War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0428 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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The commission then proceeded in the examination of the case of William Combs, as follows:

BENTLY HAYS, a citizen of the county of Callaway in the State of Missouri, being produced, duty sworn and examined on the part of the United States testifies as follows:

I know the prisoner William Combs. I have known him some eight or ten years. He lives in Montgomery County, Mo. I think he lives close to Motgomery City. He belonged to Meyers' company. He was with us at the time we were at the brick-kiln at Mr. Wingfield's. He met with us in the house at Laile's pasture, and them came down with us to Mr. Wingfield's. We met at Laile's pasture the day before the night on which the railroad was torn up. I think there was between fifty and a hundred who met at Laile's pasture before going to Wingfield's. From Laile's pasture we went down to Wingfield's brick-kiln at which place we stayed something like half an hour or three-quarters. From there we all went to the section-house between the towns of Montgomery and Wellsville. The dependant was along. At the section-house we went to tering up the railroad. We did no destroy the section. We tore up about 100 years of the railroad track at this place. I think defendant assisted to tear up the track; some held horses. We had mauls, such as we make rails with, and some crowbars. We got some crowbars at the section-house. From the section-house we went toward Wellsville. We would tear up a place, then a miss a distance, and then tear up again. We went to Wellsville, and met a company coming down. We cut down the telegraph poles, cut the wires off the poles, and burnt the poles. When we met the other party we all went to Wellsville, or most of us. When we went into Wellsville some went to loading up wagons from the store of Kapinsks, of that place; others went to the depot of that place and burnt it and cut down the flag-poles. I saw the defendant there. There was some shouting and cheering. I think we stayed at Wellsville an hour-may be more. Some of us went with Meyers back to Montgomery City, and I judge others went home. The defendant went back to Montgomery with me. James Morris, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Hawkins went back to Montgomery City with us. There were several of us-I can't remember. The last I saw of Mr. Combs he was going toward the grecery at Montgomery City. I think the next time I saw defendant was at my own house. I do not know whether went home after the railroad was destroyed. Defendant went, and I saw him afterward with Meyers' company at Laile's pasture.

Cross-examined by DEFENDANT'S ATTORNEY:

Question. Was defendant a member of Meyers' company?

Answer. Yes, sir; he was.

Question. When an where was he sworn in?

Answer. I could not be certain but I think he was sworn in on the 13th of December last at George Harvey's.

Question. Was Meyers a commissioned officer in the Confederate service?

Answer. I do not know whether he was or not. I should judge though that he was; I don't know for certain.

Question. Were Meyer's men sworn into the Confederate service or what is called the Missouri State Guard?

Answer. I could not be positive about that. I think it was the Missouri State Guard.

Question. Was Meyers acting commanding officer of that company?

Answer. He was.

Question. Was the railroad and telegraph destroyed by his orders?

Answer. What we destroyed was done under Meyer's orders.

Question. What the defendant engaged in destroying the railroad and telegraph on that right?

Answer. Yes, I think he was. He was along. Some of the men held horses. I think, though, he helped destroy the railroad.