The news from the front is interesting, and shows that the fighting thus far has resulted to our advantage. The enemy's assaults upon our works have been repeatedly repulsed with heavy loss to him, and comparatively slight to the Confederates. Rain fell at intervals throughout Saturday, but the occasional heavy booming of artillery showed that the two armies were not entirely idle. We append such information as we have been enabled to gather since our last report.
From General Lee's Army.The following, is General Lee's official account of the engagement on Friday morning.
Hon. Secretary of War
R. E. Lee, General.
In the above dispatch Gen. Lee makes invariable mention of a gallant command to whom proper credit has not heretofore been given — the Maryland battalion. We the informed that their charge, in conjunction with the Floridians, was irresistible. In the accounts published on Saturday the mention of the heavy fighting on Kershaw's front failed to convey a correct idea of the part taken by Law's, Anderson's, and Gregg's brigades, of Field's division, in repelling the repeated and determined assaults of the enemy in Friday's battle.--These troops, although on Gen. Kershaw's line, were occupying the trenches at the time the attack was made, and to them great credit is due for the steadiness with which they repulsed every assault. Gen. Kershaw's troops supported and assisted these brigades, and their aid was invaluable, but the attack was directed against Law, Anderson, and Gregg. In the close of our report on Saturday an allusion was made to heavy firing late on Friday evening, and the opinion expressed that it was a renewal of the assault by the enemy upon our lines. This proved to be correct, and the result is given in the following official dispatch from Gen. Lee:
Hon. Secretary of War:
R. E. Lee, General.
In the fight on Friday night Gen. Breckinridge had a narrow escape. His horse was shot under him, and himself somewhat bruised by the fall of the animal; but his injuries are not of such a character as to compel a relinquishment of his active duties in the field. Among our killed on Saturday we regret to have to announce the name of Captain Edward S. McCarthy, of the 1st Richmond Howitzers. Having boldly mounted the breastworks to direct the fire of his battery, he was shot through the head by a sharp shooter, and instantly killed. Capt. McCarthy has been in the service since the commencement of the war, and has commanded the 1st company of Howitzers for a period of two years. He was a brave and efficient officer. Affairs on the lines were comparatively quiet on Saturday until a late hour in the evening, when a brisk cannonade commended, continuing until about 10 o'clock. It was currently reported yesterday that the fight was at McClellan's Bridge, on the Chickahominy, two miles southeast of Dr. Gaines's house, which would have necessitated a change in the lines; but the most intelligent report we have is that it took place on the battle ground of Cold Harbor — that the enemy made two assaults, which were easily repulsed. The opinion in official circles last night, in the absence of dispatches from headquarters, was that nothing but heavy skirmishing took place, with little loss on either side; though from the rapid firing which was heard in the city, and the accounts of persons who visited the lines yesterday, there can be no doubt that an engagement took place, as stated above. We have it on undoubted authority that the entire losses in Gen Longstreet's corps, in the fighting around Richmond, in killed, wounded and missing, amount to only 263. This, compared with the losses of the enemy, is very small, and may be taken as a stand point from which to judge those of the whole army. No engagement took place yesterday.--It was rumored that the enemy sent in a flag of truce asking permission to bury their dead, (which have become very offensive,) and public curiosity was somewhat excited to learn the response to the request. The whole amount of the matter is simply this: The enemy's wounded, who had lain for forty-eight hours in front of our works, waved their handkerchiefs and hats for assistance, and the Yankees who came out of the woods to render it were picked off by our sharpshooters.--Grant is too much of a bull dog to send in a flag of truce, according to the customary mode of civilized warfare, since it would be a partial acknowledgment of defeat. The following are the casualties in the Fayette Artillery, of Richmond: ‘ On the 2d instant, Geo. A. Newton, Washington city; on the 3d instant, Peter Fritz, and on the 4th instant,--Pheaney and Thomas W. Sheed — all killed. Three are wounded, whose names were not reported. ’
[from our own correspondent.]
From Bottom's Bridge.The enemy's column still remains at Bottom's Bridge, and have their artillery posted on the heights beyond. There was occasional shelling on Saturday, which, up to night, had resulted only in the wounding of one of our men. Everything remained quiet at Bottom's Bridge yesterday. We have heard another version of the firing on Saturday, which is, that it was all from our side; that our artillery fired ten shots at a wagon camp, two of which went over, but the remaining eight caused a rapid "skedaddling" of the horses, wagoners, and wagons.
From the Southside.The news from the south side of the James is devoid of interest. On Friday there was an occasional discharge of musketry or a field piece, which inflicted no damage upon our troops. The gunboats in the James and Appomattox continue to shell the woods at intervals, accomplishing nothing beyond the wasteful expenditure of ammunition and keeping their gunners in practice. Our soldiers have become used to this species of warfare, and it does not in the least disturb their equanimity.
