by Sarah Weingarten
Southern Ohio is the only region in the state to host a Civil War battle. In July 1863,General John Hunt Morgan and his Confederate army raided southern Ohio. And today you can drive along the path that the Confederate army took to their defeat. The total drive is around 550miles, but you don’t need to travel far to visit some of the venture’s most notable spots.
1. Adams County is where Morgan and his men entered Southeast Ohio. They made their way to Locust Grove, then south to the Wickerham Inn where the soldiers slept overnight. It is one of the oldest brick buildings in Adams County and is believed to be haunted. Today Wickerham Inn is private property, but history buffs can still stop by to view the outside.
Nearby: Serpent Mound, the largest effigy mound in the world. Drive 20 minutes south to eat at Blake Pharmacy & Hallmark Cards, an authentic ‘60s drugstore and soda fountain serving milkshakes and sandwiches.
Although the Confederate troops traveled through Pike and Jackson Counties they stopped in 2. Meigs County near Portland, where the Battle at Buffington Island occurred. It is the only major battle from the Civil War that took place in Ohio. The Union soldiers surrounded Morgan and his 1,700 men the night of July 18, 1863 and attacked the next morning. You can visit the Buffington memorial site –– but fair warning –– the site is actually three miles farther north on State Route 124 than what GPS lists. There is a burial mound for the soldiers who lost their lives, a monument about the battle and a few picnic tables.
3. Athens County
After the Battle at Buffington, Morgan and what was left of his men fled through Vinton County and stopped in Nelsonville in Athens County. Nelsonville was empty of Union troops because Union soldiers thought Morgan would go to Athens, so Morgan took 36horses and set a handful of canal boats and set canal bridges ablaze before leaving.
Nearby: Stuart’s Opera House and take a look around Gallery 1879. You can also stop by the Fun Barn to play arcade games and catch a movie.
4. Guernsey County
Morgan and his men traveled through Perry, Morgan, Muskingum Counties, then stopped in what is now Old Washington in Guernsey County. Morgan’s army of 2,460 men was now less than 600 men. They did not ransack the town, but instead wanted shelter and food. The Union army arrived early the next morning and fired shots at the troops,forcing them to flee the state. Three Confederate soldiers were killed in Old Washington and are buried there.