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The War News.

The heavy firing that was heard between 7 and 8 o'clock on Saturday morning proceeded from Grant's lines, which extend from Deep Bottom to the Weldon railroad. The Yankees had heard of Sheridan's success in driving Early from Fisher's Hill, and fired a salute with shotted guns in honor thereof. With this exception, everything has remained quiet in front of Petersburg since our last report. A Yankee correspondent says that "a move which is destined to astonish somebody is on the qui vive," (he probably meant to say tapis,) and it would not surprise us if active operations were inaugurated before many days.

A soldier named Ratcliffe, from Floyd county, Virginia, was executed on Saturday afternoon for desertion. Four balls pierced his breast, and his death was almost instantaneous. The crime for which he suffered was his second offence.

From the Valley.

Official dispatches received on the 23d state that the enemy attacked General Early late yesterday (22d) at Fisher's Hill, and succeeded in forcing back the left of his line; and throwing a force in his rear, compelled him to abandon the position, leaving twelve pieces of cannon in their hands, though losing but few men.

The above news, which was made public on Saturday morning, furnished a theme for conversation throughout the day. It is useless to disguise the fact that it caused some feelings of despondency, because it took everybody by surprise. The opinion was general that Fisher's Hill, if not impregnable, was at least a very strong position, capable of a long and obstinate defence; and the hope had been fondly cherished that Early would have there been able to thwart the designs of the enemy. But while some were despondent, the people were generally hopeful, and entertained no misgivings as to the future. It is true we have suffered a reverse, but nothing in comparison with what we have suffered before and survived. All but the most inveterate croakers see the bright star of hope glimmering through the darkening clouds, and are confident that the tide of events will soon turn in our favor.

There were many rumors yesterday of the movements of our army in the Valley, which it might be imprudent to mention until confirmed by official reports. At last accounts, up to yesterday morning the enemy had reached Harrisonburg. This is the county seat of Rockingham, and is situated twenty-four miles north northeast of Staunton.

The report that the enemy, in heavy force, composed of infantry, artillery and cavalry — had made their appearance in Culpeper county--proves to be an error. We can only learn that a body of cavalry is hovering about there, probably for purposes of observation.

We have some few additional particulars of the fight near Winchester on Monday last. The highest estimate of our loss, from all causes, is from twenty-five hundred to three thousand; while that of the enemy is represented as much heavier, we having used artillery upon them at short range with great effect. Indeed, that the carnage was terrible, may be inferred from their own accounts, which do not generally magnify matters of this sort. Among our casualties, not heretofore noted, are the following Brigadier-General Johnston, of North Carolina, commanding Iverson's old brigade, killed; Colonel Funk, reported mortally wounded; Lieutenant- Colonel William P. Moseley, Twenty-first Virginia, severely wounded; Sergeant John H. Worsham, acting adjutant in the same regiment, wounded in the knee; Major Bennett, Fourth Virginia, wounded; Captain Charles Campbell, of Harrisonburg, killed; Captain William B. Yancey, of Rockingham, severely wounded in the thigh, and Captain R. N. Wilson, of Pegram's staff, wounded. General Early and one of his aids, Lieutenant-Colonel Mann Page, had their horses shot under them.

It should be remembered that the difficulties which General Early contended with in the Valley were of no ordinary character. He was opposed by a greatly superior force, numerically; and he suffered for the want of cavalry strong enough to cope with the three large and well disciplined divisions of Torbert, numbering, perhaps, 8,000 men. It is too late now, however, to suggest remedies, but not too late to prevent censure from falling upon an able officer because he failed to perform an impossibility.

The Latest.

At last accounts General Early was at Keezle-town, and was expected to make a stand there. --This place is about fourteen miles from Staunton, and six from Port Republic. It is situated on the road which runs parallel to the Valley turnpike and leads to Waynesboro'. We heard a report last evening that a cavalry engagement took place in Page Valley on Friday, in which the enemy were badly beaten and driven back. Passengers by the Central train report that considerable excitement exists in Staunton, and that many of the inhabitants are making preparations to leave.

We are informed that there was no fight of any consequence at Fisher's Hill, and that our loss was very trifling. It is understood that the trains and supplies were brought off safely.

From east Tennessee.

The following official dispatch has been received at the War Department:

"Headquarters Army Northern Virginia.

"Hon. J. A. Seddon, Secretary of War:

"General Echols reports that on the 22d General Vaughan attacked the enemy at Blue Springs, Tennessee, and drove them seven miles into their entrenchments at Bull's Gap, killing and wounding several, and taking some prisoners. Our troops behaved well.

[Signed] R. E. Lee."

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