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The battle of Belmont.

In the early days of November, 1861, the regiment of which I was Lieutenant-Colonel, the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth senior regiment, Tennessee volunteers, First brigade, Second division, was in camp at Columbus, Kentucky. This was General Polk's headquarters. His encampment was strongly fortified with batteries, which commanded the river. Immediately opposite and across the river is the small village of Belmont, Missouri.

Here Colonel Tappan was posted. His command consisted of his [70] own regiment, the Thirteenth Arkansas, Captain Beltzhoover's (Watson battery), of six guns, and two companies of Colonel Miller's battalion of cavalry, under Captain Bowles and Lieutenant Jones.

It was between two and three o'clock on the morning of the 7th of November, 1861, that General Polk received information from his aid-de-camp, Major Winslow, that the enemy was moving a strong force, designed to attack General Jeff. Thompson's position at Bloomfield and New Madrid. Soon after daybreak he received further information, from the same source, that the enemy had made his appearance in the river, with gunboats and transports, and was landing a considerable force on the Missouri shore, five or six miles from Belmont.

General John P. McCown was immediately directed to proceed in the direction of the enemy, on the east bank of the river, with a strong force of infantry and cavalry. General Pillow was also ordered to proceed immediately, with four of his regiments, to the relief of Colonel Tappan, commanding the Thirteenth Arkansas regiment, who was threatened on the west side of the river.

General McCown advanced a battery of long-range guns, under command of Captain R. A. Stewart, of the Louisiana Pointe Coupee battery, to a point from which he could easily reach the enemy's gunboats. He also ordered fire from the heavy siege battery under command of Captain Hamilton, and from several of the guns of the fort. After an hour's brisk engagement the gunboats were driven out of range. They afterward returned, however, throwing shot and shell into the works, but after an hour's fighting were again compelled to retire.

In obedience to orders, General Pillow proceeded across the river to the relief of Colonel Tappan, taking with him for this service Colonel R. M. Russell's, Colonel J. V. Wright's, Colonel Edward Pickett's and Colonel Thomas J. Freeman's regiments of Tennessee volunteers.

It was about seven o'clock in the morning when Colonel Tappan received information from General Polk of the threatened attack, together with orders to ascertain the purpose of the enemy and to hold his command ready for any emergency. Colonel Tappan at once dispatched his two cavalry companies up the river for observation, and formed his little line of battle, consisting of his own regiment and Colonel Beltzhoover's battery, about one hundred yards from the river and fronting on it.

About half-past 9 General Pillow arrived with his forces. He [71] advanced the line of battle about four hundred yards from the river, and awaited the onset.

But he had not long to wait. In one hour after his arrival on the ground General Grant struck his little force with two brigades, under McClernand and Dougherty, with cavalry and artillery. The attack was made on both right and left flank almost simultaneously, and was followed up by an assault on the center. The two wings sustained the shock most gallantly, but the regiment in the centre, being in an open field and exposed to the concentrated fire of the enemy from the cover of the woods, was compelled to retire.

Before the engagement opened, General Pillow had dispatched to General Polk for additional ammunition and a regiment of infantry and a section of artillery, to be held as a reserve. The ammunition was sent, and Colonel J. Knox Walker's regiment and two companies from Colonel Logwood's cavalry battalion were immediately forwarded. Two field batteries, one under command of Captain W. H. Jackson and the other under command of Captain Marshall T. Polk, were also forwarded. Unfortunately, the steamer transporting these batteries lost her stage-planks, so that the landing could not be effected, and the steamer was compelled to return with the guns.

