James E McGhee military Missouri History

The Neophyte General – US Grant and the Belmont Campaign – Civil War St Louis

The Neophyte General:

U. S. Grant and the Belmont Campaign

by James E. McGhee

Copyright 1973 James E. McGhee. Used with Permission.

That is copyrighted materials–the article, the footage, and the introduction–and is probably not copied or reproduced in any type, including on different websites, without permission of the authors.

James E. McGhee is a retired lawyer with an avid curiosity in the Missouri State Guard and Missouri Accomplice models. His newest guide is Missouri Confederates: A Information to Sources for Accomplice Troopers and Models, 1861-1865 (Independence, Mo.: Two Trails Publishing, 2001). McGhee’s titles can be found from Camp Pope Bookshop. The article under first appeared in the Missouri Historic Evaluate, Volume 67, Situation 4, July 1973.

In the spring of 1885 Ulysses S. Grant raced towards demise to finish his memoirs. Whereas affected by an agonizing throat most cancers that tremendously impaired his capability to talk, he spent long hours compiling reference notes and quietly assessing his life and accomplishments. The decided common gained this final battle, for he accomplished the reminiscences one week earlier than his demise.[1]

A mannequin of army writing, Grant’s Private Memoirs offered narratives of his experiences in two wars, together with a chapter that related the details of his preliminary Civil War command in the engagement at Belmont, Missouri. Surprisingly, Grant concluded the chapter by trying to justify his reasons for preventing the battle.[2] After the passage of just about 1 / 4 of a century, it was ironic that the conqueror of Vicksburg and Robert E. Lee nonetheless deemed it crucial to offer an rationalization of that first and somewhat minor campaign.

Comments of the press immediately after Belmont, coupled with the political embarrassment brought on by the engagement afterward, might have motivated Grant to pen a justification of the battle in his memoirs. Preliminary newspaper reactions, while combined, tended to be unfavorable. One distant New York editor wrote that the Belmont expedition had been a minimum of disastrous, while opinion in western papers diversified from doubts of the battle’s worth to an open pronouncement of defeat.[3] As well as, complaints sprang up from the ranks; one northern officer observed that if Belmont had been a terrific victory as so many claimed he hoped God would spare them defeat![4] Later, furthermore, Grant’s political opponents raised the subject of Belmont during the presidential campaign of 1868.[5] Little question such criticism lingered with Grant for a very long time.

Research means that the controversy that surrounded Grant’s actions in the Belmont marketing campaign might nicely have been justified, and fairly in all probability the battle should by no means have been fought. Definitely Grant’s said causes for getting into the engagement have been open to argument. Tactically the battle plan Grant adopted was extremely dangerous, and if his opponents had not blundered so badly his complete command might have been captured or destroyed. Finally, removed from carrying out any worthwhile aims, the campaign lacked strategic impact.

Grant’s first step toward the bloody subject of Belmont occurred on September 1, 1861, when he assumed command of the District of Southeast Missouri at Cape Girardeau. His area of duty encompassed most of Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois. Both regions seemed to be threatened by the new Confederacy and have been subsequently scenes of a substantial army build-up by the federal government. Grant appeared pleased with the task, writing later that his district ranked third in importance in the country.[6]

Shortly after taking command Grant moved his headquarters to Cairo, Illinois. In the view of Main General John C. Frémont, commander of the Department of the West and Grant’s quick superior, Cairo was the key to Union management of the Upper Mississippi Valley. Strategically located at the junction of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, Frémont thought-about Cairo a logical control point for area defense and offensive operations as properly.[7] Grant assessed the army state of affairs in his district lower than every week after he established his new command submit. He described an growing concentration of rebel forces in Kentucky and Missouri and forecasted an enemy attack in the near future.[8]

Grant’s prediction of an early enemy offensive proved groundless, but the Accomplice menace along his front was very real indeed. On September 3 regiments belonging to the command of Main General Leonidas Polk entered neutral Kentucky and occupied the necessary army level of Columbus on the Mississippi River.[9] Polk shortly fortified Columbus by emplacing numerous guns that commanded the river visitors. He additionally established an statement publish instantly opposite Columbus on the Missouri aspect of the river. The small encampment was situated in a marshy area near a ship touchdown at the obscure hamlet of Belmont.[10]

