Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Letter from Captain Thomas M.Combs

Captain Combs wrote to his wife describing the Raid across Indiana.

“’Twas a calm still morning. All nature had put on her most attire. The steady breeze from the Sunny South caused the forest through which we threaded our winding pathway to appear a living green. I was in command of a scout, a mile to the left of our advancing column. Ascending a gentle slope to a wide plateau of elevated ground, the eye looked over a beautiful landscape to the west, north and east for miles upon miles. On my right, over fields of waving grain, waiting for the sickle, I could just discern our advance guard in command of Colonel Dick Morgan. My eyes followed him leading his gallant men to within two hundred yards of a fine dwelling. Suddenly and unexpectantly, a sheet of flame lit up the doors and windows of this place, and one of Colonel Dick’s men fell, to rise no more. The advance was checked but only for a moment. The yell with which our boys went at them was conclusive evidence of their indomitable courage, as well as their certainty of success. Ten minutes elapsed before I reached the scene of the conflict. Colonel Dick and his men had all left, and the only sounds that broke the solemn stillness was the roaring of the flames as they fast encircles the beautiful mansion, and the heart-rendering cries of the wife and children. The owner lay mortally wounded on a lounge in the garden surrounded by his wife and children, who had thus at one fell blow been bereft of husband, home and father. Close to the burning house lay two men that a few minutes before had been our enemies, and close to them lay, weltering in blood, one of our own men who was always foremost in the fight. I turned from this melancholy spectacle and rode onward ruminating upon the horrors of this unjust war, and thinking of my far distant home.”

~ Captain Thomas M. Combs, Company G, 5th KY Cavalry[i]


[i] Thomas M. Coombs’ letter to his wife Lou, August 14, 1863

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