We have received through the courtesy of the officers of the Exchange Bureau Northern papers of the 10th inst. The war news to Confederates, who know the situation and the frequent repulses of the enemy, is interesting as perhaps the most transparent batch of lies which has been published during the war. Stanton seems to have taken the matter of furnishing the newspapers himself, and the "latest news" is contained in telegrams from him to Major General Dix, in New York. We give them as they are printed. The heading of the news is as follows:
Victory--"on to Richmond"--Lee's defeat and retreat fully Confirmed — our Army in vigorous pursuit — the rebel dead and wounded left on the Field, Etc.Gen Wadsworth, who was struck in the forehead by a ball, at the head of his command, while leading them against one of the enemy's strongest positions. His remains are in our hands, in charge of Col. Sharpe. Gen Webb was wounded. Gen Jones, of the rebel army, was killed. The condition of our army is represented to be most admirable. The cool, determined courage, in every instance, proved too much for the desperate fury of the rebels, who have been driven at all points. There has been no straggling. At the last accounts Hancock was pushing forward rapidly by the left to Spotsylvania Court House, and yesterday heavy cannonading was heard at Aquia Creez from that direction until 2 o'clock. We have lost some prisoners. One regiment, the Seventh Pennsylvania Reserves, charged through an abattle of the enemy, but were unable to get back, and most of them were captured. We have also taken a large number of prisoners, supposed to be more than we lost. The wounded had not yet arrived at the point whence the trains were to receive them. The Medical Director reports that a large proportion are slight wounds. Artillery was not used on either side during the first two days. There is nothing later from Gen. Butler than the date of my last dispatch. Gen. Sherman was heard from last night. He had been all day reconnoitering the enemy's position, and would attack to-day.
[second Dispatch.]Gen. Butter the official report of Gen. Lee of the operations of Friday. He says their loss in killed is not large, but they have many wounded. He grieves to announce that Gen. Longstreet was severely wounded, Gen. Jenkins killed, and Gen. Pegram badly wounded on Thursday, and that it is supposed that Gen. Stafford will recover. He thanks a merciful God that every advance on their (Gen. Gront's) part has been repulsed. He states that our forces attacked them and caused some confusion. Gen. Wadsworth's body tell into their hands, but our reports this morning state that it is now in our possession, under charge of Col Sharpe, as stated in my first dispatch this morning. The belief here is that Lieut.-Gen. Grant is achieving a complete victory.
[Third Dispatch.]Gen Grant. They are not fully deciphered yet, but he is "On to Richmond." We have taken two thousand prisoners.
Secretary of War.
Secretary of War.
The fight of Saturday--a loss of 11,800 Acknowledged in one battle.A telegram from Washington, dated Monday afternoon, says: ‘ Reliable information from the front, up to 3 o'clock Sunday afternoon, states that on Saturday morning Gen Grant opened the fight by a general advance of his pickets and skirmishers. During the whole day there was very heavy skirmishing, amounting sometimes to a severe musketry battle; and it was during one of these that the gallant Wadsworth was killed at the head of his division. Lee retreated in the direction of Spotsylvania Court House, and it was reported from the front on Sunday morning that Gen Hancock was in occupation of that place. Gen Grant's whole army was in vigorous pursuit. Our loss is reported at about 1,800 killed and 10,000 wounded. The order for sending the wounded to Washington has been rescinded, and other arrangements will be made. In this battle Colonel Woodward, son of Judge Woodward, of Pennsylvania, was killed, and Col Carroll, of the 95th Pa. ’
The battle Friday.A telegram dated Washington, May 8th, gives the following account of the fight of Friday: ‘ The most terrific battle yet fought closed to day. Lee's entire army has made repeated and furious assaults up on our right and left wings, commanded by Hancock and Sedgwick, with temporary successes, but has been driven back with great slaughter. An attack was made about 4 o'clock this afternoon, simultaneously, upon our whole fine, which was gallantly repulsed. Towards dark the enemy concentrated upon our extreme right and fell suddenly upon Sedgwick, crushing in a portion of his line. Gen Sedgwick succeeded in reforming his line and securing it against further disaster, and the enemy withdrew from his front under cover of the darkness. Our losses have been heavy. Our army to-day has certainly achieved a decided success. It has baffled all the offensive efforts of the enemy. The almost impenetrable woods with which the battle ground is covered saved the rebels from a crushing defeat, as it enabled them to conceal their movements almost perfectly until the very moment of their execution. The number of our wounded is estimated at from 6,000 to 8,000. They have been forwarded to Rappahannock Station, and thence to the Washington hospitals. I will send a detailed account by the next train. ’
