stories, and it is good the general public will get to follow his route.

  4. Tue 28th Oct 2008 at 8:54 am

    Eric, eventually I need to get out that way and do some proper marker hunting. I’m told several are in the area, but would you consider the site well interpreted as things stand?


  5. Tue 28th Oct 2008 at 8:58 am


    The answer is yes, there are quite a few markers on Morgan’s Raid. One of the counties it passed through has something like 14 or 15 of them.


  6. Kent Dorr
    Tue 28th Oct 2008 at 5:59 pm

    Eric….can you list for us who the other trustees of the new BIBPF are?


  7. Tue 28th Oct 2008 at 8:05 pm


    The officers are:

    Edd Sharp, Fairborn, president
    Eric Wittenberg, Columbus, vice president
    Margaret Parker, Pomeroy, secretary
    Harold Kneen, Pomeroy, treasurer

    All officers are also trustees. The remaining trustees are:

    Don Johnson, Portland
    Keith Ashley, Pomeroy
    Tony Ten-Barge, Columbus
    Bruce McKelvey, Portland
    Dave Gloeckner, Racine

    There are presently four open slots on the board of trustees.


  8. Chris Van Blargan
    Wed 29th Oct 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Eric, has Albert Jenkins’ September 1862 crossing at Buffington Island been marked? My understanding is that it was the first time Confederate troops entered Union soil which, if true, seems like something Ohio would be interested in commemorating.


  9. Darryl Smith
    Wed 25th Mar 2009 at 11:52 am

    Mr. Wittenberg,

    It is a boon to the BIBPF to have an officer who has name recognition within the Civil War community as you do. I reside near Camp Dennison, fairly close to the route that Morgan took away from Cincinnati. Apparently according to The Longest Raid of the Civil War a very small skirmish took place north of Camp Dennison. Bottom line, Ohio, being one of the leading contributors to men under amrs during the war, needs to also recognize the war on Buckeye soil in a far more effective manner than a few acres at Buffington. What can a native Buckeye do to help the BIBPF?

Comments are closed.

Copyright © Eric Wittenberg 2011, All Rights Reserved
Powered by WordPress