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From our Southern exchanges we gather the following items:

The Army in Western Virginia--advance of the enemy — junction of Gens. Floyd's and Wise's Brigades.

The editor of the Lynchburg Republican writes the following interesting letter to that journal, by which it may be conjectured that important events are about to transpire in the West:

Top of Big Sewell Mountain, Sept. 16, 1861.
We are encamped upon the summit of this mountain, one of the highest of those giant ranges which so distinctly mark the geography of this section of Virginia. Our brigade, together with the 13th North Carolina and 14th Georgia Regiments, occupy the plateau, while the white tents of the Wise Legion dot the eastern slope of the mountain, about one mile distant. This spot is a lovely one. The mountain breezes are fresh and pure, while on every hand, and to the full limit of the human vision, is presented a prospect of natural scenery more beautiful and imposing than the poet's pen or painter's pencil can delineate. In the clear, bright morning, the dense fog hanging in silvery white folds along the far distant hills and valleys gives beautiful variety to the extending landscape, while in the evening the full glories of a golden sunset converts the whole scene into one of transcendent loveliness. Nor is this scene loss ravishing when night draws its curtains around us, and the silvery moon, rolling its brilliant orb above the distant horizon, and, riding in quiet splendor along the clear blue sky, lends a mellow tinge to surrounding nature. But this is the most that can be sold in behalf of this mountain pass, except that, naturally, it presents strong defences against the approaches of an enemy. Few people inhabit its slopes and projecting ridges, and but few fine farms dot the valleys below. The conseqence is, that all kinds of provisions for man and beast are exceedingly scarce, and we suffer for the want of such supplies. But I do not think we shall remain here long. The enemy is crossing Ganley in large numbers, at Ganley Bridge and Carnitax's Ferry, below us, and at Hughes' Ferry, above us — their purpose doubtless being to take us both in our front and rear. This movement will probably necessitate our falling back fifteen miles farther, to Meadow Bluff, beyond which point the enemy cannot flank us. If they fight us at either place we shall whip them, unless their numbers double ours.

We have now the addition of Colonel Clark's North Carolina, and Col. Ector's Georgia regiments, two as fine bodies of men, and commanded by as brave and efficient officers, as are in the service. They are greatly chagrined at not being able to reach us in time for our fight at Ganley, and when the tug of another battle comes, they will not dishonor their gallant States, whose sons they are, or the glorious cause they represent upon the field. These Colonels both fought through the Mexican war, the former having been wounded six times.

The movement of Rosencranz, the other day, in getting away from Lee and Loring, and precipitating his forces upon us, was a brilliant one, and shows that officer to be far superior to any of his masters. He no doubt expected, however, to wipe us out at a single brush, and to return to his headquarters flushed with easy victory; but in this he was sadly disappointed, and will have to take back with him a flea in his ear, which will tickle anything but his vanity.

I have read the Northern telegraphic account of our battle with Rosencranz. It represents that we had five thousand men and sixteen pieces of artillery, when the truth is, we only had 1,750 men and six pieces of artillery, four pieces of which only were actively in the fight all the time. These were of the Guy Battery, from Goochland county, and were managed with great bravery and consummate skill. The same account states the loss of the enemy to have been about 120 in killed and wounded, when the truth is, that we have from a dozen different sources — from their own men and friend — that it was not less than from six to nine hundred. Indeed, reliable men who have passed through their camp put it down at a much higher figure. Certain it is, that if they lost but the number stated by them they must have been consummate cowards to permit themselves to be driven back four times with their guns silenced. They state farther that they silenced two of our guns, and that our loss must have been very heavy. The truth is, they never touched one of our guns, and only two of their shots touched our earthworks. They never killed a man and only wounded seven. This they must have known before they sent out their lying telegram, because there was not a grave or a drop of blood to be found inside our lines. They frankly admit that our fire upon them was perfectly "terrific," and it certainly was. They admit that Col. Lytell, in his charge upon our guns with his Irish regiment, was shot from his horse and his men repulsed. They admit, also, that Col. Lowe was killed in another charge, and that, finally, Col. McCook, with his German brigade, was repulsed. This is all so, and shows not only that our fire was "terrific," but that their loss was equally "terrific," or, they the greatest cowards that ever trod a step to the sound of martial music.

