Gen. Grant's report.
Cairo, Nov. 12, 1861.on the evening of the 6th inst. I left this place with two thousand eight hundred and fifty men of all arms, to make a reconnoissance toward Columbus. The object of the expedition was to prevent the enemy from sending out reinforcements to Price's army in Missouri, and also from cutting off columns that I had been directed to send out from this place and Cape Girardeau, in pursuit of Jeff. Thompson. Knowing that Columbus was strongly garrisoned, I asked Gen. Smith, commanding at Paducah, Ky., to make demonstrations in the same direction. He did so by ordering a small force to Mayfield and another in the direction of Columbus, not to approach nearer, however, than twelve or fifteen miles. I also sent a small force on the Kentucky side with orders not to approach nearer than Ellicott's Mills, some twelve miles from Columbus. The expedition under my immediate command was stopped about nine miles below here on the Kentucky shore, and remained until morning. All this served to distract the enemy, and led him to think he was to be attacked in his strongly fortified position. At daylight we proceeded down the river to a point just out of range of the rebel guns, and debarked on the Missouri shore. From here the troops were marched by flank for about one mile toward. Belmont, and then drawn up in line of battle, a battalion also having been left as a reserve near the transports. Two companies from each regiment, five skeletons in number, were then thrown out as skirmishers, to ascertain the position of the enemy. It was but a few moments before we met him, and a general engagement ensued. The balance of my forces, with the exception of the reserve, was then thrown forward — all as skirmishers — and the enemy driven foot by foot, and from tree to tree, back to their encampment on the river bank, a distance of two miles. Here they had strengthened their position by felling the timber for several hundred yards around their camp, and making a sort of abatis. Our men charged through this, driving the enemy over the bank into their transports in quick time, leaving us in possession of every thing not exceedingly portable. Belmont is on low ground, and every foot of it is commanded by the guns on the opposite shore, and of course could not be held for a single hour after the enemy became aware of the withdrawal of their troops. Having no wagons, I could not move any of the captured property; consequently, I gave orders for its destruction. Their tents, blankets, &c., were set on fire, and we retired, taking their artillery with us, two pieces being drawn by hand; and one other, drawn by an inefficient team, we spiked and left in the woods, bringing the two only to this place. Before getting fairly under way the enemy made his appearance again, and attempted to surround us. Our troops were not in the least discouraged, but charged on the enemy again, and defeated him. Our loss was about eighty-four killed, one hundred and fifty wounded--many of them slightly — and about an equal number missing. Nearly all the missing were from the Iowa regiment, who behaved with great gallantry, and suffered more severely than any other of the troops. I have not been able to put in the reports from sub-commands, but will forward them as soon as received. All the troops behaved with much gallantry, much of which is attributed to the coolness and presence of mind of the officers, particularly the colonels. Gen. McClernand was in the midst of danger throughout the engagement, and displayed both coolness and judgment. His horse was three times  shot. My horse was also shot under me. To my staff, Capts. Rawlins, Logan, and Hillyer, volunteer aids, and to Capts. Hatch and Graham, I am much indebted for the assistance they gave. Col. Webster, acting chief engineer, also accompanied me, and displayed highly soldier-like qualities. Col. Dougherty, of the Twenty-second Illinois Volunteers, was three times wounded and taken prisoner. The Seventh Iowa regiment had their Lieut.-Colonel killed, and the Colonel and Major were severely wounded. The reports to be forwarded will detail more fully the particulars of our loss. Surgeon Brinton was in the field during the entire engagement, and displayed great ability and efficiency in providing for the wounded and organizing the medical corps. The gunboats Tyler and Lexington, Capts. Walker and Stemble, U. S. N., commanding, convoyed the expedition and rendered most efficient service. Immediately upon our landing they engaged the enemy's batteries, and protected our transports throughout. For particulars see accompanying report of Capt. Walker. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. Grant, Brig.-Gen. Commanding.
General McClernand's report.
