Late Southern News.Our Southern exchanges furnish us with the following items of interest:
Naval engagement near Mobile, Ala.From the Mobile Evening News, of the 28th ult., we take the following account of a nice little affair which recently took place in the bay near that place: ‘ About mid-day yesterday the stout gunboat Florida, C. S. N., concluded to celebrate Christmas eve by a small set to with the insolent Lincoln cruiser New London, which was lying off the mouth of the harbor. The Florida ran down to the westward of Sand Island, and challenged the New London to come on, which she did, and for an hour or two a lively cannonade at long taw furnished an excitingly interesting exhibition for the entertainment of the great audience which viewed it, the four thousand men who garrison Forts Morgan and Gaines, as well as The crews of the blockading vessels, being the spectators. The Florida could not come to close quarters with the enemy by reason of the shoal water of a bar intervening, and could she have got out it is likely she would have had more than she could attend to with the several blockaders that were lying off in deep water. ’ The engagement was lengthy, and many shots were fired on both sides, and ended by the New London backing out as usual. The "Florida" was not touched, but it is thought that three of her pills took effect on the enemy. All but these three were seen to strike the water, but the thousands of eyes which watched could not tell where these three went to if they were not stepped by the New London. She was evidently hit hard, for after backing out of the fight she signaled the fleet, and one of them ran down and lay alongside of her for several hours, rendering assistance, it is supposed. The spectators say that the Florida's long and terrible guns were admirably served, the practice being most excellent, placing the shot and shell all around the mark, so close, in many instances as to apparently dash the water upon the Lincolnite's decks. The engagement is said to have been a most animating and exciting scene as witnessed from the forts.
The war on the Seacoast.We take the following from the Charleston Mercury, of the 30th ult: ‘ Although matters are getting quite brisk along the neighboring coast, there does not seem to be that imminence of battle which was believed, a few days ago, to exist. On Saturday Maj. General Lee and Staff visited Brig. General Evans's military district, and spent the entire day with the hero of the "Stone Bridge" and of Leesburg, making observations in that quarter. The enemy's gun-boats are still in sight of White Point, but it is believed that this point of the inland communication has been occupied by the enemy for the purpose of more effectually blockading us. The Yankees believe that our Commissioners and many valuable cargoes have found exit in this direction. One of their amusements consists in shelling the residences of the planters, on both sides of the stream, and if their practice was even tolerable, much property would thus be destroyed. But, fortunately, their gunnery is so bad that as many as 20 shells are sometimes fired at a large house before "a hit" is made. Another less expensive game is the killing of cattle with long range rifles, and then sending the barge ashore with an armed party to recover the "spoils," ’ On Sunday morning two of the enemy's gun-boats approached White Point, and, after firing seven shells at General Evans's pickets, retired. The steamer Planter ran out to sea a short distance on Sunday afternoon to reconnoitre, and encountered one of the blockading steamers. A number of shots were exchanged. Those of the enemy fell short; but one of the shots from the Planter is believed to have taken effect. This, probably, accounts for the heavy firing which was heard yesterday afternoon. It was mentioned on the street yesterday that the enemy's gun-boats had been sounding Siono Inlet and placing buoys in the channel. At Station No. 2, as elsewheree on the Charleston and Savannah railroad, everything wears a busy aspect, and the soldiers are very anxious for a brush with the Yankees. This port was blockaded yesterday by a steamer, a bark, and a schooner, the last supposed to be a merchantman.
