examined and found the batteries in the fort in a proper condition, I proceeded up the river to examine the dispositions of General McCown, who was charged with the defense of the left flank. These I found to be satisfactory. He had already advanced a battery of long-range guns, under the command of Captain R. A. Stewart, of the Louisiana Pointe Coupee Battery, to a position from whence he could reach with ease the enemy's gunboats.
From this point and that occupied by the heavy siege battery, under command of Captain Hamilton, as also from several of the guns of the fort, he opened a heavy fire, which was duly responded to by the enemy. After half an hour's engagement the boats were driven up the river. At a subsequent period they again dropped down and renewed the conflict, throwing shot and shell into the works. This was continued for an hour, when they were again forced to retire.
Ascertaining that the remaining portion of General Pillow's division, as well as that of General Cheatham, was in proper position, I returned to the river bank opposite to Belmont. At 10.20 o'clock the firing of the enemy's advanced guard upon our pickets was heard, and in about forty minutes afterwards the engagement became general with all arms.
Taking my position on the river bank midway between the two points of expected attack, I dispatched one of my aides to the Missouri shore to inform General Pillow of my position and readiness to afford him such support as he might require. In reply he requested me to send him additional ammunition, a regiment of infantry, and a section of artillery, to be held as a reserve. The ammunition and Colonel Knox Walker's regiment were sent him immediately, and instead of a section of artillery, and instead of a section of artillery I dispatched him two field batteries, those of Capts. W. H. Jackson and Polk. Such a force of field artillery had become necessary from the fact that Captain Beltzhoover's battery, from want of ammunition, had ceased firing, and the enemy had opened fire with a heavy battery, of the presence of which upon the field I had until then not been apprised. The steamer transporting these batteries, in her attempt to land them on the Missouri shore, by some means lost her stage planks, and the landing at that moment became impossible. She was forced to return to the Kentucky shore. Captain Polk's battery was landed at a later hour, but too late to render service in the operations of the day.
By this time it was obvious that further re-enforcements had become necessary, and Colonel Carroll's Fifteenth Tennessee and Colonel Marks' Eleventh Louisiana Regiment, which had been ordered to the river bank and were held as a reserve, were ordered forward. I directed Colonel Marks to land his regiment higher up the river, with a view to a flank movement which he was ordered to make. Shortly after his landing he was met by General Pillow, who directed him, with his regiment and that of Colonel Carroll, to move rapidly on the enemy's flank. General Pillow directed Colonel Russell with his brigade, to support that movement, and himself accompanied this command during the execution of the movements under Colonel Marks. Captain Jackson, who had reported to General Pillow that he could not get his battery ashore, was attached to his staff, and directed to lead this column. In aiding Lieutenant Colonel Barrow, who was in immediate command of the Eleventh Louisiana, to bring a portion of the column into line, he fell severely wounded.
Apprehending every moment an attack in my rear on Columbus, which subsequent information proves to have been the enemy's plan, it was with great reluctance I lessened the force assigned to its defense. Nevertheless, it was obvious, from the yielding of our columns to the