Referring to the time when General Pillow's line was broken in the center, as above stated, General Polk says in his official report:

By this time it was obvious that further reinforcements had become necessary, and Colonel Carroll's Fifteenth Tennessee and Colonel Mark's Eleventh Louisiana regiments, which had been ordered to the river bank and were held as a reserve, were ordered forward. I directed Colonel Marks to land his regiment higher up the river, with a view to a flank movement which he was ordered to make. Shortly after his landing, he was met by General Pillow, who directed him, with his regiment and that of Colonel Carroll, to move rapidly on the enemy's flank. General Pillow directed Colonel Russell, with his brigade, to support that movement, and himself accompanied this command during the execution of the movement under Colonel Marks. Captain Jackson, who had reported to General Pillow that he could not get his battery ashore, was attached to his staff and directed to lead this column. In aiding Lieutenant-Colonel Barrow, who was in immediate command of the Eleventh Louisiana, to bring a portion of the column into line, he fell severely wounded.

We were getting decidedly the worst of it. The situation of affairs at 12 M. is thus reported to General Polk by Major Winslow:

About 12 M. I was ordered by you to recross the river and ascertain [72] the progress of the battle. On arriving on the Missouri shore, I found our troops retreating in some disorder up the river, the enemy having driven them back. I asked an officer the cause of this, and he replied that the men were out of ammunition. I directed him to supply himself from a quantity lying in boxes under the bank. I proceeded up the river, sending the men back who were under the bank for a supply; but found, upon an examination of the cartridge-boxes of several, both above and below the bank, that they had a good supply. Finding that the confusion was becoming worse, and the men inclined to rush upon the transports, I endeavored by expostulation and entreaties to halt them, but in vain. I then rode to the head of the column, and applying the sabre to the leading files it had the desired affect.

Captain Trask, of the Confederate steamer Charm, says:

Upon landing at 12 M. on the Belmont side, and at a point about four hundred yards above the position occupied by the enemy's battery, at the time playing on our boat, we found the landing obstructed by our disorganized forces, who endeavored to board and take possession of our boat, andat the same time crying, “ Don't land! don't land! We are whipped! Go back!” etc.

It was clearly apparent that still further reinforcements would be necessary to save the day. General Polk accordingly ordered General Cheatham, with the First brigade of his division, under Colonel Preston Smith, to cross the river. General Cheatham arrived at the landing before the brigade, and was ordered not to wait for his command, but proceed immediately across and to take command of and rally the fragments of the disorganized regiments within sight on the shore, and to support the flank movement ordered by Colonel Marks.

It was just at this moment that the enemy fired our camp, and advancing his battery nearer the shore, opened a heavy fire on our transports.

And now, for the first time, the artillery on the Columbus side was brought into play; for it happened just at this juncture, that the relative positions on the other side were such that these guns could be employed without risk or danger to our own troops. Captain Smith was accordingly ordered to move his Mississippi battery down to the bank and open on the enemy's position. Major Stewart, in command of the heavy guns in the fort, was also ordered to open on the same position. Just here and now the tide of battle was turned. The effect of the double fire from the Columbus side silenced the enemy's [73] battery and put him in motion for his gunboats. On his line of retreat he was struck first by Colonel Marks and afterward by General Cheatham on his flank. These conflicts were severe, but the enemy was driven in with great loss.

By this time Cheatham's command had arrived at the landing on the Columbus side. It consisted of Blythe's Mississippi regiment and the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth senior regiment of Tennessee volunteers, of which I was lieutenant-colonel and in command. General Polk took command of these regiments, together with Captain White's company, of Colonel T. H. Logwood's battalion of cavalry, and crossed the river. He ordered two regiments of General McCown's division to follow. General McCown dispatched Colonel Neely's Fourth Tennessee and Colonel Scott's Twelfth Louisiana regiments, but they arrived too late to participate in the action.

On landing, General Polk was met by Generals Pillow and Cheatham, whom he directed, with the regiments of General Cheatham and portions of others, to press the enemy to his boats. His order was executed with alacrity and in double-quick time. The route over which the troops passed was strewn with the dead and wounded of the conflicts of Colonel Marks and General Cheatham, and with arms, knapsacks, overcoats, etc.

