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General news items.

Below we give a synopsis of the most interesting news which could be gleaned from the columns of our Northern files:


The Potomac considered as a Boundary.

The Washington Republican, of Friday morning, has the following article relative to the Potomac river. It abounds in curious suggestions coming from a Government organ:

‘ There is more occasion for congratulating ourselves upon the good luck of the fact that the navigation of the Potomac has only recently been impeded than there is for finding fault with the Administration, because the Confederates have at last erected batteries on the Virginia shore. It never was possible to prevent that by anything short of occupying it at all points where the channel is within cannon shot, which, of course, has not been within the limits of practicability. And it is not easy to understand why the Confederates have not before improved the opportunity to obstruct the navigation by batteries.

There is nothing possible in the case but to take measures to dislodge them from whatever points they may actually occupy in this way, and to wait patiently for that permanent relief from the difficulty which is only to be found in the expulsion, or retreat, of the enemy's main army centering upon Manassas Junction.

The blockade of the river illustrates the folly of the politicians who have proposed to the country a division upon the ‘"the of the Potomac,"’ upon the supposition that Washington is to remain the Capital of the Northern States. We can have no secure access to the sea unless we have both shores or the Potomac, and, indeed, without that, Washington itself would be within cannon range of an alien jurisdiction. If we give up Virginia, we may as well give up Maryland, and retire with the nation I archives to the Delaware or the Hudson. If we hold Washington, we must hold both sides of the Potomac and the whole circuit of the Chesapeake Bay.


A Venturesome reconnaissance — effects of Closing the Potomac, &c.

The following items are taken from special dispatches to the New York Times, October 25th:

Major Palmer, of the Coast Survey, made a successful reconnaissance beyond Falls church to-day, obtaining valuable information of the roads and topography of the country.--Major Palmer had an escort of six cavalry.--He was shot at four times, and what is remarkable, each of these four shots struck the same man and horse in the escort. One ball struck the horse, a second the saddle, a third the man, and a fourth the horse. None of them inflicted any serious wounds, the range being too long.

The city has been filled to-day with the most absurd and frightful rumors I was told to day at Willard's by gentlemen who really believed what they said, that General Stone had been drowned, Gen. Banks taken prisoner, and that Gen. McClellan had ly escaped a similar fate by the most desperate riding. Then I was told that ten thousand men had crossed the Potomac at M thias Point, and were marching up to take Baltimore. Of course there was no foundation for either of these stories, but yet they were generally believed.

Since the closing of the Potomac by the Confederates, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is necessarily making extensive arrangements for the largely increased business which it must do if the army of the Potomac remain much longer in its present position. Long sidlings have been put in at frequent intervals; in such a manner as to substantially answer the purpose of a double track Switches have been laid in every direction from the depot, and storehouses built for the reception of freight. It became imperatively necessary that these arrangements should be made, and it will probably in a short time be a military necessity that the War Department shall resume possession of the line between this city and Baltimore and Annapolis, and so be able to control the running of trains and the transportation of supplies and munitions of war.

A few days since Mrs. Kerrigan, wife of Col. James E. Kerrigan, of the New York Twenty-fifth, now under arrest, went with another lady beyond our outposts into Secessia. The avowed purpose was to visit the house of the lady, but they were compelled to turn back without reaching there.


Short Allowance of Forage — the blockade of the Potomac.

The special dispatches in the New York Tribune, of the 25th, contain the following:

‘ The horses and mules of the army around Washington are on short allowance. It is not possible or the railroad to keep the forage department supplied. Already a remedy is talked of for the threatening evil of a short supply of hay and oats, cheaper and more efficacious, if not more glorious, than arms can supply. The construction of a railroad from here to Notingham, on the Patuxent; 20 miles of rails and sills, borrowed from some unused road, would lay the track speedily.

The Potomac is blockaded at Quantico and Matthias Point. The interval between these is forty miles long. The Confederate steamer Page is out from her old lair in Aquia Creek, and on the rampage among the forage vessels. She varies foraging with shell and she practice on the Sickles Brigade on the Maryland side, and with ferrying over the Confederate marauders. This blockade causes anxiety.


Billy Wilson's report of the Santa Rosa fight.

