Numbers 18. Report of Colonel R. M. Russell, Twelfth Tennessee Infantry.
COLUMBUS, KY., February 23, 1862.
SIR: Your note requesting an answer to certain question in regard to the battle of Belmont has just been received. I subjoin your questions and my answers to them:
Question 1. Did your regiment get out of ammunition on the day of the battle of Belmont? If so, were you not informed by General Pillow, when you apprised him it was running short, that there was ammunition on the river bank at your disposal; and did not your messenger, or the messenger of Lieutenant-Colonel Bell, then in command, on going to the place indicated, find boxes of ammunition of various kinds, as stated?
Answer. My regiment did get out of ammunition and I ordered a detail of men to proceed to the bank of the river, where they found ammunition. They carried some boxes to the regiment, but found the cartridges to be too large. They then went bank to the river bank and got others and distributed a part of them, but did not get through before the regiment fell back.
Question 2. Did you receive orders for your regiment to charge the enemy with the bayonet during the battle? Was this order given and the charge made before your messenger went after the ammunition or afterwards?
Answer. I did receive orders for my regiment to charge with the bayonet. The order was given and the charge made while the messenger was one after the ammunition.
Question -. Was the charge made because your ammunition being gone, you had nothing to rely upon but the bayonet?
Answer. I do not know what influenced the commanding officer to order the charge.
Question 3. When you charged, did your regiment reach the position of the enemy and drive him back or did it stop short of his position? If so, how far short?
Answer. My belief is that it did not reach the position of the enemy by the distance of from 50 to 75 yards.
Question 4. Did you make more than one charge during the day?
Answer. My regiment charged the enemy once in the forenoon in the woods and once in the afternoon in the open field.
Being assured that the above questions have been asked only for the purpose of getting at the true history of the battle of Belmont, I have consented to answer them, and have done so frankly and, as I believe, truthfully,
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. M. RUSSELL,
Colonel Twelfth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers.
Major General L. POLK.
Numbers 19. Report of Colonel T. H. Bell, Twelfth Tennessee Infantry.
HEADQUARTERS TWELFTH TENNESSEE REGIMENT,
Near Tupelo, Miss., July 18, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Twelfth Tennessee Regiment in the battle of Belmont, on the 7th of November, 1861.