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The duel in the Lockerud Forest - truth and legend of the last duel

Lockerudspistolerna, använda vid den sista duellen med dödlig utgång i Sverige. Foto: Mattias Pettersson

It was early morning in May in 1816. A chilly wind came from Vänern and made the men who had gathered at the Recidensbron to freeze, even though the sun just had risen, and it almost was summer. Quiet men walked across the bridge towards the Lockerud forest west of town. Within hours, one of them would be dead while another fled the country and justice.

The truth and legend of the country´s last officer duel

Sweden´s last duel with fatal ending

Early one morning in late May in 1816, a gunshot echoed from the Lockerud´s Forest at Blåsut, just west of Vänersborg. A moment later came a carriage hurried over the Dalbobro towards the city. In the carriage, covered with a couple of coats, lay the deadly wounded Captain von Köhler - the victim of the country´s last officer duel.

There were great dissatisfaction within the officer quaters at Västgöta-Dal Regiment in Vänersborg. Promotion processes had been changed so that officers who have served long at the regiment could be bypassed by younger officers who came from other regiments.

On the evening of 27 May, the 24-year-old captain Gustaf von Köhler just arrived to Vänersborg to take up a new post. This caused great anger among other regimental officers.

Within one day the disappointment had escalated to the point that von Köhler challenged captain Zacharias Sabel Feldt on a duel .

On the morning of May 29 the time was set for the duel in Lockerud forest a few kilometers west of Vänersborg. The weapons were guns.

After both failed the first shooting, von Köhler was hit in the chest with a second round. Injured, he was taken to the city where he died, eight hours later. Meanwhile, Captain Sabel Feldt fled the country.

The two duel pistols, made by Jönköping Rifle Factory by Mr Hultman in 1750, is part of Vänersborgs Museum´s collections. At the time of the duel, the guns were provided with flintlock but have later been changed into a caplock mechanism.

As the memory of this tragic event, addresses like Duell and Sekundantvägen can be found at Blåsut. The guns are stored at Kulturlagret.

Updated: 2017-11-08 12:15