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NEWS OF 150 YEARS AGO
From The Missouri Democrat, Monday, November 11, 1861.
The Battle of Belmont.
Gallantry of our Troops.
Rebels Reinforced from Columbus.
FEDERAL RETREAT TO GUNBOATS.
LOSS HEAVY ON BOTH SIDES.
[Special Correspondence of the Missouri Democrat.]
CAIRO, Nov. 8, 1861.
The gloom which saddened all our hearts at the news of our defeat at Columbus last night, is somewhat dispelled by the light of this beautiful morning. Although there is no disguising the fact that we were defeated, and badly too, the result is not as bad as at first reported.
Belmont is a secession camp with a few dwellings, on the Missouri side of the Mississippi river.
The gunboats advanced and opened fire on the batteries near Columbus, diverting the attention of the rebels, while our fleet landed the soldiers above. Our troops made a short march, met the enemy, drove them back on Belmont, captured it, and burnt the tents.
The rebel loss was severe and the ground was literally covered with rifles, revolvers, etc., which our soldiers, finding them superior to their own, appropriated.
Gen. McClernand and Gen. Grant had each a horse shot under them. Gen. McClernand was not wounded, as reported.Had we retreated when we had captured Belmont, we should have gained a splendid victory; but being so elated with success, we got a little careless, and before we were aware of it, reinforcements were sent over from Columbus in overwhelming numbers, which flanked our little army, and it was obliged to retreat to the boats as fast as possible, under a terrible fire from the enemy. It was here that the gunboats did such admirable execution, in covering the retreat of our fleet. The havoc made at this juncture by the gunboats among the rebels was terrible.
INCIDENTS OF THE BATTLE.
Gen. McClernand and Gen. Grant had each a horse shot under them. Gen. McClernand was not wounded, as reported.
OBJECT OF THE EXPEDITION.
The object of the expedition ws not to take Columbus but to break up the secession camp at Belmont, which was done most effectually, and against great odds.
The retreat was not in confusion and disorder, but was steady and well ordered, the troops contesting every inch of ground until they were on board of the boats. The Iowa Seventh, being in the rear, suffered severely in the retreat.
The rebel cavalry pursued us along the banks of the river, doing us great damage, until within reach of our gunboats, which scattered them like chaff with grape and canister.
THE KILLED, WOUNDED AND MISSING.
The boats brought in last night about 100 wounded, who received every care and attention. So far, there seems to be 250 missing, killed and wounded. When the Belle Memphis (which went down with a flag of truce this A. M.) returns, we shall know about the number killed, wounded, prisoners and missing.
The rebels have better guns than we, but not as well served; they shoot over, invariably. They have better arms than we have, and are well disciplined, and they will fight.
LATER NEWS-11 O’CLOCK.
The flag of truce had just returned. We have buried eighty-five of our men on the battle-field, and brought back thirteen wounded and three dead bodies.
Gen. Pillow was not killed. His son was dangerously wounded.
Major McClurkin, of the Thirtieth Illinois, is mortally wounded.
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