Texas items.A Texas journal, of a late date, says: ‘ Mrs. Louisa B. Carter, wife of Capt. B. F. Carter, commander of the Tom Green Rifles, now in Virginia, died in Austin on the 12th inst. Mrs. Carter was the daughter of Maj. Wm. Rust, of Austin, and sister of Hon. Albert Rust, of Arkansas. ’ The Galveston Civilian, of the 15th, says: ‘ Last night's mail brought us advices from the Rio Grande to the effect that a Lincoln steam propeller had arrived and was blockading the river. She had captured and burned a schooner. ’ The fight was still progressing at Matamoras. The State Gazette learns that a fire broke out in Georgetown, on the night of the 9th inst., which destroyed property to the amount of about $33,000. No insurance. The diphtheria is prevailing to an alarming and fatal extent in the Dallas region. The Houston Telegraph remarks: ‘ Our friends at Galveston are in considerable of a stew over a report that Gov. Lubbock had written to Gen. Hebert recommending the destruction of Galveston if the city could not be defended. ’ The Paris Advocate says that the gin houses of R. M. Hopkins, Esq., and G. Murray, Esq., were burned a week or two ago, together with $150 bales of cotton.
Arkansas items.The following extracts are from a private letter from Fort Gibson, and from a very reliable gentleman who is sojourning at that place for a time: ‘ * * * The Cherokee regiment under Col. Drew will be reorganized. John Ross, the principal chief, made a speech here to-day.--He spoke under the Confederate flag, took hold of the staff, and declared that if every Cherokee deserted it, he would die defending it He, Col. Cooper, Col. Drew, Col. W. P. Ross, and others had a conference to-day.--There is no question that matters will be adjusted, and that Col. Drew with a more numerous command will take part in the fight to come off not many days hence. Better men than those that stood by Col. Drew, in the trial of last week, cannot be mustered. Pickens, Benge, Hildebrand, Judge Fields, Chas. Hicks — captains all — stood by him to the end. There was some lieutenants, (if I knew their names I would give them) and two sons and a grandson of the chief that remained with their colonel also. ’ Col. Cooper, like Gen. Price, is one of the commanders that does not sit perpendicularly up after a fight, but goes out hunting for new ones. And such officers does the Colonel need. If Providence governs, there never will be a fight. Col. Sims's regiment of Texans is encamped here — all daring and decent men. The whole regiment is an honor to its State. Measles and pneumonia have been severe among the men. Two hundred, or thereabouts, are on the sick report.
Unionism in Tennessee on the Decline — letter from Hon. John C. Gaut.As an evidence of the effect produced upon the mind of "Union men" in East Tennessee by the abolition message of Abraham Lincoln, the Savannah Republican publishes a very interesting letter from Hon. John C. Gaut, taking strong Southern ground, and pledging his influence and efforts hereafter for the cause of the South. We make the following extract: ‘ Lincoln's late conduct, as well as his late message, and also some late resolutions introduced into the Federal Congress, clearly shows that it is the intention of Lincoln and the North to subjugate the South and emancipate the slaves. They show further, to my mind, that an attempt will be made to arm the slaves to slay their masters. Lincoln deserves universal condemnation, contempt, and execration for his unmitigated deception, hypocrisy, and dishonesty. His message is shaped to suit the peculiar views of the European nations, and is a bribe held out to them to join him in an unholy crusade to rob the people of the South of their rights and liberty and emancipate their slaves. * * But I comfort to you with regret and mortification, I as well as tens of thousands of others, was cheated and deceived in the Federal Administration, as to their real and true intentions and designs. And I now believe and unhesitatingly declare that it is the duty as well as the interest of every man in the slave States, to resist Lincoln and the North, with all his means, influence, heart, and strength. In other words, that there be no division whatever, but that we stand together as one men in the South to resist the North, their invasion and aggression. And such has been the effect of Lincoln's message upon the people of Bradley. ’ Those who have heretofore been called Union men, have gone clear over, and have commenced volunteering, and, during the week past, I am informed that seven new volunteer companies have been made up; and more will be made up the ing week. It looks now like but few indeed will be left at home. I was at Athens last week, and the message of Lincoln had changed every man with whom I conversed, who had heretofore believed that Lincoln did not intend to interfere with slavery or the rights of slavery and all expressed themselves, decidedly on the side of the South.
John C. Gauy.