BERLIN X-ROADS — Local volunteers, along with history buffs and preservationists, recently teamed up with the American Battlefield Trust to participate in the 23rd Annual Park Day in Jackson County.

Michael Stroth, the chairman of Berlin X-Roads Battlefield Preservation Association, explained to The Courier that each year the American Battlefield Trust in Washington, D.C. encourages volunteers to do their part to keep historic sites preserved and pristine.

The Berlin X-Roads Battlefield Site in Jackson County is one of over 160 battlefields and historic sites across 32 states and the District of Columbia that participated in the clean-up event. This was the fourth year that volunteers have spent about an hour cleaning up the Jackson County site.

“This was an unknown battlefield until several years ago,” Stroth explained.

Signage at the site states that during the Civil War at Berlin X-Roads on July 17, 1863, the Confederate forces of General John Hunt Morgan fought and defeated Union forces under the command of Col. Benjamin P. Runkle. Each side consisted of approximately 1,500 men.

American Battlefield Trust Park Day Coordinator Courtney Wilke said that this year, nearly 7,000 volunteers across the country came out to do their part, donating over 25,000 hours of volunteer work.

Locally, close to 30 individuals lent a helping hand.

The story of Morgan’s Raiders through Ohio is among the most enduring pieces of Civil War history within the Buckeye State. There are historical markers throughout Ohio highlighting the raid’s path through this area.

Following the Battle of Buffington Island on the Ohio River, Morgan’s Raiders traveled through Vinton, Hocking, Athens, Perry and Morgan counties in retreating from Union soldiers, according to the Ohio History Connection.

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Jeremiah Shaver is a journalist for The Vinton-Jackson Courier newspaper.

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