Col. Billy Wilson, of the Zouaves, has written the following letters to his wife:

Camp Brown, Fort Pickens, Sixth Regiment N. Y. V., Oct. 11, 1861.
Dear Wife:
I am in a great hurry. We had a terrible attack two nights ago. Two thousand men came upon us at 3 o'clock in the morning. We, however turned out and gave them some fight. I had but two hundred men in camp at the time, and the rebels must have had at least two thousand; but the few I had did well, as we killed quite a number.--Eleven of my men are killed, several wounded, and a number taken prisoners. My old cook, Napoleon, is taken prisoner. We killed about four hundred of the rebels, and took forty prisoners. I am without a stitch of clothing, but all right and unhurt. My men fought good. The pickets fought like devils. We lost papers and everything. I got out buttoning my pints to receive them. Their war cry was, ‘"No quarters to Wilson or his men."’

Your husband,
Wm. Wilson.

Camp Brown, near Fort Pickens, 6th Reg. N. Y. V., Oct. 15, 1861.
Dear Wife:
The steamer, I believe, will sail this afternoon for New York. I wrote you a few hurried lines the day after the fight. I fear news from the South has reached you with terrible statements of the affair. They had me killed, and every man in the regiment. All they did was done suddenly. At 3 o'clock in the morning they attacked us with 2,000 men. We had only 200 men. My sentinels fought bravely, and gave us notice, but it was a short one. We were hardly out of bed, and my men scarcely had their eyes open, when the enemy commenced a terrific firing all around us from three different points. They poured volley after volley into us, however. We stood and returned the fire, but finally had to retire behind sand hills. Nevertheless, we again rallied, and, with the assistance of the troops out of the fort, drove them back, killing several hundreds. None of my officers were hurt, and only eleven were killed, ten wounded, and sixteen prisoners. My clothes and everything belonging to me were ral

Your husband.
Wm. Wilson.

Federal movement of the Eastern a cowardly act.

The Cambridge Democrat, of Wednesday, the 23d, has the following:

‘ On Friday last, two companies belonging to the 2d Delaware Regiment were sent, under command of Major Andrews, on an expedition down to the lower Eastern, Shore counties of Maryland. They took passage in the Government steamer Balloon, and on Friday night landed at White Haven, in Somerse county, eight miles from Princess Anne. A part of one company was immediately dispatched to gather up the arms from the military company a Tyaskin, and on Saturday morning a detachment of the other company was sent to Princess Anne, after the arms of the military company lately in existence there. What success they met with we have not learned. The arms of each company had been distributed some time since to the members.

As the company to Tyaskin was returning to the steamer, they were passed by a young man, George Davis, son of Mr. Benjamin Davis, who hurrahed for Beauregard, where upon one of the privates immediately fire at him, the ball taking effect just below the hip.

On Sunday they left Somerset for Seaford Del., by way of the Nanticoke river, where we understand, they made some arrests on Sunday night.


The capture of the Salvor.

The Key West correspondent of the New York Tribune, writing under date of the 20th inst., has the following particulars of the capture of the steamer Salvor, whose arrival in Philadelphia we noticed yesterday:

‘ The Salvor was discovered at 11 o'clock P. M., heading for the Quicksands, and steering due North, her evident intention being to enter Tampa Bay, a port from which she had been sailing for some months before the war Capt. Scott sent an officer on board with orders to bring her to. Finding her papers irregular, she was taken possession of and towed into this port, arriving at an early hour on Monday morning.

Maj. French, accompanied by Capt. Scott and the U. S. Marshal, went on board the Salvor as soon as she cast anchor. The Marshal, at the request of Capt. Scott, sent for his deputy and an assistant, and commenced a thorough search for papers, arms, &c. Enough were found to warrant the seizure of the vessel under the confiscation act. Accordingly, the Marshal informed Captain Scott that he would consult with the District Attorney.--A libel was drawn up, the Marshal in the meantime returning to the Salvor, and continuing the examination, assisted by his deputies.

A guard of marines, sent off from the Key stone State, remained on board under orders from the commander to allow nothing to be examined, except under the inspection of the civil officers. Whatever was done by the civil officers was done at the suggestion and request of Capt. Scott. And it was their impression that this officer intended to have the case adjudicated here in the Admiralty Court. In the afternoon, the Marshal served upon Capt. Memondey, master of the Salvor, an attachment regularly issued by the Court, and at the same time presented it to Capt. Scott. He flatly refused to receive the document declaring that he did not recognize the jurisdiction of the United States Court in this case.

The Marshal, giving orders to his deputies to remain on board in charge of the property, unless resisted by force of arms, left the vessel. At sunset Captain Scott ordered the deputy and his assistants ashore, threatening them with force if they did not obey. Protesting against his action, they left the ship. Judge Marvin, on learning of the interference of Captain Scott with his officers in the discharge of their duties issued a warrant for his arrest. It was served upon him, but he refused to be arrested, and half an hour after the summons, with his prize in tow, sailed from the port for New York.

