pursuance of directions, from this place and Cape Girardeau, in pursuit of Jeff. Thompson. This information determined me to attack vigorously his forces at Belmont, knowing that should we be repulsed, we would re-embark without difficulty under the protection of the gun-boats. The following order was given:
ON BOARD STEAMER BELLE MEMPHIS, November 7, 1861-2 o'clock a.m.
The troops composing the present expedition from this place will move promptly at 6 o'clock this morning. The gunboats will take the advance, and be followed by the First Brigade, under command of Brigadier General John A. McClernand, composed of all the troops from Cairo and Fort Holt. The Second Brigade, comprising the remainder of the troops of the expedition, commanded by Colonel Henry Dougherty, will follow. The entire force will debark at the lowest point on the Missouri shore where a landing can be effected in security from the rebel batteries. The point of debarkation will be designated by Captain Walke, commanding naval forces.
By order of Brigadier of Brigadier General U. S. Grant:
JOHN A. RAWLINS,
Promptly at the hour designated we proceeded down the river to a point just out of range of the rebel batteries at Columbus, and debarked on the Missouri shore. From here the troops were marched, with skirmishers well in advance, by flank for about a mile towards Belmont, and there formed in line of battle. One battalion had been left as a reserve near the transports. Two companies from each regiment were thrown forward as skirmishers, to ascertain the position of the enemy, and about 9 o'clock met and engaged him. The balance of my force, with the exception of the reserve, was promptly thrown forward, and drove the enemy foot by foot, and from tree to tree, back to his encampment on the river bank, a distance of over 2 miles. Here he had strengthened his position by felling the timber for several hundred yards around his camp, making a sort of abatis. Our men charged through this, driving the enemy under cover of the bank, and many of them into their transports, in quick time, leaving us in possession of everything not exceedingly portable.
Belmont is situated on low ground, and every foot 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 his troops. Having no wagons with me, I could move but little of the captured property, consequently gave orders for the destruction of everything that could not be moved and an immediate return to our transports. Tents, blankets, &c., were set on fire and destroyed, and our return march commenced, taking his artillery and a large number of captured horses and prisoners with us. Three pieces of artillery being drawn by hand, and one by an inefficient team, were spiked and left on the road; two were brought to this place.
We had but fairly got under way when the enemy, having received re-enforcements, rallied under cover of the river bank and the woods on the point of land in the bend of the river above us, and made his appearance between us and our transports, evidently with a design of cutting off our return to them.
Our troops were not in the least discouraged, but charged the enemy and again defeated him. We then, with the exception of the Twenty-seventh Illinois, Colonel N. B. Buford commanding, reached our transports and embarked without further molestation. While waiting for the arrival of this regiment, and to get some of our wounded from a field hospital near by, the enemy, having crossed fresh troops from Columbus, again made his appearance on the river bank, and commenced