Another concern plagued Grant in addition to Polk’s actions, for lurking somewhere in the huge swamps of Southeast Missouri was a bothersome and elusive brigadier of the secessionist Missouri State Guard, M. Jeff Thompson. In recognition of his exploits in the backwaters the effervescent Thompson had earned the sobriquet “Swamp Fox of the Confederacy,” and his Missourians excelled in partisan techniques. While in all probability extra noisy than dangerous, Thompson’s troops had however been a supply of fear to the Federals since midsummer and had successfully evaded all attempts to attract them into battle.[11]

With Polk and Thompson threatening from the south, Grant devoted his efforts to organizing and coaching his lately enlisted volunteers. Along with the base at Cairo, the District of Southeast Missouri included garrisons at Paducah, Kentucky, Fowl’s Level, Cape Girardeau and Pilot Knob, Missouri, with a mixed troop power that approached seventeen thousand troopers of all arms.[12] Throughout the early fall months Grant insured that his males have been drilled and disciplined in preparation for the preventing that he knew must come.

While the necessity of educating infantry assault formations to raw Federal troops was time consuming, it didn’t mean that Grant ignored the enemy alongside the Mississippi. Much to the contrary, he desired to begin offensive operations, wanting very much to strike the Accomplice redoubt at Columbus. Actually, he petitioned department headquarters for permission to move towards Polk on a minimum of three events throughout September.[13] Later he reported that solely the lack of important gear prohibited him from driving Polk out of his defensive place.[14] Nothing got here of this speak, nevertheless, and relative quiet prevailed along his front. However in late October a distant marketing campaign in Southwest Missouri changed the state of affairs virtually overnight.

On September 27 General Frémont had moved a large military towards Springfield in an try and defeat a drive of rebels congregated underneath Main General Sterling Worth. Frémont was beneath extreme strain to destroy Worth, as a result of the latter had enormously embarrassed the Lincoln administration with dramatic victories at Wilson’s Creek and Lexington.[15] Late October discovered the Federals at Springfield expecting to satisfy the secessionists in battle. Frémont might have turn into concerned over potential reinforcements for Worth from Polk’s military at this level, for on November 1, Grant acquired orders to carry his command able to make demonstrations in the course of Columbus.[16]

Grant’s instructions referred to as for movements along each side of the Mississippi River. Points to be threatened have been designated as Charleston and Norfolk, Missouri, and Blandville, Kentucky. He was directed to keep his columns shifting back and forth towards these places without, nevertheless, attacking the enemy.[17] Grant started preparations for the expedition, but before he might put his troops in movement orders arrived that considerably expanded his assigned mission.

New orders appeared the next day over the signature of Frémont’s adjutant, Captain Chauncey McKeever. The captain informed Grant that the troublesome Jeff Thompson, along with three thousand rebels, had been situated at Indian Ford some twenty miles west of Bloomfield. A Federal detachment had began in pursuit of Thompson from Pilot Knob, and Grant was advised to complement that pressure with further troops from Cape Girardeau and Hen’s Level. These columns would then cooperate in driving Thompson out of Missouri into Arkansas.[18] Grant instantly set about implementing this newest plan.

To Colonel Richard Oglesby, commander at Chook’s Point, went directions to move models up the Mississippi by transports to Commerce. He would then march to Sikeston and from that point pursue Thompson in any course essential. Increasing the unique orders considerably, Grant informed Oglesby the function of the expedition was to destroy Thompson’s pressure. Pursuant to orders, Oglesby proceeded to Commerce on November three with roughly three thousand men. An analogous column departed Cape Girardeau three days later in a march toward Bloomfield. The expedition towards the Missourians drew heavily from Grant’s command, but he soon faced even larger calls for on his troop assets as once once more the state of affairs quickly modified.[19]

On Tuesday, November 5, Grant acquired an pressing telegram from headquarters indicating that Polk was reinforcing Worth’s army from Columbus. As a way to counter that move the message directed Grant to initiate the beforehand ordered demonstrations. The telegram intimated that like directions had been dispatched to General C. F. Smith, the Federal commander at Paducah, outlining an analogous operation on the Kentucky aspect of the river.[20] Heavily involved in the try and chastise Thompson, Grant now had the added duty of preventing reinforcements from leaving Columbus and shifting to Worth’s help. Failure in this threatened critical hassle for Frémont’s marketing campaign in the Missouri Ozark country.

