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Latest Southern news.

burning of a steamboat — the Federal fleet--visit of a French man-of-war off Charleston, &c.

From our Southern exchanges we gather the following items of interest transpiring in the Southern Confederacy:

Burning of a steamboat at Sullivan's Island — probable work of an incendiary.

The Charleston (S. C.) Courier, of the 1st inst., has the following particulars of the burning of the steam ferry boat Osiris, at her wharf at Sullivan's Island;

The well know steam ferry boat Osiris, with the furniture and everything on board, was consumed at her wharf at Sullivan's Island, on Wednesday last. When first discovered, the flames were seen issuing from underneath the saloon by the pilot George, who was sleeping on the boat, and was aroused by the smoke. The fire spread with great rapidity to other parts of the boat. George immediately informed the Captain, who resides near by, and got up all the hands, but she was so much burnt that nothing remain, but to cast her off from the wharf, and let her consume to the water's edge. Before getting her loose from her moorings she set fire to the office building, which was destroyed, and also injured the wharf. The cargo on board had been previously landed on the wharf and most of it taken away. A quantity of hay and some Government stores remaining on the wharf took fire and was burnt. The wharf sustained very little damage. The steamer was valued at between twenty and twenty-five thousand dollars. There was no insurance. Capt. Mansfield will suffer much by this disaster, as in addition to the ordinary value of the boat, he had just expended some six or eight thousand dollars for repairs on her.

The steamer had been engaged all day Wednesday in removing from the Island to the city the resident citizens, with their furniture, who were leaving in accordance with the precautions order of the military authorities, for the departure of all families and civilians from the Island. The last trip from the city was made about quarter to 8 o'clock. After the discharge of the cargo, the engineer, before leaving the boat, between 11 and 12 o'clock, made a thorough examination of the boat, to see that all the fires had been properly extinguished. This precaution was taken in consequence of a new fireman having been employed to supply the place of their usual hand, who had been detached for another service. The fire broke out between twelve and one o'clock, which leaves no doubt it was the act of an incendiary. A colored man attached to the boat was arrested on suspicion. Thursday morning, and the case will undergo a strict investigation.

The burning of the Osiris caused considerable excitement on the Island, and taken in connection with the mysterious sinking of the steamer Coffee, very near the same place, the day previous, is certainly a little remarkable, and calls for additional vigilance on the part of the authorities.

The destination of the Federal fleet.

The Norfolk Day Book, of the 1st inst., says:

‘ We learn from some of the returned North Carolinian, who have been spending a couple weeks at the of Rip Raps, where they have heard the matter discussed pretty freely as to the destination of the Federal fleet, which recently sailed, that it is to be divided, and one portion sent to Beaufort and Wilmington, one portion to Mobile, and another to Charleston, and if they meet with such success as they anticipate at these points, they will continue their operations at other points on the Southern coast, and after it gets a little colder they intend to pay us a visit at Norfolk.

We learn from a gentleman who has just returned from Currituck Beach, that 37 of the fleet were, observed to pass that place Wednesday. So we may look out to hear from them very speedily, if they should attack Beaufort or Wilmington, as they have got in the neighborhood of those places by this time.

The Rappahannock blockade.

The Fredericksburg Recorder, of the 1st inst., says:

‘ A gentleman just from Lancaster county states that a rigid blockade of this river is kept up, and that on Monday week the steamer St. Nicholas, Capt. Lewis commanding, when near the mouth, was fired into by a Federal tug, but was only able to make one response owing to the fact that the shot which she had on board were entirely too large for the bore of the gun. Owing to this fact the St. Nicholas was compelled to retreat up the stream. She was followed for some distance by the tug, which fired a good many times, but we are glad to say "nobody was hurt." On another occasion a Yankee tug chased a vessel from this place into one of the creeks, and were about to land in order to get to her, (the vessel having been run aground,) when they were ran off by the approach of some twenty or more negroes, who were ploughing in an adjoining field, and who, as soon as the enemy showed themselves, unhitched their mules, mounted them, and frantically rode towards them. Their approach, coupled with the rattling of the chains connected with the harness of the animals, induced the Yankees to beat a hasty retreat in their usual "good order" style.

