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16

GENERAL LESLIE COMBS

as it convinced them that the orator had power as well as eloquence. The next day Captain Combs asked of a British oiiicer the name of the Indian who had thus in- terfered and saved them. He replied : “It was Tecumseh.”*

“It was the first and last time,” Mr. Combs afterwards writes, "“I saw this great warrior. Since the days of King Philip, no single Indian had ever possessed so much power over his race; for, from the Capes of Florida to the Lake of the Woods, he had been able to produce one simultaneous uprising of the tribes against us,in the war with Great Britain. And yet I do not think, judging by his appearance, he could at that time have passe his fortieth year. When afterwards I heard of his untimely death at the battle of the Thames, while attempting to urge forward his forces, and regain the battle which Proctor’s cowardly flight had lost, I could not repress a sigi of regret, a feeling in which I doubt not all of my companions on the bloody fifth of May participated.”

“The prisoners,” says McAfee, page 272, “were kept in the same place (the old fort) till dark, during which time the wounded experienced the most excruciating torments. They were then taken into the British boats, and carried down the river to the brig Hunter and a schooner, where several hundreds of them were stowed away in the hold of the brig, and kept there ibr two days and nights,” without, we are assured on the authority of Mr. Combs, either food or bedding of any kind tor the wounded, or the slightest surgical attention.

Fortunately for himself, Captain Combs was on board the schooner, which was less crowded than the brig, and had the ball extracted from his shoulder by a British surgeon early the next morning; and, as soon as his name and rank were known, he was invited into the Captain’s cabin, and treated with marked attention and po- liteness. It was there he learned that the party which had defeated him on his for- lorn trip had borne back his uniform-coat in triumph, which was recognized by Pax- ton, and they asserted they had killed the wearer, showing some recent rents, which they averred were bullet-holes. Paxton himself, whom Captain Combs found on         


“McAfee, pp. 271-2, as quoted in a former note.

board, believed he was dead, as he last saw him with the coat on his back.

The prisoners were finally liberated on parole, and sent across the lake in open boats to the mouth of the Huron river, with a wilderness of some forty or fifty miles between them and the nearest settle- ment in Ohio, at Mansfield. Captain Combs had neither hat nor coat, and did not ex- change his shirt, although covered with mud and blood, till he rcnclied the town of Lancaster. There they were all decently clad, and most kindly entertained by the citizens.

Late in May, he again reached his father’s humble farm in Clarke county, and soon afterwards was sent to McAllistcr’s school, near Bardstown, to improve his somewhat neglected education. It was a year or two befre he was notilicd of his exchange; and in the meantime he had commenced the study ofthe law, which was to be his means of livelihood through life.

Whether it was in his blood, or that he took the disease in his early boyhood from hearing his Either talk of his revolutionary services and Indian “scrimmages,” certain it is that., long before he arrived at man- hood, Combs used to feel as young Norval did, while with his father on the Grampian hills, an humble swain—an anxious desire for military renown. “I am not even yet,” he writes, “entirely cured of the disease, and have all my life, till within the last few years, devoted a portion of my time to military tactics, in training the militia, having long since reached the highest grade. At the first tap of the drum, I in- stinctively catch the step, and keep it as long as the music reaches my ear.”

When the Mexicans were invading Texas in 1836, ’7 and ’8, and General Gaines was posted on our south-western frontier, which was considered in some danger, he called upon Kentucky for help. The Gov- ernor immediately gave General Combs authority to raise ten companies, and march to his relief He accordingly issued his proclamation, and had the offer of more than forty volunteer companies in a very short time. He selected ten, formed them into a regiment, and was ready to embark from Louisville, when the President of the United States countermanded the order, and they were discharged.

So, too, ten years afterwards, when              

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