7 last at about a quarter to 9 o'clock. We had been in position at least half an hour when Brigadier-General Pillow came up and took command, changing my line and placing Colonel Russell's regiment on my right and the regiments of Colonel Freeman, Colonel Pickett, and Colonel Wright on my left. We were in line after this last information one hour or more before the general engagement commenced. We had been engaged fully three-quarters of an hour when an order to charge was given. As the enemy was not visible to my regiment up to this time, being posted in the woods and distant some 150 or 200 yards, I thought that there was evidently a mistake as to the order, but on seeing Colonel Russell's regiment preparing to move, I ordered my regiment to charge. The whole line charged up some 70 yards, when, after a few rounds, we fell back by order to our original position. This was the only charge made by my regiment while under command of Brigadier-General Pillow, and it was the only charge made by the troops formed in the general line of battle. I am satisfied that the enemy were at least 75 yards distant from us when we halted in the charge, while to have advanced farther in the charge, we would have been in danger from our battery on our left and of being flanked by the enemy, who were in force on our right. We maintained our original position some half an hour after falling back, exposed to a most galling fire from the enemy, who advanced upon us as we fell back. My regiment did not get out of ammunition at any time during the day.
Being in command of the post at Belmont, I disposed of the forces I had charge of in such way as to guard the only two roads by which the enemy could approach my camp. Two guns of the Watson Battery were placed so as to cover the road that led round towards the river and extended up to my camp. The balance of the guns (four in number) were stationed so as to guard the road that led directly across from the point at which the enemy landed, my regiment having been placed on the right of said guns so as to command the road and at the same time to protect the battery. My line was formed in front of a field in the woods, which would have protected it if it had been extended either on the right or left.
When Brigadier-general Pillow took command he removed the two guns from the lower road and placed them with the other guns. I would here state that it was in direction of said road that a regiment of the enemy came into the rear of our troops and took possession of my camp. General Pillow also moved my regiment back some 40 yards, so that my left extended up to the side of the field, placing Colonel Russell on my right in the woods, and Colonels Freeman, Pickett, and Wright on my left in the open field. I placed one of my companies with the two guns mentioned herein, and two of my companies with the four guns herein referred to, which companies were sent back to my regiment on Brigadier-General Pillow taking command.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. C. TAPPAN,
Colonel Thirteenth Regiment Arkansas Volunteers.
Major General L. POLK,