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Why the Battle of Belmont was Fought.

MESSRS. EDITORS: Your loss to account for the motive of the battle of Belmont, and your failure to appreciate its results, is common to most people. It is unfortunately the case that the first accounts of a battle, especially if a reverse happens, or is feared, are brought by the runaways, who leave early, and justify their flight by the recital of terrible disasters. This may account for the first impression that we suffered a defeat — that the expedition ended disastrously. I have the figures before me, and our loss is — killed, 84; wounded, 281; missing, 213.

We landed unobstructed. We met them in large force in the woods; drove them into their intrenchments; stormed, and took, and destroyed their camp, which is under their battery of sixty guns, not half a mile distant. Many of which threw shot and shell three and four miles. We plundered their camp, brought away their two flags and two pieces of artillery. All this before their eyes, and in plain view and under the noses of their columbiads. Pray, who was defeated? They crossed over heavy reinforcements during the battle. Their defeated men, aided by thousands more brought over in boats, landed above us, and when we marched out to return to our boats, they had formed in our rear, on the ground from which we drove them going in, having advantage of the woods. We fought and drove them again, and marched to our boats about three miles up the river. They followed, and when our forces were on the boats they attacked them again. The boats pushed off, and the gun boats shotted and shelled them until they fled, suffering horribly, for they had crowded down a narrow lane, not thinking, apparently, of the presence of the gunboats. Their loss here alone was greater than the whole of ours. We returned with the trophies, leaving on the other hand small wagons, that could not be got down the banks to the boats, and a quantity of blankets, knapsacks, &c., which our soldiers threw away in the heat of the day as they went into the fight, and did not hope to recover when they came out.

As to the object of the expedition. It was ordered from St. Louis, through Gen. Grant; and Gen. McClernand, as a matter of course, went with his brigade. The enemy were preparing to throw a force of 3,000 into Missouri, to cut off Col. Oglesby, who had gone to Bloomfield, and were also on the eve of sending a force to Henderson, Ky., a strong post. This expedition — this blow square in the face, has so paralyzed them that they now fear for the safety of Columbus, and will keep out of mischief elsewhere. We did not expect to take Columbus, nor to hold Belmont, which is under their guns, but to make a dash at them, destroy their camp and break their power to do harm elsewhere, and then return safely to our camp; and this was accomplished.

The Illinois troops — never before in battle — fought bravely. They beat superior numbers, and inflicted three times the loss which they suffered. Gen. McClernand's favorite brigade is made up of a splendid body of men, and have able and brave officers, and whom he has proved himself already, by his good generalship and heroic conduct, worthy to command.

Yours, &c., M. B.