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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
February 5, 1864


The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
February 5, 1864

Return of Colonel Powell

Col. Wm. Powell, of the 2d W. Va. Cavalry, who was wounded and captured at Wytheville, on the Virginia and Tennessee railroad last July, at the time of the famous raid on the great rebel line of communication, and who has been a prisoner ever since, arrived in the city on Friday evening last. We had the pleasure of a conversation with him on Saturday. Col. Powell has become extensively known throughout West Virginia and the bordering country, both on account of what he has done himself and on account of what has been done to him. The Richmond papers have heralded him to their readers at regular intervals as “one-eyed Powell” and apparently with as much gusto as if they had captured the ancient Polyphemus himself, who was “terrible though blind.” We should suppose that not only they but their readers have had, and still do have, quite a superstitious dread of him, from the pen and ink pictures which they painted of him.—It is not necessary for us to refresh the recollection of our readers with the antecedents of Col. Powell. No officer in the West Virginia Service is better known.—He is especially well known to the people of Wheeling as one of our residents, having been for many years engaged in business here. At the time of the breaking out of the war he was residing at Ironton, Ohio. Before the Wytheville raid he had performed one or two very successful and heroic exploits which had given him considerable prestige as a dashing cavalry officer. Is Northeastern Kentucky his command had had an encounter with a rebel force, superior in numbers, by which they had greatly distinguished themselves for soldierly qualities. The rebels claimed that in that fight Col. Powell had killed some of their men after they had surrendered, and that he had in other ways waged a barbarous and inhuman warfare upon them. By their false reports they had magnified him into a sort of military monster, and it was on account of these reports and to satisfy their vengeance therefore that he was thrown into a dark cell at Richmond and kept so long a time on a felon’s fare. The Colonel has been released on parole to be exchanged for a Colonel Lee, one of the numerous family of that name, who is now on his way from Johnson’s Island to City Point. He goes again at once into the service as soon as notified of Colonel Lee’s arrival and acceptance at City Point. We are not at liberty to give anything like even an outline of what the Colonel experience at Richmond, his parole forbidding him to do so until exchanged. Such parts of it as are within his discretion we may expect to hear alluded to at the Court House to night in the course of some remarks on the general subject of the war and its necessities which he has been induced by the committee of arrangements to agree to make.


The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
February 5, 1864

COL. POWELL, of the 2d [W. Va.] Regiment has at length been release from Libby Prison, and we suppose will reach here in a day or two. We quote from the Richmond Enquirer:

“PAROLED.—Three of the Federal officers in the Libby Prison, viz: Colonel Powell, Capt. Stanton and Capt. Gault, have been paroled, and will got to City Point this morning in a flag of truce boat, starting at 6 o’clock. Five privates, also paroled, will accompany them. The Colonel is known as One-eyed Powell, and Stanton is a son of Ben. Stanton, former member of Congress from Ohio, Powell will doubtless be exchanged for Col. Lee, of our army.”


The Wheeling Daily Register
February 8, 1864

COL. POWELL

COL. POWELL., whose arrival in this city we noticed in Saturday’s issue, gives an interesting and stirring account of his confinement in the Confederacy. He was at several times ready to give up the ghost—being pressed by formidable mobs. The Southern commanders, however, rescued him and put him in Libby prison. He says the most gentlemanly officer he met with in Dixie was General Morgan (John), who reached Richmond a few days before Powell left. The Colonel saw E. H. Fitzhugh, Esq., and Dr. M. H. Houston, (former residents of this city), in Richmond. Both of these gentlemen called to see Powell, and treated him very kindly.


The Wheeling Daily Register
February 6, 1864

COL. POWELL

This gentleman, who was captured in the Kanawha Valley last Summer, reached this city last night. He states that he was taken to Richmond and placed in Libby prison, where he spent the past seven or eight months anything but agreeably—being confined in a dungeon twenty seven days. On Thursday week he was exchanged for Colonel Lee, and left Richmond yesterday week. Col Lee was reported to be on his way to Richmond last evening, having been sent by flag of truce. As soon as he reaches that point, Col. Powell will be released from his parole and be permitted to join his command (the Second Va. Cavalry). The Col. is enjoying very good health, and appears to be none the worse for his continement [sic].


Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: February 1864

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