Dec 12 1861 Wrote Maj. Gen. Halleck, “The bearer of this, Mrs. Johnson, is just up from Memphis. She has given me valuable information which she will also give to you in person. For this information I have granted a free pass and required in consideration that she shall call on you in person.
“A copy of this will be sent by mail.”
Mrs. Johnson’s statement read, “She has been living in Memphis about 2 years and is now looking for her son. Fort Pillow is about 80 miles above Memphis and at this point a chain has been thrown across the river forming a boom to prevent boats passing. This boom has cannon at each end, on land, to fire upon such boats as may be stopped by said boom. 12 Marine batteries gone to Columbus. … One floating battery has been towed from Memphis to Columbus, carrying 20 guns according to report and said to be ‘impregnable’. It is asserted that there are 6 of said boats. There are neither fortifications nor cannon in Memphis. The streets are all blockaded excepting one which is left open so that if union troops enter at all they will most likely move along this street which is mined and can be blown up. ”
Dec 11 1861 Wrote Capt. Kelton, “Our scouts had a skirmish with the enemy today in which we took sixteen prisoners and lost one man and one horse killed.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 3 p 275
Dec 8 1861 Wrote Capt. Kelton, “I have just got in a man who spent yesterday in Columbus. He reports the enemy strongly fortified there with fifty-four pieces of heavy ordnance, less than I have understood heretofore they had. In addition to this they have ten batteries of Light Artillery with Forty-seven regiments of Infantry and Cavalry, (all arms.)
“There is not the slightest intention of attacking Cairo but the strongest apprehension exists that Columbus is to be soon attacked.
“I believe that I have full means of keeping posted as to what is going on South of this point and will keep you fully informed.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 3, p 263
O.R., I, vii, 482
Dec 7 1861 Received report from Lt. Col. Edward Prince of the raid on Belmont, “The head of the column advanced to the old field immediately in front of the pole fence which constitutes a sort of barrier around Belmont which appeared entirely deserted. The skirmishers sent over this barrier reported nothing living. Those sent down the river arrived at this point and reported that there were no cannon or rebels on or near the river bank. Two steamboats at Columbus were distinctly visible. Bells were rung and lights were moving to and fro in considerable abundance. Having found nothing to fight or capture, the head of the column was put in motion and much to the mortification of all, we returned without having seen a rebel.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 3, p 261
National Archives, RG 393, District of Southeast Mo., Letters Received
Dec 6 1861 Wrote Col. Oglesby, “Information having been received at these Head Quarters, that the enemy have some heavy pieces of artillery at Belmont, or at the point on the river immediately this side, not yet mounted with but a small Guard and working party to protect them. You will order the entire force of Cavalry at Birds Point Mo to make a reconnaissance towards Belmont tonight, and if the enemy are found in force not too strong, they will make a dash upon him, and Spike all his Guns they may find, after which they will immediately return to Birds Point. They will observe great caution, not to be drawn into ambush, or engaged with a superior force of the enemy.
“A detachment will be sent from Cairo, to act in concert with those of your command.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 3, p 260-1
O.R., I, viii, 410
Dec 5 1861 Wrote Confederate Gen. Polk, “I return today Lieut. Col. Chappell, Aide-de-Camp to Gen. J. Thompson, who would have been sent yesterday had I been made aware that he desired to go back.
“I also permit Mrs. _______ of Evansville Indiana to accompany the Flag, in the hope that you will permit her daughter Mrs Harris of Columbus, and her son a boy of some fourteen years of age, to visit her on the Truce Boat. This lady also desires to bring back her son.
“In this behalf I do not intercede, knowing nothing of any of the parties. Being disposed my self to visit as lightly as possible, the rigors of a state of war upon noncombatants, I have permitted this lady to go to you to plead her own case. I would prefer however that she be not permitted to go ashore, but allowed to see her family, under the Flag of Truce, if it be your pleasure to grant her request.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 3 p 259-60
O.R., II, i, 528-9
Dec 4 1861 Wrote Col. Leonard F. Ross, “You will require Col. Murdoch to give over to the Quartermaster, all property taken by them from citizens of Missouri, such as may be reclaimed by owners, you will direct to be returned unless taken from persons directly giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
“When you know of depredations being committed by armed bodies of rebels within reach of you, you can use your own discretion about the propriety of suppressing them.
“I know your views about allowing troops to interpret the confiscation laws, therefore no instructions are required on this point. One thing I will add. In cases of outrageous marauding I would fully justify shooting the perpetrators down if caught in the act. I mean our own men as well as the enemy.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 3 p 258
O.R., I, viii, 404
Dec 1 1861 Wrote Capt. Kelton, “Bishop Major General Polk’s three gunboats made a Sunday excursion up to see us this evening, fired five or six shots when within about a half a mile of range of the nearest point of the Camp at Fort Holt, and returned as soon as replied to. Our gunboats followed them seven or eight miles but could not get near enough to engage them.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 3, p 245-6
O.R., I, vii, 462-3