War of the Rebellion: Serial 003 Page 0289 Chapter X. ENGAGEMENT AT BELMONT, MO., ETC.

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informed by the whole company. When Winters was wounded the flag was torn off by a man in Colonel Buford's regiment and retained, while the party who claimed to have done so, and have retained the flag, were at all times protected in every movement by the advance of my cavalry company, who were detached from my command, and had led Colonel Buford through the woods to the battle-field. I must here mention that Captain Rees' company [A], of the Thirty-first Regiment, while detached as skirmishers, went through to the camp of the enemy in front of one of the guns of the enemy, and took and spiked the gun, suffering very much in doing so, having some 12 men badly wounded and 1 killed.

After we had taken the camp and burned it with the valuables, the enemy carried above us a very large force, and was attempting to surround us. I asked some of the battery men with us to bring up a gun and fire on them, as they were firing in the field in the rear of us. They did not do so at once. General McClernand ordered me to detail a company to run the battery on the elevation. I did so detail Captain McCook's company. They ran up a gun, and it was fired twice. A portion of my regiment then opened a fire on them, and they retreated. I being the extreme left all day, I supposed that the command of the regiment on the right would naturally take the position on the right again, though I observed at the time a deployment in the woods on the left down the river and out straight from the camp. I got my men in line poorly, but as best I could, to make a stand. At that time General McClernand, who was by my side, seeing the enemy reforming in the woods between us and our boats, ordered me to take my regiment and out their way through them. I must confess that I thought it a pretty hard task, though I felt complimented in getting the job, inasmuch as I was outranked by every colonel on the field. I took my flag, and told Captain McCook to carry it to the head of the column, and die with it in his hands. I gave the order then for the Thirty-first Regiment, and as many more of others as desired, to follow the flag and myself. They did it with a steady and firm step. As we advanced I ordered Lieutenant Pulley, who was acting adjutant on the field, to go to the head of the column and lead, which he did. The enemy gave way before us without firing gun until we approached the field, some mile up the river. Then they fired on us. We halted, and returned the fire. The enemy retreated, and I saw them no more until we approached the field, some mile up the river. Then they fired on us. We halted, and returned the fire. The enemy retreated, and I saw them no more until they showed themselves in the field after we had gone aboard of the steamboat Aleek Scott. They then fired a few rounds, but the gunboats soon cleared the coast. My command brought away -prisoners, who have been placed at the disposal of the general in command. Many of the guns of my command choked and burst while in battle, though the boys soon had better ones in their hands. Many of my command lost their blankets and overcoats on the field by pulling them off and throwing them down to give them fair play in the use of their fire-arms. Some few horses were captured, and many things of small value-papers, books, &c.*

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Commanding Thirty-first Regiment Illinois Volunteers.

Brigadier General JOHN A. McCLERNAND.


*For list of casualties, see inclosure to report No. 2,p.275.