Battle of Buﬃngton Island
Closing the Net
Frustrated by multiple failed attempts to overtake
Morgan in Kentucky, Major General Ambrose Burnside
dispatched Union Brigadier General Edward Hobson
and 2,500 Union soldiers on July 6 with specific
orders to intercept the Confederate raiders.
Hobson's men relentlessly pursued Morgan's men
for two weeks through Kentucky, Indiana and
southern Ohio. The raiders did not make it easy
for them to follow. By taking all fresh horses
with them — whether they needed them or not —
the Confederates slowed the Union pursuit through
Indiana and Ohio.
As Hobson's men neared Portland on July 19,
gunshots could be heard from the south and the
general was quick to send reinforcements toward
the river. Cresting a hill overlooking Colonel Adam
Johnson's Confederate forces, Union troops
quickly dismounted, firing volley after volley into
the disorganized raiders at the bottom of the hill.
The Union forces tightened their vise grip on
the raiders and pushed them north of the ford.
The situation further deteriorated for Morgan's men
as gunboats began to fire upon them from the river.
Union Troops Lie in Wait
West Virginia became a state on June 20, 1863,
about a month before Morgan's Raid reached
Ohio. It was formed from pro-Union counties
Virginia but was still considered friendly
territory by Morgan and his troops.
Morgan was unaware that Union forces
were waiting to attack from the West Virginia
border in the event that any Confederates
made it across the Buffington Island ford.
Top left photo: Brigadier General Edward Hobson - Hobson led his troops on a grueling journey to chase down the raiders. His forces continued to be outsmarted by Morgan until they reached Portland.
Bottom left map: Hearing Judah's troops clash with the raiders, Hobson's reinforcements
rushed to the scene.