expended several rounds of shell with seemingly good effect, but their balls from the rifled cannon flew by and over us to a great extent, some of the shot going half a mile beyond the transports. Fortunately, however, they did us no damage, and we returned to the transports, where they kept firing at us for a considerable length of time. I finally requested the captains of the transports to move above and out of the range of their guns, which subsequently they did, we ourselves doing likewise.
At 10 o'clock, hearing the battle at Belmont, our two boats again proceeded down to engage their batteries, this time expending more shell and receiving no injury. After an engagement of about twenty minutes, in the mean time the shots flying thickly about us, we again returned to the transports, continuing our fire as long as our shells reached them.
At noon, hearing the continued firing at Belmont, the two gunboats made their third attack upon the enemy's batteries, this time going nearly a quarter of a mile nearer. We opened a brisk fire of shell, directing many of them to the enemy's camp at Belmont, their rifled balls still passing beyond and around us, but one of their 24-pounders struck us on the starboard bulwarks, continuing obliquely through the spar deck, and in its course taking off the head of one man and injuring two others, one quite seriously.
After firing a few more rounds we returned, keeping up our fire from the stern guns till out of reach. It is truly miraculous that we have in all our engagements escaped with so little damage. After nearly all the troops had re-embarked and were about ready to start, a sudden attack was made upon the transport vessels by an apparently large re-enforcement of the rebels. Our boats being in good position, we opened fire with our grape, canister, and 5-second shells, and completely routed them-we learn with great slaughter. After silencing the enemy, we continued our fire with the broadside guns, throwing shell on the banks ahead with the bow gun to protect the transports, and throwing shell from the stern gun upon the enemy's ground so long as we were in reach.
After passing a few miles up the river we met the Chancellor, with Brigadier-General McClernand on board, who stated that some of their troops had been left behind, and by his direction both gunboats returned some distance, picking up between us all there were to be seen, together with a large number of prisoners, some wounded and sick. Every attention was paid to alleviate the sufferings of the wounded, Acting Surgeons Kearney and Goddard dressing their wounds, and the crew of the ships furnishing them with their own hammocks and bedding. We then returned to Island No. 1; met the Rob Roy, with instructions from you; turned over to her all our soldiers and prisoners, and remained there till an hour after Colonel Cook's return from a reconnaissance down the Kentucky side. We then weighed anchor and proceeded to Cairo. Commander Stembel, with the Lexington as consort, supported me in all the duties of the day with most commendable energy and in a most effective manner.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Commander, U. S. Navy.
Brigadier General U. S. GRANT,
Commanding District Southeast Missouri.