TRANSCRIBED BY RUSS SCOTT, ST. PAUL, MN.
Gen. Schurz to Leslie Combs. The following letter from Gen. Carl Schurz to Leslie Combs of Kentucky, appears in the Louisville Journal. It is a fair challenge:
Camp near Chattanooga, Nov. 6, 1863.
to the Editor of the Louisville Journal:
In your paper of Nov.
3d, I see a letter signed by Mr. Leslie Combs, in which the following allusion
is made to me: "Our children have fought on every battle field, and never
once fled, as Col. Schurz and his gang of freedom shriekers did at Chancellorsville.:
I am not in the habit of replying to calumny and abuse springing form the
impure inspirations of party spirit, but , Ben. Leslie Combs being a man
of note, I deem it proper to avail myself of this opportunity to stop a
slander which political enemies seem bent upon sustaining by frequent repetition.
I wish, therefor, to say, that in asserting that "Carl Schurz fled at Chancellorsville?" Mr. Leslie Combs lies. I choose the word "lies" - although with extreme reluctance and regret - upon due consideration of its meaning; for, it Mr. Leslie Combs has inquired into the facts, he must know that he is saying what is false; and, if he has made no such inquiry, then he give with unpardonable levity the sanction of his name to a statement which is most injurious to another man's reputation, and which he does not know to be true. I wish to add that , in saying "Mr. Leslie Combs lies," I hold myself responsible for what I say.
This may seem equivalent to a challenge, and so it is. But I do not, however, mean to fight a duel with Mr. Leslie Combs. Being a good pistol shot, I might perhaps easily kill him, which I should not like to do; or, is he as equally skillful, he might kill me - and I should be sorry to die on so trifling an occasion; or we might not hurt each other, and then it would be a farce. Besides, I am opposed to duelling on principle.
But I challenge Mr. Leslie Combs to a different kind of a contest, which will be preferable to a common duel as a test of personal courage. I invite him to the hospitality of my headquarters in the Army of the Cumberland. I will share with him meals; but I invite him also to accompany me personally in the next battle, and not to leave me a single moment.
There Mr. Leslie Combs may determine whether he will have the heart to repeat that calumny, or whether it would not be better for him, and more honorable, to retract it.
I trust, sirs, you will give this letter the same publicity which you accorded to that of Mr. Leslie Combs.