Sadly, Federal headquarters relied on faulty stories. Jeff Thompson, supposedly in power at Indian Ford, truly occupied Bloomfield, the place he shortly discovered of the columns advancing to entrap his militiamen. Furthermore, Polk had no intention of reinforcing Worth or anybody else for that matter. In October Polk had refused Thompson’s request for troops in nearby Southeast Missouri and had been sustained in his determination by his superiors. Moreover, Worth did not solicit help until November 7, the day of the struggle at Belmont, when he wired the Confederate commander in the West, General Albert S. Johnson, and instructed cooperation in a march on St. Louis.[21] Federal intelligence on this instance, as so typically occurred to each side throughout the Civil War, seemingly trusted sources of doubtful reliability.

Grant, in fact, needed to act on info provided by his headquarters no matter its veracity. He subsequently boarded three thousand troops on transports and ready to maneuver down the Mississippi. In a communication to General Smith he outlined the combined operation in progress towards Thompson and described the expedition he was enterprise to “menace” Belmont. Grant steered that if Smith might make a demonstration towards Columbus, Polk would in all probability be unable to strengthen the Belmont garrison. And until the rebels there acquired help, Grant believed he might drive them out of Missouri.[22]

Because of the changed circumstances, Grant also sent new orders to Colonel Oglesby that instructed him to march his command in the path of New Madrid. When Oglesby reached a point on his line of march from which a street led to Columbus, he was to halt and talk with Grant at Belmont.[23] Entrusting supply of the somewhat complicated message to a small unit led by Colonel W. H. L. Wallace, and directing him to hitch Oglesby when the two have been near enough, Grant started his army south.[24]

On the night time of November 6 the Federal flotilla of four transports and two gunboats anchored 9 miles under Cairo. At 2:00 a.m. a courier arrived from Wallace. A “reliable Union man” reported Confederates crossing from Columbus to Belmont with the intention of slicing off the column underneath Oglesby. Such a motion appeared more likely to Grant, and he instantly decided to turn the demonstrations desired by headquarters into an attack on the insurgent camp at Belmont. Orders have been issued to proceed that morning at first mild.[25]

Grant’s convoy suffered a slight delay in getting underway, but by 8:30 a.m. Federal troops disembarked at Hunter’s Farm, a landing area two miles northwest of Belmont that lay out of effective range of the heavy guns at Columbus. Whereas officers tried to assemble troops in regimental organizations, Grant marched five corporations south of the farm on the street to Belmont and deployed them in a ravine. This detachment of 2 hundred fifty males constituted the transport guard and was the only reserve out there if the Federals occurred to be repulsed.[26] Grant then returned to the landing space where he prepared his command for fight. The Union brigades moved forward in column for a few mile and took positions on the fringe of a cornfield. Soon a skirmish line proceeded throughout a dry slough that paralleled the battle line to determine the enemy positions. Fast contact with the rebels resulted.[27]

Grant’s males encountered Confederate cavalry parts despatched ahead to reconnoiter the Federal advance. Polk had been suggested of the strategy of the convoy at 7:30 a.m. He might scarcely consider the motion towards Belmont might be something aside from a feint and thought the principal thrust can be directed towards the fort at Columbus. However, he reluctantly dispatched General Gideon Pillow across the river with 4 infantry regiments, and a further regiment followed shortly thereafter.[28]

Colonel James Tappan, commander of the Belmont submit, met Pillow on the riverbank. Previous to Pillow’s arrival he had placed the garrison of seven hundred men and out there pieces of artillery in place to protect the approaches to the small encampment.[29] Pillow, after a hasty inspection of Tappan’s troop tendencies, redeployed the battery and most of the infantry. At this level Pillow seemed to have the state of affairs nicely in hand, for his pressure equaled Grant’s in numbers, and he had the added advantage of selecting a defensive position.[30] As soon as Pillow completed his line of protection he ordered the cavalry to advance and find the enemy. The horsemen moved to the entrance and shortly engaged the Federal skirmishers.

Grant’s small military consisted of two brigades commanded by General John McClernand and Colonel Henry Dougherty, respectively. McClernand led the First Brigade, consisting of the Twenty-seventy, Thirtieth, and Thirty-first Illinois infantry regiments, two corporations of cavalry, and Battery B, First Illinois Artillery. Dougherty’s brigade, a lot inferior to McClernand’s in numbers and firepower, included two regiments of infantry, the Seventh Iowa and Twenty-second Illinois.[31] Grant shaped his troops with Dougherty’s brigade holding the left flank and McClernand’s chargeable for the proper. Battery B unlimbered behind the infantry in the cornfield.[32] Once the formation of his battle line was completed, Grant turned his consideration to the engagement along the slough.

