Battle of Belmont.


We furnish the account of the fight at Belmont, Mo., as related by General Grant himself, and which is doubtless nearer true than the reports of the newspaper correspondents. The General says:

Day before yesterday I left Cairo with about 4,000 men in five steamers, convoyed by two gun-boats; and proceeded down the river to within about twelve miles south of Columbus. The next morning the boats were dropped down just out of range of the enemy's batteries, and the troops debarked. During this operation our gunboats exercised the rebels by throwing shells into their camps and batteries.

When all was ready we proceeded one mile towards Belmont, opposite Columbus when I formed the troops into line, and ordered two companies from each regiment to deploy as skirmishers, and push through the woods and discover the position of the enemy. They had gone but a little way when they were fired on, and the ball may be said to have fairly opened.

The whole command, with the exception of a small reserve, was then deployed in like manner and ordered forward. The order was obeyed with great alacrity, the men all showing great courage. I can say with great gratification that every Colonel, without a single exception, set an example to their commands that inspired a confidence that will always insure victory when there is the slightest possibility of gaining one. I feel truly proud to command such men.

From here we fought our way from tree to tree through the woods to Belmont, two and a half miles, the enemy contesting every foot of ground. Here the enemy had strengthened their position by felling the trees for two or three hundred yards, and sharpening their limbs, making a sort of abatis. Our men charged through, making the victory complete, giving us possession of their equipage, artillery, and everything else.

We got a great many prisoners. The majority, however, succeeded in getting in their steamers and pushed across the river. We burned everything possible and started back, having accomplished all that we went for, and even more. Belmont is entirely covered by batteries from Columbus, and is utterly worthless as a military position — and cannot be held without Columbus.

The object of the expedition was to prevent the enemy from sending a force into Missouri to cut off troops I had sent there for a special purpose, and to prevent reinforcing Price.

Besides being well fortified at Columbus, their number far exceeded ours, and it would be folly to have attacked them. — We found the Confederates well armed and brave. On our return, stragglers that had been left in our rear (now front) fired into us, and more re-crossed the river and gave us battle for full a mile, and afterwards at the boats when we were embarking.

There was no hasty retreating or running away. This expedition has given us confidence in the officers and men of the command, that will enable us to lead them in any future engagement without fear of the result. General McClernard (who by the way acted with great courage and coolness throughout, and proved that he is a soldier as well as a statesman,) and myself each of us had a horse shot under us. Most of the field officers met with the same loss, besides nearly one third of them being themselves killed or wounded.

The Twenty-second Illinois and Seventh Iowa were in the heaviest of the fighting, and fuller reports will award to them the mead of praise which is their due. There are thought to be three hundred and fifty missing of the Seventh Iowa. Col. Lauman's wound is not dangerous; Lieutenant Colonel Wendt was killed; the Major is wounded, and the Adjutant missing and reported killed.

In Logan's Regiment there were thirty-five killed and forty seven wounded. All but forty-four of Col. Fouke's regiment reported at roll call this P. M. But one commissioned officer was wounded. In Buford's Regiment I did not ascertain the loss of men, but it is now thought to be not very heavy.

One hundred and thirty-four prisoners are captured, about thirty of whom, the sick and wounded, were sent down on the Memphis.

A courier just in on the Memphis reports Col. Dougherty, of the Twenty-second Illinois, as wounded and captured, that he has had a leg amputated, and is doing very well.

Surgeons Gordon and Whitwell are prisoners on parole at Columbus. Belmont is abandoned. The rebels have taken about 150 prisoners.

The following correspondence and report explain themselves.

CAIRO, Nov. 8, 1861.

General Commanding Columbus, Ky.:
SIR — In the skirmish of yesterday, in which both parties behaved with so much gallantry, many unfortunate men were left on the field of battle whom it was impossible to provide for.

I now send, in the interest of humanity, to have these unfortunate men collected and medical attendance secured them.

Colonel Webster, Chief of Engineers, District of Southeast Missouri, goes bearer of this, and will express to you my views upon the course that should be pursued under circumstances such as those of yesterday.

I am Sir. respectfully,
U. S. GRANT, Brig. Gen. Commanding.

COLUMBUS, KY., Nov. 8, 1861.

Brig. Gen. U. S. Grant, U. S. A.:

I have just received your note in regard to your wounded and killed left on the battle-field after yesterday's engagement. The lateness of the hour at which my troops returned to the principal scene of the action prevented my bestowing the care upon your prisoners which I desired.

Such attentions as were practicable were shown to them, and measures were taken at an early hour this morning to have them brought into my hospitals. Provision was also made for taking care of your dead. — The permission you desire, under your flag of truce, to aid in attention to your [unknown lines] of an exchange of prisoners, though you send me a private message as to your willingness to release certain wounded men and some invalids taken from our list in camps, and expect in return a corresponding number of your wounded prisoners — My own feelings would prompt me to waive again the unimportant affectation of recognizing these States as belligerents, in the interests of humanity, but my government requires all prisoners to be placed at the disposal of the Secretary of War. I have dispatched to him to know if the case of the seventy wounded held by me would form an exception.

I have the honor to be your obed't serv't
L. POLK, Maj. Gen. C. S. A.