On arriving at the point where his transports lay, General Polk ordered the column headed by the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth senior regiment of Tennessee volunteers, under cover of a field thickly set with corn, to be deployed along the river bank within easy range of the boats. This being accomplished, a heavy fire was opened upon them, riddling them with balls.

Under this galling fire, he cut his lines and retreated from the shore, some of his soldiers being driven overboard by the rush of those behind them. Our fire was returned by the heaviest cannonade from his gunboats, which discharged upon our lines showers of grape, canister and shell as they retired with their convoy in the direction of Cairo. It being now sunset, and being left in possession of the field, the troops were ordered to retire.

There is no doubt that General Pillow was unfortunate in his selection of a position for his line of battle.

Colonel Bell occupied the extreme right, his left resting on Colonel Tappan's Arkansas regiment; Freeman and Pickett occupied the centre, then Beltzhoover's battery, and last, Colonel J. V. Wright on the extreme left.

With the exception of Bell's regiment and a portion of Tappan's, [74] which were naturally protected, the rest of the line occupied an open field with the woods in front and in point-blank range.

General Polk criticised General Pillow's disposition of his troops with some severity. He said that General Pillow might have had strong natural defenses in the rear of his line, afforded by woods, abattis and ravines, which ran parallel to the line of the enemy's advance. Instead of taking advantage of these, said General Polk, he threw his line into an open field, and, what was worse, gave the enemy the advantage of the cover of the woods in his front. Colonel Freeman says that one of his officers remarked to him that it was like fighting a duel with your antagonist behind a tree and yourself in an open space. Colonel Freeman further gives it as his opinion that the battery was placed so far to the left that it was not available, and says that he does not believe five persons were touched by its shot. Lieutenant-Colonel Beltzhoover, commanding the battery, makes a very meagre report. His command distinguished itself by its courage and endurance, but its commander does not even express his opinion that it rendered any efficient service. The substance of his report is, after stating his position: ‘There we stood, doing our best, until the whole line retreated to the river.’ Colonel J. V. Wright says, in his report of the battle, that the enemy opened upon him at a distance of about eighty yards from under such a dense cover that they were invisible.

But it must be said, in justice to General Pillow, that he was unacquainted with the ground, that he had not over an hour to choose his position, and that he had to form almost in the face of the enemy. He behaved well on the field and did the best that his position would allow him to do.

Colonel Bell's regiment remained in position nearly an hour, when the enemy attacked in strong force. Colonel Russell, commanding the brigade, then gave the order to charge. The order was promptly obeyed and the enemy was driven back thirty or forty yards. Finding that the new position was not a good one, the regiment fell back to its original position, which it held for three or four hours afterward.

Colonel Tappan's regiment was engaged over an hour and a half, being subjected to and returning the fire of an overpowering force of the enemy when, Colonel Russell's regiment getting out of ammunition, it gradually and in good order, without any confusion, retired through the timber, recently cut down by the command, to the bank of the river where it again formed. The regiment suffered more during the above period than at any other time during the day. [75]

Freeman's regiment, the Twenty-second Tennessee, was posted in front of a rise in the ground, behind which he ultimately placed them. The enemy were concealed, in approaching, by the forest, while his own men were in full view in the open plain. His regiment was kneeling, he says, when General Pillow rode up and ordered him to charge. He immediately ordered his regiment to charge bayonet, which they did. He did not reach the enemy's position, but charged about fifty yards into the timber over a fence. Before he reached the timber he had to pass over about seventy-five yards, crossing the fence mentioned. In crossing it his line was broken and the men went into the woods in great disorder, but rushing on gallantly.

