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War rumors.

Painful rumors have reached the city, announcing a very serious disaster to the command of Gen. Garnett, and tending to confirm the telegraphic dispatch from Cincinnati, reporting the capture by Gen. McClellan of a thousand of our forces, several guns, and two hundred killed, including Gen. Garnett among the dead. This would argue a bloody fight and a desperate resistance on the part of our brave soldiers.

If these tidings be true, the primary cause of this calamity to our forces would seem to have been a zig-zag march over Rich Mountain, in the night, by a few thousand of McClellan's command, by which Col. Pegram was taken in the rear and cut off from communication with Gen. Garnett, producing the misfortune that befell that gallant officer and leading to the others which overtook the rest of the command. Two to three thousand of our troops are conceded to have withdrawn in safety according to our accounts; while it is reported from Washington that they are again occupying Laurel Hill.

It must not be supposed that this misfortune, if correctly reported, would put the enemy at Staunton. A long road, of more than a hundred miles, and many ranges of high mountains, utterly impassable to an enemy, intervene between Laurel Hill and Staunton, affording innumerable rallying points, and ample time for the muster in force of our troops and militia. The country is the wildest and most unexplored in Virginia.

It is not possible that McClellan would attempt the march to Staunton. It is, on the contrary, to be presumed that having cleared his rear of danger, he will proceed to Grafton, and thence make good his way by railroad to Martinsburg, whence, in conjunction with Gen. Patterson, he would precipitate himself upon the command of Gen. Johnston.

We have given the bad news from Laurel Hill just as it has reached this city. For ourselves, however, we take the liberty of doubting the correctness of it. A letter to General Lee from General Garnett, written Saturday morning, represents General Garnett to have been making good his retreat with all his stores and baggage in good order, without mention of the probability of an engagement. A gentleman also is in the city who left General Garnett late on Saturday safe and in good condition. Yet it is on Saturday that the desperate misfortune is said to have been inflicted upon him. The Cincinnati dispatch in itself amounts to nothing, for it has been preceded for a week by daily dispatches of a similar character, every one of which has been falsified.

We trust and believe that the authentic details of this affair at Laurel Hill will relieve the news of all its worst features, and reduce our misfortune to the mere falling back, after hard fighting, of a smaller force before a greatly larger one.

At all events, be this news ever so true, it is far more than counterbalanced by the glorious tidings from General McCulloch's command in Missouri.

P. S.--Since the foregoing was written, we have had the positive assurance of the authenticity of the following facts: That Gen. Garnett was mortally wounded in the disaster alluded to, and that the Confederate forces lately under his command retired in good order. General Garnett was wounded during the retreat of his forces. The enemy outnumbered him seven to one, but after their partial success did not advance in force beyond the point from which they drove Gen. Garnett.

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Garnett (9)
G. B. McClellan (3)
Pegram (1)
Patterson (1)
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H. E. Johnston (1)
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