War of the Rebellion: Serial 003 Page 0341 Chapter X. ENGAGEMENT AT BELMONT, MO., ETC.

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fence across this portion of the corn field, with this bank of what had been a ravine behind them, and in about 30 or 40 yards of the fence. Behind the fence a few paces was the forest, so that the enemy in approaching were concealed by the timber, while my men were in plain, open view in a corn field, having no protection whatever. As one of my men expressed it to me soon after the battle, he felt like he was fighting a duel with his enemy behind a tree and he in the open field. Immediately in my rear was a fence on a similar rise in the ground to the one in the field; behind this fence was a ravine, in which my men, and in fact two regiments, might have stood, have been protected by the fence and the ridge on which it was placed; could have been concealed here until the enemy had come into the field in front, when we could have swept the entire field with our bullets. The enemy would have been for near 150 yards, perhaps farther, while we would have been comparatively defended. Colonels Bell's and Tappan's regiments, being placed on my right, concealed in the same ravine, could have been used to flank the enemy on his left, while Colonel Wright, on the extreme have been placed. His regiment might have been moved round the edge of the woods so as to flank the enemy's right, while our artillery would have had full play on his center as he approached my regiment and Colonel Pickett's in the center of our line, and that while the enemy would have been compelled to march through the open field for several hundred yards. Had the position above indicated been ours after we reached the point where our line was formed, I think we could have conquered in one hour at most with but loss.

However, I think a still better position might have been taken much nearer the river, which would have given us more time to have arranged our plan for the battle, as the enemy would have been longer in reaching us. Some 300 yards from where we landed is a ravine, or what is called a slough, the bank or rising ground of which would have given ample protection to a line of infantry. This ravine is the same, I believe, that runs down back of the fence, except it is deeper, I think, in the field at the point I mention. Between this fence and the river a large amount of timber and had been cut down,forming an abatis, on which our right might have rested and have been perfectly protected from the advance of the enemy if he had attempted to have outflanked us.

Our infantry could have been placed in this ravine, protected by its banks, until our line reached the timber. It might have been extended into the timber, in order to have had our extreme left protected. Our artillery, placed about the center of the field and of our line, could have played on the enemy at point-blank range as he approached, and that while he was entirely exposed in the open field, and have been supported and protected by the infantry concealed in the ravine only a few paces behind it, that could have swept the field clean of the enemy with musketry, and hardly have been exposed at all. He would have thus been exposed in the open field while we were protected. On the contrary, the enemy in the battle came up under cover of the woods, while we were, except on our extreme right, in an open field, within point-blank range of the woods. I should say we ought to have been placed far enough back in the field to have compelled him to come out of the timber in the open field before he was in full range; that is, provided we were to be placed in the open field with woods all around it, except a narrow slip of the field that runs back to the river bank.

Another objection to the plan of battle is that the field artillery we