John Hunt Morgan's Great Raid and Surrender: Reedsville to West Point – A Field Tour from Pittsburgh, PA ~ October 18 - 21

On October 18, 2017 - 19:30 - October 21, 2017 - 17:00
  • Activity Level: Easy

On July 2, 1863, Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan and his famed 2,500-man cavalry division embarked on an audacious three-week Special Operations mission through Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio to divert Ambrose Burnside’s Army of the Ohio away from East Tennessee. Known as the Great Raid, or the Indiana-Ohio Raid, Morgan’s operation caused 130,000 Union troops to be mobilized to chase the Confederate cavalier, including 4,000 of Burnside’s cavalry, the loss of which effectively put a halt to the Army of the Ohio and its East Tennessee campaign. The Provisional Division of 3,000 veteran Federal cavalrymen, led by Brigadier General Edward Hobson and subsequently by Brigadier General James Shackelford, led the land chase, while Lieutenant Commander LeRoy Fitch engaged his gunboats of the Mississippi Squadron to prevent Morgan from re-crossing the Ohio River. Governor David Tod rounded up 60,000 militia to defend Buckeye soil, but the Confederates’ lightning speed and effective counter-intelligence confounded General Burnside and Ohio’s military leaders.

However, the Union’s decisive victory over Morgan at the Battle of Buffington Island, OH, on July 19, 1863, sealed the fate of Morgan’s once-feared division. Of the 1,800 men Morgan had present on the battlefield, only 1,100 escaped, while the rest were killed, wounded, or captured. He also lost all of his artillery and his wagon train. It was a disaster from which Morgan would have to find a miracle to recover. Yet, a miracle was not to be had. Using the rugged terrain of eastern Ohio as a way to shake off his pursuers, he was only successful in eluding those who were on his rear. What he could not avoid were the fresh enemy soldiers being placed in his front with railroad and river transportation. Finally out of options, General Morgan surrendered on July 26 with 364 of his men and officers near West Point, OH, the Confederacy’s farthest north penetration of Union territory by a force originating from the Confederate States.

On this tour, David L. Mowery will lead us along the final leg of John Hunt Morgan’s Great Raid path. On Thursday morning at 8:00 AM, we will leave by van from our base hotel near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where you can safely park your cars until we return on Saturday afternoon. Our first stop will be Long Bottom, OH, where Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan reorganized his scattered and demoralized troopers after the Battle of Buffington Island. We’ll walk the ground at Reedsville (Belleville Island) Ford where Colonel Adam “Stovepipe” Johnson and 330 of Morgan’s troopers successfully crossed the Ohio River, while General Morgan returned from safety to stay with his men trapped on the Ohio shore. Next, we’ll follow Morgan inland to his July 19th camp site at Tupper’s Plains, where he fooled Brigadier General James Shackelford and escaped the Union trap with over 700 raiders. As we drive on the path of Morgan’s raid route in this sector, we will experience gravel and dirt roads that have changed very little from 1863. Passing through the villages of Burlingham, Harrisonville, and Rutland, we’ll visit the ford and the skirmish site at Cheshire, OH, a critical rear-guard action with Colonel Frank Wolford’s cavalry that thwarted Shackelford’s attempt to capture Morgan and the whole of his division. We’ll pass through the Ohio River town of Addison and then turn inland to the village of Porter, Morgan’s camp on the dreary night of July 20, before reaching Ewington Academy, the site of one of the Civil War’s most unusual events – a double surrender of troops from both adversaries on the same spot and at the same time – without a shot being fired! We’ll end the day at the ghost town of Iron Valley Furnace and then spend Thursday night in a motel in nearby Jackson, OH.


On Friday morning, we’ll check out, board the van, and head to Vinton Station and Creola, where Morgan and his remaining 550 men camped on the night of July 21. We’ll take a short walking tour of Nelsonville, OH, where Morgan’s men burned ten canal boats and replenished their supplies from the citizens of this prosperous coal town. We’ll follow the Confederate route deep into the Appalachian foothills, driving through the small, isolated hamlets of Hemlock and Chapel Hill. In Morgan County, OH, we’ll see the site of Morgan’s headquarters and camp on the night of July 22, and then we’ll visit and study the remarkable running skirmish and Confederate victory at Eagleport on the Muskingum River, the location of a recent battlefield archaeological dig. Next, we’ll wind our way to the village of Rural Dale and to Cumberland, Morgan’s camp on the night of July 23. Continuing through Pleasant City and Buffalo, towns that lost property to Confederate and Union troopers alike, we’ll arrive at Senecaville, where Federal forces lost a good opportunity to end the Great Raid once and for all, and where Morgan was nearly shot by a Unionist woman. After visiting in Lore City the former Central Ohio (B&O) Railroad station, which Morgan’s men destroyed, we’ll finish the day on the National Road at Old Washington, OH, the site of a skirmish between Shackelford’s advance guard and Morgan’s rear guard that was made famous by Harper’s Weekly. Confederate dead from the skirmish are buried in the town cemetery. We’ll lodge for the night in a motel at Cambridge, OH.

