The United States steamer Hercules, under the command of Lieut. Thomas S. Dungan, captured the rebel sloop Velma, this day. On searching the vessel there was found a large mail, many of which were addressed to persons in Baltimore, and a larger number to persons in various parts of Maryland. On searching the crew there was also found two thousand dollars in old Virginia Bank notes. The Velma had  some time previously been cleared from Baltimore for Pokomoke Sound, Va., with a cargo consisting of provisions of various kinds. This cargo, instead of being discharged in a Maryland port, was taken over to Great Wicomico River and there discharged within the boundaries of Virginia. The sloop in ballast was coming back to get a new cargo. The rebel captain, Samuel D. Lankford, previous to being captured, burned his commission in the fire, the remnants of which being found among the ashes, he acknowledged the fact, and also that he had been engaged in the battle of Manassas, and before he would take the oath of allegiance he would rot in prison.--Baltimore American, April 14.
In general orders Gen. Halleck thanked the officers and men of the United States army for the heroism displayed in the two days battles at Pittsburgh Landing, Tenn.--(Doc. 139.)
A force of four thousand men on five transports left Pittsburgh Landing, Tenn., last night, accompanied by the gunboats Tyler and Lexington, and proceeded up the Tennessee River to a point near Eastport, Miss., where they landed this morning, and proceeded inland to Bear Creek Bridge, and destroyed the two bridges on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, one measuring one hundred and twenty-one and the other two hundred and ten feet in length. A cavalry force of one hundred and fifty men was found there, who, after having four killed, made good their retreat. The expedition returned to-night, without having lost a man.--National Intelligencer, April 17. In Baltimore, Md., at all the Roman Catholic churches, special prayers were recited by order of the Most Reverend Archbishop Kenrick, in accordance with the request of the President of the United States, and were responded to with very general unanimity.--Baltimore American, April 14.
A gunboat fight took place this day at Needham's Cut Off, on the Mississippi River, forty-five miles below New Madrid, Mo., between the National flotilla, under the command of Commodore Foote, and five rebel gunboats, in which the latter were compelled to retire.--Louisville Journal.
Lieut. Shoemaker, of company H, Fourth Ohio cavalry, on an reconnoitring expedition, this day, with a small body of men, about fifteen miles west of Decatur, Ala., came upon sixteen rebel cavalry, who immediately fled to a swamp and, dismounting, left their horses and plunged into the thicket. Ordering his men to dismount, Lieut. Shoemaker followed the rebels on foot, killing one, capturing five, and returning to camp with his prisoners and a dozen extra horses.--Cincinnati Gazette.
Major-General Halleck, in a despatch to Secretary Stanton, dated Pittsburgh, Tenn., said: “It is the unanimous opinion here that Brig.-Gen. W. T. Sherman saved the fortune of the day on the sixth, and contributed largely to the glorious victory of the seventh. He was in the thickest of the fight on both days, having three horses killed under him, and being wounded twice. I respectfully request that he be made a Major-General of volunteers, to date from the sixth instant.”