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April 15.

The Norfolk Day Book of to-day contains the following: “ A party of gentlemen left this city on Saturday last, in the steamer S. S. Anderson, and proceeded down the river.

In the course of the day they went well over to the enemy's lines, in the direction of Newport News, and went alongside Her Britannic Majesty's steamer Rinaldo.

They were not permitted to go on board the Rinaldo, as Her Britannic Majesty's gallant subjects informed them that they could hold no communication with us. (Query — Would they have said the same to a Yankee?) Her officers and crew, however, evinced great pleasure at the visit, and testified their delight by the waving of hands and hats, and responding to the cheers given them by those on board the Anderson as they were about leaving.

After leaving her, our boys thought they had not sufficiently teased the Yankees, and in order to vex them as much as possible, they waved the ‘rebel’ colors directly in their teeth and courted a shot, but to no purpose. The ‘rebels’ ruled the Roads, and the Yankees manifested no disposition to dispute the ground with them.

The above narrative we obtained from a gentleman on board the Anderson at the time, and as he related it to us, we were struck very forcibly with one expression, and the reader has doubtless been equally as much surprised as we. We refer to the refusal of the officers of the English steamer to permit our men to tread her deck. We confess we do not altogether understand their assertion that they had instructions to hold no communication with us; and if it be that such instructions were really given, we think it high time we had taken the hint, and thrown ourselves back upon our dignity.

As we derive no real benefit from a friendly relation with England, we can afford to abstain from communication with her, without detriment to ourselves or our country; and if she is equally independent of us — an assertion which she will be slow to make — then no harm will accrue to either party by an agreement to disagree.

The United States steamer Yankee, Capt. Eastman, arrived at the Navy-Yard at Washington to-day, having left York River at six o'clock yesterday morning. The Yankee went about eight miles up the York River on Sunday night, and anchored off Gloucester Point, where the steamers Penobscot, Marblehead, and Wachusett were already lying. The rebel batteries at the Point tried the range of their guns on the steamers at about three o'clock yesterday afternoon, the shot falling very little short of the Marblehead. The vessels then dropped down the river, [89] and about three miles below the Point discovered a party of rebels building a battery on the north bank, on whom the Yankee opened fire at a distance of three fourths of a mile.

The rebels seemed loth to abandon their works, and although the shells of the Yankee fell in their midst, they did not leave the vicinity, but took refuge in the woods and behind some neighboring log-houses. The Yankee, after firing some sixty or seventy shot and shell during an hour and a halt left the scene. As she was leaving, the boats of the Marblehead were on the way to the shore to burn the houses behind which the rebels had taken refuge. During the engagement, a battery up the river fired some eight or ten shots, but they fell far short of them.--Philadelphia Bulletin, April 16.

Simon Cameron, late Secretary of War, was arrested at Philadelphia, Pa., at the suit of Pierce Butler, for alleged false imprisoment in Fort Lafayette, last summer.--N. Y. Tribune, April 16.

To-day was the date appointed by the rebels for convening the court of Berkeley County, at Martinsburgh, Va. At the appointed hour the sheriff under the rebel regime entered the courthouse, and was about to ring the bell, summoning the late confederate judge, John B. Nedenbush, to his seat, when Thomas Noakes, a well-known loyal citizen, seized the sheriff by the arm and emphatically notified him that “no rebel court should hereafter convene in Berkeley County, without passing over his dead body.” The sheriff desisted and the rebel court did not meet.

Subsequently by permission and under the direction of Major C. M. Walker, of the Tenth Maine volunteers and Provost-Marshal of the town, three Union magistrates were selected by the loyal citizens and held the court.

Some official business was transacted, court and county officers appointed, and the court adjourned until the next term, without ordering any election, but awaiting the action of the constitutional State authorities in the premises.--New York Commercial, April 18.

The rebels have been for several days building large fortifications on the Gloucester side of York River, about two miles from Yorktown, Va., and within sight of the national gunboats, but their guns were of too long a range to allow of the approach of the gunboats to shell the works. About one thousand men were at work on the fortifications, and the mortars were not of sufficient range to check the operations. This morning, however, the gunboat Sebago arrived, having a heavy hundred-pound rifled Parrott gun, and at once opened upon them with shell, which were so well aimed, that they could be seen falling in their midst and exploding with fatal effect. The rebels could be distinctly seen carrying off their killed and wounded, and in the course of two hours the work was entirely suspended, the men retiring out of range. At every attempt to renew the work they were driven back up to night.--Baltimore Sun, April 17.

The fine weather is very favorable to the operations at Yorktown, and it is probable that Gen. McClellan will soon be able to open his batteries on the fortifications of the enemy.

The preparations for the assault are diversified by occasional skirmishing between pickets. On Friday evening the enemy made a demonstration with a force of two or three thousand men, who drove in our pickets. Two or three regiments were sent to their support, which induced a hasty retrograde movement on the part of the enemy. Their object was probably a reconnoissance. They fired a good many shells and round shot, but with very little effect. On Monday morning, about two o'clock, a section of Union artillery was posted within half a mile of the rebel works, near the river, supported by sufficient infantry to prevent their being captured. Fifteen shots were fired into the rebel earthworks before the enemy were able to bring their guns to bear upon the Union forces, when they withdrew without damage.--General Wool's Despatch.

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