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Latest Northern news.
important circular from Secretary Seward--affairs down the Potomac — the War in Missouri, &c., &c.

Through the kindness of a gentleman recently from the North, we have been placed in possession of the Baltimore Sun, of the 17th. The following embraces the most interesting news transpiring within the lines of the enemy:


Important circular from Secretary reward relative to the defence of the Atlantic and Lake Coasts.

The following important circular has been sent to Governor Morgan, and similar ones to the Governors of all the States on the seaboards and lakes at the North:

Department of State, Washington, Oct. 14, 1861.
To his Excellency the Governor of the State of New York.
Sir:
The present insurrection had not even revealed itself in arms when disloyal citizens hastened to foreign countries to invoke their intervention for the overthrow of the Government and the destruction of the Federal Union. These agents are known to have made their appeals to some of the more important States without success. It is not likely, however, that they will remain content with such refusals. Indeed, it is understood that they are industriously endeavoring to accomplish that disloyal purpose by degrees and by indirection.

Taking advantage of the embarrassments of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce in foreign countries, resulting from the insurrection they have inaugurated at home, they seek to involve our common country in controversies with States with which every public interest, and every interest of mankind, require that it shall remain in relations of peace, amity, and friendship.

I am able to state for your satisfaction that the prospect of any such disturbance is now less serious than it has been at any previous period during the course of the insurrection. It is nevertheless necessary now, as it has hitherto been, to take every precaution that is possible to arrest the evils of a foreign war to be superinduced upon those of civil commotion which we are endeavoring to cure. One of the most obvious of such precautions is, that our ports and harbors on the seas and lakes should be put in a condition of complete defence; for any nation may be said to voluntarily incur danger in tempestuous seasons when it fails to show that it has sheltered itself on every side from which the storm might possibly come.

The measures which the Executive can adopt in this emergency are such only as Congress has sanctioned, and for which it has provided. The President is putting forth the most diligent efforts to execute these measures, and we have the great satisfaction of seeing that these efforts, seconded by the favor, aid, and support of a loyal, patriotic, and self-sacrificing people are rapidly bringing the military and naval forces of the United States into the highest state of efficiency. But Congress was chiefly absorbed during its recent extra session with these measures, and did not provide as amply as could be wished for the fortification of our sea and lake coasts. In previous wars loyal States have applied themselves by independent and separate activity to support and aid the Federal Government in its arduous responsibilities. The same disposition has been manifested in a degree eminently honorable by all the loyal States during the present insurrection. In view of this fact, and relying upon the increase and continuance of the same disposition on the part of the loyal States, the President has directed me to invite your consideration to the subject of the improvement and perfection of the defences of the State over which you preside, and to ask you to submit the subject to the consideration of the Legislature when it shall have assembled. Such proceedings by the State would require only a temporary use of its means.

The expenditures ought to be made the subject of conference with the Federal Government. Being thus made with the concurrence of the Government for general defence, there is every reason to believe that Congress would sanction what the State should do, and would provide for its reimbursement.

Should these suggestions be accepted, the President will direct the proper agents of the Federal Government to confer with you, and to superintend, direct, and conduct the prosecution of the system of the defence of your State.

I have the honor to be your obd't serv't,
Wm. H. Seward; Secretary of State.

Affairs down the Potomac.

Washington, Oct. 16.
--An officer of the steamer Jacob Bell, who has carefully reconnoitered the Shipping Point battery on the Potomac, says there are six guns in position, all apparently heavy ordnance. The river there is about one mile wide.

Intelligent officers say that the statement that there are six miles of batteries below Shipping Point is all nonsense. Vessels might be annoyed by batteries from the shore for a mile below there, as far as Evansport; but below that point the Virginia shore recedes from the channel, and the river widens so that batteries would be useless if planted there. Sixteen or eighteen guns are about the extent of their armament thereabout, it is believed by competent judges.

The steamers Pawnee, Harriet Lane, and Yankee, went down the river during last night.

