We are indebted to the officers of the Exchange Bureau for the files of New York papers, including dates from the 18th to the 24th inst. We give a summary of such news as they contain:
Summary of the ten days fight in Spotsylvania — what the Yankees gained and what they have lost.A correspondent of the New York News, writing from Fredericksburg after the heavy fighting between Gens Lee and Grant, and after the latter had given up dashing his men against the Confederate lines, dissipates all the pretty stories of victory which were in circulation. We give his letter: ‘ The army of the Potomac is resting and recuperating. Its ranks are shattered, but its spirit is unbroken. It has gained a few miles of ensanguined soil, and paid for it with the blood of many thousands of men. Day after day and night after night, it has struggled against a brave and stubborn foe, now advancing, now retiring; now dabbing with wild recklessness against the immovable columns of the enemy, and then in its turn meeting, breaking and turning back the furious onslaught of its force antagonist. Through ten days and nights of scorching heat and drenching rain it has battled bravely never flinching when ordered to attack, never despatching when failure fell upon it.--After its terrible labors, reduced in numbers but strong in spirit and determination, it is now resting, and truly it needs rest. ’ Before proceeding to review our failures and our successes I will explain an error in my letter of the 13th. It was therein stated that after the terrible conflict of Thursday last, General Lee evacuated his position in front of Spotsylvania and retired to another line beyond that place, and near the Tu River. The statement was based on the reports of persons arriving here from the front, and was generally credited in official circles; but it now turns out that the story was nothing but a fabrication from beginning to end General Lee still holds his lines between Spotsylvania and General Grant's front. He still holds the rifle pits and breastworks that were charged by every corps in Grant's army. He holds the entrenchments that were captured and afterwards abandoned by Hancock, and also the positions attacked by Burnside, Wright, and Warren Positions of his whole line were in our possession at one time, but we could not hold them. His present position is evidently one of his strongest, and his persistent and successful determination to hold it proves that he will and can fight long and desperately before the spires of Richmond gladden the eyes of our soldiers. When the people of the North bring themselves to believe the palpable truth that Gen Lee's army is strong in numbers, brave in spirit, and free from nothing savoring of demoralization, they will appreciate the magnitude of the task undertaken by Gen Grant. Before the recent battles we were told that the Confederates were hungry, naked and disgusted. They were said to be deserting by the hundred, and the poor, craven hearted once who came into our lines represented the comrades they left behind at completely demoralized, tired of rebellion, and quite willing to lay down their arms. We now find by experience that the rebels are determined to fight it out to the bitter end, that their numbers are almost equal to our own, that they are neither binary nor naked, and that their organization and spirit are as strong to-day as they were two years ago. In the matter of losses, it is very evident that ours has been greater than that of the enemy. Troops fighting from behind breastworks are not likely to suffer so much as those making the attack. Lee fought under favorable circumstances in every engagement. At the Wilderness his men were concealed in dense woods until the moment of attack; and after a charge, they immediately retired again to shelter. In the succeeding engagements, and particularly at Spotsylvania, they were protected by rifle pits and breastworks. Our men had to charge on these positions often being exposed to a destructive enfilading fire of grapeshot and cannister. In this way they were mowed down by thousands. When Burnside attempted to carry the enemy's works on Thursday, his men were exposed to this most destructive of all fires, until they rested, staggered, and fell in heaps. They evinced soldierly qualities of the highest order, but their task was too great, and after a furious struggle they were forced back to their own line. A portion of the fifth corps met a similar reception. They also charged the enemy's rifle pits and although they fought bravely as men could fight they were repulsed with fearful slaughter. Batteries opened on them on front and flank until they were driven from all the ground taken by them in the first charge. Hancock, though successful in surprising the enemy and making an important capture could not maintain the advantage gained. He also had to retire, bringing off his prisoners but leaving behind several of the guns captured. On him, as on the officers, batteries opened from many points, thinking his ranks and driving him back beyond range. We have suffered more in the loss of officers than the enemy did. They have not lost one acknowledged leader if we except Longstreet, who will soon be in the field again while we have lost forever one of the best Generals in the army. Another brave and capable man, but not so well known as Sedgwick, fell and was buried by the enemy. Two of our Generals have gone to Richmond, others were killed on the spot, and several were badly wounded and taken from the field.