“The battle of Belmont, as time passes, proves to have been a greater success”

Wrote Congressman Elihu Washburne, “Your two letters, one from Washington the other from Galena, were received, the last several days ago.  You have placed me under renewed obligations by your exertions in behalf of my command.”

“The very flattering interest you have taken in my personal welfare and advancement I know of but one way of repaying.  That is, to exert my utmost ability to the end that you may not be disappointed in your appreciation.  I promise the country my undivided time and exertions and any fault shall be from an error in judgement, not of heart.

“The battle of Belmont, as time passes, proves to have been a greater success than Gen. McClernand or myself at first thought.  The enemy’s loss proves to be greater and the effect upon the Southern mind more saddening.  Their loss was near three to our one, by accounts which we have received, whilst their force bore about the same ratio.  I do not wish to trespass upon your time but shall always be pleased to hear from you.”

“P.S. We have here an Illinois man that I want to call your attention to.  I mean Col. W. H. L. Wallace.  He is not aware that I feel any personal interest in him but if I could be instrumental in calling the attention of the country to him sufficiently to secure him the appointment of a Brigadier Generalship I should feel that I had done the country a greater service than himself.

“Col. Wallace is every inch a soldier.  A gentleman by nature and a man of great modesty and great talent.  He served in Mexico and now since the first call for three months troops.  But few such soldiers have been called to the higher positions in our Army.”

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 3, p 204-5

[Editors note: Union soldiers killed, wounded or captured during the Battle of Belmont totaled between 550-600 men.  Confederate casualties were around 650 men. Source: The Battle of Belmont, NC Hughes Jr. p 184]

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