A considerable firefight had developed in entrance of the Union place. Neither aspect demonstrated any reluctance to interact the enemy although this was the first time beneath hearth for Federal and Accomplice alike.[33] As the trade of small-arms hearth elevated in intensity, a heavy but largely ineffective cannonade from the Columbus batteries rained down on the Federal proper flank. McClernand, anxious to satisfy the enemy at shut quarter, ordered his brigade forward. The insurgent cavalry, unable to face up to the strain, retreated via the dense woods with the Union forces in cautious pursuit.[34]

Pillow’s chosen defensive position blocked only the important street leading from Hunter’s Farm to Belmont. Two infantry regiments have been deployed in a wooded area on the proper that offered satisfactory cowl. Inexplicably, the remaining three regiments of infantry and the battery have been situated in front of a slight rise in an open subject. Pillow’s tendencies might hardly have been worse. In truth one regimental commander complained to General Polk after the battle that a less favorable location for protection was unimaginable.[35]

Grant’s troops had probed by way of the woods, and when the rebel line got here into view the Federals immediately attacked. The Confederates, as a consequence of being positioned in an exposed position, discovered themselves confronted by an enemy protected by heavy timber some eighty yards distant. A thirty minute engagement happened at this point, the viciousness of which threw the Union forces into momentary dysfunction, while Grant had his horse shot from beneath him.[36]

The Federals quickly gained the initiative after repelling two offensive thrusts by the Confederates. Pillow, onerous pressed by an enemy that threatened to outflank his place, made a pricey determination, ordering a cost across the open terrain towards the Union infantry hid in the distant timber.[37] The rebels gallantly rushed forward but failed to succeed in the Federal line. Uncovered to a withering hearth, they retired and tried to regroup. Shortly thereafter an effort to turn the Federal left also failed. Grant’s army started passing around each Confederate flanks, causing Pillow to order a retreat to the river encampment.[38]

The submit of Belmont encompassed seven hundred acres of low, marshy floor surrounded by a flimsy abatis. Pillow’s men hurriedly retired to these crude fortifications and took up new defensive positions.[39] Meanwhile the Federals approached the camp in a formation resembling a widespread arc. Grant’s brigade commanders then closed the lengthy strains so as to threaten three sides of the outpost. After a short lived halt to realign regiments, the Union infantry rushed forward. The ensuing wrestle was brief however fierce with casualties heavy on each side. Battery B fired numerous barrages in the rebel ranks, inflicting Pillow’s soldiers to hunt shelter alongside the embankment bordering the river. Almost surrounded and badly demoralized, lots of the Confederates retreated up the riverbank in a desperate effort to flee capture.[40]

Grant’s troops swept into the almost deserted camp. A rebel battery, which had been abandoned, was shortly secured and various prisoners taken. Federal troopers shortly turned to gleefully rummaging by way of tents for souvenirs, whereas General McClernand, recently an Illinois congressman, led the troops in three cheers for the Union.[41] A regimental band struck up the national anthem and then gave its rendition of “Dixie.” Briefly, Grant’s victorious military became little more than an undisciplined mob. Furthermore, the troops ignored all pleas to stop looting until Grant finally ordered his officers to burn the camp’s tents in the hope of directing consideration to Confederate reinforcements crossing from Columbus.[42]

Polk hesitated in sending assistance to Pillow early in the battle. He was preoccupied with the menace posed towards Columbus by the troops from Paducah underneath Smith’s command. But as soon as Polk concluded that he needn’t worry their activities, he moved to reverse the catastrophe on the Missouri shore. Seeing that each one was misplaced until more troops have been put throughout the river, he dispatched two further regiments of infantry and ready two extra for deployment. The sight of the burning tents verified Federal occupation of Belmont, and Polk ordered the heavy artillery at Columbus to fireside into the camp.[43] The bursting shells did much to help Grant in gaining management over his near riotous soldiers as their elation shortly changed to panic.