The Newspaper Remors.The Washington Republican Extra, of Monday evening, says: ‘ There is reason to believe, from dispatches already received since our first extra to-day, that Lee was forced to fight at Spotsylvania on Sunday, and was again repulsed and compelled to retreat. ’ Another statement is that Gen Grant had flanked him and got between the rebel army and Richmond. Lee's report of the battle of Thursday last, published in the Richmond papers, has been telegraphed to this city by Gen Butter. Lee says that Gen Grant attacked him, which contradicts the report received here that Lee made the attack upon our army. Lee employs this language: "Thank God we have repulsed the attacks of the enemy." He states that Longstreet is badly wounded. Lee says nothing in his report about the fight on Friday. Dispatches state that Gen Butler is still holding the line of railroad between Petersburg and Richmond, preventing Beauregard from reinforcing Lee. The Star publishes an extra saying: ‘ There is no foundation for the report that the rebels are evacuating Richmond, nor that Petersburg is evacuated. ’ The following is a list of the casualties, so far as received at the present time: Brig Gen Alexander Hays, of Pennsylvania, killed; Brig Gen James S Wedsworth, of New York, killed; Brig Gen Webb, of New York, wounded; Col Wilson, of 433 New York, wounded; Col Stone, of the 2d Vermont, wounded, Col Lewis, of the 3d Vermont, wounded; Col Stone, of the Pennsylvania Sucktalls, injured by a fall from his horse; Col West, of the 9th Malue, killed, Lieut Col Tyler, wounded; Lieut Col West, wounded; Major Dorlin, of the 49th New York, wounded; Major Darlington, of the 18th Pennsylvania, wounded. At the latest dates received by the War Department Gen Hancock was rapidly pushing by the left to Spotsylvania Court-House. --Heavy cannonading was heard from that direction yesterday at Aquis Creek. An official report of Gen Lee to the rebel authorities at Richmond, transmitted by Gen. Butter to the War Department, states that the rebel loss in killed is not large, but that many are wounded. Gen Lee also states that he regrets to say that Gen Longstreet is dangerously wounded; also, that Gen Pegram and Stafford are wounded, and that Gen Jenkins is killed. Gen Jones is also killed and his body is reported to be in our possession. Reports from the front, not official, by parties that left there on Saturday, are to the effect that the result of the fighting on Friday was yet more advantageous to the Calon cause than that of Thursday, resulting in Lee's falling back, according to some reports, twelve miles, leaving his dead and wounded in our hands. Grant, according to the same report, has a field full of prisoners, and had advanced to Spotsylvania C H. A verbal message received at Gen Halleck's headquarters, by a messenger from the Army of the Potomac, is to the effect that the battle closed on Friday, the enemy having fallen back about twelve miles, leaving his dead and wounded on the field. On Saturday, at 3 o'clock, Lee's army was in full retreat through Spotsylvania, and when the messenger left Gen Hancock was entering the place in pursuit. We have captured many prisoners, but the number is not known. Gen Wadsworth is reported killed, and General Webb wounded. Gen Butler is reported to be within ten miles of Richmond. This information comes by a boat from Alexandria, passengers from there reporting the arrival of parties from Grant's army with news to that effect. Parties in Alexandria county yesterday heard firing, as from heavy siege guns, in the direction of Spotsylvania Court-House, from 11 A M until 1 P M. The distance is over sixty miles, but the day was quiet and the wind from the southwest, making it not improbable that the firing was from the battle going on yesterday between Grant and Lee. Owing to the fact of the Rappahannock bridge being out of repair, the order directing that the wounded be brought to Washington has been countermanded for the present. Another telegram, dated Washington, May 9th, says: ‘ Dispatches from Gen Meade and Lieut Gen Grant have just been received by the War Department. We have two thousand prisoners. Our forces occupied Fredericksburg at 8 o'clock last night. The hospital for our wounded was established there. The supplies, nurses, physicians, and attendants have been ready for two days, and have gone forward. The wounded are now estimated at about twelve thousand. ’