Brigade Headquarters, camp Cairo, Nov. 12, 1861.sir: I have the honor to report the part taken by the forces under my command in the action before Columbus, Ky., on the 7th inst. These forces consisted of a portion of my own brigade, viz.: the twenty-seventh regiment, Col. N. B. Buford; the Thirtieth regiment, Col. Philip B. Fouke; the Thirty-first regiment, Col. John A. Logan, including one company of cavalry under Captain J. J. Dollins. The strength of the Twenty-seventh regiment was seven hundred and twenty, rank and file; that of the Thirtieth, five hundred; that of the Thirty-first, six hundred and ten-exclusive of seventy mounted men; being in all one thousand nine hundred men, rank and file. To this force you added, by your order of the 6th inst., Captain Delano's Company of Adams County Cavalry, seventy-two men, under Lieutenant J. R. Catlin, and Captain Ezra Taylor's battery of Chicago Light Artillery of six pieces and one hundred and fourteen men. The total disposable force under my command was two thousand and eighty-six, rank and file — all Illinois Volunteers. Having embarked on the steamer Scott, with the Thirtieth and Thirty-first, on the evening of the 6th instant, I left Cairo at five o'clock, and proceeded down the Mississippi to the foot of Island No.1, and lay to for the night on the Kentucky shore, eleven miles above Columbus, as previously instructed by you. Posting a strong guard for the protection of the boat, and those that followed to the same point, I remained until seven o'clock on the following morning. At that hour, preceded by the gunboats Tyler and Lexington, and followed by the remainder of the transports, I proceeded down the river to the designated landing on the Missouri shore, about two and a half miles, in a direct line, from Columbus and Belmont. By half-past 8 o'clock the rest of the transports had arrived, and the whole force was disembarked, and, marching beyond a collection of cornfields in front of the landing, was formed for an advance movement, and awaited your order. Ordering Dollins' and Delano's cavalry to scour the woods along the road to Belmont and report to me from time to time, the remainder of my command followed — the Twenty-seventh in front, the Thirtieth next, supported by a section of Taylor's battery, succeeded by the Thirty-first, and the remainder of Taylor's battery, the Seventh Iowa, (Col. Lauman,) and the Twenty-second Illinois, (Col. Dougherty,) who had been assigned by you to that portion of the command. When the rear of the column had reached a road intersecting our line of march, about a mile and a half from the abatis surrounding the enemy's camp, the line of battle was formed on ground which I had previously selected. The Twenty-seventh and Thirtieth, having formed too far in advance, were recalled to the position first assigned them — the Twenty-seventh on the right, and the Thirtieth on the left. A section of Taylor's battery was disposed on the left of the Thirtieth and two hundred feet in rear of the line, the Thirty-first in the centre, and the Seventh Iowa and Twenty-second Illinois forming the left wing, masking two sections of artillery. By this time Dollins' cavalry were skirmishing sharply with the enemy's pickets to the right and in advance of our line, and the enemy had shifted the heavy fire of their batteries at Columbus from our gunboats to our advancing line, but without effect. With your permission I now ordered two companies from each regiment of my command to advance, instructing them to seek out and develop the position of the enemy, the Twenty-second Illinois and Seventh Iowa pushing forward similar parties at the same time. A sharp firing having immediately commenced between the skirmishing parties of the Thirtieth and Thirty-first and the enemy, I ordered forward another party to their support, rode forward, selected a new position, and ordered up the balance of my command — the Twenty-seventh--to pass around the had of a pond, the Thirtieth and Thirty-first, with the artillery, crossing the dry bed of the same slough in their front. On their arrival, I reformed the line of battle. in the same order as before. It was my expectation that the Twenty-second Illinois and the Seventh Iowa would resume their former positions  on the left wing, which would have perfected a line sufficient to enclose the enemy's camp, on all sides accessible to us, thus enabling us to command the river above and below them, and prevent the crossing of reinforcements from Columbus, insuring his capture as well as defeat. The Thirtieth and Thirty-first and the artillery, moving forward, promptly relieved the skirmishing parties, and soon became engaged with a heavy body of the enemy's infantry and cavalry. The struggle, which was continued for half an hour with great severity, threw our ranks into temporary disorder; but the men promptly rallied under the gallant example of
Brigadier-General U. S. Grant, Commanding District Southeastern Missouri:
Brigadier-General U. S. Grant, Commanding District Southeastern Missouri: