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The ball has opened.

We understand from a gentleman who left Winchester on Tuesday night that Patterson had advanced from Martinsburg and was within four miles of Winchester. Gen. Johnston was anticipating an early attack and our troops were eager to meet them, and, in facts sent up shout after shout in token of their joy at the prospect of striking a blow for their loved South.

There is also no doubt that the ball has opened at Fairfax Court-House, fourteen miles from Alexandria and thirteen from Manassas.

It is said that Gen. Scott commands in person at Alexandria. The attack commenced yesterday morning, and a general engagement will, doubtless, take place to-day.

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