Colonel Pickett's regiment, after the engagement had opened and he had fired some seven or eight rounds, was ordered to cease firing as Colonel Pickett believed it to be ineffectual. After a few minutes General Pillow ordered a charge. The charge was made in double-quick time, for some two hundred yards, through open ground to the edge of the woods, the latter portion of the distance under fire. Upon reaching the woods, a tremendous fire of musketry suddenly opened upon his line from the concealed enemy at very short distance. After a contest of about three-quarters of an hour, Colonel Pickett ordered his men to retire. He formed again behind the first elevation in his rear, and while awaiting orders in this new position fired three or four rounds. At this time his supply of ammunition failed, and he moved his men further up the river bank.

Colonel John V. Wright occupied the extreme left, his right resting upon Beltzhoover's battery. Under order from General Pillow he had detached one company (A) from his regiment and posted it still further to the left, on a road leading down to the river. This company was under command of Lieutenant Matt Rhea. Colonel Wright reports that it was about ten o'clock in the morning when he took his position in the field. The enemy attacked him from the woods about eighty yards distant in his front, and the enemy himself could not be seen so dense was the growth of timber. ‘In a very short time after the attack commenced on me,’ says Colonel Wright, ‘I heard a heavy fire of musketry on my left, and knew Lieutenant Rhea with his command was engaging the enemy. I immediately communicated this intelligence to General Pillow, meantime holding my position, my men receiving and returning an incessant fire. This was kept up for an hour and a half, when I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Vaughan to report to General Pillow that my ammunition was nearly exhausted and that my men were suffering greatly from [76] the fire of the enemy. Colonel Vaughan returned and brought with him orders from General Pillow for my regiment to retire. I gave the order and the regiment retired to near the river, where some confusion occurred, and a portion of the regiment went up the river, led by Colonel Vaughan, and the balance followed me up the bank of the river, taking protection from the artillery under the bank of the river. The two lines were united again at the upper landing, where I was ordered by Colonel J. Knox Walker, commanding brigade, to fall in with my command on the left of the Second Tennessee regiment and proceed to charge the enemy. This was done most promptly, and in a short time we found ourselves in the presence of the enemy, who were moving to the right. We formed line rapidly and poured a most destructive fire upon them, my men shouting and huzzaing as they rushed on to the charge.’

I have not been able to find the report made by Colonel J. Knox Walker of the engagement at Belmont.

It will be remembered that Colonel Marks had been ordered by General Polk to cross the river and attack the enemy in the flank.

On landing, Colonel Marks moved along up the river bank until he saw General Pillow, who gave him the same order, and instructed him as to the proper direction to obtain that position—to attack the enemy in the rear by a flank movement. He then directed the head of the column toward the point indicated by the general, and where the fire of the enemy seemed to be hottest. In about fifteen minutes he had reached a position beyond their fire, and moved up through the bushes until he came in view of a body of men, who appeared to be the enemy, drawn up in an open field toward his left, but partially hid from view by an intervening rise of ground. They displayed, or had among them, a Confederate flag; at the same time a party on the right called out: ‘For God's sake, don't fire on us, we are friends.’ He ordered his men to withhold their fire, thinking they might be so. He then ordered Major Butler to advance to the edge of the woods to ascertain what regiment it was. As soon as they discovered the Major, the main body opened fire on him. He then ordered his men to commence firing, which they did rapidly and in gallant style. Lieutenant-Colonel Barrow, in immediate command of the Eleventh regiment, at this moment brought up the left wing, placed them in line and joined in the general fighting. In about half an hour, the enemy's column now separated in two divisions, the one trying to flank him on the right and the other on the left, he divided his command, and, with the assistance of Colonel Barrow [77] promptly seconded by all the officers of the line, got in a position to front the enemy each way. He again opened a general fire for about an hour, at the expiration of which time the enemy broke and fled, hotly pursued by our troops for about half a mile, when he had them recalled and formed in line; at which time General Polk arrived on the field and ordered him to join General Cheatham in pursuit of the enemy, which pursuit, led by General Polk, was continued, the enemy being constantly fired on by Cheatham's command until they were driven under the batteries of their gunboats, which opened a terrible fire of shot, shell and balls, to which we had no means of reply.