The steamer Anacostia has had her boilers put aboard of her, and is being rapidly fitted up. The steamer Jacob Bell has gone into dock for repairs.


Doings across the Potomac.

Washington, Oct. 16.
--Col. Taylor, of the Thirty-third N. Y. Regiment, has been temporarily appointed to the command of Gen. Steven's brigade, the latter having been detached for important service elsewhere.

Morrell Allen, of the N. Y. Thirty-fifth Regiment, Company H. was dangerously wounded to day by the rebel pickets, at Barrett's hill, beyond Falls Church.

From the observatory at Upton's hill to-day a large rebel force, consisting of cavalry and d companies of infantry, were seen on the Leesburg turnpike, four miles from Falls Church. Twenty-three army wagons accompanied there, and the supposition is they were on a foraging expedition.

The divisions on the right of our army were ordered under arms at two o'clock this morning, in consequence of an alarm caused by the firing of the pickets of the Seventy-ninth N. Y. Regiment, between Falls Church and Lewinsville; but there was no noteworthy result.


The latest from the lower Potomac.

Washington, Oct. 16.
--The steamer Mount Vernon reached Shipping Point just before daybreak this morning, and unmolestedly passed the rebel batteries; but the steamer Pawnee, following a short time thereafter, was fired on, between twenty and thirty shot being thrown towards her. The Pawnee, according to orders, made no response. By an arrival this afternoon from the lower Potomac, it is ascertained that both vessels had safely passed beyond all reach of danger from the rebel batteries.


The reported loss of the Saranac.

Washington, Oct. 16.
--The Navy Department is satisfied, from official information in its possession, that the steamer Saranac is at San Francisco, undergoing repairs, and the report is therefore untrue that she was recently lost off the mouth of the Mississippi in a storm.


Picket firing.

Capt. Motts, of the New York battery, reports that while protecting the volunteers felling wood at Lewinsville, he saw distinctly a prominent rebel officer, but refrained from shooting him on a moment's reflection that picket firing was a barbarous and murderous practice.


The overland California mail Route.

Atchison, Kansas, Oct. 15.
--The statement made in the Eastern papers, that a party of secessionists attacked one of the overland coaches, is utterly false. They run with great regularity, and without trouble from any source. The employees of the company, numbering some hundreds, have all recently taken the oath of allegiance.


The War in Missouri.

St. Joseph, Oct. 16.
--Eighty of Maj. James's cavalry, at Cameron, on Saturday, came upon 250 or 300 rebels in a corn-field, twenty miles South of Cameron, in Ray county, Mo. The advance guard of our men routed them, the rebels seeking refuge in the timber.

Our guard was then reinforced by thirty of the cavalry, when they completely drove them from that section killing eight and taking five prisoners. Four Federals were wounded and one killed. Our cavalry were at first fired on by 75 men. One Lieutenant had thirty-two bullet holes in his clothes, and six of the shots scratched his skin.

The Missouri State Convention yesterday passed an ordinance postponing the State election till the first Monday in November, 1862. The ordinance was passed by a vote of 49 to 1,

It is reported that Bog River Bridge, in this State, has been burned by a party of rebels from St. Francis county.


Connecticut Legislature.

Hartford, Oct. 15.
--The State Senate, by a vote of 12 yeas to 6 days, to-day passed a resolution ordering the removal from the Senate Chamber of the portraits of Hon. Isaac Toucey and Ex-Governor Thos. H. Seymour, on account of their alleged disloyalty to the Federal Government.


Presentation of a sword to Gen. Anderson.

Washington, Oct. 16.
--The sword voted by the Philadelphia City Councils to Gen. Anderson was privately presented to him tonight.


The attack on the fire Zouaves near Newport news.

