Latest Northern War news.We are in possession of New York and Philadelphia papers of the 15th inst. From them we make the following extracts:
The battle of Picking Creek of Mill Spring.
Northern detailed account of the Great defeat at Somerset, Ky.The New York Herald's Somerset correspondent gives the following account of this defeat: Among the forces engaged in the fight, it is certain there were the 10th Indiana, 9th Ohio, 2d Minnesota; 10th and 4th Kentucky, and the 18th regulars. The 10th Indiana and 19th regulars were reinforcements which reached Gen. Thomas on Saturday morning, and they were compelled to make a forced march of over twenty-five miles to reach the position in time for the affair. This position, to which General Thomas had proceeded, and in which he had halted on Saturday night with a view of crossing the Cumberland and proceeding southeast to Monticello, is about six miles east of Jamestown and twelve miles west of Mill Spring, or the entrenchments of Zollicoffer, at White Oak Creek. A country road leading to Jamestown runs due east for six miles, crossing two small streams and traversing a rolling country; thence, taking a turn southeast and crossing the Cumberland, continues in the same direction to Monticello. In the immediate vicinity of the two small streams crossed by this road the country is quite hilly, and to the south becomes rough and rugged, culminating in the lofty crags that form the banks of the Cumberland at this point. The road named, however, avoids these crags, and, following the course of a small stream two miles further east, finds a good descent and crossing at the river. On this field Gen. Thomas halted on the evening of the 18th with the above regiments. While this movement was being made the two brigades of Generals Schoepff, and Carter, encamped near Somerset, and commanded by General Schoepff, and not been idle. As early as the morning of the 17th a movement on the part of General Schoepff was begun. Four regiments of infantry, as enumerated below, and Captain Stewart's battery of flying artillery, left their camp at Somerset, taking three days rations, and began the march for a point on Fishing creek, five miles north of Zollicoffer's entrenchments, and consequently near the mouth of the stream. Two regiments were left in camp as a reserve, Colonel Vandervelde in command. The force under Gen. Schoepff in the march to Fishing creek consisted of the following: Brigadier General Alvin Schoepff, commanding--Seventh Regiment Kentucky Volunteers; Twelfth Regiment Kentucky Volunteers. Brigadier General Carter, commanding--First Regiment Tennessee Volunteers; Second Regiment Tennessee Volunteers. At the same time that this forward movement was made by Gen. Schoepff, reinforcements were forwarded from Harrodsburg, and the reserve was strengthened by two regiments left at Somerset and a battery. This reserve then consisted of four regiments, under Colonel Vandervelde, of the Thirty fifth Ohio regiment. The intention of Gen. Buell--who, in his quarters at Louisville, appears to have planned the whole affair — was, that the two forces of Thomas and Schoepff should attack Zollicoffer in his entrenchments at the same time. But, with a vigor of design and execution worthy of being exercised with more success in a better cause, Gen. Zollicoffer, with a force of about 8,000 men, marched out on the night of the 18th instant, and, at an early hour on Sunday, the 19th inst., attacked General Thomas's force in his camp, at the point I have described, and which is familiarly known as Webb's Cross Roads, and situated on Wolf Creek. Although it cannot be said that Gen. Thomas was taken by surprise, it is not definitely settled that he anticipated any attack. But, in the close proximity in which he was to General Zollicoffer, he took every precaution, and when, at an early hour, and before dawn of day, his pickets were driven in by the advancing force, the main body was aroused and prepared to receive the rebels. The cannonading began about four o'clock in the morning, and the engagement became general shortly afterwards Instead of succeeding in his design of surprising General Thomas in his camp, General Zollicoffer found the whole force, fresh from a long night's rest, prepared to receive the weary columns he had rapidly marched to the field. In numbers he was indeed superior, His force of cavalry and his artillery were of superior numbers and character to our own; but the sequel. shows that they were not managed with more tact and judgment. That the conflict on both sides was terrific, is evinced by the casualties reported. That the rebels fought gallantly there is no reason to doubt, and the long continuance of so desperate a fight evinces fully the pluck and spirit of the troops composing both armies. The sun did not deign to shine upon the scene, and the clouds above threated a heavy rain. But throughout the dismal Sabbath morning, and until half of the afternoon had passed away, did the conflict rage. It had continued without any decided advantage on either side, and until within half an hour of the conclusion of the battle the result was doubtful. And it is not improbable that it might have resulted less honorably for ourselves had not one of those chances which so often influence such events decided it in our favor. At about ten minutes past three o'clock the Fourth Kentucky regiment, deploying on the flank of the rebels, by some means approached the position assumed by the rebel General commanding, and a shot from the pistol of Colonel Fry is said to have inflicted the wound which resulted in the death of General Zollicoffer. Colonel Balie Peytor, Jr., son of the ex-member of Congress from Tennessee; had been killed at an earlier hour. The death of their General, added to that of their most prominent regimental officer, created a consternation among the rebels which became a panic, and caused their rapid retreat at half-past 3 from the battle field. In their rapid flight the bodies of two hundred and eight men were left lying dead upon the field, and among these were the bodies of Zollicoffer and Peyton. They also deserted a flag, which was picked up on the field. Our own loan I cannot positively state. General Thomas did not halt the eager columns who had engaged the rebels all the long and desperate day, but began the pursuit with vigor. The retreat became a panic more terrible than the famous one of Bull Run; for close upon the heels of the frightened rebels followed the animated and victorious Unionists. Into their entrenchments they fled at nightfall, and our little army, sinking on the western cliffs of White Oak creek, lay on their arms till morning, ready to storm the den beyond the stream. But when morning dawned, they marched into the entrenchments unopposed, and with colors flying. The two forces of Thomas and Schoepff, combining, crossed Cumberland river at Mill Spring, and again began the pursuit of the scattered rebels. The result of this pursuit, I have learned since beginning this letter, was the captures of a very large portion of the force; but so improbable sounds the number that I can hardly give it credence and the benefit of an expression. The result of this splendid achievement has been the defeat and destruction of an army of 10,000 men, and, doubtless, their utter demoralization. It has removed from the left flank of our army the only obstruction that prevented its marching on Bowling Green. It has left. General Thomas's division free to act as the left wing of the main army, composed of the First, Second and Third divisions, and we, shall doubtless have vigorous movements on the part of Generals McCook, Nelson and Gritenden, in accordance with this one on Gen'l The man's part, we says gained and new hold possession of the entrenchments of while Gen. Creek and Mill Spring. We have taken eighteen pieces of artillery and many pieces mounted on the works. All their ammunition, an important feature among the spoils, has fallen into our hands, as well as eighty-three wagon loads of various valuable stores, all their camp equipage and horses. All their means of transportation were captured, besides certain trophies in the shape of flags.
Relief of Union prisoners of War.The following has been issued by the War Department:
Secretary of War.