On Wednesday and Thursday last, Rosencranz built new boats and threw some 5,000 of his men across to this side of Ganley, his purpose doubtless being to form a junction with General Cox's forces, which will come up fifteen miles from Ganley bridge. This will give him a column of about 10,000 men with which to march upon us at this point. About 4,000 of this number are now encamped at "Alderson's," twelve miles distant, and the smoke from their camp-fires is plainly visible from our tents this evening.

For the short time I have been in the service I have seen much of the article we call war, in all its degrees of sunshine and of shadow. I have seen the sick and the wounded, the dead and the dying. I have seen our brave men marching along almost impassable roads, and soaked by the most drenching rains. I have seen them sometimes hungry, and thirsty, and compelled to lie down at night upon the naked earth for their beds and a single blanket for their covering. All these things and more are the necessary concomitants of war, and never fail to touch the sympathies of the human heart. But that sight which has touched me most, and which makes the blood of our soldiers burn hottest, is that of the helpless families of women and children who have been compelled to flee past us to escape the vandalism of the scoundrels who are so wickedly invading our soil. These helpless people are compelled to bundle up what little of their chattels they can carry with them, on horses and in their hands and, leaving their comfortable homes and property to the savage depredations of the enemy, flee to the rear of our lines for safety. It is too bad, but I trust the day is not far distant when we shall be able to carry all these evils of this unholy war to the homes and firesides of those who have so sinfully provoked its horrors.

I had designed giving you some of the incidents of the late battle and a sketch of camp life, but our movements are so hurried just now, and my means of writing so imperfect, that I am compelled to defer them to a more convenient season.

R. H. G.

P. S.--Just as I close this letter orders are issued to our forces to fall back to Meadow Bluff, distant fifteen miles. This is to prevent the enemy from getting in our rear, and to give him battle with all his force in front.

You need not be surprised, therefore, to hear of another engagement in this quarter in a few days. The enemy outnumbers us heavily, but our men are in good spirits, and with a glorious cause to nerve our arms, and a smiling Providence to give us the victory, we do not fear.

A Powerful speech by the Hon. Elijah Hise, in the Kentucky Legislature.

A correspondent of the Louisville Courier, writing under date of "State Capitol, Frankfort, Ky., Sept. 16, 1861," says:

Hon. Elijah Hise addressed the members of the Legislature on Saturday night in the Hall of Representatives. The great regret of all who heard it seems to be that there is no copy of it to be laid before the people. It was emphatically a great peace speech, and in all respects equal to any of his finest efforts. He said that he had retired from political life, and nothing but the great interest that he had in the peace and safety of the State had caused him to leave his home and come to Frankfort. He said from early life he had been a Democrat, and had labored with an honest zeal for the maintenance of its principles. He made a masterly exposition of what was known as State-rights Democracy and paid a glowing tribute to its principles.

’ His great argument was in favor of peace and in opposition to the war. He felt anxious that the people of Kentucky should oppose it. He argued that under the "laws of nations" no nation had a right to carry on a war for subjugation and conquest.

It was idle nonsense to talk about fighting for the honor of a flag, as demagogues pretend to do. A flag was the mere emblem of a nation, without intrinsic value, and no one had sought to destroy it. The Judge was opposed to all wars, unless carried on to defend our soil from invasion, and to protect our rights, our liberties, and our firesides.--The North, he said, was suffering from none of these, and was therefore prosecuting a war commenced by her, and not waged in self-defence. When she ceases to prosecute it, then will it end, and it ought to end. He argued at length to show the fallacies in Lincoln's Inaugural and his message in regard to the exercise by Congress of powers about which the Constitution was silent, and also that States had never existed out of the Union. --By a sound constitutional argument, which the want of forbids me from reporting, he upset Mr. Lincoln's wild theories. He said that the President knew, when he attempted to use force, that it would involve a great loss of life and of property.

Judge Hise said that the right of a State to secede had always been a matter of very great doubt with him. He would not argue that point. He was no a coercionist and had not been out when South Carolina proposed to secede. The framers of the Constitution and other great lights had shown that coercion would be destructive of the Government.

From the Constitution he argued that if the Southern States believed that for their peace, safety, and happiness, it was necessary for them to withdraw, they had a right to do so, and they would leave the Northern States in the enjoyment of every right and privilege they had ever possessed. Their withdrawal never would justify a war upon the part of the North. The Government was a partnership, and each State may claim its share of the public property. It could not be claimed that the seceded States have more than their share of that property.

The Judge elaborated upon that great bulwark of freedom — the writ of habeas corpus--showing its origin and its benefits. He said that sufficient importance was not attached to it. It was a sacred right, and held so by the English. He was unwilling to carry on the war, when the power to suspend that writ was not only assumed by the President himself, but is given to every bloodthirsty military commander whom he may choose to appoint.

No one had a right to suspend that writ but Congress, and then only in times of invasion, &c., as specified by the Constitution. The Constitution had been violated in regard to the personal rights of citizens in cases of search and seizure, as is now practiced every day by the North. Men are not bound to maintain a Government under a Constitution that had been subverted by others. He said the South was willing to support the Constitution, but was unwilling to support a usurpation, and would not submit to a war carried on for subjugation. We ought all to oppose the war, for it would bankrupt the State, and hopelessly burdon it with debt. What can be done to save the State? He was opposed to the State going out of the Union, and yet he was afraid to stay in if the consequences were to be as bad as if she went out. He thought we had better stay in so as not to give the North an excuse for treating us as badly as they had treated those States who had gone out. He regretted that the Government was in the hands of men who were reckless, and only desired plunder and self aggrandizement. He wished that he had the power to rear up a mountain as high as the heavens with perpendicular walls of granite in order to keep the armies apart. He hoped that the ocean might be girdled with a wall of fire so that the navies might be kept apart. He would do anything, except sacrificing our honor, to arrest the war. Indeed, he thought it would be better to pay the $800,000 to keep out of the war, not as a matter of right in the Government to tax us, but for the sake of peace.

Another account of the battle of Barboursville.

The Knoxville Register, of Sunday, gives the following additional account of the battle which took place on Thursday last at Barboursville, Kentucky:

Mr. P. S. Suyder, a private in Captain Rowan's company, the McGehee Invincible, who was in the fight at Barboursville, on Thursday morning, and who arrived here direct from our camp at Cumberland Ford, communicates the following particulars:

About eight hundred of our troops, under Col., Battle, with two or three companies of cavalry, were advancing on Barboursville, about daylight on Thursday morning, and we were within a quarter of a mile of that place, at a bridge crossing a ravine, when a body of Lincolnites opened fire upon them. The fire was returned by two companies of Col. Battle's force, when our cavalry charged on the enemy, putting them to flight.

Lieut. Powell, of the Hawkins Boys on our side, was killed, and J. F. Browder, of the McGehee Invincible, was mortally wounded. The loss on the side of the Lincolnites had not been fully ascertained, but a number of their dead, variously stated at from 50 to 60, were found upon the ground. Two prisoners only were taken. The Lincolnites, according to statements of persons in Barboursville, numbered only some 400, and not 1,800 as at first reported. Captain Rowan, who bravely led his men into the fight, narrowly escaped with his life, as he seemed to have been the target at which the enemy chiefly aimed. A lock of his hair was shot off, his sword belt cut in two by a ball, and the end of his finger barked by another.

Lieut. Robert D. Powell, who was killed in the engagement at Barboursville, was the late editor of the Rogersville Sentinel. He was in the Mexican war, and was a talented and brave man, and as amiable in his private relations as he was brave. His loss will cast a gloom over the community of Hawkins county, where he was widely known and universally esteemed. We doubt not the Hawkins Boys, his brave comrades, will terribly avenge his death.

Playing the Jupiter.

