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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
August 7, 1862


Wheeling Intelligencer
August 8, 1862

Death of Rev. Gordon Battelle.

The Rev. Mr. Martin received yesterday a dispatch announcing the death of this excellent man, the late Chaplain of the 1st Virginia Regiment. He died at Washington City yesterday morning, of camp fever, after a protracted illness of several weeks. He was ill when he left his home here to rejoin his regiment. Every one observed his wasted appearance, and his friends were anxious that he should wait for better health before leaving. But like the earnest man he was, he would not subject himself to the stay-at-home suspicion so common these days in connection with army men. He left determined to regain his health in the discharge of his duties, or else not at all.

Poor man, he died at his post at the hospitals, in Washington, where so many of our sick and wounded are under treatment. He labored there as a physician to their bodies and souls, and laid down his life as a sacrifice to the cause of his country.

We are sure that he died a happy death, for he lived a blameless life. And we are sure that death at his post in the service of the cause he loved so well, was the one above all others that he would have chosen. He was a Christian soldier—devoted by all his philanthropic and religious hopes and convictions to the success of the glorious cause of the Union.

Mr. Battelle was a man of remarkable endowments. He had an excellently organized constitution. He had a clear, strong and very acute mind, and to it was united the very strongest social qualities. He was a man of no pretentions—no assumptions in the least degree—but always open, candid and genial. His powers of memory were very astonishing. In the peculiar field in which this paper has labored for years past he took the liveliest interest, and at the outbreak of this rebellion he wrote several articles which were published in tract form, and in the circulation of which throughout the Mountain counties he aided us largely, and mainly by his personal recollections. He dictated and directed names by the hour, and time and again he sat with us through the greater part of the night endeavoring to do all in his power to shed light and knowledge in the out-of-the-way places in Western Virginia. He was devoted heart and soul to the interests of Western Virginia, and she has lost in him perhaps the ablest and most earnest friend she had. He knew the people thoroughly, having travelled among them as a Methodist minister for twenty-five years. As a member, for this county, of the Constitutional Convention, his name is familiar to all our readers. The Battelle resolutions will live in the history of the rebellion, and many a reader in West Virginia, in after times, when the fruit of those resolutions shall overspread and bless our counties, will thank God for the life of Gordon Battelle.

We write at length concerning our friend. He deserves all that we have said about him, and more. His life was a public life, and one of self-denying usefulness. He had no small ambitions—not one; but tried to live a practical, useful, every-day religious life. Unlike most clergymen, he had no clerical distinctiveness or exclusiveness of character—but after this motto of Bacon, “took all knowledge for his province”—and like the preacher of Ecclesiastes, taught the people knowledge in every variety of useful way.

He neither courted or shunned politics, and his well-balanced mind, so well stored with solid information, was always discreet as to when and how he should speak. He had no more admirable trait of character than his rare ability to do everything in a proper and effective way.

As a citizen, devoted to the cause of Western Virginia, we deplore his loss greatly. But still more do we deplore it as a patriot, who had done and was doing devoted service in the common cause of the country. Peace and honor to his memory.


The Marietta Register
August 22, 1862

Death of Rev. Gordon Battelle.

The recent death of Rev’d Gordon Battelle, of Wheeling, Va., demands more than a simple announcement, in the columns of a Washington county paper.

Mr. Battelle was a native of Newport, in this county—son of our venerable fellow citizen, Mr. E. Battelle. Although it is, perhaps, a quarter of a century since he entered upon the active duties of life, in Virginia, he was well known personally, to many of our citizens, and of late his name has been familiar to all who have watched with interest the progress of events in Western Virginia.

Mr. Battelle was educated at Allegheny College, Meadville, Pa., where he graduated with the highest honors of his class. Immediately on completing his college course, he took charge of an Academy at Parkersburg, Va., and subsequently was for some time the Principal of the Academy at Clarksburg, Va. For twenty years past he has been an active, honored and successful minister of the Methodist Episcopal church.