Upon General Cheatham's arrival on the opposite side of the river, the fragments of the Thirteenth regiment Arkansas volunteers, Colonel Tappan; Second regiment, Tennessee volunteers, Colonel Walker, and Thirteenth regiment, Tennessee, Colonel John V. Wright, were formed and anxious to again confront the enemy. These regiments, with others, had already suffered severely in the engagement of the forenoon. In a few minutes these three regiments formed in line, the Thirteenth Arkansas in front, followed by the Second and Thirteenth Tennessee, and moved directly back from the river in the direction of the enemy's transports and gunboats, intending, if possible, to take them in flank. Advancing about half a mile, they suddenly came upon about fifty mounted men, who were hailed and found to be Illinois cavalry; and at the same moment, and immediately in front, they discovered a large body of troops — the Seventh Iowa and Colonel John A. Logan's Illinois regiment-drawn up in line of battle. General Cheatham immediately ordered his column forward and formed a line in a small ravine, the Thirteenth Arkansas on the right, flanked by the Second and Thirteenth Tennessee, with some detached companies from other regiments, and at once opened upon the enemy a most terrific fire, and which they promptly returned; but under the rapid and galling fire of our columns the enemy soon wavered, and were charged upon with the bayonet and completely routed, and under the continuous fire from our column in pursuit were slaughtered from that point to within a few hundred yards of their gunboats, lying more than two miles from the position in which we engaged them.

As early as ten o'clock in the morning, the regiment which I commanded and Colonel Blythe's Mississippi regiment received orders from Colonel Preston Smith, commanding the brigade, to place ourselves under arms with a full supply of ammunition, and hold ourselves in readiness to move at a moment's notice. [78]

At about one o'clock we were put in motion for the river, to be transported to the Missouri side. The enemy on the other side had possession of the field, and had fired Colonel Tappan's camp. They had also placed a battery in position near the river bank, within range of our camp on the Kentucky side. While we were moving up Front street, on our march for the river, the enemy opened a brisk fire upon our line with shell and grape, which was continued until the head of the column had reached the lower battery, near General Polk's headquarters, when they directed their fire upon the boats waiting to carry us over. The fire on the boats was so severe that our embarkation was delayed for some time, until the enemy's battery was silenced by our guns on the Columbus side. We were then moved on board the Kentucky and Charm, and were speedily landed at our destination.

The enemy was now in full retreat, and while we were forming, General Cheatham rode up and ordered my regiment to be moved forward in the pursuit in double-quick time. In executing this order I followed the direction indicated by General Cheatham, who led our advance, acompanied by Colonel Smith and Generals Polk and Pillow. Meanwhile Colonel McNairy, of General Cheatham's staff, had been ordered back to move forward Colonel Blythe's regiment, which was done.

After marching for a mile and a half or two miles, I was ordered to halt and send out a party of skirmishers on the side of a neighboring cornfield. In obedience to this order I detailed Captain Edward Fitzgerald, of Company F, and sixteen of his men, and then moved up the road rapidly until we came in sight of the enemy's boats, three in number, supported by two gunboats. Just here I quote from the official report of Colonel Smith, commanding our brigade. Colonel Smith says:

Major-General Polk, who, in company with Brigadier General Pillow, had rejoined Brigadier-General Cheatham near this point, directed me to move the head of my command forward to the river, above the boats of the enemy, and, facing by the rear rank, throw my left below them, thus encircling and preventing them from returning into the woods. While executing this order, it became necessary to change the movement on account of obstacles, and, believing them about to move off, I caused Lieutenant-Colonel Wright to move the right wing of the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth senior regiment to the right and below the enemy, the left wing and Blythe's regiment being led on to the river above by Brigadier-General Cheatham, and [79] when opposite the transports, and distant some two hundred yards, I gave the order to charge, which was most promptly and gallantly done; about one-half of the right wing being led in person by Lieutenant-Colonel Wright, who, finding the enemy hurrying on board, deployed those under his immediate command as skirmishers, and opened a galling fire on the enemy. The remainder of the right wing, by my order, deployed and fell on their centre, and also opened their fire on the crowded and confused mass of the flying enemy.

