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The Confederates in the west tried to defend a huge area by establishing strong points along the borders. Ulysses S. Grant, unlike many of his contemporaries, was ready to take action. On November 6, he embarked on transports with the main body of troops, with the objective to capture Belmont, Missouri, across the river from Columbus.
The Union force disembarked the next morning about three miles from their objective and advanced quickly to capture the Confederate camp. Gen. Pillow's regiments were deployed in the fields and woods in front of the camp, but failed to slow Grant's advance. The Union regiments, believing the fight won, moved forward to take the Confederate camp. Cheatham, however, had crossed the river north of the camp and advanced through the woods and opened fire on the Union troops. Surprised that the Confederates still had some fight left, Grant withdrew.
The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. The rest is history.
November 7, 1861
Battle of Belmont
The Battle of Belmont was fought on November 7, 1861 in Mississippi County, Missouri. It was the first combat test in the American Civil War for Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, the future Union Army general in chief and eventual U.S. president, who was fighting Major General Leonidas Polk. Grant's troops in this battle were the "nucleus" of the Union Army of the Tennessee.
Introduction to Wikipedia Article
Wikipedia: Battle of Belmont