On the breaking out of the rebellion he enlisted with characteristic zeal in the service of the country, and from the pulpit and the stump, and through the press, exhorted the men of Western Virginia to stand by the Federal Union. He was elected a member of the convention for forming the constitution of West Virginia, and was the author and principal advocate of the proposition offered for insertion in the constitution, declaring that no more slaves should be admitted for permanent residence within the State; and that all children born of slave parents in the State, on and after a certain fixed and future period, should be deemed free.

Had the convention acted favorably upon this proposition, there can be little doubt that West Virginia would now be a State in the Union.

Upon the adjournment of the Constitutional Convention, Mr. Battelle was appointed Chaplain of the 1st Virginia Regiment. In that position, as in all others, he was emphatically an earnest and working man. He labored as a physician to the bodies as well as the souls of the suffering, until prostrated by camp-fever,--of which disease, after an illness of several week, he died--at his post, in the hospitals at Washington, on the 7th of the present month.

When he last visited his home, he was quite ill, and was urged not to rejoin his regiment until his strength was restored. But, he would not subject himself to the stay-at-home suspicion so common, these days, in connection with army men. He left, determined to regain his health in the discharge of his duties, or not at all.

For an extended notice of his death in the editorial columns of the Wheeling Intelligeecer [sic], we make the following extracts:

“We are sure that he died a happy death, for he lived a blameless life. And we are sure that death at his post in the service of the cause he loved so well, was the one above all others that he would have chosen. He was a Christian soldier—devoted by all his philanthropic and religious hopes and convictions to the success of the glorious cause of the Union.

Mr. Battelle was a man of remarkable endowments. He had an excellently organized constitution. He had a clear, strong and very acute mind, united to the very strongest social qualities. He was a man of no pretentions—no assumptions in the least degree—but always open, candid and genial. In the peculiar field in which this paper has labored for years past he took the liveliest interest, and at the outbreak of this rebellion he wrote several articles which were published in tract form, and in the circulation of which throughout the Mountain counties he aided us largely. He was devoted heart and soul to the interests of Western Virginia, and she has lost him perhaps the ablest and most earnest friend she had. He knew the people thoroughly, having travelled among them as a Methodist minister for twenty-five years. As a member, for this county, of the Constitutional Convention, his name is familiar to all our readers. The Battelle resolutions will live in the history of the rebellion, and many a reader in West Virginia, in after times, when the fruit of those resolutions shall overspread and bless our counties, will thank God for the life of Gordon Battelle.” * *

Upon the arrival of Mr. Battelle’s remains at Wheeling, Gov. Pierpoint issued the following order:

The Commonwealth of Virginia,
Executive Department,
Wheeling, Va., Aug. 9, 1862.

Ordered, That as a mark of respect to the memory of the late Gordon Battelle, Chaplain of the 1st Virginia Volunteers in the United States service, and a member of the Constitutional Convention of the State of West Virginia, all the Departments of this Government close their offices as 12 M. this day; and that the Executive officers and clerks attend, in a body, the funeral services at the Chapline Street Chapel, at 2 o’clock P. M., and escort the remains of the deceased to the steamboat landing.

A large congregation assembled to pay the last tribute of respect to one so well known and so universally beloved, and, after appropriate exercises, (we again quote from the Intelligencer.)

“The remains were escorted with military honors to the landing. Capt. Over’s company acted as the escort, with arms reversed and colors draped. The Pall Bearers were Majors Allison, Safford, Constable and Pumphrey.

A boat was in waiting and the remains were taken on board and conveyed to Newport, Ohio, where the relatives of the decease reside. A large concourse of people joined in the procession.

The whole ceremony was sad and impressive, as military funerals always are, but in this case it was rendered doubly so by the universal sentiment seemed to be that there was none to take his place.


Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: August 1862

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