The fire was kept up with little cessation on both sides for about an hour. The enemy replied with volleys of musketry from the boats, and rapid discharges of grape, canister, and shell from the gunboats. At the expiration of this time the boats succeeded in cutting their cables and moved out under cover of their gunboats, and the flotilla began its return up the river, firing some farewell shots from their gunboats as they steamed up the stream.

When we arrived in sight of the gunboats there were unmistakable signs of a precipitate flight. Large quantities of baggage, arms, overcoats, knapsacks, and other articles were strewn over the ground.

After the gunboats had moved out of range, I directed Adjutant W. H. Stovall and a detail of ten men to remain with me and look after the wounded. After this duty had been performed, we took possession of seven wagons, a lot of harness, blankets, trunks, knapsacks, and clothing of all sorts. We also captured some muskets. Captain Fitzgerald had been successful with his scouting party, capturing eight prisoners and killing three in his skirmish.

The battle of Belmont was long and severe. It began at half-past 10 in the morning and did not finally close until five in the afternoon.

The Confederates had engaged, all told, ten regiments of infantry, a battalion of cavalry, and one battery of six pieces. The regiments had been wasted by the measles, and General Pillow estimated the five regiments, the cavalry, and the artillery, with which he began the fight, to be not over 2,500 men. He based this estimate on the morning report. Five more regiments were sent to reinforce him, but the enemy were already routed before my own regiment and that of Colonel Blythe's arrived on the ground. Three regiments which followed General Pillow, and preceded us, could not have exceeded 1,500 men. This would have made the Confederate force 4,000 men before our arrival, and when we arrived the enemy were already in [80] flight and confusion. Colonel Blythe's regiment and my own numbered, probably, 1,000 together, making in all about 5,000 Confederates on the ground during the whole day.

General McClernand puts down the Federal force at 3,500 strong, ‘the enemy double that number.’ His command consisted of three Illinois regiments; two companies of cavalry, and one battery of six pieces. He gives the exact number in each command, making a total of 2,072. It is probable that his figures are about correct. Then there was Colonel Dougherty's command of two regiments, which would make out the 3,500. So, when the battle opened, there were 3,500 Federals, with immense advantages in position, against 2,500 Confederates. The Confederates were at first beaten. Then three more regiments, consisting of, say, 1,500 men, were sent as reinforcements, and the Federals were in turn beaten and driven toward their boats. Finally, two more regiments were sent over to complete the rout.

With regard to the Confederate loss, there is no difficulty in arriving at a just estimate, as we maintained possession of the ground.

General Polk puts down our loss at 105 killed, 419 wounded and missing, of whom 562 were of his own division and Colonel Tappan's regiment.

With regard to the enemy's loss, there is a wide diversity of statement. General Grant, in his official report, puts down his loss on the field at 85 killed, 301 wounded and 99 missing. As to the loss on the boats, he says: ‘Notwithstanding the crowded state of our transports, the only loss we sustained from the enemy's fire upon them was three men wounded, one of whom belonged to the boats.’ He does not estimate the Confederate strength or loss.

General McClernand puts down the Federal loss at about 300 in killed, wounded and missing.

Brigade Surgeon and Medical Director J. H. Brinton gives the total of killed in the five regiments, cavalry and artillery at 80 and the wounded at 322. He puts the loss of the Seventh Iowa at 26 killed and 93 wounded. But Colonel J. G. Lauman, commanding this regiment, puts down his loss in his official report at: ‘Killed, 51; died of wounds, 3; missing, 10; prisoners, 39; wounded, 124. Total, 227.’