Whereas Grant worked to convey group back into his ranks, somebody saw rebels touchdown above Belmont and spread the word of impending disaster. Various Grant’s officers informed him that the military was surrounded and urged surrender as the only honorable course of action. Rejecting such pleas, Grant finally succeeded in shifting his troops again in the course of their landing area at Hunter’s Farm. The retreat turned a operating battle as the rejuvenated Confederates counter-attacked.[44]

General Pillow had progressively restored order in his badly demoralized regiments following their initial rout. He took the newly arrived reinforcements, together with remnants of his unique command, and struck Grant’s retreating military on front and flank.[45] Alongside the street to Hunter’s Farm a collection of sharp, bloody encounters between teams of disorganized troops occurred. Casualties have been as soon as again heavy, especially among the straggling Federals.[46] Ultimately the Unionists reduce open an avenue of escape and hurried to their transports and relative safety.

Grant assessed his tactical state of affairs as the troopers rushed to board the waiting boats. He discovered that a lot had gone awry. The transport guard, so badly wanted at this level, had already retreated to the touchdown space.[47] Additionally, resulting from the precipitate withdrawal, all of the lifeless and lots of the wounded Federals remained on the area.[48] Another matter of concern was that a whole regiment, the Twenty-seventh Illinois, had grow to be separated from the command when the retreat commenced and nonetheless remained unaccounted for.[49] As Grant mulled over the day’s occasions the Confederates closed in on the transports.

Polk crossed the river at this juncture and personally directed the insurgent forces towards the rapidly embarking Federals. Between the boats and rebels a lone determine on horseback hurried towards the river. A gangplank was extended from one in every of the transports and the rider and his horse slid down the bank and crossed onto the boat. The final Union soldier to go away the area, Grant dismounted and went as much as the higher deck for one last take a look at the enemy. He watched as the Confederates rushed to the financial institution and commenced capturing into the convoy of troopships, solely to be pushed back by a hail of canister from the gunboats.[50]

En route to Cairo the Federals rested quietly. To the aid of everyone, the Twenty-seventh Illinois was observed some miles up the river and brought safely aboard. Grant famous that every of his men seen Belmont as an amazing victory.[51] This apparently impressed Grant very much, and his after battle report indicated that he shared his males’s opinion.

Grant’s report to headquarters tended toward generalizations and contained some inaccuracies. Whereas claiming that the Confederate casualties tremendously exceeded his own, he underestimated his losses by over a hundred. He applauded the conduct of each his males and the gunboat crews, but made no mention of the loss of management over the men after the camp had been captured. Grant defined that the message from Wallace had satisfied him to strike Belmont and surmised that the attack had prevented Oglesby from being minimize off. In addition, he thought that Polk can be pressured to refrain from dispatching any reinforcements to Worth. Lastly, Grant believed that the experience had inspired confidence in his males that may be invaluable in future engagements.[52]

The Confederates likewise proclaimed a victory at Belmont. Polk advised of defeating a vastly superior drive that had meant to strike at each Belmont and Columbus. He cited the bravery of his troopers and reported possession of an enemy flag, over a thousand stand of arms and portions of army gear of varied varieties. The Accomplice Congress joined in the celebration by addressing a resolution of because of the soldiers of Polk’s command.[53]

Ten days after the battle Grant’s medical officer submitted a supplementary report that mirrored the remaining casualty figures for the Union army. The Federals suffered losses of 607 at Belmont, including 120 killed, 383 wounded, and 104 captured or lacking.[54] The casualties amounted to about twenty % of these engaged, a excessive proportion in the early phases of the struggle. An estimated five thousand Confederates actively participated in the battle. Polk’s report listed 105 killed, 419 wounded, and 117 lacking, for a total of 641, or about thirteen % of the quantity that saw motion.[55]

Grant discovered the outcomes of the other columns concerned in the combined operations a number of days after returning to Cairo. In Kentucky C. F. Smith followed his orders quite explicitly, conducting an indication towards Columbus and little more. Two of the three teams that had tried to ensnare Thompson converged at Bloomfield only to find that the wily “Swamp Fox” had escaped to the South. The Federals heard of the “defeat” at Belmont while at Bloomfield and returned to their house bases without carrying out anything of lasting worth.[56]

Thus the Belmont marketing campaign ended, and it shortly turned the subject of an issue that was never solely forgotten by Grant. Oddly sufficient the criticism emanated from unofficial sources, for apparently neither the administration nor the military ever gave the battle a second thought. Nothing in the public report indicated that Belmont affected Grant’s army profession a method or one other. His remaining phrase on the matter had been his justification of the engagement in his memoirs. Grant noted that critics claimed that the battle had been wholly unnecessary and barren of results. The Confederate menace to Oglesby’s column necessitated his motion, Grant maintained, and had he not struck the enemy Oglesby would in all probability have been captured or destroyed. In his view he had carried out solely what was required to shield his command.[57] Grant probably believed that his statement settled the challenge all the time.

