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Civil War Letter

The following letter dated November 10, 1861, is from the collection of the Catlin Heritage Museum. It was written by a soldier who fought in the Battle of Belmont. In it he describes his part of the action.

The identification of the soldier who wrote the letter and the "Ann" to whom it was addressed are not known.

The letter was donated to the museum by Donald Holman of Oakwood who died in 2000.

Civil War stationery


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Cairo Nov. 10th

Dear Ann

I have taken my pen in hand to write you a few hasty lines hopeing to releave you of all trouble as regards the safety of our troops that were in the battle of belmont. We met the enemy and defeated them but the loss was very heavy on our side but not as much as thairs for I should think by the statement of some of the boys that saw the dead that they lost 2 men to whare we did one and I know that thare was one rebel rigment that not more than half of them escaped as their artilery was driven from its position and ours took their place and compleetely cut them to peaces and drove them out of their camp and burnt it as we went and drove them to the bank of the river whare we cut them down by hundreds before they could get on board the boat to cross the river and after they did get on our artilery came up to the edge of the bank and swept the decks from one end to the other mowing them down like bees. And I cannot begin to tell the number of men that were killed thare on that day but after all this we were surounded by them and 3 of our rigments had to cut their way through them to get to the boats that we came on but our rigment was not in that last fight for we were in the rebels rear and it was getting dark and we had 3 miles to go before we could get to the river and we had no notion of atacting them again but got safe and sound on board of the boat at about 8 o clock in the evening and got back to Cairo at 12 in the night but never do I want to be exposed as we were thare for on the other side of the river thare was 2 batteries that were under the bluff that were mounted by 60 heavy guns while upon the blu[ff] thare was a heavy gun that was rifled and carried a ball that weighed 4[6]8 pounds and enoughf more to make 410 guns that were turned upon us after we had taken the place and made us put for the timber. I will close by saying that I was rather hasty in reporting that General pillow was killed for he was not in the battle nor any of their generals so I will take that back I will try to give you a description of the battle field.

From [H or K][ea]ny

Battle map

[from along the edge] This sheet not being large enough I canot give you the place where we landed but I will make a star the distance being 3 miles above the town

Letter transcribed by Daun Marrs

See also...

 History of the Battle of Belmont.


Catlin Historical Society
210 North Paris
Catlin, Illinois 61817