had been faithless to their will; that instead of enforcing neutrality, they had sought to make the State
a fortress in which the armed forces of the United States
might securely prepare to subjugate alike the people of Kentucky
and of the Southern States
He declared that the Confederate
troops occupied Bowling Green
as a defensive position, and that he renewed the pledge previously given by their commanders, to retire as soon as the Federal
forces would in like manner withdraw.
But the first serious collision of arms in Kentucky
was to occur in the neighbourhood of the waters of the Ohio
and the Tennessee
; and to that end of the line of operations we must now take the attention of the reader.
The battle of Belmont.
had for some time been strengthening his position at Columbus
, and had also occupied Belmont
, a small village on the Missouri
shore, so as to command both banks of the stream.
With a view of surprising the small Confederate force on the west bank, Gen. U. S. Grant
collected a fleet of large river steamboats, and embarking at night, steamed down the river unobserved.
Within a few miles of Columbus
the river makes a sudden bend, and behind this bend Grant
disembarked his forces, and began to advance towards Belmont
, through the woods.
When the morning of the 7th of November broke, the action commenced; the first intimation of the enemy's presence being a succession of rapid volleys.
The troops were soon under arms, but the sudden surprise precluded all idea of a regular line or plan of battle.
It appears that when the enemy was reported landing troops a few miles above, the garrison in Belmont
consisted of only two regiments.
, with four regiments, immediately crossed, and assumed command.
He had scarcely done so, when Grant
's advance opened fire, and the fight soon became fierce and obstinate.
The enemy made a desperate attempt to turn the left wing of the Confederates
, but was defeated by the destructive fire of Beltzhoover
This wing was severely taxed, as was also the right.
Finding that they stood firm and unbroken, and, anxious for decisive action before reinforcements could reach Pillow
repeatedly hurled his strongest force at the Confederate
centre, which was in the open field.
The centre evidently faltered under these heavy and repeated attacks.
ordered a charge, and the first line of the enemy was driven upon their reserves.
But ammunition now began to fail, and word came that the wings could not maintain their position if the centre gave in, as there was every reason to fear it would do. Again a charge was ordered, which