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From the Potomac.

The advance of the Federals--their troops fire into each other.

The Baltimore Sun, of the 30th, in alluding to the ‘ "advance"’ of the Federal army upon Munson's and Mason's hills, says:

‘ The advance of Gen. Smith on Falls Church from the Chain Bridge was accompanied by events of the most deplorable character.--Having passed Vandernerkin's and Vanderberg's houses on their way to the former place, and when about half a mile from it, by some unaccountable blunder Col. Owens's Irish regiment, of Philadelphia, in the darkness of the night, mistaking, for rebels, Capt. Mott's battery, which was in the advance, sustained by Col. Baker's California regiment, Baxter's Philadelphia Zouaves, and Col. Freedman's cavalry, fired a full volley into the troops last mentioned, killing and wounding a large number.

The California regiment, not knowing from whom the firing came, returned it with marked effect. The horses attached to Mott's battery became unmanageable, and the tongues of the caissons were broken, owing to the narrowness of the road.

Lieut. Bryant, having command of the first section, ordered the guns to be loaded with grape and canister, and soon had them in range to rake the supposed enemy, when word was sent to him that he was in the company of friends.

All was excitement, and a long time elapsed before the actual condition of affairs was ascertained and confidence re-established.--Many confused stories prevail as to the parties on whom the blame should rest, but Gen. Smith immediately ordered Col. Owens's regiment back to camp.

The destruction of private property.

The Sun's account continues:

The conduct of the Federal troops to-day, while occupying the grounds recently vacated by the rebels, resulted in the burning of property to the amount of from thirty to forty thousand dollars, including houses with their contents, but which were unoccupied, no distinction being made as to the political character of their owners.

The wanton acts will doubtless undergo investigation by the military authorities, as they were strongly condemned by Gen. McClellan, who went over to the Virginia side at an early hour to day, visiting the various localities recently vacated by the rebels. A private was summarily shot by his superior officer for insubordination in refusing to perform duty.

Sinking of a steamer in the Potomac.

The steamer sunk by our batteries on the Potomac a few days ago was the Planet. The Federals maintain that she was sunk by colliding with the Delaware. The Sun gives the following account from one of the officers:

The steamer Planet, Captain Henry Wilson left, Washington on Wednesday, September 25th, at 12 M., and proceeded down the Potomac river. When opposite Occoquan Point she was fired at from a battery erected on said point; twelve shot were fired at her, five of which crossed her deck, two immediately forward of the pilot-house, and three between the foremast and mainmast, none of which took effect. We escaped their shot only to meet with a worse fate, for at 7½ P. M., when below Cedar Point, we were run into by the steamer Delaware, Capt. Cannon, and sunk in ten minutes after the collision. The Planet had a light on her bow and another at the mast-head, and was setting the side-lights when the Delaware came in contact with us, and cut us nearly in twain. All hands were knocked down by the blow, and one man, who was on the top of the pilot-house setting the side-light, was knocked off, and fell a distance of fifteen feet to the lower deck, escaping, however, with only a sprained ankle.

The Delaware (her officers say) supposed we were laying at anchor, and bore away towards us to speak us, and endeavored to cross our bow, and at the same time the Planet endeavored to keep away from her by putting the helm to port, and blowing the whistle to notify the approaching steamer that we were under way, and intended to go to the right of her, according to law. The Delaware struck us when under full headway, she having barely stopped her engine when she struck us. The Planet sunk in ten minutes after she was struck, in five fathoms water. We had barely time to escape with our lives, and saved nothing, only what we had on. We remained on board the Delaware all night, and arrived at Washington city at 12 m. on Thursday, after being fired at on our return by the rebels at Occoquan. They fired several shots at the Delaware, some of which crossed her deck, but none struck her.

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Porter Smith (2)
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