The Battle at Belmont.
Elsewhere we give, from the St. Louis and Chicago papers, further details of the deperate encounter and repulse of the Union troops at Belmont, on Thursday. They show that the Union repulse was accompanied by heavy loss of life, and we fear, adds another to the series of blunders which have marked the war on the side of the Union. The plan seems to have been a combined one, to attack the enemy near Columbus by three columns, — one from Paducah, under General Smith, another from Cairo, under Generals Grant and McClernand, and the third, moving down from Commerce, under Colonel Oglesby, to attack Jeff. Thompson. The Paducah expedition did not reach its destinanation, but returned. The column under Oglesby has not, at the present writing, been heard from definitely, though there is a rumor that Oglesby's command met Thompson and routed him. How the force from Cairo succeeded, the details we give elsewhere show. Many are disposed to cast blame upon Gen. Grant for venturing upon Belmont with so small a force, knowing the enemy to be more than double his numbers. If the expedition from Cairo was intended to operate without the support of the other forces named, certainly it was not only a blunder but a crime; but we cannot think it was so intended — to dash 3,500 men upon an equal if not superior force of the enemy, who had, within cannon shot, twice as many more for their reinforcement, in case of need.
That the Illinois troops, officers and men, deported themselves heroically, was only to be expected of them, but from the details thus far received, it is surprising that any considerable number of them reached their boats again. Evidently the programme of operations was marred by somebody's most criminal neglect or blunder. But, as we before said, Belmont has only added one more to the series of unfortunate B's. A repetition of Big Bethel, Bull Run and Ball's Bluff. If we were superstitious we might dread to hear of the naval expedition's luck at Beaufort and Bull Bay.
We had a report here yesterday that the forces at Cairo had started down the river again, probably to co-operate with Oglesby's command.