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From Norfolk.

naval engagement on James River — movements of Federal Vessels — discontinuance of a Newspaper — brooms from North Carolina--flag of truce, &c.



[special correspondence of the Dispatch.]

Norfolk, Sept. 14, 1861.
Yesterday afternoon, the Confederate steamer Patrick Henry, came down James River, and anchoring about four miles above Newport News, opened her tremendous batteries upon the Federal steamer Savannah, which was anchored off the point above named. Shells from the Patrick Henry were seen to pass very near the Savannah, and it is hoped she was damaged. She returned the fire briskly, the balls reaching about half way to the Patrick Henry. Four shots were also discharged from a Sawyer gun at Newport News.

At 6 P. M. the Federal propeller Daylight moved up towards the Patrick Henry, when the latter fired fourteen times at the former. Some of the balls, it is believed, penetrated the hull of the propeller, letting the daylight completely through. The Daylight fired four shots, changing her position as many times, and soon hurried away beyond the range of the guns of the Patrick Henry. The Savannah fired twenty-three shot and shell.

After this engagement, which enabled the Patrick Henry to test her guns, she quietly weighed anchor and leisurely passed further up James river. I cannot ascertain the extent of the damage, if any. This morning a large war ship was towed down from Newport News to Old Point.

A large war steamer went up to Newport News yesterday.

I regret that the Portsmouth Transcript, edited by D. D. Fiske, Esq., formerly Mayor of the city, has been discontinued for want of paper. The Transcript was a well-conducted journal, and its discontinuance much regretted.

I am glad to find that the Old North State is furnishing our city with good brooms, the manufacture of which has been commenced at the Institute of the Deaf, Dumb and Blind, located at Raleigh. The brooms are of excellent quality, and can be sold at reasonable prices.

I noticed in yesterday's issue of the Dispatch a statement that there have been general street fights here. This is certainly a typographical error — the word ‘"general"’ having no doubt been printed instead of ‘"several."’

A complaint has been made by an individual in an earnest, though quiet and gentlemanly way, about a statement in the Norfolk correspondence of the Dispatch, in which it might have been well to omit the names of one or two places mentioned. It is well known that statements at all calculated to give any information at all beneficial to our enemies or hurtful to the Southern cause are carefully avoided in the correspondence as well as in any other department of your paper. Much intelligence, exceedingly interesting, but which might prove serviceable to the enemy, of course is withheld entirely. Complaints will, nevertheless, sometimes be made, and when any published statement is respectfully alluded to, of course it is proper that the matter should be respectfully heeded. The public demands war news and must be supplied; but it is very essential of course that a wise discretion should be constantly exercised with regard to the probable effect of any information before it appears in public print.

A flag of truce went down to Old Point this morning, and some passengers detained at Old Point will be sent to Craney Island, from the Fort, to-morrow.

There is some movement of troops hereabouts, but the particulars I cannot give you.

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D. D. Fiske (1)
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September 14th, 1861 AD (1)
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