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The seizure of Paducah first made Grant's name known to the country, though he did not receive the full credit to which he was entitled by his prompt action and the importance of the movement. The rebuke of his superior, on a matter of etiquette, served to derogate from his merit. This, however, had no effect upon Grant's zeal, and he continued to devote himself to the organization of his forces and the security of his district, with his usual quiet but untiring energy. He asked permission to attempt the capture of Columbus before it was made too strong by rebel fortifications; but no notice was taken of the request, and he was allowed to make no movement of importance.

In the early part of November, however, Fremont ordered Grant to make a demonstration towards Columbus, to prevent the rebels from sending reinforcements from that place to Price's army in South-western Missouri. This led to the battle of Belmont, Grant perceiving that an attack upon the rebels there would be the most effective way of preventing the rebel movements. His purpose was to destroy the rebel camp, disperse or capture their forces, and then retire before they could be reinforced from Columbus. He moved from Cairo the night of the 6th of November, with a little more than three thousand men, most of them new troops, and officered by men who had never seen an engagement. The troops were landed the next morning, about three miles from Belmont, which is opposite Columbus, on the Missouri shore. Marching towards that place, the enemy was encountered, and a heavy fight ensued, lasting four hours. Officers and men behaved nobly, and the rebels were driven step by step.

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