Butler's operations on the Southern--Destruction of gunboats — surprise attack — Narrow escape of Butler.The New York Times has a correspondent with Butler's expedition on the Southside, who is furnishing that journal with fancy sketches of the operations of that command. We make some extracts from the correspondence:
The fight at Port Waithall Junction.Gen Heckman really advanced, by order of Gen. Smith, with his brigade, (the first of Waithall's division,) for the purpose of feeling the rebel position. He moved on the Petersburg road until he came to the enemy, whom he found posted upon the Port Waithall branch railroad. A lively skirmish followed, and it was apparent that the rebels were in strong force. They had no artillery, which fact gave us the advantage, and Heckman, after a lively musketry fire, succeeded in driving them off the railroad. The rebels brought two brigades of infantry into action, and at times the fighting was at such close quarters that they could be heard calling out to our men, "You are cowards to use artillery! Wait until to-morrow and we will pay you off" As Gen Heckman had received orders not to bring on an engagement, he retired. The brilliant little affair lasted about an hour, and resulted in a loss to us of eight killed and sixty wounded.
The capture of the Shoshonee.This morning the enemy paid us their compliments, both on the river and land. About ten o'clock a battery of field artillery came down from Richmond on the north bank of the river, and popped away at the naval vessels, which were fishing for torpedoes near Turkey Bend. The small gunboat Shoshonee, a purchased vessel, technically known as a "pasteboard" boat, was some distance in advance of the others. The second shot from the rebel battery exploded the gunboat's boiler, and she surrendered. A few of the crew jumped overboard and swam to the opposite bank of the river, where they found shelter until the other boats came up and drove the impertinent rebels away. The men report that the explosion of the boiler injured an one on board and that all the officers of the boat were taken prisoners. Admiral Lee kept up a vigorous shelling of the woods for some time after the rebels were driven away.
The fight at Chester Station.The fight on shore began about the same time as the affair on the James river. Anticipating the attack, a plan was formed by our side having the object of advancing upon the Petersburg and Richmond railroad to destroy it. Five brigades were organized and marched in three columns to meet the enemy. Heckman's brigade again went out on the left, and three brigades, under Gen. Brooks, were assigned to the centre. These forces were designated to engage the enemy at the position which he held yesterday in the encounter with Heckman, and divert his attention while the column on the right advanced to the railroad near Chester Station. The day being excessively warm, it seemed to me almost impossible that any fighting could be done until the cool of the evening. But the rebels did not allow the heat to trouble them, and by 11 o'clock A M. having received their artillery during the night, they opened fire briskly on our advancing columns from about the point whence they had been driven last evening. Our men replied splendidly, and in a short time the engagement on the left and centre became general. We could now and then hear the arrival of the trains both from Petersburg and Richmond, which prisoners told us brought down reinforcements.--They also said that Gen Beauregard had come up from Charleston with troops some days since, and was then commanding the forces in front. While the left and centre were engaged, for the most part in artillery practice, the right column, consisting of one brigade, commanded by Col Barton, of the 48th New York, hurried forward upon a road leading to the Petersburg Railroad near Chester Station, where also is the junction of the Port Waithall Road. Here they set a bridge on fire and destroyed the track for some distance, but being savagely pressed by the enemy, the order was given to retire. The damage to the road, I believe, is not thought to be very great. The fighting continued with unwavering vigor on both sides until 4 o'clock, when the rebels were reported to be falling back. After following them some distance an order was given for our troops to return to the line field in the morning. The casualties of the day I have been unable to learn. Our loss is reported, however, not to have been very serious. Most of the wounds are from fragments of shells. Twelve or fifteen officers are reported to have been killed or wounded — among the latter Col Dandy, of the 100th New York, whose injuries are said to be slight. Gen Heckman's horse was killed, and a ball tore his glove, grazing his hand. I picked up the names of a few of the wounded.
