Issue 87: Magazine & Game (Belmont Grants Baptism of Fire)

Issue 87: Magazine & Game (Belmont Grants Baptism of Fire)

Issue 87: Magazine & Game (Belmont Grants Baptism of Fire)



Belmont is a two player game simulation of the American Civil War battle that occurred on November 7, 1861 at Belmont, Missouri. One player controls the forces of the United States (Union) and the other player controls the forces of the Confederate States (Confederate).

Belmont Map Image - Large - 7MB

Historical Background

In the spring of 1861 General Grant commanded 20,000 men around Cairo, Illinois, the southern most
loyal city in the Union. Its strategic position on the Mississippi allowed newly­minted General Grant the
ability to quickly strike south – but where, neutral Kentucky or risky Missouri?

Confederate commander in the west, General Leonidas W. Polk, recognizing the importance of the
Mississippi, invaded Kentucky without President Davis’ authority. He fortified a position on the river called
the Iron Banks near the city of Columbus, Kentucky. There, he assembled more than 17,000 troops from
Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. He also built a three­tiered artillery bastion along the
river totaling 140 cannons, including the largest piece in the Confederacy. The monster cannon was
nicknamed “Lady Polk” after the General’s wife.

Always chaffing during periods of inactivity, Grant frequently requested combat assignments as he dearly
wanted to blood his green troops . Eventually, his commander, “Pathfinder” John C. Fremont, ordered
Grant to move against an active guerrilla leader in South eastern Missouri, General Jeff Thompson. No
sooner had the operation begun than Fremont ordered Grant to make a demonstration around Columbus
to disrupt the Confederate transfer of troops from Polk in Columbus to Price in Missouri. Grant acted
immediately, sending seven columns to the region, an army 15,000 strong. He believed the columns
would be able to support each other.

On November 6th rebels in Columbus celebrated the election of President Jefferson Davis. That same
day in Columbus, knowing that Albert Sydney Johnston was to take command in the West, Polk
attempted to resign his commission – this just as General Grant moved against him.

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