War of the Rebellion: Serial 003 Page 0343 Chapter X. ENGAGEMENT AT BELMONT, MO., ETC.

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2nd. Were your ordered to make more than one charge?

3rd. Did you get out of ammunition during the battle? If so, were you informed there was ammunition on the river bank at your disposal, and by whom?

4th. If you were short of ammunition at any time, was it after you had been ordered to charge or before?

5th. What is your opinion of the judiciousness of the position selected for the line of battle? If objectionable, why?

Your early reply to these inquiries will oblige, respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding.

Numbers 25. Report of Brigadier General B. F. Cheatham, C. S. Army, comdg. Second Division.

HEADQUARTERS, Camp Moore, November 8, 1861.

SIR: In obedience to the order of Major-General Polk I herewith transmit a report of the operations of the forces under my command in the engagement opposite Columbus on the 7th instant.

I remained with Major-General Polk near the battery on the hill until the hour of 10 a.m. when, under his orders, I rejoined my own division, having previously placed it in position, and awaited orders from him. At about the hour of 12.30 p.m. I received orders from Major-General Polk to bring forward to the river one of my brigades, and immediately advanced to that position the First Brigade, Colonel Preston Smith commanding, composed of the One hundred and fifty-fourth Senior Regiment Tennessee Volunteers, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Marcus J. Wright, and the regiment of Mississippi Volunteers, commanded by Colonel A. K. Blythe, leaving the Second Brigade of my division, composed of the Sixth and Ninth Regiments Tennessee Volunteers, Colonel William H. Stephens commanding, in possession of the right of our lines, which position was occupied by this brigade during the entire day.

On my arrival at the river bank fronting the town my command was drawn up preparatory to crossing to the opposite shore. Just at this time the enemy obtained possession of the field and camp, but recently occupied by the Thirteenth Arkansas Regiment and Captain Beltzhoover's light battery, and drove our troops under the river bank and up the stream to a point opposite the position occupied by the troops under my command and brought forward their batteries close up to the river bank, and opened a brisk cannonade upon my troops and the steamers detailed to transport the command across the river. Seeing the impracticability of throwing the troops across the river at this time, resulting from the confusion of the transports under fire, their embarkation was suspended for a short time and under the orders of Major-General Polk I proceeded with my staff aboard the steamboat Prince, to cross over and rally the large body of troops then on the opposite side of the river, and attack the enemy in the flank. Just as I was in the act of going aboard the steamer, not willing to lose the service of either one of my staff, I dispatched Lieutenant-Colonel Ashford, late of the Second Regiment Tennessee Volunteers, to inform Major-General Polk that I had placed the battery of Captain Melancthon Smith, of the Second Brigade of my division, in the rear of the town near the hospital,