The occupation of Columbus
by General Polk
was timely enough to prevent the movement soon afterward undertaken by General Grant
While General Polk
was strengthening his defenses, he placed a small force at the village of Belmont
, in the lowlands of the Mississippi bottom
, opposite the heights of Columbus
Col. J. S. Tappan
's Thirteenth regiment Arkansas
infantry and Beltzhoover
's battery were thrown across the river to occupy Belmont
and to drive out the Union
military bands, which had terrorized the citizens and frightened into exile all who refused to take an oath to support a constitution which the men who would administer it utterly ignored.
On the 7th of November General Grant
moved against Columbus
, for the purpose, as he asserted in his ‘Memoirs,’ of diverting attention from other movements of Federal armies in Missouri
, to try the strength of his newly-constructed gunboats, and test the weight of the metal of General Polk
's artillery at Columbus
The movement in Missouri
he attempted to aid was the threatened march of Fremont
, after the battle of Lexington
, when Price
had caused them each to go to ditching in anticipation of an attack, while he was really crossing the Osage
to make a junction again with McCulloch
, at Neosho
That the engagement brought on at Belmont
was a second thought of the Federal
commander, to give diversion to his officers and men, and furnish evidence of activity to the expectant people who were demanding that the ‘war be prosecuted,’ there is no reason to doubt.
The disadvantage of the defensive policy is that it gives the aggressor liberty to pick his own time, place, and opportunity for directing his blows.
The armies of both sections had been lying inactive.
But the North
had been making preparation; and the destructive agencies