It is amusing to read the knowing articles which the Yankee journals get off. They were mighty wise just before the affairs of Bethel and Manassas, and now their wisdom is astonishing. One would think that we were dealing with Jupiter Olympus, instead of old Abe Lincoln. Thus harps the prophet of the Cincinnati Commercial on the much-talked-of mighty streak of lightning to come down on our Southern coast:

For the first time, the rebels are at a loss as to where they are to be struck. The circulation of female spies and traitorous Northern newspapers being greatly circumscribed, and the disloyal clerks in the various departments of the Government being closely watched, and the publication of army movements being so far restricted as to embarrass the inquirers after truth, and the arrest of spies and other agents of the conspirators in the North render more circumspection in their movements advisable, our "Southern brethren" are really beginning to be plagued to know what we are about. More than all this, the Adams Express has stopped carrying letters to the South, and telegraphic dispatches are not to be forwarded from Louisville any more, while increased vigilance is to be exercised all along the Ohio, to prevent smuggling and stop the movements of conspirators. This will really embarrass our "Southern brethren." They will not know where to look for the blow. The next they know, a mighty fleet, with ten thousand men aboard, will open one of their cotton ports and let a streak of daylight into the benighted regions of the original Secessia.--Yellow Jack is not guarding their coast this year. The New England skippers know the Southern coast far better than the Southerners themselves know it. "Things is workin'." The reverses which the people of the North have met have not changed the order of things, or reversed the march of empire.

A Protective league.

The Louisville Courier contains the following communication. As there is no danger apprehended by the Kentuckians from the Confederates, the reader may understand to whom they refer, although there is "no partyism in the matter:"

‘ "At an adjourned meeting of citizens of portions of the counties of Henry and Trimble, field in Campbellsburg on Saturday, 14th inst., a committee, consisting of Wm. Vores, E. B. Statten, Dr. Jas. Crutcher, Jas. P. Ellis, R. B. Gray, A. O' Bannon, request a meeting of all the citizens of both political parties in the counties of Henry, Trimble, and Carroll, at Campbellsburg, on Saturday, the 21st, at 10 o'clock A. M., to form a league of co-operation for the mutual protection of the lives, property, and families of all parties and classes, from any lawless raids and depredations, from any and all sources whatever. No partyism is to be known in the matter, but simply to resolve that although the whole world may be in arms and fight it out as best they can, we are resolved, at any and all hazards, that we will keep peace among ourselves, and punish with death, if necessary, any depredations upon our families and property."

The Spike Annihilation.

This is the name of a very simple, ingenious, and sure instrument for the taking of spikes out of cannon. It is the invention of Mr. L. M. Maddux, a Southern man, and for eighteen or twenty years a resident of this city. By this instrument, or rather three or four instruments — for there are three or four pieces — the most obstinate and tenacious "rat-tail" can be taken from the largest cannon in the world in two hours, without the slightest injury to the gun. Thus, when the hard-pressed enemy forsakes his battery, spikes his pieces, and makes Manassas time from the pursuing foe, the very guns which he thinks are useless to the victor, may, in two hours time, be ready to follow him, and rain their iron hail upon him. Mr. Maddux has filed the necessary papers for a patent for his machinery, a description of which we will not now give, and will proceed to Richmond on Saturday. He will use it to draw the spikes from all cannon he can find in Virginia, and receive whatever compensation the Government may see fit to give him. He will dispose of his patent to European governments, the probability being that the United States Government will never have any use for it.--N. O. Delta:

How a soldier feels doing nothing.

We have had explanations as to how a man feels when he is shot, and his peculiar emotions when about to die; but, from the following racy description, we should think "a soldier doing nothing" and spoiling for a fight, is about as melancholy an illustration of human misery and desperation as could well be conceived. It is written by the correspondent of the Charleston Mercury, from the Army of the Potomac:

"The excitement of camp life!" What a myth! Catch your young birds with chaff, but don't try to sprinkle this sort of husk on the tail of an old one. If you really want excitement, go to a Quaker meeting, attend a lecture on Phrenology, illustrated by the examination of decrepit old gentlemen's heads, spend some Sunday afternoon in the Fish Market — these are lively and diverting amendments is compared to the company battalion, and brigade drills — the breakfast, dinner, and supper cooking — the noonday done, the afternoon nap, the long uneasy night slumber — the dirt, the smoke, the heat, the rain — which make up the sum of a camp day's unrelieved and intolerable tedium.

