The great struggle.
retreat of the Federal forces.
Incidents, &c.

Our reports from the scene of operations yesterday were exceedingly meagre, and to obtain really reliable information was decidedly difficult. Of rumors there was no scarcity, from early in the morning until late in the evening. In the forenoon the following dispatch was received at this office and posted upon the bulletin:

"Chester, July 3, 1862.
‘"Mr. E. W. Orr, just from the Hundreds, reports no gunboats above City Point; all having gone to Westover. The Yankee troops have all passed down the same direction. They left a great many wounded and sick at Shirley, besides a large lot of stores, &c. A great many of the Federals were driven from Shirley by the Confederate troops, and escaped over into Eppes's Island. Heavy firing was heard down the river this morning."’

Eppes's Island is opposite City Point, and separated from the main land (Shirley) by a marsh, which is overflowed at high tide. It must have been a difficult task for the retreating Yankees to reach the Island under the circumstances, and we shall not be surprised to hear that many of them published in the attempt.

Among the prevalent rumors yesterday evening was one that 7,000 of the enemy had been captured below Curl's Neck, but we were unable to trace it to any authentic source. Persons coming from the last battle field were utterly unable to give any definite account of the situation of affairs, though many were quite confident that the bulk of the Federal army had either escaped by the river, or got under cover of their gunboats. One gentleman who left the scene of the recent struggle about midday informed us that he heard cannot aiding apparently a few miles below, but that it was not of long duration. A considerable number of prisoners were brought in yesterday.

It appears from all accounts that McClellan's army, after the battle of Tuesday, continued to make a rapid retreat, but with what success remains yet to be developed. A report came from Petersburg last evening that the Federals were landing on the South side of James river, below City Point, with the supposed intention of making a diversion in the direction of Prince George county. Whether this report be authentic or otherwise, the enemy will make no movement that is not closely watched by our Generals, and should he attempt to retrieve his heavy disasters of the past week, a bold and gallant army will be ready to confront him.

A large number of wagons, abandoned by the Yankees on their retreat from the line of the Chickahominy, will be speedily transferred to Richmond, filled with commissary and other stores. The York River train last evening brought up a large amount of valuable articles suitable for army use, found on the line of the road within nine miles of the city.

About fifty pieces of field artillery abandoned by the enemy, were taken by our troops yesterday — All were spiked.

From the Southside.

The Petersburg Express of yesterday has the following information:

‘ Parties who came over yesterday afternoon, give it as their opinion that the enemy have been surrounded, or nearly so, and that but few comparatively will be enabled to escape by means of their gunboats. On the other hand videt from Bermuds Hundreds, and parties from Prince George, who reached Petersburg yesterday afternoon, report that the enemy's transports were passing up and down James river all day yesterday. We hear, too, that these boats invariably display the yellows flag, thereby indicating a vast number of wounded, or else resorting to a bit of deception eminently characteristic of the Yankees. They have on repeated occasions refused to respect the yellow flag which has been holded upon our hospitals, and have actually tired upon it. This was done at Ball Run, on the 18th of July, again at Pensacola, and also at other places which we cannot now recall.

We hear that the four prisoners who were taken or the Chesterfield shore Tuesday evening they having been drilled over by the current, state that the amount of dissatisfaction prevailing in Gen. McClellan's army was vast, but that when cornered and under the eye of their officers, they would fight. These men did not hesitate to state it as their opinion, that there were thousands who would willingly leave, if it were in their power.

Late on Tuesday night, our pickets in Chesterfield overhauled a fugitive from McClellan's army, who had swam the river, and sought safety in the house of a free negro. The poor creature was famished, had on nothing in the shape of wearing apparel save a shirt, and declared his utter aversion to ever again taking up arms against the Southern Confederacy. This fugitive stated that thousands would have cheerfully joined him in his voyage, but for the fear of meeting a watery grave, and we do not doubt that he spoke the truth.

We learn from a gentleman who resides in Prince George, that the wagon train to which we referred yesterday as being at Berkeley, in Charles City county, on the bank of the river, was greatly augmented. Tuesday afternoon and yesterday. These wagons now line the banks of the river for miles and number several hundred. It is supposed that they have been driven there to secure them from capture, but we are of the opinion that a body of Confederate cavalry could dash down and secure the horses, if not the wagons. There are no gunboats lying near; or there were none yesterday, all being occupied higher up the river, in the more immediate vicinity of McClellan's forces.

Stuart's Cavalry.

