The Battle of Belmont: Grant strikes South
The battle of Belmont was the first battle in the western theater of the Civil War and, more importantly, the first battle of the war fought by Ulysses S. Grant. It set a pattern for warfare not only in the Mississippi Valley but at Fort Donelson and Shiloh as well. Grant's 7 November 1861 strike against the Southern forces at Belmont, in southeastern Missouri on the Mississippi River, made use of the newly outfitted Yankee timberclads and all the infantry available at the staging area in Cairo, Illinois. The Confederates, led by Leonidas Polk and Gideon Pillow, had the advantages of position and superior numbers. They hoped to smash Grant's expeditionary force on the Missouri shore and cut off the escape of the Illinois and Iowa troops from their boats. The confrontation was a bloody, all-day fight that a veteran of a dozen major battles would later call "frightful to contemplate." At first successful, the Federals were eventually driven from the field and withdrew up the Mississippi to safety. The battle cost some twenty percent of his troops, but as a result of this engagement he became known as an audacious fighting general. Using diaries and letters of participants, official documents, and contemporary newspaper accounts, Nathaniel Hughes provides the only full-length tactical study of the battle that catapulted Grant into prominence. Throughout the narrative, Hughes draws sketches of the lives and fates of individual soldiers who fought on both sides, especially of the colorful and enormously dissimilar principal actors, Grant and Polk.
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What I Want Is to Advance
Grant and McClernand
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13th Tennessee 22d Illinois 7th Iowa army Army of Tennessee artillery attack bank Battle of Belmont Beltzhoover Bird's Point boats Brigade Brinton Buford Cairo Camp Johnston cannon Capt Captain cavalry Cheatham Chicago Daily Tribune Colonel Columbus column command Confederate cornfield Daily Missouri Republican Dougherty Dougherty's enemy Federal fight fire flank Fouke Gideon Gideon Johnson Pillow Gideon Pillow gunboats guns Henry Hunter's Farm Illinois infantry ISHL John John Alexander Logan John McClernand Kentucky landing Lauman Leonidas Polk line of battle Logan Lou Johnson Louis Sunday Republican Louisiana McClernand Memoirs Memphis Daily Appeal Mississippi Missouri Republican St Nashville off1cer ordered Orleans Daily Crescent Papers of Ulysses Pillow Polk's R. H. Wood rebel regiment reported river riverbank Schwartz Seaton Seventh Iowa shot Simon Smith soldiers Tappan troops TSLA U. S. Grant U.S. Government Union Walke Walker Watson Battery Wood to Mary wounded Yankee