PERRY COUNTY, KENTUCKY MILITARY LEGACY
Writtten And Compiled By Waukesha Lowe Sammons
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
GLIMPSES INTO WARTIME
PERRY COUNTY, KENTUCKY SOLDIERS, SAILORS, AIRMEN, MARINES
REMEMBER AND NAME
AN AMERICAN CIVIL WAR LETTER WRITTEN BY HARVEY GRAY BRASHEAR (1835 - 1918),
WHO SERVED IN CO. H, 10TH AKA 13TH KENTUCKY CAVALRY REGIMENT, CONFEDERATE STATES ARMY
~ 1 July 1864, CIVIL WAR LETTER: An original letter written by H. G. Brashear on 1 July 1864, shared by Philip Whisman Brashear, great-grandson of Sampson Brashear (1838-1898) and Mary Ann Hall Brashear, in a Letter to the Editor of the Kentucky Explorer Magazine, September 2003.
~ H. G. / Harvey Gray Brashear wrote a letter to his mother, Margaret Bright Brashear (1798-1866) and mentioned his father, Sampson Brashear (1788-1878) and his brother, Isaac Brashear (1818-1881?).
~ H.G. reported on the capture of Sampson Brashear (1838-1898) and the safe condition of Sampson’s brother, James N. Brashear, Jr. (1835-1920), who were the sons of Elizabeth Young Brashear and James N. Brashear, Sr.
~ “L. A. Brashear, S. B. Smith and little William Brashear” are currently unidentified.
“Dear mother & Sister & Brother
I take the opportunity of riting you a few lines
I have not Ben well for some time
But I have Ben going all the time on till now I am Resting now and is Gitting well
I hope this lines may find you all in good health I wood Be glad to see you all
But time does not permit of my coming to see you all
father and Isaac Brashear is well at this time
I will now tell you something about our Kentucky march we was on a hard march for 20 days and during that time had four fites one at Mount Sterling one at Lexington two at Cintheeanny
We lost some of our boys at Mount Sterling some was killed some was captured
Sampson Brashear was captured he was left on the Battlefield and we have not heard from him since
L. A. Brashear was left on the Battlefield at Cintheeanny I think is just wounded
S. B. Smith wounded in the thy left in the hospittle
James Brashear and little William Brashear is all rite come out safe and sound
I had one Ball to pass threw my pants But never tuched the hide
we fought on Saturday about 6 hours all the time in close distant
we captured 1273 yeankes in the 6 hours fite and the same nite following captured 1000 more one train of cars & all of its storage
we lost but few men in all that ceptin (excepting) the yankee loss was very heavy
I must now tell how we faired and how the people treated us while we was in Ky – the citizens give us vittles tobacco whisky and many other things to take to inenshron (?) & treated us with all kinds of respect & hallowed heaven for Jeff davis
I must Bring my leter to a close
Yours truly on till deathe
Rite to me the first chance
H. G. Brashear”
A PHILIPPINE - MORO WAR PHOTOGRAPH OF ULYSSES GRANT COMBS, SR. (1894 - 1976).
A PHILIPPINE - MORO WAR PHOTOGRAPH OF WILLIAM RILEY CORNETT (1887 - 1952).
WORLD WAR I PHOTOGRAPH OF U. S. ARMY FIRST SERGEANT WILLIAM RILEY CORNETT (1887 - 1952) AND TROOPS, WHO HAD SAILED FROM THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND JUST ARRIVED IN FRANCE. HE HAD ORDERED THE TROOPS AT PARADE REST FOR THE TAKING OF THE PHOTOGRAPH, BEFORE PROCEEDING TO THE BATTLEFIELD.
WORLD WAR I LETTERS WRITTEN TO AND BY SAMPSON B. BRASHEAR (1878 - 1918).
Second Lieutenant Sampson B. Brashear wrote the following World War I letter to his brother-in-law, William M. Cornett (1888-1931), who was married to Sampson’s sister, Lucinda. William was the son of Polly Ann Wells and Joseph Earl Cornett.
Somewhere in England
Sunday, Sept 22, 1918
Mr. W. M. Cornett
Have been so busy enjoying the voyage and life in general, that I have not taken the time to write a single letter since I left America, although I am still enjoying as much as ever and find this one of the most pleasant days of the whole journey. I feel I should not be so selfish in my own pleasures as not to write and tell the folks at home at least something of our wonderful trip over the sea.
