The War news.Since our last report military operations below Richmond have been somewhat active, though the enemy have gained no advantage since the capture of Fort Harrison on Thursday last. Saturday morning there was some desultory firing, but as the day was rainy and disagreeable, it was generally supposed that there would be no fighting. As the day advanced, however, a heavy cannonade commenced, which, about half-past 4 o'clock in the afternoon, surpassed in rapidity and sound anything ever before heard in Richmond. The reports of heavy guns fully shook the houses in the city, and from elevated positions the smoke could be distinctly seen. This continued until hear six o'clock, and some imaginative persons were under the impression that a general engagement was in progress on the very environs of Richmond. Some fancied they could hear the rattle of musketry at intervals, and numerous conjectures were indulged respecting the nature and progress of the battle. The reports of cannon averaged about one a minute, while at times they were even more frequent. The cause of all this excitement was explained yesterday by persons from the front. It appears that the Tenth corps of the Yankee army, now commanded by Birney, advanced on the Darbytown and Charles City roads, accompanied by a considerable body of cavalry, under Spears, and succeeded in getting to the vicinity of the intermediate line of entrenchments, some two miles and a half below Richmond. The object of this movement is believed to have been a reconnaissance in force. At this point our batteries opened upon the enemy and prevented their getting into position, and they retired. Many of our citizens were yesterday disposed to treat this affair as a false alarm, and persons who professed to have been at the front asserted that there was no enemy within sight of our artillerymen. It was therefore talked about as a great waste of ammunition to no purpose whatever; but we have every reason to believe that the foregoing statement of the advance of the Yankees is correct. A portion of the James river fleet has been engaged since Thursday morning in shelling Fort Harrison; but no general assault has been made by our troops since Friday, and the enemy still hold the position. Yesterday, with the exception of some skirmishing near Chaffin's Bluff, no fighting took place on the lines below Richmond. In the morning the enemy's skirmishers advanced and drove in our pickets at that point, but our men rallied, and in turn drove the Yankees back. It was currently reported yesterday that the enemy were recrossing to the southside of the James, but up to the time of writing this paragraph this lacks confirmation. Among the captured in Fort Harrison were Colonel Maury, commandant of Chaffin's Bluff, and Major R. C. Taylor, (brother of General Lee's adjutant-general) commandant of artillery at the same post. The fort was manned by about three hundred reserves, who made a feeble resistance, and all fled except seventy-five, who were captured. The report that the City Battalion (the Twenty-fifth Virginia) behaved badly in this affair is untrue. Not more than twelve of the command were there at the time, and they were on the sick list. The battalion was ordered from Newmarket Hill to Fort Gilmer, and bore a conspicuous part in the defence of that place, assisted by the command of Colonel Dubois. The repulse of the enemy here was decided, and their loss heavy, while ours was comparatively right. It is estimated that in the woods, in front of Fort Gilmer, from six hundred to seven hundred of the enemy are laying dead, and after the fight the trench before the fort was filled with them. The attack was made by negroes, and some who were captured say that they were forced on by white troops at the point of the bayonet, and threatened with instant death if they retreated. It is in this way that the Yankees show their affection for their "pet" Africans. The commands of Colonels Elliott and Dubois were highly complimented by the general commanding for their gallantry during the assault. Several farm houses below the city have been burnt within the past two days--some of them by the enemy and some by our own forces. The Yankees burnt the dwellings of Thomas T. Duke and Dr. Loflin, while our people destroyed Hughes' tavern, the houses of Mr. Clay, Mrs. Weaver, and the barn of Joseph White. Some of these were probably accidentally fired by shell. The report that the houses of John N. Davis and E. B. Cook were destroyed is incorrect. Many of the citizens of Henrico have been plundered by the Yankees, and are heavy sufferers in consequence. One instance of the preservation of a sum of money under singular circumstances has been brought to our notice. A resident of the county, on the approach of the enemy, fled from his home, bringing away such articles as could be hastily got together. He had placed four thousand dollars upon a bureau, intending to move it, but came away and left the money behind. The next day he ventured to return to his house, and found that it had been visited and searched by the Yankees; but the money had slipped behind the bureau and was all recovered by the owner. It was reported last evening that the enemy, in considerable force, were advancing on the Peninsula, and that some skirmishing took place at the White House yesterday morning. John Uhihorn, an employee of the Southern Express Company, and Chr. Baumhard, a resident of Richmond, were captured by the enemy while on a scouting expedition below Richmond on Saturday. They belonged to one of the local cavalry companies. Two citizens of Henrico county were taken out by the enemy on Friday and barbarously murdered near Laurel Church. Their bodies were left lying upon the spot. Surely this act calls for some retaliation at the hands of our authorities.