During the exciting scenes of the past week, the famous body of cavalry under command of Gen. J. F. B. Stuart have by no means been idle. They left Richmond on Wednesday, 25th, and were near Jackson's army at the time of proceeding across from Hanover county. Subsequently they visited the White House, where they found no enemy, but abundant evidences of his attempt at wholesale destruction before leaving the place. Gen. Lee's house was burnt, with other buildings, and an immense quantity of grain. The Yankees had deposited here a very large amount of commissary stores, including everything necessary for supplying their army; and although their purpose was to destroy the whole, much was left uninjured, and arrangements have been made to remove it to a place where it can be made available. Our cavalry, who had ridden a long distance without food, found here enough to satisfy all their immediate wants, and men and horses were properly refreshed from the stores left behind by the Yankees in their flight. Measures were taken to prevent a speedy use of the railroad, by the enemy, in the possible event of his return, and after scouring the country in the neighborhood, the cavalry left the While House taking the route towards Charles City. They had two or three skirmishes with the enemy, and secured a number of prisoners, losing none themselves, and having no more than one or two wounded during their entire progress. General Stuart is now co-operating with the main body of our army, and fully prepared for a dash upon the Yankees whenever opportunity offers.

The wounded.

A train arrived at the York River depot about 12 o'clock Wednesday night, bringing a considerable number of our wounded; among them Lieut. Col. Kane of Georgia, who had a leg shattered by a ball. They were all removed to the hospitals and private residences as early as practicable yesterday. morning. The body of Col. Mears, of the 3d North Carolina regiment, who was shot through the head on Tuesday, was brought up on the same train.

Many of our citizens have been indefatigable in their attentions to the wounded, working incessantly both day and night to have them conveyed to the various hospitals. That there has been some delay and some suffering in consequence, is quite true, but, under the circumstances, this was unavoidable. A large number of convalescents were sent into the interior by trains yesterday afternoon, and this practice will doubtless be continued so long as it may be necessary, to give ample room in the hospitals for those wounded in the recent engagements. Some additional buildings were fitted no yesterday for their accommodation, and it will take but a short time to get everything in complete order, and ensure good nursing to every one who has been or may be brought is Meanwhile, it is the duty of every citizen to bestow upon them such care and attention as may be in his power, and to take as many into their private residences as their circumstances will allow.

Scenes on the York River Railroad.

On the line of the York River Railroad may be seen many evidences of Yankee destructiveness. --The deserted camp near Fair Oaks exhibits traces of a recent and extensive conflagration, and the scattered resements show that the army lately

stationed there lacked nothing in the way of war appliances, while luxuries even were in great abundance. On one tree a sign, ‘"Fifth Avenue Hotel,"’ still remains, and this perhaps marked some aristocratic quarter of the camp. At Savage's farm, however, the scene is still more remarkable. It was here that a Yankee railroad train was set on fire and destroyed, with a vast amount of commissary and ordnance stores. Scattered over a large space of ground are broken boxes and barrels, rice, sugar, coffee, corn, and ammunition of every sort. Muskets, in most instances either bent or broken, are strewn over the ground or deposited in the ditches by the roadside. An embankment on the south side of the track, where the fire raged heavily, presents a complete sheet of molten lead, which may be saved to cast into ballets for an army which has fully proved its gallantry on the bloody fields of the past week. There is much besides that can be made useful, not withstanding the enemy's attempt at wholesale destruction; many thousand axes, shovels, and other implements, with which the Yankees expected to cut and dig their way to Richmond, and a vast quantity of clothing, blankets, and every article which could not conveniently be carried away on the retreat.

We are informed that the contents of an entire train of cars were deposited in Chickahominy river, and some valuable stores will probably be taken out uninjured.

The enemy had established a ‘"General Hospital"’ at Mr. Savage's house, and there are now at that place a thousand or more sick and wounded of the Federal army, including some officers, attended by their own surgeons. Most of these individuals are in hospital tents, though some are lying under the trees, in the barns, and even in the poultry-houses. The ice house is well packed with excellent ice, which it would be well enough to have removed to Richmond. It was very near this place that a severe engagement occurred on Sunday last, and many dead Yankees are rotting unburied on the field.

Another hospital, at Meadow Station, some two or three miles below, is filled with the sick of the enemy. Two Massachusetts negroes were found here, and have been brought to Richmond.

