War of the Rebellion: Serial 003 Page 0303 Chapter X. ENGAGEMENT AT BELMONT, MO., ETC.

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Melvin to our left, and took the shortest road leading to Columbus, and at 7 o'clock p.m. arrived at the town of Milburn, after a fatiguing march of 24 miles. I immediately dispatched three messengers to the Mississippi River, with a request to the officer in command of the Federal forces to fire a signal-gun, which if done, I was determined to march that night on Columbus. At half past 4 o'clock on the morning of the 8th the messenger returned, and informed me that all of the gunboats and all of the Federal forces had returned to Cairo. At daylight I ordered my command to return to Paducah.

I also sent a messenger to the officer in command of a detachment from the Second Brigade to join me on the night of the 7th, but did not effect a junction until the next day. I found the country all quiet-no appearance of any rebel forces-but the Union people were glad to see us. One private of the Twelfth Illinois Regiment was accidentally wounded by the discharge of a musket. My command, being composed almost entirely of volunteers who were on their first march, became foot-sore, and by that means protracted the time of return. My great regret is that I was unable to assist General Grant in his attack on Columbus.

Respectfully submitted.


Brigadier General, Commanding First Brigade, Paducah, Ky.

[Inclosure H.]



Paducah, Ky., November 11, 1861.

Reports of the most painful character have reached the commanding general from different sources in regard to the conduct of a portion of the troops recently marched to Milburn, under command of Brigadier General E. A. Paine. The imputations are of the most discreditable, most disgraceful character to them as soldiers or citizens-that in returning, several regiments (the Ninth and Twelfth Illinois excepted) straggled home in parties without the semblance of military array-a mere armed mob; and that the property of citizens was wantonly destroyed, and in some instances robbery by violence committed. Such conduct implies a want of discipline that he can scarcely credit, and he calls upon the brigade and other commanders to use their utmost endeavors to remedy such a state of things. That unmerited censure may not attach to any one, the commanding general intends to ask for a legal investigation into the conduct of all concerned.

This order will be read at the head of every company in the camp.

By order of Brigadier General C. F. Smith:


Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Inclosure I.]


Paducah, Ky., November 11, 1861.

Brigadier General E. A PAINE,

Commanding First Brigade, Paducah, Ky.,:

SIR: In acknowledging the receipt of the report of your recent expedition to Milburn, dated on the 9th instant, I am directed by Brigadier General C. F. Smith to express his surprise and disapprobation at your departure from his precise and distinct orders, without, as it appears to