However, debate on the campaign continued and for seemingly ample causes. Grant concluded that he saved Oglesby’s three thousand men from a serious catastrophe by hanging Belmont. Logically, since the two Federal instructions have been virtually equal in power, the danger of capture or annihilation was as actual for Grant as it was for his subordinate. Moreover, Polk by no means despatched any troops to threaten Oglesby, for Accomplice orders or correspondence talked about no such motion. Fairly than making an effort to examine the validity of Wallace’s report, Grant selected to accept the info at face value and ordered the assault. Any supposed hazard to Oglesby’s column might have been only a pretext, a convenient one to make certain, to provoke a battle.

It is going to be recalled that Grant needed to maneuver towards Columbus quickly after taking command at Cairo. Despite the refusal of headquarters to allow any attack, he by no means lost curiosity in taking the offensive. Maybe in the demonstrations that have been ordered he saw the alternative for that desired struggle. His dispatch to Smith of November 5 recommended that he planned something extra aggressive than the mere feints desired by headquarters. Also there was the message he sent to Oglesby that day earlier than the battle telling the latter to communicate with him at Belmont. Furthermore whereas Grant persistently disclaimed any intention of attacking Belmont previous to 2:00 a.m. on November 7, he additionally described his troops’ elation at the prospect of getting to battle after they started down the Mississippi. He wrote later that if he had not finished one thing to fulfill their calls for for action he would have misplaced their confidence and the capability to take care of self-discipline.[58] In mild of the above, any report of a potential menace from Belmont was in all probability welcomed.

Grant’s generalship at Belmont dramatized his inexperience in leading a military into battle. His determination to strike a position in such shut proximity to the giant Columbus garrison was inherently harmful, particularly so with untried troops. As well as, he knew little of the tactical state of affairs round Belmont. Grant moved down the river without understanding where he was going to land or a lot about the terrain where he would have to struggle the battle.[59] The need for a large and dependable reserve drive turned obvious as soon as the hasty retreat from the camp commenced. Fortuitously, for the Federals, Grant’s tactical errors have been minimized by Pillow’s rash determination to deploy his troops in an open subject and attack as an alternative of benefiting from the defenses surrounding the camp at Belmont. Tactically, Grant’s battle plan had risked much, and underneath slightly totally different circumstances a Federal disaster was all the time a definite risk.

Belmont didn’t end in any strategic advantage despite Grant’s assertions to the opposite. As beforehand demonstrated, Grant’s declare that he saved Oglesby and prevented Confederate troops from shifting to help Worth had no foundation in truth. In actuality the strategic stability in the area remained the similar. Grant returned to Cairo to await another opportunity. Down river the rebels nonetheless occupied Columbus and Belmont, and the Accomplice defensive position in the Mississippi Valley stood unbroken.

Grant’s errors at Belmont have been manifest. A neophyte basic had led uncooked troops into an pointless battle and after inflicting injury on the enemy had barely escaped destruction. Definitely Grant’s status as an incredible commander might by no means stand on his accomplishments at Belmont.

The document signifies, nevertheless, that Grant profited from his expertise at Belmont, and even in that unlucky battle he gave evidence of the qualities that might propel him into the front rank of Union generals. In contrast to lots of his contemporaries Grant displayed the willingness to struggle that Lincoln expected of his commanders. Faced with a fluid army state of affairs and altering orders, Grant used his obtainable forces without badgering headquarters for extra males and attacked. He led his military to victory initially, and when the tide of battle turned he retired preventing. In his first action Grant seemed to comply with what he later claimed was the secret to the art of warfare, “Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike at him hard as you can, and keep moving on.”[60]

Membership in the State Historic Society of Missouri, writer of the
Missouri Historic Assessment for almost 100 years, is a reasonable and
efficient option to help the preservation of Missouri’s Civil War heritage.

State Historical Society of Missouri

From a purely army standpoint, Belmont may properly be forgotten. It ranks as considered one of many minor engagements that have been of little significance in deciding the remaining end result of the Civil War. However as a place to begin for learning the improvement of the army leadership of Grant the battle serves a useful objective. For at Belmont, Ulysses S. Grant first demonstrated the qualities of aggressiveness, initiative and willpower that characterized the man who ultimately gained the campaigns that saved the Union.