The Blowing up of a gunboat.A report, abundantly verified, has come to me of a sad mishap on the James river. The gunboat Commodore Jones, Volunteer Lieut Wade commanding, was entirely destroyed about 1 o'clock this afternoon, seven miles below Fort Darling, by a torpedo. About fifty lives were lost, and Lieut Wade was seriously if not mortally wounded.--My statement of the occurrence is from an eyewitness. He says that the Jones, with other gunboats, was fishing in the river for torpedoes, when one exploded beneath her, directly amidships, with a smothered sound. The boat was crushed like a piece of paper, and huge fragments of the wreck were lifted high in air. The executive officer of the Jones retained his foothold on a pieces of the deck, and as a rare instance of coolness in such a sudden and trying event, it must be told that he drew a pistol and shot dead a rebel on the bank of the river, who had exploded the diabolic contrivance by means of a galvanic battery. This remarkable incident is vouched for. Subsequently the river bank was examined by some of the sailors, and mines were round connecting with other torpedoes, which will be destroyed. The body of the rebel whom the gallant naval officer shot was examined, and letters found upon it proving him to be engaged in the torpedo business. The name of the wretch was Surton. There was heavy firing a couple of hours since, about 6½ o'clock P M, on our extreme left. I have ascertained that it was by Heckman's division, who had been sent to take possession of the railroad where the branch of the Richmond, Petersburg, and Weldon railroad to City Point joins the main line. They met but little resistance, and the road is how held by us. A force from Gen Graham's mosquito fleet of army gunboats took possession this morning of a place called Port Waithall, on the Appomattox, about eight miles from Petersburg. Three miles up the river is a rebel earthwork, mounting eight guns, we are told, which may be attacked to-morrow. A negro who left Petersburg this morning has come into our lines. He says that the place is defended by the militia entirely. Yesterday when the report reached there that the Yankees were landing at Wilson's wharf and Fort Powhatan, the alarm bells were rung and the home guards assembled.--A body of them was forthwith organized, and this morning they started out to best back the invaders at those places down the river. Should this story of the negro be true, there is a fair probability of "bagging" these adventurous militiamen, now that Heckman has seized the railroad over which they were transported from Petersburg in the direction of City Point.
The surprise attack — Narrow escape of Butler.A dispatch from Washington, dated the 9th inst says: ‘ A bearer of dispatches from Major Gen Butler to the President arrived here this afternoon, and he subsequently made a statement in presence of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War and Senate Military Committee. He states that on Saturday last Beauregard, with 7,000 men, made a surprise attack upon Gen Butler, about ten miles from Richmond. So sudden and unexpected was the encounter that Gen Butler himself narrowly escaped capture. Indeed his own orderly was captured within sixty yards of him. The command being in readiness it quickly passed from the defensive to the offensive position and the enemy were most signally defeated. The bearer of dispatches gives it as his opinion that Gen Butler, having already cut off Beauregard, will be in Richmond at an early day, and before either Lee or Grant can reach there. ’
A proclamation from Lincoln.Lincoln, on the 9th inst, issued the following proclamation, which fully equals his proclamation ordering a thanksgiving for the reopening of East Tennessee to the Union arms:
Washington, May 9, 1864.
To the Friends of Union and Liberty.