engagement between the Confederate steamer-patrick Henry and the Federal fleet off Newport Plues — Damage to the fleet — the Queen Sisters,&c.
[special Correspondence of the Dispatch]
Norfolk, Dec. 2d, 1861.
This morning, at an early hour, very heavy cannonading was distinctly heard here.
Commencing at five o'clock, the firing continued with great rapidity until 8 o'clock. I have ascertained that there was a naval engagement of considerable severity at the mouth of James River
, off Newport News.
The Confederate steamer Patrick Henry
came down the river and opened a terrible fire upon the Federal fleet, consisting of the frigates Congress
, and four gun-boats The
fight progressed with great activity for three hours, but the result is not yet known.
I learn, however, that one of the gunboats withdrew from the action as if she had been badly crippled.
She succeeded, however, in getting entirely out of the line of the firing, and finally she tearing herself securely between the Cumberland
and the batteries at Newport News.
The firing was specially loud, and must have been almost deafening to those engaged in the action.
The distance (air line) is ten miles and three quarters, and yet the concussion was so great that window sashes, &c., were shaken, and some of the broadsides roared like heavy peals of thunder.
The engagement was plainly seen by some persons from the tops of high buildings, &c. and was carefully noted by the signal officer
It is asserted that one of the Federal
frigates is very badly damaged, a number of balls having struck her hull, rigging, &c.
The Patrick Henry
, apparently satisfied with the result of the engagement, costly withdrew and proceeded up the river, when the gun-boats followed, and the Patrick Henry
finding that she was pursued, turned round and dashed after them; but they quickly changed their course, and succeeded in making good their retreat beyond the range of the well-aimed shots of the gallant Capt.Tucker
The ‘"Queen Sisters, of Charleston
,"’ will on Wednesday night, give an entertainment at the Opera House
, for the benefit of the Norfolk
Humans Association The house will no doubt be densely crowded.
The weather is getting stormy again.
The wind is blowing freshly, and the air is cool enough for the season.