Myron “Jack” Smith, Jr., Tusculum College library director and professor, has published the cover article in the June 2013 issue of “S&D Reflector,” the magazine of the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen.
“Gunboats at Buffington: The U.S. Navy and Morgan’s Raid, 1863” sheds new and detailed light on the July 19, 1863, Civil War encounter at a little known island in the Ohio River near Parkersburg, W.V. On that occasion, Confederate troops under Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan were largely prevented by the Union Navy from escaping across the river from Federal troops who had them backed up against a riverbank in southern Ohio.
According to the article, the aggressive riverine defense resulted in the capture of numerous Southerners, including Col. Basil Duke, the death of others and forced Morgan to retreat north into Columbiana County, Ohio, where he was caught by Union cavalry under Brig. Gen. James M. Shackelford. Morgan, though imprisoned, eventually escaped and was killed in Greeneville on September 4, 1864.
“Gunboats at Buffington: The U.S. Navy and Morgan’s Raid, 1863” is based on an article first published by Smith in the Winter 1983 issue of “West Virginia History” and on research undertaken for the first of his six books devoted to the Civil War on Western Waters, “Le Roy Fitch: The Civil War Career of a Union River Gunboat Commander,” which was published in 2007 and is available on Amazon and at the Tusculum College bookstore.