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Battle at Belmont.


November/December 1861

From The Missouri Democrat, Saturday, November 9, 1861.


Gen. Grant’s Report of the Fight.

Rebels Driven into their Camp and Across the River.



Rebels Re-cross the River.
Loss Heavy on Both Sides.
Gallant Conduct of Generals Grant and McClernand, Col. Fouke and Others.


The following dispatch was received at Headquarters yesterday morning:

CAIRO, Nov. 7, 1861.

To Captain C. McKeever, St. Louis:

We met the rebels about 9 o’clock this morning, two and a half miles from Belmont. We drove them step by step into their camp, and across the river.

We burned their tents, and started on our return with all their artillery, but for lack of transportation had to leave four pieces in the woods.

The rebels recrossed the river and followed in our rear to our place of debarkation.

The loss is heavy on both sides.

U. S. GRANT, Brig. General.



CAIRO, Nov. 7, 1861.

The following private dispatch was received in this city:

General Grant, at the head of a force of observation, accompanied by the gun-boats Lexington and Tyler, charged and took the rebel batteries at Belmont, destroying their tents.

The enemy being reinforced from Columbus, Gen. Grant returned to the transports, bringing off 68 prisoners..

The loss on both sides is great.

The gun boats did their duty. They have not yet arrived on their way up.

Gen. Grant’s horse was shot from under him.


Later Particulars.

[Dispatch to the Associated Press.]

CAIRO, Nov. 7,—A great battle was fought to-day at Belmont, three miles above Columbus. Generals Grant and McClernand commanded. They landed at eight o’clock A. M., and the battle commenced at ten, and lasted until sundown. Our boys drove the enemy from their entrenchments with great loss; burned their camp and stores, with all their baggage; took all their cannon; brought home their horses and mules; four field pieces and nearly one hundred prisoners, but were finally forced to retire to their boats, the rebels having received reinforcements from Columbus. Our force was about 3,500. The rebels’ was about 7,000. Generals Grant and McClernand, Cols. Dougherty, Logan, Fouke and Buford behaved with great gallantry, and were everywhere found in the thickest of the fight.

Both the Generals horses were shot. Gen. McClernand’s twice. His saddle and clothing were riddled with balls. Cap’t. Bielaski, one of his aids, was killed, and Captain Dresser, his other aid, had his horse killed; his holsters each caught a ball, another grazed his head, and another penetrated his blanket. He was the first to mount one of the guns captured which is now in camp.

Gen. Grant had his horse killed under him, and Colonel Dougherty was wounded and taken prisoner. To the heroic conduct of our officers and men the country owes a lasting gratitude.

Captain Hatch, Assistant Quartermaster, was the last one aboard the boat, staying behind to assist all aboard.

I was not in the engagement, but learn that our loss will be between 300 and 500.



CHICAGO, Nov. 8.—A special Cairo dispatch to the Tribune, gives the following particulars of the fight at Belmont yesterday: Our forces consisted of the following Illinois regiments: Twenty-second, Colonel Dougherty; Twenty-seventh, Col. Buford; Thirtieth, Col. Fouke; Thirty-first, Col. Logan; Seventh Iowa, Col. Lauman; Taylor’s Chicago artillery, and Dallen’s and Delavan’s cavalry.

They left Cairo on the steamers Alex. Scott, Chancellor, Memphis and Keystone State, accompanied by the gun boats Lexington and Tyler. After landing, they were formed in line of battle, Gen. McClernand in command of the Cairo troops and Col. Dougherty in command of the Bird’s Point troops.

They were encountered by the rebels, 7,000 strong, and fought every inch of the way to the enemy’s camp, and making sad havoc in the enemy’s ranks. Col. Buford was the first to plant the Stars and Stripes in the enemy’s camp. Col. Dougherty’s regiment captured the rebel battery of twelve pieces, two of which were brought away.

Col. Fouke’s men suffered greatly, as they were in front of the batteries before they were taken.

After taking possession of the rebel camp, it was discovered that the rebels were crossing over from Kentucky, for the purpose of attacking us in the rear.

Orders were given to return to the boats, when our men were attacked by a reinforcement of several thousand from Columbus, and another severe engagement took place, in which our troops suffered severely.

The losses, as far as ascertained at a late hour last night, were as follows: Thirtieth regiment, one hundred and sixty missing, and Major McClenken wounded and taken prisoner. The Twenty-first had one hundred and forty missing, Colonel Buford’s regiment returned too late to obtain any particulars.

Col. Dougherty is reported to have been taken prisoner, and Col. Laman is reported dangerously wounded. Taylor’s battery lost one gun. We have taken 250 prisoners, a number of whom are wounded.

The rebel killed amounts to about three hundred. The ground was completely strewn with their dead bodies. The rebel Col. Wright, of the Thirteenth Tennessee, was killed.

Gen. Cheatham commanded the rebels-Polk being at Columbus.

It is stated that Gen. Johnson was wounded. The gun-boats rendered efficient aid in covering the retreat, mowing down the rebels with grape, but killing some of our own men.

A flag of truce left Cairo this morning with 40 or 50 wounded rebels.