We’ll depart from the motel at 8:00 AM on Saturday morning and will drive along Morgan’s path through Winterset, Antrim, and Londonderry, pausing briefly at the Big Stillwater Creek crossing and the former town of Collinsport. We’ll see the Mills Hotel at Moorefield, OH, where General Morgan unwittingly slept for three hours on a bed filled with cash and stamps, and then we’ll see the site of the raiders’ July 24th camp near the abolitionist college town of New Athens. We’ll pass through the villages of Georgetown, Harrisville, and Deyarmonville, the closest to the Ohio River that Morgan’s men would attain after leaving Addison, and then we’ll see the location of the Smithfield ruse. Next, we’ll visit the skirmish site at Wintersville, OH, where Major William B. Way’s 9th Michigan Cavalry had a friendly fire encounter with the Steubenville Militia, allowing Morgan’s men to escape yet again. Driving through Way’s camp at The Eastern mine, we’ll stop at the ghost town of Nebo near Bergholz, the place of Morgan’s last camp of the raid (July 25). Next, we’ll visit the sites of the two-hour Skirmish at Salineville, OH, considered by many historians to be the northernmost Civil War skirmish east of the Mississippi River. Morgan lost about 100 men killed, wounded, and captured in this running fight with Way’s cavalry force. We’ll pay our respects to the raiders buried at West Grove Cemetery, the northernmost Confederate graves on a Civil War battlefield east of the Mississippi, and perhaps in all of the United States. We’ll finish our tour at General Morgan’s surrender field near West Point, OH, where a boulder commemorates the spot at which the famous leader and nearly 400 of his men ended their 958-mile raid by giving up to a Kentuckian, Major George W. Rue, of the 9th Kentucky U.S. Cavalry. We’ll arrive back to the base hotel near Pittsburgh, PA, at around 6:00 PM.

Join David Mowery, the leading authority on this subject, on this masterful in-depth tour of these mostly out-of-the way places.

David L. Mowery

David Mowery is a native resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, In 2001, he joined the  Ohio Civil War Trail Commission  and his role has included developing the final design for, and the historical validation of, the entire length of the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail of Ohio. He is the co-author (with Lora Cahill) of Morgan’s Raid Across Ohio: The Civil War Guidebook of the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail, all proceeds from which go to the Ohio Historical Society for the maintenance of the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail in Ohio.

Registration Fee - $695.

What is included in your registration:

·      The services of an expert historian chosen for his knowledge and experience

·      Transportation to all sites as described

·      3 lunches

.      Thursday & Friday night lodging

·      Refreshments and snacks during the tour

·      Map package and handouts


WE'RE SWITCHING CREDIT CARD SOFTWARE so online registration is currently unavailable

FOR NOW, CALL 800-298-1861 to complete your credit card registration; or SEND CHECK to:


Box 78, Winchester, VA 22604

LODGING:  On Wednesday night, October 18, we will base at a hotel in Pittsburgh soon TBA.

(Thursday night, October 19 lodging in Jackson, Ohio and Friday night, October 20 lodging in Cambridge, Ohio are included in your registration fee - Wednesday night, October 18 & Saturday night, October 21 lodging are NOT included in your registration fee. We will soon post information for those nights' lodging and instructions on booking rooms for those nights.)

We will post hotel information on – and this information

 will also be sent to all registrants.


Wednesday, October 18

7:30 PM            Tour Overview at base hotel near Pittsburgh, PA

Thursday, October 19

8:00 AM            Depart and start tour

                        Lunch at Portland Community Center, Portland, OH

6:30 PM             Arrive at motel in Jackson, OH

Friday, October 20

8:00 AM             Depart and continue tour                       

                         Lunch at Boondocks BBQ & Grill, McConnelsville, OH

6:30 PM             Arrive at motel in Cambridge, OH

Saturday, October 21

8:00 AM             Depart and continue tour

                         Lunch at Kings Family Restaurant, Wintersville, OH

6:00 PM              Arrive back to base hotel near Pittsburgh, PA

Morgan's Raid 2017

LODGING:  We will be based at a hotel in Pittsburgh soon to be announced.

(Wednesday & Saturday night lodging is NOT included in your registration fee.)


We will post hotel information on – and this information

 will also be sent to all registrants.