The Yankees at Big Bethel.
[special Correspondence of the Dispatch.]
Harwood's Mills, Jan. 4, 1862.
About three o'clock on yesterday, (Friday,) our pickets came in and reported that a large body of Yankee Cavalry was advancing on "Big Bethel." Further investigation proved that the report was correct, and in ten minutes our men were in hot pursuit, but in consequence of the roads being very dry, the quick movements of our troops created such a dust that the enemy was thereby informed of our approach, and immediately retreated like a parcel of sheep- steating ours, but not, however, until they burnt several private houses near the church.
They also fired the church, in two or three places, but our forces arrived in time to save the building.
This is the first time that the Yankees
have visited the old battle ground since the battle.
Had they extended their visit 15 or 20 minutes longer, they would have been received in the same hospitable manner that they met with on Monday, the 10th of June, 1861.
At night large fires were seen in three difent directions--one towards James River
, one towards York River
, and another near the centre of the Peninsula
We are now on the look-out Alphrus.