HDQRS. DIST. S. E. MISSOURI, Cairo, Ill., October 25, 1861.
Colonel ROSS, Commanding Seventeenth Illinois Volunteers:
I am instructed by General Grant to inform you that he has heard with great satisfaction an unofficial, but, as he believes, a reliable report of the recent battle near Fredericktown, and he deemed it a pleasant duty to say to you that he congratulates you upon the enemy. Not within to make any invidious distinction where all of his forces seem to have done so nobly, he cannot but acknowledge that the post of danger and of honor allotted to your regiment as leading the van in the contest was valiantly sustained. You will communicant to your regiment as leading the van in the contest was valiantly sustained.
You will communicate to your commend the high appreciation of their services entertained by their commanding general, and say to them for him that they have earned, as they deserve, the sincerest thanks of their countrymen.
WM. S. HILLYER,
Captain and Aide-de-Camp.
No. 7. Report of Colonel C. C. March, Twentieth Illinois Infantry, of engagement at Fredericktown, with complimentary letter from General Grant.
HDQRS. TWENTIETH REG'T ILLINOIS VOLS.,
Camp Girardeau, Mo., October 26, 1861.
SIR: In accordance with your request, I have the honor to submit my official report of the action of the 21st instant. On Monday, the town, where a halt was ordered. After resting about an hour and a half I was ordered with the rest of the brigade to march toward Greenville, and took my place in line in rear of the Seventeenth Illinois, being third in position, Captain Stewart's squadron of cavalry leading the march. The march had continued scarcely a mile when the column was halted, and information passed along the line that the enemy were in position directly in front. A moment afterwards Colonel Plummer, commanding the brigade, came up, ordered forward Taylor's section of artillery, and ordered me to take position on the extreme right. While moving to my place the battle was commenced by our battery, which opened on the enemy, and was immediately replied to.
I had but just formed in line of battle when I was ordered to move to the left and support the Seventeenth Illinois and Eleventh Missouri, who were already engaged with the enemy, concealed in a corn field on the left. Assuming the position ordered, I ordered the third division of my regiment to act as a reserve, and deploying the remainder as skirmishers, advanced and engaged the enemy. Shortly after I came into action the infantry of Colonel Lowe commenced retreating from the corn field and the shelter of the fences, which had concealed them. They thus exposed themselves to a raking fire from my left wing, which was poured in with terrible effect. At this point I sent 4 prisoners and 6 or the enemy's wounded to the rear. While in line of battle and in deploying as skirmishers we were exposed to the enemy's batteries, which kept up a constant discharge of grape and round shot, which flew thickly around, but owing to the poor manner in which they handled their guns, we fortunately escaped uninjured. Two grape shot passed through the colors, as did several rifle balls. Shortly after the retreat of Colonel Lowe the firing ceased from the enemy's batteries,