The correspondent of the Philadelphia Inquirer, writing from Fortress Monroe, gives the following account of the attack upon, and capture of, a number of the Fire Zou- aves, by the Confederates, near Newport News, on Saturday last:

‘ "On Saturday, a company of the N. Y. Fire Zouaves left their camp at Newport News, for the purpose of cutting wood for fuel. They proceeded to cut wood about two miles and a half from the camp, and had nearly loaded up an army wagon, which was drawn by our mules, when the rebels surrounded them with about two hundred well armed men. The Zouaves were armed, but had neglected to establish any sentinels to give an alarm in case the enemy should be in the vicinity. The first the Zouaves knew they were entirely surrounded. A scene of the utmost confusion prevailed. They did not use their arms, nor would the rebels fire upon them lest it should alarm the camps, and they would be pursued. A large number of them escaped, however, and left thirteen of their comrades in the hands of the rebels. During the night two of them escaped and came into camp. Previous to this, some anxiety was felt for their safety, and scouts had been sent out to find out what had become of them, and they returned bringing no tidings whatever. The men who came in report that the rebels say they have a large force near our lines, and they will soon move towards us."


Horses, mules and wagons.

It is stated that the Federal Government has now within the lines of the army of the Potomac, in round numbers, 30,000 horses, purchased at $120 apiece; 7,000 mules at $141 apiece, and 5,000 wagons, at $110.


More Arrests in Baltimore.

The Baltimore Sun, of the 17th, says:

‘ At a late hour on Tuesday night, a squad of Federal police visited the residence of Mr. Wm. F. McKewen, Secretary of the Board of Police, and took him into custody. The charge against him is treason, but what are the alleged specific charges did not transpire. He was taken directly to Fort McKenry.

Shortly before noon yesterday, a posse of the Provost Marshal's police visited the cabinet manufactory and dwelling of Mr. Robt. Renwick, Nos. 90 and 92 North Howard st., and arresting that gentleman, sent him to Fort McHenry. The premises were then searched for arms and other contraband of war. Excavations were made in both the cellar and yard, but nothing was brought to light, save a box of bullets found in the yard, which were among some rubbish.


The reported Disaster to the Federal blockading vessels.

The Northern press, it appears, do not place implicit confidence on Com. Hollins's report of his victory over the Federal blockading vessels at the Head of the Passes in the Mississippi river. The New York Times, in the course of a long article, says:

‘ There is enough about it to make us doubt whether it is so much a disaster to our fleet and so great a victory to Hollins as he represents. And first, it is evident that but a small part of our squadron was engaged in the fight. Hollins says we had forty guns in the engagement. Probably we had the Vincennes, 22 guns; Preble, 16 guns; and Water Witch, 2 guns — in all 38 guns. That would leave the Niagara, the Savannah, and the Richmond — in all 80 guns — out of the fight altogether; which we presume was the case.--This would agree with the report of October 4, which stated that the Vincennes, Water Witch, and two other vessels, were above the bars of the Passes, protecting the erection of batteries on the sand-spit. If this work on the batteries should be allowed to go on one week, said the dispatches to Richmond, on the 4th inst., the five Passes of the Mississippi will be commanded by the Nationals. It seems probable that Hollins got all the gun-boats he could gather, and started down to the mouth of the river, to drive away the protecting sloops of war, if possible, and capture or disperse the men engaged in erecting batteries on the sand-spit. If so, it appears, by his own report that he failed. He speaks of sinking the Preble, and driving the other vessels aground; he talks of peppering these vessels after they got fast in the sand. But why didn't he destroy them? Was anything more easy than to riddle with shot and shell such helpless objects as grounded vessels, which he was near enough to ‘"pepper"’ so well with his little fleet that had not suffered a casualty?

The Herald also doubts, the correctness of Com. Hollins's account, and thinks it at least exaggerated.


Connecticut War Legislature.

The Legislature of Connecticut has passed a bill giving the Governor full authority to call for as many volunteers as the national exigency demands of the State; and appropriating two million dollars to arm and equip them. The bill also provides for the payment of the families of imprisoned soldiers in the hands of the rebels the same bounty allowed to those whose husbands and fathers are in the service.


Purchase of blankets in Europe.

It is stated that Geo. Plomley Smith, of Pennsylvania, and Colonel Thomas. of the Quartermaster's dep't. will leave by the next steamer for Europe. They are sent by the Government to purchase blankets and material for winter clothing.


