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War Matters

We have been furnished with an extract from a private letter written by a member of Otey's Battery to his father, in this city. It will gratify the many friends of the company to learn that the men bore themselves gallantly in the recent fight in Giles county. The letter from which we copy is dated Wolf Gap, May 13th:

The fight in Giles county.

The great desire of my life has at last been realized — that of being in a battle. Last Friday night Gen. Heth, with 1,500 infantry, our two guns, one 24 pound howitzer, 4 mountain howitzers, and a company of cavalry, started from Shannon Gap, at 10 o'clock at night, to attack the enemy at Giles Court-House, a small village of 300 or 400 inhabitants.

We marched all night, a distance of thirteen miles, and gave battle at sunrise the next morning. We got to the court-house about sunrise, and immediately commenced the attack by throwing shells and shot into their ranks for half an hour, when the cowardly dogs, finding our fire too hot for them, commenced retreating. We pursued them for six miles, until we reached Wolf Gap, where we now are. Wolf Gap is the place where Gen. Heth wanted to make a stand in defence of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, as it is the great pass to that road. It would have done your very soul good, as it did mine, to see the ‘"Otey boys"’ throw shell into them, when the cowardly Yankees fled like sheep.

Our men fought well and gallantly, and I don't think that we will ever surrender as long as Captain Otey leads us on to battle.

The people of Giles Court-House said the enemy carried off ten wagon loads of killed and wounded early in the retreat. Our loss was very small--one man killed and four wounded.

Col. Patton, of the 22d Virginia regiment, fell wounded while gallantly loading his regiment in charge. None of our battery was hurt. We captured four prisoners, fifty horses, and a lot of arms, ammunition, and stores. Onslow.

Official report of the engagement at Drury's Bluff

The following is Captain Farrand's official report of the action last week at Drury's Bluff:

Drury's Bluff, May 15, 1862.
Hon. S. R. Mellory, Secretary of the Navy:
The enemy came up the river at half-past 6 A. M., the Galena ahead, the Monitor and a small iron steamer, a side-wheel, and a smaller gunboat following in succession.

When about four hundred yards from our obstructions our batteries opened fire upon the Monitor and Galena. They did not reply until the Galena had placed herself directly a thwart the channel. After which she and the Monitor opened a brisk fire, the other vessels keeping underway, and at about from a quarter to a mile lower down and so close under the opposite shore that only four of our guns could bear upon them. Our fire was mostly directed upon the Galena, only occasionally paying a compliment to the others.

Several of our shots at long range passed through and through them, and they soon dropped out of range. The small iron-clad and the side-wheel gunboats were badly crippled. We turned our attention to the Galena — nearly every one of our shots telling upon her iron surface — at 11 o'clock A. M. one of the Patrick Henry's eight-inch solid shot passed into her bow port, Immediately the smoke rushed out of her own ports, showing, evidently, that she was on fire. We gave her three hearty cheers as she slipped her cables and moved down the river. Our pickets heard her captain say to one of the other gunboats, that she was ‘"in a sinking condition."’

Our sharpshooters did good service, picking off every man who showed himself.

There is no doubt we struck them a hard blow. The last that was seen of them they were steaming down the river.

Every officer and man discharged their duties with coolness and determination, and it would be doing injustice to many if I should mention or particularize any. Capt. Drury and his men fought their guns with great effect.

Casualties--Seven killed, among them Midshipman Carroll, and eight wounded.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Eben Farrand, C. S. N.,
Commanding Post.

The Capital of Louisiana.

Our latest intelligence from Baton Rouge, La., is contained in the New Orleans Picayunes of May 1st. The Northern papers have claimed that the place was occupied by the Federals shortly after the capture of New Orleans, but the following furnishes ground for doubting the assertion:

The passing of the Federal fleet above our forts was announced at the Capital on Thursday morning, and immediately thereupon preparations were made for the removal of the State archives, and for the destruction of cotton and sugar. The archives have been removed to a place in the interior where the enemy is by no means likely to find them, and all the cotton at Baton Rouge and along the river is now a mass of smouldering fire. All the sugar, too, has either been carried to a place of security or destroyed. Our informant did not visit the arsenal and armory and other Confederate buildings, and therefore cannot speak positively on the point, but his impression is that all the Government stores, machinery, ammunition, &c., have either been removed or left in such a condition as to be valueless to the enemy.