The visit of a French man-of-war off Charleston.

The Courier, of the 1st instant, has the following notice of the visit of a French vessel off Charleston harbor, which we noticed under our telegraphic head on Saturday last:

‘ The unusual circumstance of a French war vessel calling off this port, took place yesterday. About nine A. M. we noticed a French flag flying from Fort Sumter, which gave notice of the arrival of the stranger, and during the day the Emperor's Consul took the steamer Aid and proceeded down the bay, a boat from the war vessel meeting the Aid inside the harbor. A second boat from the Frenchman in the meantime reached the city in charge of an officer, and having on board W. E. Molyneaux, the British Consul at Savannah, and lady, who were passengers from New York. The man-of-war is the steam corvette Prony, commanded by Captain De Fontanges. She sailed from New York October 26th, and has touched off this bar to communicate with the Consul. She is armed with six guns.

From the coast of North Carolina.

The Wilmington (N. C.) Journal, of the 1st inst., says:

‘ From present indications it would appear that the Federal fleet has already, or is about collecting, off our bars. Pickets who left Camp Wyatt this morning, at 2 o'clock, report heavy cannonading in the direction of Fort Caswell, previous to their departure. Similar reports are said to have been heard in town about the same hour, by some of our citizens. It may be that the blockading steamers were after another corn cracker, or the firing heard may have been signal guns for the concentration of the fleet. One thing is quite evident, that nothing definite has yet been received from our fortifications, and we would suggest to our citizens the propriety of keeping cool on the subject, but at the same time to be prepared for any emergency, as there is no telling at what moment we may all be called upon to assist in the defence of our homes, wives, children, and property, from the ravages of an invading force of Hessians. We hardly think the enemy have yet shown themselves, or that an attempt will be made to land or force our works to-day. Not a word, so far as we can learn, has been received from any of the fortifications on the coast since early this morning.

P. S.--A gentleman just up from Col. Clingman's camp reports no vessels in sight at 9 o'clock this morning. He confirms the reports of the firing in the direction of Fort Caswell last night.

’ The Newbern Progress, of the 31st ult., says:

Commodore Lynche sent one of his naval vessels down to Hatteras recently to look out for the big fleet, of which we have heard so much of late. There was one vessel inside and two or three out, but no trace of the great expedition could be seen. The guns at the fort and the vessel inside both opened fire on our vessel, firing some 20 or 25 shots, to which our vessel responded ten or a dozen times--"nobody hurt" on either side. The steamer left there Tuesday, at 1 o'clock, and arrived here early yesterday morning.

A Magic Oil vender turned Yankee chaplain.

The Charleston Mercury, of the 31st ult., in noticing the arrival of Yankee prisoners in that city on Wednesday last, says:

‘ One of the prisoners, who marched among the officers, was recognized as the itinerant vender of "Magic Oil," who, a year or two ago, used to frequent the Post Office steps and other well known localities in this city. He has now turned his elocutionary powers to better account, and officiates, or did officiate, as chaplain of a Yankee regiment.

Meeting of the Alabama Legislature.

The Alabama Legislature met on Monday in special session. The Senate was organized by the election of R. M. T. Patton, of Lauderdale, President; the House, by the election of W. H. Crenshaw, of Butler, Speaker. The Governor's message gives a glowing report of the condition and prospects of the State, and of the unanimity of its patent citizenship in the great movement for independence.


The Pensacola Observer, of the 28th ult., says:

‘ From three o'clock, after midnight, until this morning, there were signals and firing between the fleet outside and Fort Pickens. Look out, brave Southron, be ready at any moment. They are only watching a chance to satiate their bloody thirst for revenge.

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