Do I not wonder that men long and long for a battle, no matter how hard or bloody; that they slip off from picket to get sly shots at the Yankees and run the risk of being shot themselves, or the almost certain penalty of "twenty-four hours in the guard tent and extra duty; " that they go away for days when they can, on the scout," bogging through swamps and lying out at nights, and dodging butlers from friend and foe? No! My only surprise is that on waking up some morning I do not find the whole camp, from the Colonel, with his epaulette, jack-boots, and gauntlets, to the Orderly, with his worsted stripes and roll-book, hanging from the ridge-poles of their tents, sus. par col. with their waist-belts or braces.

Sometimes even I, who am not of a saturnine temperament, and rather inclined to gentle dullness than otherwise, find myself gazing up dreamily at my old coat and breeches dangling from a string, and wondering how it would feel if the owner of these sloughed off integuments were inside of them, pendant from his cravat.

Gen. G. W. Smith.

We published a day or two since the announcement that this officer had been assigned to the command of Johnston's army on the Potomac; the latter being the senior officer, to take supreme command of the two divisions. The following interesting sketch of this distinguished officer is taken from the Nashville Patriot, which says:

‘ It has been announced by telegraph from Richmond that Major G. W. Smith, of the Engineer Corps, would probably be appointed Major-General of the Confederate States Army. The inquiry is, "Who is he?" We take pleasure in answering the interrogatory. He is a native of Kentucky, and was formerly connected with the United States Army. He rose to the rank of Captain in the United States Corps of Engineers; was the senior in rank of Gen. Beauregard and Gen. McClellan, and was always regarded as a very superior officer. He commanded the Corps of Engineers with distinguished success through the Mexican war, under the immediate command of Major, now Gen. Lee. After the war he resigned his commission and went to New York to live. He was appointed by Mayor Treman, Street Commissioner — a very important position involving large pecuniary responsibilities and requiring the abilities of a first-rate engineer. So acceptably did he fill this position that the New York Herald at one time declared him to be "the only honest official at the head of any of the municipal departments." He was turned out to make way for one of Fernando Wood's spoilsmen. A whisper against his integrity was never raised. In personal appearance, Capt. Smith is tall and powerfully built; his features are massive and strongly marked, like Webster's. He has a rapid, energetic manner, and instinctively strikes the beholder with the conviction that he was born to command and control men. He was a bosom friend of McClellan's while at West Point, and their warm intimacy has never ceased. He passed through this place a short time ago on his way to Richmond, and immediately on his arrival there offered his services to President Davis, who gladly accepted them, and dispatched him to Manassas immediately. We presume he will be Chief of the Engineers of the Army of the Potomac, and, in the language of the New Orleans Delta, McClellan will thus find himself opposed to his old commander and master in the science of engineering, fortifications and artillery practice.

Randolph Macon college.

We are gratified to learn that this old and valuable institution of learning will open on Thursday, the 26th inst. The Board of Trustees have determined to add a school of military tactics to the extensive literary course already provided for in the full board of instruction. As but few of the colleges in the State are likely to open for the fall session, it is fair to presume that Randolph Macon will be extensively patronized, especially since it offers the advantage of military instruction, which, just now, is the demand of the times. The institution is suppled with well qualified instructors — is under a fine system of moral discipline, and, altogether, offers as many facilities for a thorough literary and military education as any college in our Confederacy.

Off to the wars.

A portion of Col. Phillips's Legion, from Georgia, says the Lynchburg Republican, of yesterday, left this place yesterday evening, for an important field of operations. The remainder will follow to-day. The Legion consists of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, in due proportions, each being properly equipped for immediate action, and will, no doubt, render efficient aid to the cause they are destined to serve.

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