Immediately upon his arrival at the Capital, Gov. Moore issued a proclamation announcing the great disaster to our arms, and counselling the people in patriotic language as to their duty in this their hour of adversity. The Governor does not attempt to depreciate the enemy's success, but at the same time he calls upon all citizens of the State to do all in their power to render that success as fruitless and as short lived as possible. With this view, he enjoins the destruction of cotton, sugar, and other property liable to seizure and appropriation by the enemy. Colonels of militia are enjoined to see to the execution of this order.

There was quite a ferment among the people of Baton Rouge when it was announced that the enemy's fleet had passed the forts. Preparations were made for a general departure to the interior, and though all excitement had passed away when our informant left, still numbers continued to leave, both by land and water, in anticipation of a visit from the fleet, no portion of which, we are assured, contrary to city reports, had visited the Capital.

Our informant is positive that none of the fleet have been higher up than Carroliton. He saw none on Monday on his way down; nor could they have passed him during the night unobserved, as he was awake every hour. We conclude, then, that up to noon Tuesday Baton Rouge had not been occupied, nor had the Federal flag been hoisted on the Capitol, notwithstanding the averment of all the ‘"reliable"’ in the city.

The battle of Armageddon.

The war correspondent of the Mobile Register writing in reference to disaffection among the Kentuckians and Tennessean at Nashville, says:

‘ The discontent among the Kentuckians was increased by a sermon preached in Nashville by the Rev, Mr. Baldwin, the author of ‘"Armageddon, or the United States in Prophecy." ’ You may remember the work, and that the author's study of the Prophecies led him to the conclusion that the great battle of ‘"Armageddon,"’ spoken of in Revelations, would be fought about this time in the Valley of the Mississippi. He referred to the same subject in his sermon in Nashville, and told his hearers that the battle would take place by the 20th of June--that the Federal host would be overthrown and dispersed — and that their dead carcasses would make ‘"all the land to stink. "’ An effort was made by officers present to stop him, but the soldiers, who were deeply interested, would not allow it to be done.

Defences of the Mississippi river.

A late number of the Memphis Appeal says:

‘ Our "inland sea"--the great Mississippi —— has not yet been surrendered to the control of the enemy. Still more vigorous efforts, it seems, are to be made to repel his fleets, both from below and above, through the old instrumentality of land fortifications and heavy ordnance. The fall of Forts Henry, Donelson, Pulaski, Macon, Jackson, and St. Philip, of New Madrid and Island No.10, do not furnish a moral to our authorities sufficiently pointed to deter them from this difficult enterprise. They are determined that the approach to Memphis, at least, if nothing more can be accomplished, shall not be quite so easy as the foe was led to believe upon hearing that New Orleans had fallen.

Accordingly, the defences at Forts Pillow and Wright, and Vicksburg have been greatly strengthened, and nut in a condition to delay the Federal flotillas a long time, if indeed they do not impede them altogether. No doubt Butler and Fariagut, who have scarcely regained their composure amid the exciting scenes incident to the capture of the Crescent City, are nursing the hope that no obstruction will be presented to their immediate movement up the river to Memphis, and thence to Fort Pillow, which they hope to see fall or evacuated, as the result of a combined attack of their own and Foote's gunboat fleet.

We do not question the propriety of this movement on the part of our authorities. Indeed, it can be regarded in no other light than as being eminently wise. Should it only contest the enemy's control of the Mississippi river for sixty days and prevent a union of the Federal columns now at New Orleans and New Madrid that length of time, it will do much good. By the time Butler and his forces have been in the "land of cotton," particularly within the vicinity of New Orleans, a couple of months they will commence to experience the "heated term" so dreaded by the New England Yankee. The deadly fevers, superinduced by malaria and climate cause will assault them with an earnest vigor little anticipated.

The battle of Farmington.

The army correspondent of the Savannah Republican, writing from Corinth, May 10, gives an account of the fight at Farmington the day previous, a portion of which we copy:

The enemy had been parading up and down on our right for several days, and seemed to be really anxious to cross swords with us indeed, he had become so insolent that was regard concluded he would give him as opportunity to show whether he meant all his acts implied, or was merely playing the briggart. Accordingly, he put a part of the army in motion in the forenoon, and by 12 o'clock he had come up with the enemy at Farmington, a ‘"deserted village"’ five miles northern of Corinth, on the road to Harrisburg.

Our officers were aware that Gen. Po was at Farmington with his New Madrid army of about 20,000 men. It was not known however what other forces, if any, were than to co- operate with him. The forces sending to engage him differed very little from his own in numbers. And yet he and his battle army seemed to be stricken with a panic from the beginning of the engagement. The truth is, they fled like so many sheep. Two or three regiments did attempt to make a stand, and in one instance a considerable force made a dash at Robinson's battery, but they were repulsed in the most gallant manner. Robinson double-shotted his guns with grape, and with a few rapid and well-directed discharge he scattered them like a flock of turkeys. The moment they gave way, he dashed forward with the battery and poured a murderous fire into their retreating ranks, which last them across Seven-Miles, Creek in time Ban Run fashion.

