Morgan’s Raid tour held in Bergholz

SMITHFIELD – The site of the first stone monument with a bronze plaque, erected in Harrisville in July 1913, was the starting point of the drive-yourself -tour led by Lyle Zerla, local historian, on Saturday.

The tour was part of the Friends of Smithfield effort to promote the 150-year-old Civil War anniversary and John Hunt Morgan’s travels throughout Jefferson, Harrison and Carroll counties.

More than 40 people were part of the tour that took visitors through the last stages of Morgan’s campaign to get back across the Ohio River to safety.

The Confederates entered Jefferson County in Harrisville via the Short Creek Valley on July 25, 1863, it was noted. The Union Army, under orders of Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside and Gen. James M. Shackleford, 14th Illinois Cavalry, 1st Kentucky Cavalry, 9th Military Cavalry, 11th Michigan Battery, 86th Mounted Infantry, 2nd Tenneesee Cavalry, were in fast pursuit, according to Zerla.

Morgan’s men scouted the Ohio River at Bridgeport and were fed breakfast by people there, according to Zerla. They could not cross the river because of Union troops and gun boats.

The second monument stop on the tour was in Dillonvale, going by way of Mount Pleasant Township road 127, 128 and 129 – one-way, winding, gravel roads. Morgan’s men were pursued by Shackleford and proceeded north from there via Dry Fork to Smithfield.

The next monument was in DeYarmonville, just off county Road 150, passing Dry Fork. It has two markers – one erected in 1913 to observe the 50th anniversary and the kiosk put up the the Jefferson County Highway Department and supplied by the Ohio Historical Society.

A white picket fence stands behind the two monuments to bring attention to them. The stone monument is embedded in cement, as it had been located closer to the turnoff from Route 150 and was knocked over and into the creek by a large truck, according to Zerla. He was responsible for this relocation and a new plaque added to the stone. Anna Otto of the Mount Pleasant Historical Society is responsible for the picket fencing, it was noted.

The next stop was a site on county Road 20, near the former Welday Orchard, where Morgan encountered part of Gen. William Collins’ Smithfield militia and put the general on a mule to ride into Smithfield to tell citizens that it was the Union Army and to feed them and provide fresh horses.

The stop was in Smithfield, where again there are two markers-the stone 50th anniversary marker located just outside the Smithfield Historical Society building and the kiosk erected by the highway department at the former Our Lady Queen of Peace parking lot.

The historical society provided a restroom stop and refreshments for the travelers. The historic group’s headquarters have been renovated recently through a grant from the Pugliese Fund and several fundraisers that were held to repair the roof.

The next tour stop was at the stone monument on state Route 151 in New Alexandria. There was a hotel and a bar in the small village and the troops made a stop there. The soldiers complained that these were the most crooked roads they had ever experienced and took a few horses along the way as well, according to Zerla.

Other stops were made as the tour group made its way to the Bergholz Civil War 150th anniversary celebration.