Army of the Potomac.

[Special Correspondence of the Dispatch.]
Independent Scout Bivouac, Near Centreville, January 23, 1862.
This day the army of the department of Northern Virginia has lost the services of a gentleman whose good name and deeds have been as familiar as ‘"household words"’ to us. I allude to Major W. L. Cabell, than whom no army has seen a better man or more thoroughly qualified Chief Quartermaster.--He brought to bear in the infancy of our campaign the experience of a well-tried practical officer, and laid the basis of a system in his department that has been happily recognized and appreciated by every man in our army, and in the important department which he controlled. Major Cabell, after eight months or more of devoted service in this division, during which time he has made a host of friends and admirers, received official, and by the way one of the stiffest and coldest notices, that he was relieved of duty here and transferred to our forces in Arkansas. Perhaps the notice was strictly official and military, and it would not be comme il faut to express any terms of appreciation of good service in it. However, what the notice did not convey, the good will of the junior officers in the department of Major Cabell did. Yesterday, learning of his departure to the seat of war in the West, these officers surprised the portly and independent Major by presenting him with an order for a full dress uniform of the most costly and superior character. This was alike a suitable and well-clothed compliment, which, I trust, the Major will long live to appreciate. With the Major, Lieut. McR. Self, and Capt. McGibbon, Assistant Quartermasters, leave. They — a happier or more congenial trinity of gentlemen and officers I know not — also carry with them the regrets and good wishes of this army.

Maj. A. M. Barbour, a quiet and elegant gentleman whose devotion and activity in office augur well of his future benefit to this division, supersedes Major Cabell. The assistants to Major Barbour are Capts. Moore and Young. The former I only know, and if his official efficiency be only equal with his gentlemanly deportment and bland, inviting manners, then I can surely aver that everybody will be satisfied. Such gentlemen, when experienced, make the department of the Quartermasters the greatest blessing to an army. They can conceive and appreciate the wants of the soldier, and knowing their wants, readily and cheerfully make every effort to alleviate them.

In this connexion I cannot omit mentioning that a rumor prevails, regarding the transfer of Major Thos. Fisher, post Quartermaster, at Manassas, to Missouri. This transfer, though it would confer a justly deserved and higher office, that of Chief Quartermaster, on Major Fisher, would, nevertheless, deprive us of one of the best and most thoroughly qualified officers, in his department, that any army has ever had the good fortune to possess, intelligent, active, and affable, he has made himself generally beloved, and proved the good rule that puts the right man in the right place. It may be selfish, and how few of our acts and wishes are minus ‘"this potent ruler, self,"’ for us to wish Major Fisher to remain here, when higher position awaits him elsewhere — still I hope the rumor is merely one of those mercurial ones, which spreads into a thousand different directions and forms, by the merest touch of truth. I could dwell at length on the merits of the above gentlemen in their departments — point the improvements of their creation and the benefits accruing to our army therefrom, but it is enough to say that they give no encouragement to the appointing of those fungi, company or regimental understrapper quartermasters, who have no more ability to execute the duties of their offices than an elephant has power to open oysters with a quill tooth-pick.

In a late Northern paper whose chief news you have anticipated in your enterprising columns from your correspondent at Norfolk, I have seen an account of what is either foolishly or facetiously termed ‘"the battle at Romney."’ Battle forsooth, A battle won by ‘"the brave Col. Dunning !"’

"You call this a battle, eh ?

Soldiers term it but a brawl,"

says a Yeoman Captain to a cockney cit in an old play. From all I learn of this affray as far as the fleet-footed Hessians were concerned, I would call it a foray of bloodthirsty, murdering, vandal incendiaries.--Leaving Romney about midnight on the 6th inst. they marched in the most approved style of ‘"forced rufflianism"’ towards Pleasant Dale, where they aroused the sleeping inhabitants by burning dwellings and barns. They applied the fiendish torch to the barn of Mr. Geo. Nealis and destroyed all his stock. Passing through Pleasant Dale the next house they fired was that of Mr. J. W. Albans, situated at Terra Cotte, on the Northwestern Turnpike. Then they cheeringly burnt the house of Mr. Daniel Haines, near Terra Cotte, en route to Hanging Rock. Then they set fire to the Dye House, two miles distant from Haines's house, shooting the cattle and destroying every conceivable object inflamable; and doing all this in the most fiendish spirit of vampire revelry. Coming towards Hanging Rock their dastardly march was impeded by the appearance of Capt. Hardy's Little Capon Company, a small militia corps, who seeing the 5,000 or more Hessians made good their retirement, but not until the cowardly enemy became much alarmed and somewhat panic struck, as ‘"the brave Col. Dunning,"’ who is better acquainted with the yard-stick than the sword, fancied the entire march would be interrupted — his superior number giving him full sway and making him monarch of all around.