Soon after the Salvor arrived, Major French sent an officer on board, and arrested James McKay, the former owner of the steamer, Dr. R. H. Barret, of Key West, and Wm. G. Ball, and removed them to Fort Taylor, where they are now held prisoners of war.

The U. S. Marshal, while in charge of the vessel, examined two of the passengers, and ascertained from them the nature on the cargo. It consisted of 600 pistols, 500,000 percussion caps, 600 dozen hats, 5 cases shoes, 400,000 cigars, 400 bags coffee, cases of dry goods, etc.--The crew informed him that cases of arms were secreted under the coal.

Capt. Scott, before leaving port, addressed a letter to Major French asking the surrender to him of the prisoners taken from the prize. Major French refused, and was sustained in his course by the U. S. District Court. It is reported that the District Attorney will demand the return of both ship and cargo. The crew will, of course, be sent to this district for trial.


Latest from California.

Salt Lake City, Oct. 24.
--The Pony Express passed here at 6 o'clock, P. M., with San Francisco dates to the afternoon of the 19th inst.

The officers of the General Government to purchase a site for a fort at Lime Point, near the entrance of San Francisco harbor, and five miles distant from the city, have met with a check through the decision of the Supreme Court.

A jury recently appraised the property at $125,000, which the owners refuse to accept, because the Government, through its agent, once offered a larger sum. The Court decided that the case must be decided by ascertaining if such higher price was offered, as set forth, so as to bind the Government. The Government side of the case is managed by attorneys appointed under the Buchanan Administration.

The official returns of the State election are just announced. The whole vote cast is a fraction under 120,000. Sanford, the Republican candidate for Governor, received 36,036. McConnell, (Breckenridge) 32,751; Converse, (Union Democrat) 30,990.

Captain T. J. Steeples, commanding the steamer Pacific, was shot at Portland, Oregon, on the 10th instant, whilst aiding to assist a gambler. He died a few days subsequently.

General Sumner will leave on Monday, the 21st inst., by steamer for Washington, with nine companies of regulars under his command, who go to New York.

One thousand United States arms go forward by the same steamer.

Col. Wright succeeds General Sumner in the command of the Pacific Department, until Gen. Darer arrives.

Commercial.--The market continues quote easy. Sight exchange to New York, 3½a4 per cent. The question of danger to the treasure shipments from privateers is again agitated and some of the newspapers advocate a petition to Government to send a steam war vessel to Aspinwall at least once a month, to receive and convey the California treasure to New York.

The markets for general merchandize is quiet, excepting a few articles, for which there is a speculative demand. Candles continue with quite heavy sales here, and to arrive, at 22a23, and sales of T. H. & Co.'s lard at 16 Three thousand gallons spirits turtentine at $1.30. lathmus better, 29a30 Alcohol, in barrels, 62½c. Layer raisins, $4.50. Nails, in kegs, $3.80.


From Western Virginia.

The Wheeling Intelligencer, of Thursday, says:

‘ We learn from passengers who arrived last evening from Oakland, that the Federal forces at Fort Pendleton, about six miles from that place, were attacked on Tuesday night by a large force of cavalry, supposed to be from Romney. The enemy drove in the Federal pickets and fired upon the camp. The fire was returned. None of the Federal forces were killed. The force at Fort Pendleton (which is on the farm of Major Philip Pendleton, now in this city,) started in pursuit of the rebels yesterday morning.


A Committee appointed to Investigate the Fremont claims.

A Northern correspondent says:

‘ By direction of the President, a commission has been appointed consisting of Hon. David Davis, of Illinois; Hon. Jos. Holt, of Ky., and Hugh Campbell, Esq., of St. Louis, to examine and report upon all unsettled claims against the Military Department of the West which may have originated prior to the 14th of the present month, at which time the order was issued that all moneys must be disbursed by the regularly appointed agents of the Government. The commission are to meet at St. Louis, and enter upon their duties as soon as practicable. Samuel T. Glover, Esq., of St. Louis, is to act as counsel for the Government.


Gen. M'Clellan's war horse.