Our reports, on the other hand, tell quite another story.

General Polk (not claiming accurate information) estimates the enemy's loss at 1,500, fourteen-fifteenths of which he thinks must have been killed, wounded and drowned. He says that after making [81] a liberal exchange of prisoners, over 100 remained. He also reports the capture of one stand of colors, over 1,000 stand of arms, with knapsacks, ammunition and other military stores.

General Pillow says in his official report: ‘We buried 295 of the enemy's dead, and the enemy, under a flag of truce, was engaged in the same labor during a large portion of the day.’ General Pillow estimates the loss of the enemy at between 1,800 and 2,000. He bases this estimate upon ‘the most unquestionable information from persons who were in Cairo when the Federal fleet returned, who state that the enemy was a day and a half in burying the dead and removing the wounded from their boats.’

General Grant gives as his reasons for fighting the battle of Belmont, that on the 1st of November he was ordered to make a demonstration on both sides of the Mississippi river, with the view of detaining the Confederates at Columbus, Kentucky, within their lines.1 He had been notified that there was a force of about three thousand Confederates on the St. Francis river, Arkansas, about fifty miles from Cairo, and had sent Colonel Oglesby there, with a force equal to that of the Confederates, to oppose them and hold them in check. Learning that General Polk was about to detach a large force from Columbus to be moved down the river and to reinforce General Price, he had orders to prevent this movement. He then ordered a regiment under Colonel W. H. L. Wallace to reinforce Oglesby, and ordered General C. F. Smith to move all the troops he could spare from Paducah directly against Columbus. Added to these, he took all the troops which could be spared from Cairo and Fort Holt and moved them down the river for the attack on Belmont.

General Grant says in his narrative: ‘ “ Belmont” was severely criticised in the North as a wholly unnecessary battle, barren of results; or the possibility of them from the beginning. If it had not been fought, Colonel Oglesby would probably have been captured or destroyed with his three thousand men. Then I would have been culpable indeed.’

After the retreat of the Union forces from the field, as before stated, [82] General Cheatham took Blythe's Mississippi regiment and the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth Tennessee regiment, under my command, to follow up the retreating Federals and attack the troops embarking on the transports. Within a half mile from where we started we came near a double log house, about one hundred yards from the road, and which was occupied by the Federals as a hospital. At the gate were two Federal officers mounted on fine stallions—one of the stallions a black, the other a gray. At this juncture, two officers—one with an overcoat on, the other with his overcoat on his arm—came out of the hospital and ran towards a cornfield, jumping the fence and disappearing. When they first appeared, a number of my men of the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth regiment cocked their guns and made aim at them.

General Cheatham at once directed me to order their guns to a shoulder and not to fire on stragglers, as his orders were to attack the troops seeking the transports. The order was given and there was no firing on them. On the day after the battle, General Cheatham met, under flag of truce, Colonel Hatch, who was General Grant's Quartermaster. Colonel Hatch, in his conversation with General Cheatham, told him that the two officers who ran out of the hospital were General Grant and himself, and that both were surprised that they were not fired on. General Cheatham, in a few days afterwards, met General Grant on a flag-of-truce boat, and he fully confirmed Colonel Hatch's statement.

The battle of Belmont was the initial battle of the great campaign in the Mississippi Valley. It was General Grant's first battle in this war, and its sequences were Forts Henry, Donelson and Shiloh and all that followed.

1 As evidence that the battle of Belmont was regarded in the North as a defeat for General Grant, ‘Curtis’ telegraphs General E. D. Townsend, Adjutant-General United States army, from St. Louis, under date of 9th November, 1861, two days after the battle, as follows: * * ‘Captain McKeener telegraphs from Cincinnati to General Fremont, that General Grant had no orders from Fremont to attack Belmont or Columbus.’ (See Rebellion Records, Vol. III, p. 567.)

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