Fighting at Petersburg.Simultaneously with the operations on the north side of the James, the enemy in front of Petersburg have been displaying a good deal of activity. On Friday, Burnside's corps advanced across the Vaughan road to Squirrel Level road, broke through a portion of the line held by our artillery, who resisted stoutly, but being flanked and overwhelmed by superior numbers, were compelled to retreat.--This occurred on Peebles's farm, about four miles distant from Petersburg. Our loss is stated at eighty killed, wounded and captured, and a few pieces of artillery fell into the hands of the enemy. After this advantage, the Yankees pressed forward towards the Boydton plankroad, but were met on Robert H. Jones's plantation by Generals Heth and Hampton and driven back to the captured works. We took some nine hundred prisoners and inflicted a heavy loss upon the enemy. The following official dispatch from General Lee confirms the foregoing news: General Heth attacked the enemy's infantry, who had broken through a portion of the line held by our artillery on Squirrel Level road and drove them back. "General Hill reports that they were severely punished and four hundred prisoners captured. "General Hampton, operating on General Heth's right, also drove the enemy, capturing two stands of colors and about five hundred prisoners, including five colonels and thirteen other officers.
It appears that although the enemy were driven back about a mile and severely punished they still held the captured works on the Squirrel Level road at the close of Friday's action. On Saturday there was some severe fighting, which resulted in the capture of four hundred prisoners and the repulse of the enemy, but we failed to dislodge them from the earthworks which they had taken. It was reported but evening, however, that an attack was made yesterday, in which our troops succeeded in recapturing all they had lost, except two pieces of Graham's battery. Among the killed on Saturday was Dr. Fontains, son of the President of the Virginia Central railroad, and General Dunnavant, of South Carolina, (commanding Butler's brigade,) formerly colonel of the Fourth South Carolina cavalry.
From the Valley.The news from the Valley is encouraging. General Early, under date of Waynesboro', September 29th, telegraphed General Colston, commanding at Lynchburg, as follows: ‘ "No force of the enemy has moved south of Staunton. We drove a large body of cavalry, under Torbert, from this place last night in confusion, and it retreated through Staunton, which place is new clear of the enemy. A portion of our cavalry passed through the town to-day." ’ A second dispatch was received from General Early the same day, stating that he thought all danger of a raid on Lynchburg was over, and conveying the gratifying information that the enemy were falling back down the Valley. Still later intelligence from General Early is contained in the following official dispatch received at the War Department on Saturday:
"October 1, 1864.
North river is the north branch of the Shenandoah, and has its source in Rockingham county, from which it flows by comparative courses north northeast for fifty miles over Rockingham and Shenandoah counties, enters Frederick, bends to the eastward and joins the south branch. Thus we are assured that the county of Augusta is now clear of the enemy. We are informed that after whipping the Yankee cavalry at Waynesboro', General Early moved forward in pursuit, since which we have no information of his movements. It is stated that the Yankees, while in Page Valley, behaved better than is their usual custom. --With the exception of stealing provisions, they inflicted very little damage upon the citizens. Columns of smoke were seen on the line of the enemy's retreat towards Harrisonburg, rendering it probable that they applied the torch to some of the farm houses on the route.
Casualties.Casualties in company K, Fourth Virginia cavalry, Wickham's brigade, in the battle near Waynesboro'; Killed — None. Wounded--Lieutenant William A. Moss, in three places, arm, side, and sabre cut on the head; Sergeant E. V. Anderson, thigh; Corporal Thomas Garnett, head, privates N. Tapscott, leg; --Hubbard, side; John Phillips, severely in breast; Wilson N. Bugg, leg;-- Baber, leg.
Bristol on account of an apprehended raid of General Burbridge from Kentucky, through Pound gap. His force is reported to General Echols at eight thousand. It is stated that our force in the Southwestern Department is sufficient to whip the enemy, and to hold in check any raid that may be sent forward from Knoxville. At last accounts Burbridge was reported to be within twenty miles of Saltville, advancing with a heavy force of infantry and artillery, and a small body of cavalry. Saltville is in Washington county, Virginia, about twenty-five miles from Abingdon. The following official dispatch relating to recent military operations in East Tennessee was received at the War Department on Saturday:
"October 1, 1864.
The Watauga river, mentioned in the above dispatch, has its source in Ashe county, North Carolina, flows northwesterly into Tennessee, and enters the south fork of the Holston in Sullivan county. The Sandy river flows into the Ohio at Catlettsburg, Kentucky, Carter's station, the point at which General Vaughn repulsed the enemy, is on the East Tennessee and Virginia railroad, some ten or fifteen miles from Bristol.