--Against this account we can place Johnson and Smart, captured by Hancock, and a few others wounded, and then try to balance our books. I think we cannot do it. At the close of the tenth day's battle the Confederates held their own, and Grant's army was so exhausted he determined to rest and strengthen his depleted corps. I am sure that Lee was also in need of rest, but we all know if Grant had offered battle on Friday Lee would have accepted. It is doubtful if the present lull is not as advantageous to Lee as it is to Grant, as it gives him an opportunity to repair the railroads said to have been broken by Sheridan. He can also bring up supplies of which he must stand in need, and reinforcements if there are any to spare from other points. The cause of Grant's present delay is the necessity of establishing a new base of supplies. I pointed this out when the army moved from Brandy Station, and mentioned this place as most likely to be made the temporary base. The rations, forage, etc, taken by his men when they crossed the Rapidan, were exhausted at the close of the series of battles, and a few days must elapse before enough can be brought here to furnish the army for another march after Lee, should be retire from his present line. Lee is entrenching new, and Grant is not wasting time in idleness. The latter, if not ready to advance, is at least prepared to resist an attack. Aries The New York Times, which went into victorious convulsions over the rout and retreat of Lee, as telegraphed when the Federals captured twelve guns, and Hancock announced that, having finished up Johnson, he was about gobbling up Early, has changed its tone under more recent advices, and is quite surprised that anybody could have expected the rout of Lee. It says: ‘ No reasonable man could have ever looked forward to anything like a rout of Gen Lee's army any more than to that of our own. When such veteran corps as Longstreet's and Burnside's meet, as they have done on many a bloody field, there is no thought on either side of a rout or a fight as a thing which could possibly happen. It is so with other veteran corps in both armies. When they are beaten they simply withdraw so much of their men and artillery as they can save, and retreat to the next commending position where they can make a stand. ’ In such a country as Virginia an army can never be entirely broken up by one defeat. There is no opportunity for such a pursuit by cavalry as we read of in European battles. Artillery, and the strong positions peculiar to the country, can always retard the pursuing enemy, until the defeated army can reorganize itself. It is only by some fortunate double attack, like that which is the peculiarity of this campaign, that a large retreating army in America can be broken up. Unless Butler should be peculiarly fortunate on the James, we may expect weeks of stubborn contest between the gradually failing army of Lee and his increasingly strong and tenacious opponents for it must be remembered that Grant has yet to add to his right wing the important corps under Sigel, from the Valley. No immediate or startling end of such a struggle can be expected. It may be a long and tough contest of pluck and endurance. Northern tenacity will be on trial against Southern ardor. Disasters and delays must frequently occur; the difficulty of supplies for Grant's enormous army must be exceedingly great. Yet the question will be narrowed down to an absolute and final struggle on an equal field between the resources and the spirit of the North and the South. It is well that the great contest between the two civilizations should be thus finally settled. Who can doubt the issue?
The suspension of the N. Y. World and journal of Commerce — they are again published proceedings in the case — a Baltimore paper suspended.The temporary suspension of the New York World and Journal of Commerce has been noticed in Northern advices. It was done by Major General Dix, and the cause was the publication of a bogus proclamation purporting to be issued by Lincoln, of which the following is an extract: Executive Mansion, May 17, 1864 Fellow-Citizens of the United States: In all seasons of exigencies it becomes a nation carefully to scrutinize its line of conduct, humbly to approach the Throne of Grace, and meekly to implore forgiveness, wisdom and guidance. For reasons known only to Him, it has been decreed that this country should be the scene of unparalleled outrage, and this nation the monumental sufferer of the nineteenth century. With a heavy heart, but an undiminished confidence in our cause, I approach the performance of a duty rendered imperative by my sense of weakness before the Almighty, and of justice to the people. It is not necessary that I should tell you that the first Virginia campaign under Lieutenant General Grant, in whom I have every confidence, and whose courage and fidelity the people do well to honor, is virtually closed. He has conducted his great enterprise with discreet ability. He has inflicted great loss upon the enemy. He has crippled their strength and defeated their plans. In view, however, of the situation