[1] W. E. Woodward, Meet General Grant (n. p., 1928), 495

[2] Ulysses S. Grant, The Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant (New York, 1885) I, 281.

[3] New York Occasions, November 14, 1861; J. Cutler Andrews, The North Stories the Civil War (Pittsburgh, 1955), 119.

[4] Isabel Wallace, Life and Letters of W. H. L. Wallace (Chicago, 1909), 141

[5] John Fiske, The Mississippi Valley in the Civil War (Cambridge, 1900), 50.

[6] John Simon, ed, The Papers of U. S. Grant (Carbondale, Unwell., 1969), II, 163, 214.

[7] Robert J. Johnson and Clarence C. Buel, eds., Battles and Leaders of the Civil War (New York, 1956), I, 280

[8] Simon, Papers, II, 214

[9] U. S. War Department, The War of the Rebel: A Compilation of the Official Data of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington, 1880-1901), Collection I, IV, 179. (Hereafter cited as O. R.; all citations are to Collection I.)

[10] Johnson and Buel, Battles and Leaders, I, 348.

[11] Jay Monaghan, Swamp Fox of the Confederacy: The Life and Army Providers of M. Jeff Thompson (Tuscaloosa, 1956), 32; Grant, Memoirs, I, 261-263.

[12] Simon, Papers, II, 198; O. R., III, 493.

[13] Simon, Papers, II, 225, 242, 288

[14] Kenneth P. Williams, Lincoln Finds a General (New York, 1952), III, 75.

[15] Ibid., III, 64-65.

[16] O. R., III, 267.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid., 268.

[19] Ibid., 256, 259, 268.

[20] Ibid., 268-269.

[21] Ibid., III, 260, 724-728, IV, 491.

[22] Ibid., III, 273.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Grant, Memoirs, I, 270-271.

[25] Ibid., 271-272; O. R., III, 269-270.

[26] O. R., III, 294; Williams, Lincoln, III, 94.

[27] Grant, Memoirs, I, 273.

[28] Johnson and Buel, Battles and Leaders, I, 348-349.

[29] O.R., III, 355.

[30] Johnson and Buel, Battles and Leaders, I, 354-355.

[31] Ibid.

[32] O. R., III, 278, 292.

[33] Grant, Memoirs, I, 269, 273; Johnson and Buel, Battles and Leaders, I, 355.

[34] O. R., III, 278; Henry I. Kurtz, “The Battle of Belmont,” Civil War Occasions Illustrated, II (June, 1963), 20.

[35] O. R., III, 340-341, 355.

[36] Ibid., 278-279

[37] Patricia Bell, “Gideon Pillow—A Personality Profile,” Civil War Occasions Illustrated, VI (October, 1967), 15.

[38] O. R., III, 355-358.

[39] M. F. Pressure, From Fort Henry to Corinth (New York, 1963), 20-21

[40] O. R., III, 325, 356-358; Grant, Memoirs, I, 273-274

[41] O. R., III, 280, 284.

[42] Grant, Memoirs, I, 274-276; Bruce Catton, Grant Strikes South (Boston, 1960), 76-77

[43] O. R., III, 280-281.

[44] Grant, Memoirs, I, 276; Kurtz, “Belmont,” 21.

[45] William G. Stevenson, 13 Months in the Rebel Army (New York, 1959), 54-56.

[46] Harper’s Weekly, December 7, 1861.

[47] Grant, Memoirs, I, 276.

[48] Johnson and Buel, Battles and Leaders, I, 353.

[49] O. R., III, 270.

[50] Grant, Memoirs, I, 280.

[51] Ibid.; O. R., III, 281.

[52] O. R., III, 269-272.

[53] Ibid., 310-312.

[54] New York Occasions, November 17, 1861

[55] Johnson and Buel, Battles and Leaders, I, 356.

[56] O. R., III, 256-257; Harvey L. Carter and Norma L. Peterson, eds., “William S. Stewart Letters, January 13, 1861 to December 4, 1862,” Half II, Missouri Historic Assessment, LXI (April, 1967), 309-310.

[57] Grant, Memoirs, I, 281.

[58] Ibid., 271.

[59] Williams, Lincoln, III, 94.

[60] As quoted in David Donald, Lincoln Reconsidered, Essays on the Civil War Period (New York, 1961), 102.