Just before Fremont
was deprived of his command (see Fremont, John C.
) he ordered General Grant
to move a co-operative force along the line of the Mississippi River
It was promptly done.
A column about 3,000 strong, chiefly Illinois volunteers, under Gen. John A. McClernand
, went down from Cairo
in transports and wooden gunboats to menace Columbus
by attacking Belmont
At the same time another column, under Gen. C. F. Smith
. marched from Paducah
to menace Columbus
in the rear.
went with McClernand
The troops landed 3 miles above Belmont
, Nov. 7, 1861, and while they were pushing on the gunboats opened fire upon Columbus
, the commander, sent General Pillow
over the river to reinforce the little garrison at Belmont
A sharp battle ensued, and the Nationals were victorious; but, exposed to the heavy artillery at Columbus
, the post was untenable.
Giving three cheers for the Union
, the Nationals set fire to the Confederate
camp, and hastened back towards their boats with the captured men, horses, and artillery.
opened seven of his heaviest guns upon them, and at the same time sent over some fresh troops under General cheatham.
Then he crossed over himself, with two regiments, making the whole Confederate force about 5,000 men. They fell upon Grant
, and a desperate struggle ensued.
fought his way back to the transports under cover of a five from the gunboats, and escaped.
lost about 500 men, and the Confederates
over 600, killed, wounded, and missing.