To facilitate their operations, the Yankees had constructed turn outs at different points on the railroad, and a considerable quantity of timber for cross-ties, scattered through the forest, makes it appear that other improvements were in contemplation.

Throwing Shells.

Our railway battery threw several shell over into this neighborhood last Sunday, and while the prisoners deny that the result was disastrous to them, it is believed that somebody was hurt; at all events, the firing gave the Yankees a hint that they had better leave without unnecessary delay, and they evidently understood it.

Explosion of a torpedo.

An incident occurred on Tuesday, some eight miles below Richmond, south of the railroad, which proves that the enemy did not neglect to leave behind them some of the means of annoyance, and even danger, to our men. A party of Georgia soldiers were resting near a well, into which a good many muskets had been thrown. One of the number arose to walk a short distance, when an explosion took place immediately under his feet. The poor fellow was severely burnt, but some gentlemen of the Richmond committee discovered his condition, and by the use of simple remedies soon alleviated his sufferings. No doubt the enemy buried a torpedo near the well, but fortunately the mischief caused by the explosion was very slight.

Early with their bills.

Three gentlemen, evidently of foreign extraction, arrived at the Exchange Hotel yesterday afternoon from the city of New York, via Washington and Gordonsville. Laboring under the erroneous impression that Gen. McClellan had accomplished the long promised feat of capturing the Southern capital, they were frank enough to state that the purpose of their visit to Richmond was to establish an agency for the collection of Southern debts due the merchants and others of the Northern cities.--They had with them a large number of bills from different houses in New York, but before an opportunity was offered to present them they were in charge of the Provost Marshal's vigilant detectives, and were paroled to make their appearance before Gen. Winder this morning at 9 o'clock.

Yankee Trophies.

Many wagon loads of war material, abandoned by the Yankees and left on the battle field, were brought to this city during yesterday. When any of the wagons containing Yankee plunder would come to a halt on the streets they would soon be surrounded by a crowd, who would examine with envious interest the relies left by ‘"our Northern brethren."’ We understand that for several days past the Government has had teamsters employed gathering up every thing of value left on the different battle fields. The yield in muskets, cannon, overcoats, jackets, &c., promises to be enormous. The vandals destroyed all the guns they could, but still left a good supply.

Yankee Cruelty.

We noticed yesterday an instance in which a Confederate soldier had been captured uninjured, and subsequently recaptured by our forces badly wounded, having been assaulted violently by two Federal officers during his captivity. We have since heard in stated that in several instances where our wounded fell into the enemy's hands, they were either shot or bayoneted. These statements scarcely seem credible, and but for a Yankee letter which was found upon one of the battle fields, we might well doubt their truth. An extract which we make from this letter fully establishes the statements all Indeed to. The writer, in speaking of going over the field after an engagement, says:

‘ "It was a pretty hard looking sight. The ground was covered with dead rebels and wounded. There were a great many that were only wounded, and they were very spunky; that is, some of them were, After they were wounded, they would set up and fire at our men as they came up; but the boys soon put them out of the way by running their bayonets through them. It looked rather hard, but when a man is wounded he ought to be satisfied to stop."

A capture in the woods.

A correspondent sends us the following incident of the fight on the 30th:

‘ Five members of the 7th Virginia regiment, having been detailed as a guard on the Mechanicsville turnpike near the Chickahominy, were told by a wounded soldier that there were some twenty-five Yankees in the woods near by. The guard, having been reinforced by two Texans, determined to capture the Yankees at all hazards. Soon after they left, they heard that a squad of cavalry, under command of Lieut. Yager, had gone in pursuit of the enemy. Horner and his companions proceeded at double-quick, that they might have the honor of effecting the capture of the enemy before the cavalry would come up. In this they were disappointed, for the cavalry and they reached the ground about one and the same time. On coming within a short distance of the enemy, whom they found to number fifty-four, instead of twenty-five. with loaded muskets, they demanded their surrender. The Yankee officer demanded to know to whom he surrendered. He was answered by Lieut. Yager, to whom he immediately delivered up his sword.


In the engagement on Tuesday, in the 1st company of Richmond Howitzers, Private Jno. H. Herring was killed; W. L. Waddill, severely wounded; and Sergt. W. H: Blackador and Privates O. M. Price, J. B. Wise, W. C. Kean, Harrison Sublet, and L. H. Selater, slightly injured.

Market Hall.

The wounded at this hospital are receiving the attentions of Drs. Jos E. Clagett and E. L. Wager, who are affording all the relief that their facilities will permit.

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