There are many things in connection with it that were of interest that I cannot write, as it would be violation of censorship, for I realize the purpose and importance of a strict censorship. Let me assure you that the censorship is not for the purpose of preventing the people from knowing what is happening or has been happening, but for the purpose of preventing talk or information to the enemy that would be of advantage to him. Many things were of such interest that will keep till the war is over and such time as there will no longer be military secrets. Then I hope to have the pleasure of telling them to you at my liberty and leisure.
In all my wanderings I have spent exactly 300 days on the seas, and on no previous voyage did I ever find ocean travel so interesting or pleasant as this trip has been, nor have I ever felt so safe in any previous long voyage as I did on this one. Before the voyage was ended I found myself hoping that we would encounter a submarine.
I have seen a bit of Ireland and Scotland and considerable of England, and I am wonderfully impressed with the beauty of these old countries, especially their verdure at this time of year. England seems just a continuous succession of gardens with birds and flowers on every hand. I think we are very fortunate in getting a few days rest in England.
I don’t know whether it is because of my wanderlust nature or not, but I have been happy from the time we left Camp Sherman to this very hour. I am looking into the future optimistic in the belief that this world catastrophe is going to end happily, not only for us Americans, but for the whole world (the Hapsburgs and the Hohenzollerns excepted) and that the condition of the world as a whole is going to be better after the war has ended than it was before the war began.
I will be too busy to write many letters, so if anyone is interested in hearing what I have to write from Europe, you may pass this letter on to them.
SAMPSON B. BRASHEAR
Censored by S. B. Brashear,
2nd Lt. U. S. A.
The two following World War I letters were written by Second Lieutenant Sampson B. Brashear to Virginia Page Sampson (born July 1898), who was the daughter of Martha Shanks (1876-1956) and Logan Dewitt Sampson (1874-1953) and the sister of Elizabeth Sampson. The family lived at 344 Peterson Avenue in Louisville, Kentucky. Was Elizabeth’s husband, James Ryan Bryant, the same Lt. Bryant mentioned in Brashear’s letters? [The letters were transcribed in the sections of Sampson B. Brashear (1878 - 1918), which made them easier to read.]
October 8, 1918, In France, Page 1 of 4. October 8, 1918, In France, Page 2 of 4.
October 8, 1918 In France, Page 3 of 4. October 8, 1918 In France, Page 4 of 4.
October 17, 1918, France, Page 1 of 2. October 17, 1918, France, Page 2 of 2.
Date of Death: 24 October 1918, WWI: Sampson B. Brashear was Killed-In-Action in France in the Battle of Meuse-Argonne in World War I. Before his death, he had served for approximately 16 days (9th to the 24th of October) in the 90th Infantry Division. Place of Death: BATTLE OF MEUSE-ARGONNE, FRANCE, WWI. Status: KILLED IN ACTION, WWI.
Although his name was misspelled, his death was detailed in the book, History of the 90th Infantry Division in World War I by Major George Wythe, Division Historian, copyright 1920, By The Ninetieth Division Association. On the casualty list page he was listed as Samson B. Brasher, KIA 24 October 1918, which agreed with the date of death on his military headstone. The chapter, 90th Division Enters Line October 21-22, Section 8, detailed his death on 25 October 1918. “REAR AREAS SHELLED. Not only the troops actually in the front line, but the rear areas as well, were subjected during this period to intermittent bombardment which took its daily toll. The Bois des Rappes and the area around Madeleine Farm were favorite targets. The 1st Battalion, 358th Infantry, in support of the 3d Battalion, suffered heavily from this fire. Lieutenant (later Captain) J. P. Woods and Lieutenant Haley G. Heavenhill were wounded by shrapnel; the woods continually reeked with ‘yellow and blue cross’ gas, and Lieutenant Ralph D. Walker, the sole remaining officer of Company D, was overcome and evacuated. On October 25, when the battalion was moving to the northern edge of the Bois des Rappes to support the 3d Battalion more closely, a shell dropped directly in front of Lieutenant Samson B. Brasher [Sampson B. Brashear], Company A, killing him and his orderly, Private James F. Matlock.”
On November 11, 1918 in Compiegne, France, the Armistice Cease Fire Agreement was signed to start negotiations for the signing of a peace treaty to end World War I.
Unaware of Brashear’s death, the following two World War I letters were written by Virginia Page Sampson to 2nd Lt. Sampson B. Brashear. After arriving in France, the envelopes were marked DECEASED and returned to Virginia Page, who placed the unopened letters in a place of honor in memory of a friend lost in the Great War. Sixty-seven years passed before a collector obtained the letters, broke open the seals and read the words meant for another. [The letters were transcribed in the section of Sampson B. Brashear (1878 - 1918), which made them easier to read.]