A writer in Forter's Spirit thus describes the horse which some gentlemen in Cincinnati bought in St. Louis and presented to Gen. McClellan, when he took charge of the Federal army in Western Virginia:

Dan Webster, or ‘"Handsome Dan,"’ the familiar sobriquet by which he was known to the men, women, and children throughout the city, is a gelding of a beautifully dappled mahogany-bay color, with three white feet and a star, very heavy flowing black mane and tall, the latter a regular ‘"spout."’ He is 16 hands high, and weighs, in ordinary flesh, 1,260 pounds. He was aired by Gen. Jackson, dam of Sir Archy and Messenger blood. He has a fine, bony, and intelligent head, delicately tapered ear, and a proud, beautifully arched neck, capital shoulders, very long and muscular arms, whose symmetry could not be improved were they carved to order; his chest is broad and deep, his legs fine, flat and bony, with his hocks and knees well down to his hells, and his fetlocks almost to the ground, with a round, well-ribbed barrel of tremendous length, and a line and hips remarkable for strength and beauty, indeed, his fine points and evenly-balanced proportions make him, in the fullest sense of the term, a model horse, not only for symmetry, but for speed and As a field horse, I never saw his superior, being very happy when in action, with a proud and nervous step his head as high as his rider's when mounted, and his threat-latch and the tips of his fore-feet almost on a perpendicular line when in repose. He possesses many characteristics common to no one of his species I have ever known. For instance, he will not stamp his feet nor shake off a fly it there were a thousand on him, seeming to entertain a contempt for all lesser animals; and his confidence in, and affection for, the human species is such that he will not, under any circumstances, suffer his attention to be drawn from his master by any minor object. To his own species he pays no attention, passing among them without deigning them the slightest notice, even when turned loose in the same yard or field. He will follow his master up any flight of stairs, or along any precipice where he can get a foothold, relying on his master's judgment for his safety; will stand any where he is left without constraint, and is at brave as a lion and discreet as a judge.


The expedition down the Upper Mississippi.

The expedition destined for operations down the Mississippi is to consist not only of gunboats, but of floating batteries, which are thus described in the Peoria (Iii.) Union.

They are of solid timber, twelve inches square, and lying in three tiers of timber deep. This is strongly bolted together, and forms the hull of the vessel. Wells are cut through the upper tiers, about four and a half feet square, and lined with due to keep-out the water. These wells serve for magazines, or places for keeping the ammunition. There are four of these in each boat. The solid platform is 60x15 feet, being longer in the middle than at the ends, each end being sharpened. The whole is covered with a thick plank. Entirely around the outside of the float is a parapet or bulwark of iron, three eighths of an inch in thickness and six and a half feet in height. This is inclined inward, so as to give a glancing direction to any shot that may strike it. The armament of these floats is to consist of six 64 pound mortars, three upon a side, and so arranged is to deliver their charges over the iron parapet that surrounds them, and which protects those who serve them. There are 38 of these monstrous batteries to be built, 26 of which are nearly ready for use, and the remainder are begun. There is no machinery in board of them for locomotion, but it is intended to tow them by means of gunboats.


Election in Western Virginia on the division of the State.

Wheeling, Oct. 24.
--The election on the question of the division of the State as ordered by an ordinance of the Convention passed at a recent session, came off throughout Western Virginia to-day. The vote of this city and county was overwhelming in favor of a division. Reports from the interior, as far as received, show a still greater unanimity.


Requisition on Pennsylvania for troops.

Harrisburg, Oct. 24.
--The War Department made a requisition on the Governor to-day for five companies of heavy artillery, and asked that Col. Anganthe, of Philadelphia, shall enlist and command them. The Governor approved of the requisition, and the companies are to be enlisted, subsisted, equipped, and armed by the National Government, under the order of the 25th of September, as contained in the proclamation.


Loss of grain vessels.

Derqit, Oct. 24.
--The schooners William Nelson, Flying Cloud, L. M. Mason, Union, E. J. Gray, A. Carson, and three others, names unknown, all grain laden, and bound for the lower lake, went ashore on Presque Isle, in Lake Haron, on Tuesday night. The three first named will prove a total loss.

Four tugs, with steam pumps, have been sent out to render assistance.


Miscellaneous.

A Universalist minister in Chicago, in the course of a recent sermon on the duty of Christian patriots in the present national crisis, remarked that he was aware that most of the Christian public differed with him on the mooted question of future punishments; but he would say that he agreed with them on one point; he wished it to be distinctly understood that he had a hell for all traitors and rebels.

Marshal Murray, of New York, has purchased a quantity of articles for the prisoners at Fort Lafayette, in order that they may pass the winter comfortably. The supplies consisted of beds, bedsteads, blankets, armchairs, stores, etc.

A Key West letter of the 20th instant, reports the arrival at Cardenas, on the 16th of the steamer Theodora, from Charleston, with the French Consul and his family, and Messrs. Mason and Slidell, Commissioners to France and England.

Henry Winter Davis, of Baltimore, has found an opponent for the Federal Congress in W. J. Harhill, Mr. H., in his card, concludes thus:--‘"The icy hand of death may wrest that independence from me; but the chilly blasts of winter, never."’

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