Importannt from the Valley.We have important information from the Valley of Virginia. Hunter (the successor of Sigel) has advanced as far as Port Republic, in Rockingham county, and Crook is advancing over the Warm Springs road, from the West. Hunter refuses to accept battle from General Jones until he has effected a junction with Crook. It is presumed that we have a sufficient force in that direction to render the safety of Staunton secure.
Affairs at Fredericksburg.We learn some interesting particulars of the situation of affairs at Fredericksburg from citizens of that place who have just arrived in Richmond. During their occupation of the town the Yankees arrested sixty-eight citizens of Fredericksburg and vicinity, and sent them to Washington, whence most of them were transferred to Fort Delaware, and are now held as hostages for a number of Yankee stragglers who were picked up in the place and sent to Richmond. Ten of the number, whose names we give, were released at Washington, and have returned, viz: James H. Bradley, Thomas F. Knox, James McGuire, Counsellor Cole, Michael Ames, John G. Hurkamp, John J. Chew, George H. Peyton, W. H. Thomas, and John D. Elder. The houses in Fredericksburg were generally occupied as hospitals, and the number of wounded is represented to have been very great; indeed, some of the citizens say there were more than they supposed could have been disabled had "all the armies in the world" been engaged. A Yankee "Christian Sanitary Commission" came from the North to assist in the care of the wounded, and among the number were Bishop Mcllvaine, and other leading ministers of various denominations. Notwithstanding their Christian professions, these men were the most unscrupulous, Godforsaken set that has cursed a Southern community since the war commenced; much worse, it is said, than the soldiers.--The citizens called them the "anti Christian," "insanitary," and "Satanic" Commission. Their time was chiefly occupied in persuading the negroes to desert their masters, (in which they succeeded very well, about four-fifths of those in the place having gone,) in depredating upon private property, and other acts of vandalism. They strenuously urged the burning of all the buildings, but in this they were unsuccessful. The gunboats and the railroad were constantly employed in carrying off the wounded. The steamer Jacob Bell, the last to leave, took her departure on Saturday evening week, on which day the town was evacuated. The Yankees brought with them but few supplies, and subsisted chiefly by plundering the citizens, all of whose private stores were taken, leaving them in a state of extreme destitution. Even the relief fund supplies, consisting of flour, corn meal, and other provisions, were taken, not withstanding an urgent appeal that they might be spared for the destitute. A few of the inhabitants, seeing starvation staring them in the face, went over to the enemy's country for relief; but whether they succeeded in getting assistance there or not is unknown. The shelving and counters of unoccupied stores were taken to make coffins for the dead and fixtures for the wounded. Mr. John Howison's house was sacked, the furniture destroyed, and the barn burnt. The interior of Ficklin's mill was rendered a perfect week, and Howison's mill much damaged. Indeed, the work of wanton destruction was very general, and much of it was performed under the Satanic councils of the "Christian Sanitary Commission." It was stated by Yankee officers in conversation, which was overheard by citizens, that Grant's losses in Spotsylvania, since the opening of the campaign, would probably reach 75,000 or 80,000. Stafford, Culpeper and Fauquier counties, it is reported, are full of Yankee deserters and stragglers. The crops in Stafford have not been much injured, the enemy having confined their operations to the immediate vicinity of the railroad.
Successful Naval Exploit near Savannah.The following dispatch was received at the Navy Department on Saturday morning: Pelot, C S Navy, last night carried by boarding the U S steamer Water Witch, near Ossabau Sound, after a hard fight. Our loss is the gallant Lieut Pelot, Moses Dallas, colored pilot, and three men killed, and from ten to twelve wounded. I will telegraph you more in detail at the earliest moment.
W. W. Hunter, Flag Officer.
The Water Witch figured somewhat conspicuously in the Paraguay expedition, some years before the war. The following official dispatch shows the strength of her armament and the number of prisoners taken with the vessel: Water Witch is now anchored safely under Beulien battery, on Vernon river. The Water Witch mounts four guns, viz: two 12 pounder Dahlgren howitzers in broadside, one 30 pounder rifled gun forward, and one 12 pounder rifled brass gun aft. The prize was commanded by Lieut commanding Austin Pendergrast, United States Navy, who, with all his officers and crew, 77 men, are in prison at Savannah and in the naval hospital. Our loss in killed is Lieut. Pelot and four men. In wounded, three officers and twelve men. The enemy lost two killed and twelve wounded. I will report further by letter.
W W Hunter, Flag Officer.
Lieut. Pendergrast, who commanded the Water Witch, is a son of old Capt. Pendergrast, (now dead,) of the United States Navy, and a Kentuckian by birth. Vernon river, we believe, flows from the Savannah, near its mouth, into Warsaw Sound.