Battle of Buﬃngton Island
Union Troops Withdraw
In the early morning of July 19, Union Brigadier
General Henry Judah's forces, dispatched the day
before from Pomeroy, surprised both themselves
and the raiders by virtually running right into
Confederates hidden by the morning's dense fog.
Rather than attempt to cross the Buffington
Island ford at night, Morgan had decided to rest
his troops in a nearby valley.
Startled, Morgan's men quickly fired upon
the blue-clad soldiers. Judah's forces had little
room to maneuver in the narrow valley where
they met the raiders and soon came under
heavy fire. Barely able to defend themselves,
Judah's troops were forced to retreat.
Meanwhile, Union General Hobson's reinforcements,
led by Colonel August Kautz, were on their way
to attack from the west, and Union gunboats
were traveling up the Buffington Island channel
to protect the ford.
Rutherford B. Hayes and William McKinley,
19th and 25th presidents of the United States,
respectively, both served in the 23rd Ohio
Infantry. In 1863, Hayes commanded a brigade,
which included the 23rd Ohio, in Brigadier
General Eliakim Scammon's division stationed
in West Virginia. Hayes' troops were among
those placed on steamboats and rushed to
the area to prevent Morgan's escape.
Top left: Daniel McCook - Major Daniel McCook died after the initial skirmish. He was father of the famous "Fighting McCooks," a family of staunch Union supporters which sent twelve men to the battlefields.
Bottom left: Just as the Confederates were preparing to make their way to the ford, they were surprised by the arrival of Judah's troops from the south.
Top right portraits: Rutherford B. Hayes - William McKinley