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The War News.

Nothing occurred on the lines in front, of Petersburg, yesterday, worthy of mention, except some picket skirmishing, which was probably brought about by way of varying the monotony prevailing for some days past. Persons who visited Port Walthall Junction inform us that dense clouds of dust could be seen in the direction of the enemy's lines, supposed to have been caused by wagon trains moving towards City Point. It is further reported, that heavy columns of smoke were observed yesterday in the same direction, and, indeed, this was distinctly seen last evening about sundown from the Petersburg depot, in this city. The inference is, that the Yankees are burning their surplus material, preparatory to another change of base — this time, probably, to the Potomac. A scout reports that there are sufficient evidences of a considerable diminution of the Federal force in front of Petersburg, and we would not be much surprised if the whole army, at no distant day, pulled up stakes and left, bag and baggage, for another scene of operations. This seems hardly possible, after their immense preparations and vain-boastings of what they were going to accomplish on that line; but the disaster of July 30th threw a damper upon the spirits of the Yankees, and filled them with dismal forebodings as to the future. Besides, they have some apprehensions for the safety of their own capital, which may cause them to abandon present efforts for the reduction of Petersburg and Richmond.

The enemy burnt the village of Prince George Court-House on the 7th instant. One account says it was accidentally fired by some troops quartered there, but the probability is, that it was done through mere wantonness, and for the gratification of a malignant spite on the part of the Yankees. The Court-House is situated near the centre of Prince George county.

The Northern Border.

We have no later news concerning the movements of our forces in the Valley of Virginia. The Northern papers of the 10th seem perfectly ignorant of their whereabouts, and content themselves with a mendacious statement of the affair at Moorefield on Sunday last.

Our troops seem to have inflicted considerable damage upon property in the enemy's country on their last visit besides the burning of Chambersburg. The President of the Chesapeake and Ohio canal reports that the damage to that work will keep back over a hundred thousand tons of coal from the Washington market this season. Workmen were employed upon the badly-damaged section of the canal at Antietam, but the rebel forces in the vicinity drove them away.


We learn that Major-General Maury has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General, and takes charge of the Military Department of the Gulf, (which includes Mobile,) in the place of Lieutenant-General Lee, who has been ordered to the field. It is stated that General Higgins takes the place recently occupied by General Maury.

General Forrest.

We are gratified to learn that this gallant officer, who was wounded in the foot at Tupelo, is in the saddle again, and preparing to meet the enemy advancing from Memphis by way of Holly Springs. General Forrest is in full command for this fight, and the country will expect him to conduct it to a successful result.

The Trans-Mississippi.

The enemy still hold Merganza, Louisiana, twenty-four miles from Port Hudson, but the garrison (consisting of 5,000 men) is held in check by our companies and squads which hover about the vicinity. The Yankees are doing their utmost to ruin and devastate the country in the neighborhood, stealing horses and cattle, and burning gins and corn cribs. Our army now occupies nine-tenths of the State of Louisiana; and a writer says that but for the river and its tributaries (which gives them the advantage of gunboats) there would in ten days be no Yankee foot upon the soil of the old Pelican State.

General Dick Taylor was at Natchitoches, Louisiana, at last accounts. He was the guest of the town, the municipal trustees having passed a resolution deputing the mayor and council "to take care that he and his family are provided with every available comfort at the sole expense of the town." He was there "under orders from the general commanding to await the action of the President."--Several causes have been assigned for General Taylor's withdrawal from his command, but a Montgomery paper doubts them all, and gives the following as the true reason; It seems that he fought the battle of Pleasant Hill contrary to orders, whereby he failed to have in the fight about ten thousand of his army. His orders were to fall back and toll on Banks till he got to an admirable position, about sixteen miles in the rear of Pleasant Hill, where he could have had in the action the additional ten thousand men alluded to, and would almost certainly been able, from position and numbers, to have annihilated the Yankee army. It is stated that he gave battle too soon, and although a great victory was achieved, the bulk of Banks' army escaped back to Alexandria, and during the retreat devastated the country.

Again, we are informed that General Smith's plans were laid not only to utterly destroy the army, but to capture the Yankee gunboats and transports above the falls near Alexandria, which could have been done if the battle had come off in the admirable position selected. Now, while we have no means of ascertaining how near these statements approximate the truth, we have every reason to be satisfied with the result of General Taylor's campaign in Louisiana, though, to be sure, we should have been better pleased had General Smith's grand coup succeeded. But we have heard still another reason assigned for General Taylor's withdrawal from his command: It is that he was anxious to pursue Banks and crush him, but General Smith detached two of his-divisions, thus placing it beyond his power. It was then that General Taylor was relieved, at his own request.

The Yankee papers are in a complete muddle as to General Smith's movements, some of them asserting that a portion of his army has already crossed the Mississippi, and others urging that the gunboats closely guard every mile of the river to prevent it. They are evidently afraid that he will elude their vigilance, cross the river, reinforce Hood and send Sherman howling back upon the defences at Chattanooga.

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