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[28] from the gunboats yet again routed them with severe loss. With three thousand troops Grant had encountered about seven thousand rebels, and inflicted on them a loss one half greater than his own, besides the destruction of their camp and the capture of guns. Besides this he accomplished the principal object of the movement, which was to prevent Polk from sending reinforcements to Price.

But, as in the seizure of Paducah, Grant did not receive the credit which he deserved for this movement. Inexperienced soldiers, and correspondents of newspapers who did not know the object of the movement, were deceived by the sudden retreat and return of the troops to Cairo. Their representations, and perhaps those of an officer whose conceit and insubordination were afterwards the cause of trouble, led the country to believe that it was a failure. So far as the first victory was not so complete as it might have been, it was due to the wild exultation of the brave but undisciplined soldiers, and the stump speeches of their equally inexperienced officers. But the success was substantial; and Grant, with characteristic generosity, overlooked the faults of inexperience, and did not seek to excuse himself, or correct wrong impressions, by attributing even a partial failure to his subordinates. When asked why he did not report the colonels who had proved so inefficient in maintaining discipline, he replied, “These officers had never been under fire before; they did not know how serious an affair it was; they have had a lesson which they will not forget. I will answer for it, they will never make the same mistake again. I can see that they are of the right stuff, ”

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