LISBON – Hide your horses, valuables and women!
That was the cry that rang out over southern Columbiana County on the evening of July 25, 1863, as word spread of the approach of Morgan’s Raiders, according to local historian Gene Krotky.
“By July 26, 1863, the village of New Lisbon was preparing to defend itself against the devastation that was sure to come at the hands of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan and his calvary,” she said.
Morgan never quite made it to New Lisbon, as the village was known then. On Sunday, July 26, Morgan and his 384 remaining soldiers surrendered to pursuing Union troops five miles south of town near West Point, ending the northernmost advance of Confederate troops during the Civil War and the only fighting to have occurred on county soil.
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of Morgan’s surrender, the Lisbon and East Liverpool historical societies have joined forces to host a series of events on July 28 in Lisbon and at the surrender site on state Route 518.
Krotky, president of the Lisbon Historical Society, said they are trying to recreate, with as much historical authenticity as possible, the events of that day, starting with an 1860s outdoor church service at 9 a.m., although it will only be 45 minutes long, “far short of the three hours our ancestors spent worshipping.”
The focus then turns to the town square near the county courthouse, where men dressed in period clothing will deliver speeches similar to those heard that day to rally the locals and recruit volunteers to protect Lisbon from the bloodbath many expected to occur. Audience interaction is invited and expected, similar to what visitors find at historic Williamsburg.
“Hear the speeches exhorting the young boys and old men of the village to bravery and duty as they prepare to go out and meet Morgan,” she said.
To defend New Lisbon, Krotky said the volunteer militia poured into the town square armed with rifles of varying age and quality, while farmers also brought their pitchforks. The village’s lone cannon, used only to celebrate the Fourth of July, was pressed into service, and a cannon will be fired as part of the event. Meanwhile, the ladies of town prepared a picnic in support of the volunteer militia, many of whom wondered if this would be their last meal.
The ladies of the Methodist Church will be packaging and selling “knapsack meals” similar to what volunteers would have received that day. These “packet” meals will consist of hardboiled eggs, a slice of ham, homemade biscuit and piece of fruit. The cost is $6, and the “packet” will be available at the church and in the town square.
Several local restaurants are getting in the spirit of things, with Sweet Jane’s offering period-appropriate sweets, while the specials of the day at the Shale Tavern will be Yankee pot roast and Southern chicken.
The church service, which begins at 9 a.m., is on the Methodist Church lawn, followed by opening remarks on the courthouse steps at 10 a.m. Recruiting efforts, followed by drilling of the militia, begin at 10:45 a.m. behind the gazebo.
At 11:30 a.m. on the courthouse steps, people representing county officials of the period will re-enact efforts to protect the county treasury from being plundered by Morgan. Twenty minutes later a re-enactment of the local militia reporting to Captain Curry will occur on the courthouse steps, followed by a patriotic speech from War of 1812 veteran and Lisbon resident John Armstrong imploring the volunteers to do their duty.
At 12:30 p.m., the militia moves south to protect Lisbon from Morgan’s advance, which is when activities will shift to the surrender site, where a re-enactment of the event is scheduled to be held at 2 p.m. featuring Morgan, as portrayed by Daryl Metcalf.
Afterward, Metcalf will travel to Wellsville, where he is to be featured in the village’s event. Wellsville is where Morgan and his soldiers were held following their surrender until shipped to a Union prison in Columbus.
The Lisbon Historical Society, which is housed in the Erie Train Station, will be open for free from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., where visitors can view the museum’s Civil War/Morgan displays, which includes an authenticated Confederate revolver found near the surrender site.
Other events are also scheduled that day in the county. In Wellsville, Morgan’s Raid authority Lester Horwitz will speak at the River Museum at 3 p.m.
At Beaver Creek State Park, the 1,000-pound, 8-foot- high trunk of the tree under which Morgan surrendered will be available for display from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 27 and 28. Music will be provided by the Appalachian
Folk Music Club.