Columbus Belmont Civil War Days are a feast for the eyes and an exercise for the imagination. Folks of all ages turned out for a beautiful fall weekend to be a part of history in far western Kentucky.
The real battle took place across the Mississippi River. The Confederates held the high ground on the Kentucky side overlooking the River and were also camped at Belmont on the Missouri side. General Grant brought his troops down the river in steamboats to "make a demonstration" (a show of force). The show got a little hot when he and his men had to skedaddle back to their boats. The Union troops beat back the Confederates and were doing pretty good until they stopped to loot the Rebel camp. The Rebs regrouped and the big guns across the River woke up. Beating a hasty retreat, Grant lost his horse and tack, commandeered one from a subordinate and hit the gangplank of his evac boat at a gallop. (Grant was arguably the best horseman of his day.) He was last to board.
Both sides claimed victory, of course. The Battle of Columbus Belmont came at a time that Lincoln was out of patience with his generals and he supposedly said when hearing ot the battle, "I like this man. He fights." Next stop for Grant would be Forts Donaldson and Henry where he split the Confederacy east from west. From there to Shiloh.
Grant came close to death several times during the skirmish and one wonders what result of the War Between the States would have been if he had not been lucky and fast.
Estimated attendance at Columbus Belmont Civil War Days topped 12,000. Galloping soldiers from Blue and Grey were part of the draw.
Yankee soldiers firing at Rebels. Union cavalry races to the battle.
The cannon battles are crowd favorites at Saturday and Sunday re-enactments.
Re-enacters lived in encampments from Friday to Sunday as authentically as possible. The cavalry brought their own horses and rode them all weekend.
The little lady was the "Beautiful Belle" of the Saturday evening ball.
The plaque below reminded visitors that the Civil War was the bloodiest war ever fought on American soil.