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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
October 23, 1862


Wheeling Intelligencer
October 25, 1862

The Killing of Lewis Wetzel.

We published yesterday a dispatch announcing the death of Lewis Wetzel on the morning of the 23d, at the hands of John Hall. Mr. Wetzel was acting as the editor of the Point Pleasant Register, and, as it appears, had been for some time back alluding offensively to the Governor here on on [sic] account of some appointments made in the military service, as well as on account of some that were not made. It appears, also, that Mr. Hall called the attention of the Commander of the post (at Point Pleasant) to these articles, on the ground that they were doing much to impair the confidence of the people in the existing order of things in Western Virginia, and gave it as his opinion, that either the editor of the paper, or the paper itself, ought to be suppressed.

These statements we make on general rumor. We have seen nothing reliable concerning the origin of the quarrel between Mr. Wetzel and Mr. Hall. We know that the Register is a loyal sheet, a truly loyal one, and that Mr. Wetzel was a sound Union man. We have seen two or three allusions in his paper to the appointing powers here at Wheeling, criticizing harshly and unjustly their actions in some cases.—But we looked upon the criticisms as the natural mistakes of a man remote from the source of explanations and justifications, and not as prompted by any other motive than a zeal and anxiety in the good cause. Certainly no more devoted patriot than Lewis Wetzel lived in Western Virginia.

The suggestions which it appears Mr. Hall made to the commandant at Point Pleasant irritated Mr. Wetzel to a high degree and in his paper (the Register) coming to hand yesterday, we find the violent editorial that no doubt lead to the deplorable collision between himself and Mr. Hall.—We most deeply regret this terrible affair, inasmuch as it has cost the Union cause in Western Virginia, so needy at the best, the services of one patriotic man and the influence of another. Mr. Wetzel is dead and Mr. Hall’s remaining days will count for nothing. Bitterness and feud will reign between the friends of each party, and their efforts in the great cause of the Government will, we fear, now be subordinated to their personal feelings.

One of the strongest and most decided articles that we have seen on the late elections appears in the number of the Register to which we refer. It grieves us to think that the hand that penned it is now stilled in death and will no more be moved in aid of the cause which the writer loved so well. We devoutly hope that the true friends of the Union cause and of each of the unfortunate parties to the terrible tragedy, will exert themselves to see the [sic] that the county of Mason is not lit up with the burning passions of personal animosity on account of this misfortune. Let the matter be investigated and tried by the proper authorities, and all unnecessary feeling held to subjection to the pressing necessities of the common cause. All patriotic men in Western Virginia will deplore this unfortunate affair between two of our prominent Union men, and all will hope to see it confined to the legitimate circle of the law.


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

West Virginia Archives and History