in Virginia, the disaster at Red river, the dully at Charleston, and the general state of the country, I, Abraham Lincoln, do hereby recommend that Thursday, the 26th day of May, A. D,; be solemnly set apart throughout these United States as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer. Deeming, furthermore, that the present condition of public affairs presents an extraordinary occasion, and in view of the pending expiration of the service of (100,000) one hundred thousand of our troops, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtues of the power vested in me by the Constitution had the laws, have thought fit to call forth, and do hereby call forth, the citizens of the United States between the ages of (18) eighteen and (45) forty-five years, to the aggregate number of (400,000) four hundred thousand, in order to suppress the existing rebellions combination and to cause the due execution of the laws. And furthermore, in case any State or number of States shall fail to furnish by the 15th day of June next their assigned quotas. It is hereby ordered that the same shall be raised by an immediate and peremptory draft. The following explanation was published in the New York World next day: ‘ The World, in common with the Journal of Commerce and all the city morning papers, was made the victim of a malicious boar by some scoundrel who imitating the manifold copy of the Associated Press sent around the extraordinary proclamation which appeared in our columns this morning. Supposing it was all right, the night editor in charge published it is good faith, and its was not discovered until the edition was nearly worked off. The World does not stereotype its forms as do several of the other morning papers, and as it is now working off a very heavy edition daily, we are compelled to go to press at an unusually early hour. The Journal of Commerce was deceived in the same way as the World, and of course quite as innocently. The Herald, we understand, printed the false proclamation in a large edition, but fortunately for them, discovered it in time to suppress it in their regular edition. We regret exceedingly the publication, as we have a just pride in publishing none but reliable news; but it is one of those inexplicable accidents which is liable to happen to any newspaper establishment. ’ Gen Dix immediately suspended both papers and placed military guards in the offices. These were, however, withdrawn in a day or two, and the papers again published. A New York letter in the Philadelphia Inquirer says: ‘ The two suppressed papers, Journal of Commerce and World, having resumed publication, are lecturing the Administration with considerable soreness; but, as something of that kind was looked for, the lectures excite but little remark. Gov Seymour, you will perceive, has instructed the District Attorney. Oakley Hall, to institute, in the name of the State, proceedings against all persons who were instrumental in the temporary suppression of the two papers in question. The Albany Argus of this morning, (the Governor's own organ,) in the course of a truculent leader, in view of the "outrage," calls upon the Democratic members of Congress to abandon their seats and return to their constituents. There is a good deal more wild talk about the necessity of the people preparing for resistance, all of which clearly means mischief, and the mischief may culminate in another July riot, if it be not watched. ’ Gov Seymour's instructions to his District Attorney are ostentatiously paraded on the World bulletin, but as many people think it incredible that the Governor is seeking another quarrel with the Federal Government, there was a disposition to pronounce the "bulletin" as bogus as the proclamation itself. The endorsement of the Associated Press, however, in this instance, shows that, unhappily, it is but too true. As the papers were suppressed and their proprietors arrested by order of Gen Dix, it will be something worth witnessing, to see a warrant issuing to place that gentleman under arrest. A resolution by Mr Pruyn, in Congress denouncing the act of suspension as "subversive of the principles of civil liberty," was laid on the table — ayes 79, noes 54. The Baltimore America has an announcement of a suspension in that city, as follows: ‘ Yesterday afternoon Maj Gen Lew Wallace, commandant of the Middle Department, issued an order prohibiting the further publication of the Evening Transcript, published by Mr. Wm H Nelison, on Baltimore street near Gay, on the charge of disloyalty, in publishing as a telegraphic dispatch a statement giving a grossly exaggerates estimate of the losses of the Army of the Potomac, and crediting the same to the Associated Press correspondent at Washington thereby seeking to establish its reliability. The dispatch reads as follows: ’ Washington, May 15--I have no facts to send you. The report that a great battle was in progress yesterday is not believed. As to the result of the ten days fighting, we have not lost in killed, wounded and missing less than seventy thousand men.--Associated Press. Gen Wallace on Tuesday summoned the editor of the Transcript to account for the malicious paragraph, who, in justification said that he obtained it from a Philadelphia Sunday paper, either the Transcript or Mercury. At the request of General Wallace the Agent of the Associated Press at Philadelphia was telegraphed on the subject, who stated that such a statement was made by the Sunday Mercury of that city, but it was not by that paper credited to the Associated Press, nor was it furnished to the paper by any agent of the Association, as the paper in question did not take the Associated Press news. Thus it was proven that the attaching of the words "Associated Press" to the statement was the act of the editor of the Evening Transcript here, and being viewed as an evidence of a disloyal effort to prejudice the cause of the Government by publishing an evidently gross exaggeration of the losses of our army, the commanding General deemed it his duty to suppress the further publication of the paper by the issue of the following order:
Stanton's latest official gazette.The following is the latest "official gazette," as the Yankee papers call it, of Secretary Stanton: Major Gen Canby, dated at the mouth of Red river, at midnight, May 15th, state that Admiral Porter has just arrived, and that the remainder of the gunboats will arrive to night.--Gen Banks will probably reach Semmesport, on the Atchafalaya, to morrow. A dispatch from Admiral Porter, dated on board his flag-ship. Black Hawk, at the mouth of Red river May 15th, states that the portion of the squadron above the falls at Alexandria have been released from their unpleasant position owing to the indefatigable exertions of Lt Col Bailey, acting engineer of the nineteenth army corps, who proposed and built a free dam of six hundred feet across the river at the lower falls, which enabled all the vessels to pass in safety the back water of the Mississippi reaching Alexandria, and allowed them to pass over all the shoals and the obstructions planted by the enemy to a point of safety. Lt Col Valley will be immediately nominated for promotion for distinguished and meritorious service. An unofficial report from Cairo, dated May 22d, states that the army and gunboats wore all safe at the mouth of the Red river and at Semmesport. Major Gen Sherman, by a despatch at 8.30 P M last night, reports that he will be ready by morning to resume his operations. Returned veterans and regiments, he says, have more than replaced all losses and detachments. We have no official reports since my last telegram from Gen Grant or Gen Butler. Official reports of this Department show that within eight days after the great battle of Spotsylvania Court House many thousand veteran troops have been forwarded to Gen Grant. The whole army has been amply supplied with full rations of subsistence. Upwards of twenty thousand sick and wounded have been transported from the field of battle to the Washington Hospitals, and placed under surgical ears. Over eight thousand prisoners have been transported from the field to prison depots, and a large amount of artillery and other impediments of an active campaign brought away. Several trains and fresh cavalry horses have been forwarded to the army, and the grand army of the Potomac is now fully as strong in numbers, and better equipped, supplied, and furnished, than when the campaign opened. Several thousand reinforcements have also been forwarded to other armies in the field, and ample supplies to all. During the same time over forty thousand volunteers for one hundred days have been mustered into the service, clothed, armed, equipped and transported to their respective positions. This statement is due to the chiefs of the army, staff and bureau, and their respective corps, to whom the credit belongs.
Secretary of War.
Flem's defeat.Stanton makes the of Sigel quite as bad as the Confederate history of it. In his official telegram he says: ‘ Dispatches from General Sigel, received this evening, report that on Sunday he fought the forces of Echoes and Emboden, under Breckinridge, at New Market; that the enemy's forces were superior in number, and that he gradually withdrew from the battle field and regressed the Rhennudean having lost five pieces of artillery, about six hundred killed and wounded, and fifty prisoners, but bringing all his trains and all the wounded that could be transported from the battle field. ’ He states that in consequence of the long line and the trains that had to be guarded, he could not bring more than six regiments into the fight, besides the artillery and cavalry, and that the enemy had about seven thousand infantry, besides other arms that his retrograde movement to Strasburg was affected in perfect order, without any loss of material or men. He gives no list of casualties, but Lieut Colonel Lincoln of the 34th Massachusetts, is reported to be wounded and captured.
Secretary of war.
An officer who participated in the engagement of the 15th instant, at New Market, under General Sigel, writes as follows: ‘ The fighting was terrific, the most on of any battle in the Valley. We could only bring about 3,000 men into the fight the enemy numbered 10,000 to 18,000, and fought like devils. Our cavalry behaved badly, and some of the infantry no better; but the latter wore rallied, the cavalry could not be Gen Sigel was in front, and in the thick of the battle all day, encouraging, directing, and leading the men. The butlers were dense all about him; one or two of his staff were slightly injured, several had horses shot under them. ’