NOVEMBER 13, 1918, Louisville, Kentucky, Page 1 of 2. November 13, 1918, Louisville, Kentucky, Page 2 of 2.
November 21, 1918, Louisville, Kentucky, Page 1 of 3. November 21, 1918, Louisville, Kentucky, Page 2 of 3.
November 21, 1918, Louisville, Kentucky, Page 3 of 3.
AMERICAN CIVIL WAR (1861 - 1865), PERRY COUNTY, KENTUCKY SERVICE
In the American Civil War the UNION ARMY, aka Federal Army, enrolled Perry County men into the following units: 6th Regiment Kentucky Cavalry, 14th Regiment Kentucky Cavalry and 47th Regiment Kentucky Infantry.
Prisoner of War, Union soldier, Wesley Combs survived Andersonville Confederate Prison Camp in Georgia. Wesley was the son of Jeremiah “Long Jerry” Combs and his first wife, Nancy. Elijah and Nicholas “Shanghai Nick” Combs, sons of Long Jerry and his second wife, Sarah, fought in the Confederate States Army.
Three well-known, surviving Union soldiers were: Preacher Ira Combs, John Cornett and John’s son-in-law, Theophilus “Theo” Asher Woods. War injuries left Theo with pain in his back and hips, and he suffered from frost bitten feet.
Union Army Major, John C. Eversole and his brother, Joseph Eversole were killed at the Eversole Homeplace during the Civil War. Hannibal “Hanbill” Combs appeared to have been enticed or forced to serve on both sides before his Civil War service ended.
The CONFEDERATE STATES ARMY, aka Rebel Army, placed Perry County men into the following units: 5th Regiment Kentucky Mounted Infantry and the 10th Kentucky Infantry, known for evolving name changes. The 10th Kentucky Infantry became the 10th Kentucky Mounted Infantry. In 1865 the 10th became the 13th Kentucky Cavalry, C.S.A., known as “Colonel Ben Caudill’s Regiment.”
A 10th Kentucky Civil War letter survived, which was written in 1864 by Harvey Gray Brashear, who recounted events in battle. At age thirteen, Austin G. Combs became a part of “Caudill’s Army” in Whitesburg, after his father became a Prisoner of War. Father and son survived the war.
Thirteen soldiers from the Brashear family served in the 10th aka 13th Kentucky Cavalry and six of them were brothers. Because Sampson Brashear was Wounded In Action and captured in the Battle of Mount Sterling, he became a Prisoner of War at Rock Island, an Illinois Union Prison. When Sampson finally returned home, he was a walking skeleton. John L. Brashear died as a Prisoner of War at Camp Douglas Union Prison in Illinois and was buried for the second time in a mass grave at the Confederate Mound in Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago.
Prisoner of War, Confederate soldier, James Sumner, Jr. survived Camp Douglas Union Prison. But his Letcher County cousin, John Wesley Sumner died as a Prisoner of War at Camp Douglas and shared the same burial fate as John L. Brashear.
After being released from Point Lookout Union Prison in Maryland, Kendrick Combs and John Wesley Combs, Prisoner of War Confederate soldiers, struggled to complete the journey home to their families. Kendrick never reached his home in Perry County; he died in Jackson in Breathitt County, Kentucky. John Wesley Combs, son of Millie and Andrew Anderson Combs and grandson of Nancy and Jeremiah “Long Jerry” Combs, was reunited with his family, but he died a week later.
WORLD WAR I (1917 - 1918), PERRY COUNTY, KENTUCKY SERVICE
IN 1918 THE WORLD WAS STRICKEN BY AN INFLUENZA PANDEMIC.
Per The Lexington Herald, December 21, 1919,
The Perry County Military Service Contributions In WWI Were:
670 men served, 15 were killed in battle, 3 died of disease and 51 were wounded.
CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT:
SANDLIN, WILLIE (1890-1949), FRANCE, WWI.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS MEDAL RECIPIENTS:
COMBS, HANNON FIELDS (1889-1918), KILLED IN ACTION, FRANCE, WWI.
DAVIDSON, ALEXANDER “ALEX” (1895-1918), KILLED IN ACTION, FRANCE, WWI.
WORLD WAR II (1941 - 1945), PERRY COUNTY, KENTUCKY MILITARY SERVICE
In his 1998 book published by Random House, THE GREATEST GENERATION, Tom Brokaw “coined the phrase” for all, who served on the home front and overseas in World War II.
