firing upon our transports. The fire was returned by our men from the decks of the steamers, and also by the gunboats with terrible effect, compelling him to retire in the direction of Belmont. In the mean time Colonel Buford, although he had received orders to return with the main force, took the Charleston road from Belmont, and came in on the road leading to Bird's Point, where we had formed the line of battle in the morning. At this point, to avoid the effect of the shells from the gunboats that were beginning to fall among his men, he took a blind path direct to the river, and followed a wood road up its bank, and thereby avoided meeting the enemy, who were retiring by the main road. On his appearance on the river bank a steamer was dropped down, and took his command on board, without his having participated or lost a man in the enemy's attempt to cut us off from our transports.
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 one of the boats.
Our loss in killed on the field was 85, 301 wounded [many of them, however, slightly], and 99 missing. Of the wounded, 125 fell into the hands of the enemy. Nearly all the missing were from the Seventh Iowa Regiment, which suffered more severely than any other. All the troops behaved with great gallantry, which was in a great degree attributable to the coolness and presence of mind of their officers, particularly the colonels commanding.
General McClernand was in the midst of danger throughout the engagement, and displayed both coolness and judgment. His horse was three times shot under him.
Colonel Dougherty, Twenty-second Illinois Volunteers, commanding the Second Brigade, by his coolness and bravery entitles himself to be named among the most competent of officers for command of troops in battle. In our second engagement he was three times wounded, and fell a prisoner in the hands of the enemy.
Among the killed was Lieutenant Colonel A. Wentz, Seventh Iowa Volunteers, and among the wounded were Colonel J. G. Lauman and Major E. W. Rice, of the Seventh Iowa.
The reports of subcommanders will detail more fully particulars of the engagement, and the conduct of both officers and men.
To my staff, Captain John A. Rawlins, assistant adjutant-general; Lieuts. C. B. Lagow and William S. Hillyer, aides-de-camp, and Captain R. B. Hatch, assistant quartermaster, I am much indebted for the promptitude with which they discharged their several duties.
Surg. J. H. Brinton, U. S. Volunteers, chief medical officer, was on the field during the entire engagement, and displayed great ability and efficiency in providing for the wounded, and in organizing the medical corps.
Major J. D. Webster, acting chief engineer, also accompanied me on the field, and displayed soldierly qualities of a high order.
My own horse was shot under me during the engagement.
The gunboats Tyler, Captain Walke, and Lexington, Captain Stembel, convoyed the expedition, and rendered most efficient service. Immediately upon our landing they engaged the enemy's batteries on the heights above Columbus, and protected our transports throughout. For a detailed account of the part taken by them I refer with pleasure to the accompanying report of Captain H. Walke, senior officer [No. 3.]
In pursuance of my request, General Smith, commanding at Paducah, sent on the 7th instant a force to Mayfield, Ky., and another in the direction of Columbus, with orders not to approach nearer, however,