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General news items.

Below will be found brief extracts of news from all quarters of Lincolndom:

Arrest of Capt. H. L. Shields.

The New York Times, of the 28th, says:

Captain H. L Shields, of Bennington, Vt. was arrested on Thursday, charged with having carried on treasonable correspondence with the enemy. He obstinately denied the charges made against him, and promised to bring sufficient evidence of their falsity; but he was conveyed to Fort Lafayette notwithstanding. Capt. Shields graduated at West Point in 1841, served ten years in the regular army, and was twice brevetted for gallantry in the Mexican War. For the last few years he has taken no part in public affairs, although it is said by his friends that he was hoping to arrange his affairs so as to assume some position in the National army.

Something about the privateer Sumter.

The New York Times, of the 28th ult., has the following paragraph:

Capt. Willey, of the brig C. F. O'Brien, which arrived yesterday from Montevideo, reports that on Sept. 20, lat. 20 deg. 6 min., lon. 31 deg., he saw the British brig Spartan, from Rio Janeiro for St. Thomas. The Captain of the Spartan reported having, Oct. 5, been chased for twelve hours, in lat. 19 deg., lon. 47 deg., by a steamer, bark-rigged, round stern, which had no sails higher than topgallant sails. After being overtaken she was boarded, but being an English vessel, was allowed to proceed. The steamer had a large American ensign flying during the whole time; the officers of the steamer would not tell her name or what her business was. The Captain of the brig, on arriving at St. Thomas, was invited on board one of our men-of-war, and seeing a painting of the privateer Sumter on board, pronounced her to be the same vessel that boarded him. She was very light, and could not have had much coal in.

Speculations about the fleet — a great battle at hand.

The Washington correspondent of the New York Times, says:

‘ Of course, everybody is on tiptoe with excitement respecting the great forward movement to take place in a few days, about which there is no concealment, from headquarters down. "A great battle is at hand," is in everybody's mouth. This is the settled belief in all, from those "nearest the throne" to the retailer of rumors in the street; yet, though alone in my opinion, I do not quite believe it. That our army will advance I have no doubt, but it seems to be generally conceded that the rebel leaders have abandoned entirely all idea of offensive movements, and adopted a defensive policy.

If this be true, every consideration of military prudence would keep them from risking a decisive battle. Acting on the defensive, they can expect only to repulse an attack, without any intention of following the advantage up; whereas a defeat would be total ruin. They tell me, in reply, "We will force a battle." --But this is easier said than done. Knowing thoroughly every inch of ground, they can select each position to be taken in succession beforehand, and the result will be a battle of positions, dragging its weary, endless length along.

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