Reaching Hanging Rock, a rock thirty-five feet high or thereabout, which partly covers or incline to the Northwestern Pike road, they impressed a negro woman into their service, and by the most fearful threats induced her to reveal the locals of our few militia men, numbering about 280 or 300 men.--Learning everything from this affrighted spy, still they dared not make a manly attack, but deployed and wormed themselves around and about rocks and mountain gaps and loopholes, and succeeded in surprising our little band of brave fellows, who stood manfully for nearly three-quarters of an hour against a galling fire coming from every point. The Hampshire militia, the Star Artillery, Spittler's regiment, and the Rockingham and Shenandoah militia, the Emerald Guards, with the few other forces whose titles I do not remember, acted as bravely and nobly as any men well could under the circumstances and the large odds against them.

Our heavy artillery was not in the best working order, though the cannoneers worked well and bravely on the two field guns they had. One of the cannoneers, Phil. Donohoe, while acting most gallantly at his gun, was shot down, but even then defied the cowardly enemy; but they succeeded in carrying off, in much fear, the two guns, yet not the caissons, as the latter were recaptured by our brave boys. Our militia, of 300 strong, retired before this strong force of cavalry, infantry, and artillery, nearly 6,000 strong, with a loss of three killed and two wounded and two missing. The enemy lost too, as blood trails were visible along their route evidently from either their dead or wounded. And this is what they term a battle ! Oh ! for a scourge to whip the varlets into Boston harbor. Having retired to Park's Hollow, five miles distant I believe from Hanging Rock, the enemy's cavalry cautiously, and indicrously bungling in the shape of riding, followed. A small force of Colonel E. McDonnell's men came to our support, when our gallant boys rallied and drove the Hessians pell-mell back to Romney.

Some few of the Hessian officers and men who were hiding, and afterwards came out upon the road, renewed their incendiarism and destroyed a Mr. Cline's house, taking his clock and beehives to form a bon-fire. They then shot a poor, harmless shoemaker who was standing at the threshhold of his house door, and, not satisfied with this, set fire to his house, burning the poor fellow to death, his agonizing shricks being mimicked by them the while. Then they plundered and laid their thieving hands on eveything, cursing and threatening in the most foul and disgraceful terms the poor harmless women that came before their notice.

I have witnessed the scenes in the city of Paris when Louis Phillippe, Rois de Francais, fled his troubled throne, and when an enraged mob hurled destruction in the royal pariors, drawing-rooms, and wine cellars, yet those acts were mild, as those of a mob, compared with these of the Hessian soldiers. And they call this ‘"a battle !"’ Rather a piratical, incendiary mob. Voila tout.

The evening's piess — shadow of the power mightler than the sword — says our men commenced to burn the bridge near Hanging Rock. This is the lie formed from whole cloth. No such attempt was made. A battle indeed ! The records of Sing-Sing penitentiary tell of thousands such.

Yesterday I essayed a ride along the road to Fairfaz, but the distance through the mod and over it, together with my dislike of geological research, detected int. However I could have instead but little beyond the fact in military movement. call them fact. Hills

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W. L. Cabell (4)
Thomas Fisher (3)
Dunning (2)
Dale (2)
A. M. Barbour (2)
Young (1)
Spittler (1)
Louis Phillippe (1)
George Nealis (1)
Moore (1)
McR (1)
McGibbon (1)
E. McDonnell (1)
Hardy (1)
Daniel Haines (1)
Rois Francais (1)
Philip Donohoe (1)
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J. W. Albans (1)
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January 23rd, 1862 AD (1)
6th (1)
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