Fired on.

The Cincinnati papers say that the guards on the fortifications around that city were fired on several times during the past week from both the Ohio and Kentucky side.


Mr. Russell to be Relieved.

The Montreal Pilot states that a gentleman has reached the United States who is to relieve Dr. Russell, the special correspondent of the London Times.


Seizure of a Virginia vessel.

The Baltimore Sun of the 17th says the schr. True American, at Light street wharf, having on board 700 bushels of sweet potatoes, alleged to have been brought from Accomac, Va., was seized in that city on Wednesday, by Deputy Marshal Williams.


Gen. Shields.

The New York Irish American states, positively, that Gen. Shields has not declined the commission of a Brigadier General, recently tendered him by President Lincoln: but that as soon as the intelligence of his appointment reaches him in Mexico where he has gone on private business, he will hasten to the seat of war, to devote himself with all his might to the duties of his new command.


Stopping the work.

According to the New York Tribune, the Secretary of War, on his late visit to St. Louis, ordered Gen. Fremont to discontinue, as unnecessary, his field works around the city, and that which he is erecting at Jefferson City; to suspend work on the barracks he is building near his residence for his bodyguard of three hundred cavalry, and ordered him to employ all the money in the hands of the disbursing officers to the payment of the current expenses of his army in Missouri, and to let all his debts in St. Louis, amounting to $4,500,000, remain unpaid until they can be properly examined. Disbursing officers are not to transfer their duties to irresponsible agents, and contracts are to be made by regular disbursing officers of the army.


Gen. Hunter's special aid.

Quite a sensation was created in Jefferson City, Mo., on the evening of the 9th inst., by the arrival of Mrs. Col. Ellis, from Tipton, bearer of dispatches from Gen. Hunter and Col. Ellis. She was dressed in a semi-military riding habit and hat, with a crimson sash thrown around the left shoulder, as an officer of the day, mounted on a splendid charger, and attended by two orderlies. She had ridden 45 miles since 10 o'clock, and, without taking a moment's rest, delivered her orders at camp, and then waited upon Gen. Price with her dispatches, urging forward two squadrons of Col. Ellis's command, now here, to join the regiment at Tipton. This mulier valients is attached to the First Missouri Cavalry, as special aid to her husband, Colonel Ellis.


Loss of a mail--$100,000 in drafts, Etc., Missing.

We learn that the New York mail leaving here last Monday evening at 7. 30, failed to arrive at its destination. Word was received at this office to that effect on Friday last, and on Saturday a telegram was received from Postmaster Taylor, of N. Y. city, stating in substance as above.

The bag contained about 900 letters, destined for New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, besides drafts, &c., from banks in this vicinity, amounting to about $100,000. The money in the bag, of which there might be considerable, is all that will reward the finder or the thief, as to them the drafts will not, of course, be of any value.--Rochester (N. Y.) Express.


Released.

Daniel Dechert, editor of the Hagerstown (Md.) Mail, whose arrest by Federal authority was announced about six weeks ago, has been released by the Government, and returned to his home on Saturday evening last.


The New York Herald's account of the fight at Harper's Ferry.

The Washington correspondent of the New York Herald, of the 17th, contains the following in regard to the late fight at Harper's Ferry, in which the Confederates were successful:

‘ "The brilliant achievement of Col. Geary at Harper's Ferry appears almost incredible. The first account received here was regarded as an exaggeration, but it is fully confirmed by dispatches received to-day. Bolivar Heights is a very strong position. With the exception of Turner Ashby's cavalry, the rebel forces engaged were exclusively of the recently drafted Virginians. They were armed with a promiscuous variety of weapons, from shot-guns to horse pistols.

There have been numerous reports to-day of a renewal of the fight at Bolivar Heights, but a dispatch was received here this afternoon by Gen. Banks, who is in town, stating that everything was perfectly quiet on the upper Potomac; especially at Harper's Ferry and Bolivar Heights."

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