During World War II Perry County military men LOST included: a sailor during the attack on Pearl Harbor on the first day of the war; a marine at Wake Island on the second day of war in the Pacific; a sailor on the sinking of USS JACOB JONES by a German U-Boat off the coast of Delaware in the Atlantic Ocean in the third month of war; a soldier on D-Day in the first assault wave on Omaha Beach at Normandy; a sailor in a Kamikaze Attack at Okinawa; an army airman in a B-24 H Liberator; a soldier in the “Devil’s Brigade,” which was an American-Canadian Commando Unit, First Special Service Force; a sailor in the sinking of the submarine, USS TRITON; an airman in a Glider Infantry Regiment, who died in the Kiekberg Forest; a sailor on the USS ATLANTA at Guadalcanal; a Prisoner of War soldier on a Japanese Hell Ship; an Army Ranger in the Battle of Anzio, Italy; a marine at Iwo Jima, who posthumously became a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient; a Prisoner of War soldier in the Japanese Palawan Massacre; a sailor in the sinking of the SS DAN BEARD; a soldier in North Africa; an army airman on troop transport ship, H. M. T. RHONA, when the ship was sunk in the Mediterranean Sea by a German guided missile, which was kept secret for decades.
Numerous souls were non-recoverable. Many were buried on foreign soil. Others were repatriated, returned home to family and laid to rest in Englewood or Riverside or family cemeteries throughout Perry County and beyond. The harsh consequences of the Loss of The Fallen were: communities torn asunder, children left without a complete family circle to sustain them and families living with an anguish that never ceased.
Perry County military SURVIVORS included: a soldier, who was in the First Wave at Omaha Beach on D-Day, cut a gap in a wire obstruction, led his section through a mine field, moved onward through an assault on an enemy machine gun position and became a recipient of a Silver Star Medal and the Distinguished Service Cross; a sixteen-year-old paratrooper, who jumped into Normandy on D-Day, missed the drop zone and returned through enemy territory to the American lines; a sailor, who was on board as the SS DAN BEARD sank beneath the sea; a sailor on the USS COOPER, when she was hit by a torpedo, exploded, broke in half and sank within a minute in the Battle of Ormoc Bay; a sailor on the USS YORKTOWN, who was in the Battle of the Coral Sea and endured the destruction of his ship in the Battle of Midway; a marine from Mason’s Creek, who became an Atomic Veteran; four brothers, whose parents died while they were in service, resulting in four sisters being placed in the Kentucky Baptist Children’s Home in Glendale in Hardin County; a young woman from the middle fork of Mason’s Creek, who became a Navy Yeoman in the WAVES and a waitress employed at the Judy and Grant Combs Cafe in Vicco, who became a Sergeant in the Women’s Army Air Corps.
Three-quarters of a century have passed since the Day of Infamy. The lives and deeds of many, who answered the Call to Arms, have vanished from view. Search out the stories and the photographs of our Warriors. Become familiar with their names, their families, their kinships, their communities, their values, their sacrifices and their place in history. Bestow honor on the Greatest Generation, who connected us to our past, gave us our present and offered us a vision of hope for sustaining our Constitution, our Liberty, our Flag and our United States of America for future generations. ~~~ Waukesha Lowe Sammons
WWII CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT:
STRONG, CARL MONROE (1917-1944) OF BULAN, KILLED IN ACTION, IWO JIMA.
WWII DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS MEDAL RECIPIENT:
COLWELL, CURTIS (1917-1995) OF VICCO, D-DAY, FIRST WAVE, OMAHA BEACH.
WWII SILVER STAR MEDAL RECIPIENTS:
CLEMONS, JAMES M. (1922-1944) OF GLOMAWR, KILLED IN ACTION, ITALY.
COLE, WILLIAM ROBERT (1913-1944) OF HAZARD, KILLED IN ACTION, FRANCE.
COLWELL, CURTIS (1917-1995) OF VICCO, D-DAY, FIRST WAVE, OMAHA BEACH.
COLWELL, PAUL (1916-1958) OF FORKED MOUTH, EUROPEAN THEATER.
GAYHART, IRVIN G. (1923-1993) OF HARVEYTON, EUROPEAN THEATER.
IVEY, ANDREW (1923-1944) OF CAMPBELL, KILLED IN ACTION, GERMANY.
LOWE, ALBERT ROY (1917-1944) OF KODAK AND VICCO, KILLED IN ACTION, FRANCE.
SHEPHERD, LAURENCE (1925-1943) OF BLUE DIAMOND, KIA LOST AT SEA, PACIFIC
VALENTINE, CLAY (1911-1945) OF PERRY COUNTY, KILLED IN ACTION, LUZON.