No. 4. Reports of Brigadier General John A. McClernand, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade.
CAIRO, November 8, 1861.
The expedition of which I advised you on the 6th landed yesterday morning 5 miles this side of Columbus, my command consisting of Twenty-seventh, Colonel Buford; Thirtieth, Colonel Fouke; Thirty-first, Colonel Logan; Captain Dollins' company of cavalry, and Captain Taylor's battery of six pieces, all Illinois volunteers; the Twenty-second Illinois and Seventh Iowa, and Captain Delano's company of cavalry, under Colonel Dougherty. Within 2 miles from Belmont, opposite Columbus, the enemy met us in superior force. We beat them, fighting all the way into their camp immediately under the guns at Columbus; burned their encampment, took 200 prisoners, a large amount of property, spiked two or three guns, and brought away two. During the action several thousand men were thrown across from Columbus. They formed a heavy column in our rear. We fought the same ground over, and after defeating them returned to our boats. Colonel Buford's regiment and Dollins' cavalry, becoming separated from the main body, made a circuit and came to the river above the landing after the boats had left. I returned with transport boats and gunboats, and brought them late at night. General Grant was in chief command. The battle was a terrible one, lasting several hours, and the loss on both sides heavy-probably 300 killed, wounded, and prisoners on our part. The enemy much greater. Many officers are lost. Captain Bielaski, of my staff, killed; Colonel Dougherty missing; Colonel Lauman wounded. Our force was about 3,500 strong-the enemy double that number. Prisoners say it was more. A flag of truce goes down to-day to provide for the dead and wounded. I will report at large by mail.
JOHN A. McCLERNAND,
BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS, Camp Cairo, November 12, 18611.
SIR: I have the honor to report the part taken by the forces under my command in the action before Columbus, Ky., on the 7th instant. These forces consisted of a portion of my own brigade, viz: the Twenty-seventh Regiment, Colonel N. B. Buford; the Thirtieth, Colonel Philip B. Fouke; the Thirty-first, Colonel John A. Logan, including one company of cavalry, under Captain J. J. Dollins; the strength of the Twenty-seventh being 720 rank and file; that of the Thirtieth, 500; that of the Thirty-first, 610, exclusive of 70 mounted men, making in all 1,900 rank and file. To this force you added, by your order of the 6th instant, Captain Delano's company of Adams County cavalry, 58 men, under Lieutenant J. K. Catlin, and Captain Ezra Taylor's battery of Chicago Light Artillery, consisting of four 6-pounder guns, two 12-pounder howitzers, and 114 men; the total disposable force under my command being 2,072 rank and file, all Illinois volunteers.
Having embarked on the steamer Scott with the Thirtieth and Thirty-first Regiments, on the evening of the 6th instant I left Cairo at 5 o'clock,