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|Combs &c. - Narrative of the life of|
General Leslie Combs
GENERAL LESLIE COMBS
him in the rear in this movement, and, al- though severely wounded in the shoulder by a ball, which remained lodged in his body, and bleeding profusely, he was ena- bled now and then to mahe a rally and drive back the painted devils, when they would be rushin up too closely upon his command. He had no idea that those in front of him had surrendered, until he found himself in the midst of the British regulars, and trampling on the thrown- away arms of the Kentucky troops. And here and thus his long-desired battle ended —a second river Raisin bloody massacre.* The brilliant early history of an Alexan- der and a Napoleon, which had ever vividly floated in his mind in glorious visions as to his own unaided military career, wore now exchanged for the agonizing reality of a prisoner of war; and yet he had not halt reached the goal of torturing exposure which the afternoon of that dreadful day was to bring upon him.
The pen of the historian has long since given to the world some of the leading events to which we refer, and they have, perhaps, passed from the memory of the reader; but we do not recollect ever to have seen an authentic account published from an one of the unfortunate captives, and shall, therefore proceed to give in sub- stance that of Captain Leslie Combs. Gen- eral Proctor, who owed his elevation from a colonelcy to a previous victory, stained by the most revolting atrocities, and who witnessed, if not permitted those horrid at- rocities committed on the present occasion
*“The prisoners were taken down to the British head-quarters, put into Fort Miami, and the Indians pemiitted to garrison the surround- ing rampart, and amuse themselves by loading and firing at the crowd, or at any particular in- dividual. Those who preferred to inflict a still more cruel and savage death, selected their vic- tims, led them to the gateway, and there, under the eye of General Proctor, and in the presence of the whole British army, tomahawked and scalped them! . . . As soon as Tecumseh beheld it, [the carnage,] he flourished his sword, and, in a loud voice, ordered them “for shame to desist. It is a disgrace to kill defenceless prisoner.” His orders were obeyed, to the great joy of the prisoners, who had by this time, lost all hopes of being preserved. In this single act, Tecumseh displayed more humanity, mag- nanmity, and civilization, than Proctor, with all his British associates in command, displayed in the whole war on the north-western fron- tier.”—McAfee pp. 271-2.
by his Indian confederatcs, was afterwards dismissed from the British army for his disgraceful Bight from General Harrison and retributive justice, at the battle of the Thames.
Immediately on the surrender of each successive squad or individual, as they ar- rived at the batteries, they were marched off in single file down the river towards the British head-quarters near old Fort Mau- mee, then in a very dilapidated condition, having been given up to us and abandoned shortly after Wayne’s victor , some twen- ty years before that time. Very soon the lndian warriors, fresh from tho conflict, (in some instances, boys and sqnaws,) com- menced the operation of insulting and plundering the prisoners. A grim indian on horseback, painted black and red in alternate rings around his eyes, rode up to Captain Combs and snatched his hat from his head. Soon afterwards, another rushed upon him, and, regardleu of his pain, tore his coat from his back, toarirw loose at the same time the bandages wifh which his brother had bound up his bleeding shoulder. Others robbed him of what little mony he had in his pockets, not sparing even a small penknife and pocket-comb. In one in- stance, when he had nearly arrived at the old fort, and a “develish-looking fellow” was handling him very roughly—the more so, perhaps, as his honest intentions upon the captive were unrewarded, in conse- quence of his having been previously cleaned out—a good-looking Canadian non-commissioned officer, as the Captain judged from his dress, interfered for his protection, and lost his life for his humani- ty. The Captain was hurried onwards, and suddenly observed, as he approached the fort, a number of painted warriors ranged on each side of the pass-way from the opening of a triangular ditch in front, some sixty feet or more to the old gateway of the main fortification ; and on either side and among them were lying prostrate in the mud anumber of human bodies, entirely naked, and in all the ghastlincss of violent deaths produced by the war-club, the tom- ahawk, and the scalping-knife. Never be- fore had our captive seen such a horrid sight. A man would not be able to re- cognize his own father or brother alter the scalp had thus been torn from his head, his whole countenance would be so distor-
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