There are some details of the affair which could not fall to interest your readers if I fell at liberty to give them. Suffice it to say, we came near capturing the greater part of Pope's army. Two hours more and the thing would have been done. Three guns were fired in succession by the Confederates about 9 o'clock the night before, which seem to have produced a moving effect upon the Federals, who construed them into a signal of some sort, and, accordingly. they fell back some distance during the night. This rendered it necessary for us to march that much farther before we came up to them. And thus the enemy escaped.

Gen. Ruggles opened the attack, and Van Dorn and Price soon took up the tale. The army of the West, led by the heroes of Elkhorn, were principally engaged. The enemy ran so fast that Gen. Ruggles's division, after a few discharges, were unable to get within range of his flying columns. Indeed, it was a running fight from the moment the Federals learned we had attacked them in force. Possibly Gen. Pope had orders to retire in the event he was attacked, since one can hardly conceive how 20,000 fresh troops in position could fail to offer a stubborn resistance to even twice their own numbers.--And yet the wild confusion and disorder in which his troops fled — each man seeming to be concerned in taking care of himself alone — would preclude the idea that his withdrawal was in accordance with previous orders.

His conduct is rendered still more mysterious by the reports of prisoners, a few of whom were captured in spite of their fleetness.--Some of them say that 40,000 men were massed together in an entrenched camp behind Seven Miles Creek, about a mile and a half back at Farmington. These troops had ample time to come to the assistance of Gen. Pope possibly flalleck thought we would follow a across the creek, where he would have great the advantage; or, it may be, he was not ready for the decisive battle, and therefore remained quietly in his camp. Be this as it may, Gen. Beauregard offered him battle upon a faithful open field, and he declined to accept it. And he was not ready, then he acted wisely; if he was, and still declined the offer, then he must distrust his ability to cope with us upon equal terms.

The loss was slight on both sides, on account of the character of the engagement. Fifty will probably cover the number of our killed and wounded, and two hundred that of on enemy. We captured a telegraph office suit considerable amount of baggage and case equipage. As usual, a large number of letter were picked up, one of which, written by young girl to her brother, contains the following singular injunction:

‘ "Be a good boy Charles and if you seen seschenist in distress help him if it is in your power if it is Jeff Davis his self."

We took several horses, and killed a great many. A battalion of Federal cavalry attempted to arrest the pursuit, and with the view they made a charge upon our regiment but a single volley from the Confederates is seated nearly half of them, and sent them flying after their comrades. The pursuit stopped at Seven-Miles creek, across with the enemy fled in confusion.

Turning the Tables.

The last number of the Abingdon Virginia mentions the following incident:

‘ A few days ago, as some thirty well mounted Southern Kentuckians were making their way through the mountains of Kentucky to Virginia, to unite their fate with the interests of the South, a squad of a "Home Guard" attempted to stop them, but they calculated without their host, and were taken prisoners themselves, and marched on foot to this place Tuesday evening, and lodged in jail.--There are thirteen of them, two of whom are represented as desperate characters. They will be sent to Richmond.

Operations on James river.

The Petersburg Express, of yesterday, says:

‘ The Monitor, at last accounts, was off City Point, near the month of the Appomattox river — a position which also commands the channel of the James. Three of the gunboat have proceeded down the river, whether to return with large accessions or repair to some other section, remains to be seen. The Galens has escaped the vigilance of our videttes all gone no one knows where, but we hope to the bottom. It is said that the Yankees on board the Monitor buried a large number of their comrades. Friday, supposed to have been killed in the engagement of Thursday at Drury's Bluff. One of our pickets estimates the number at one hundred. We presume this is rather too high a figure, although we should like to see it multiplied by one thousand.

It was reported yesterday that the Yankees had landed in large numbers at Smithfield. The nearness of Smithfield to James river offers facilities for the landing of the enemy which we could not prevent. It is stated that they have also appeared at Chuckatuck, Nassemond county, in large force. Burnsided reported to be making his way slowly towards Murfreesboro', N. C., and other positions in the vicinity of the Seaboard railroad. If these reports be correct, the indications point very plainly to an attempted junction of the forces under Burnside and McClellan, and then a grand movement towards Richmond on the south side of James river.

’ The Express also makes the following allusion to a rumor which prevailed to some extent in Richmond on Saturday last:

‘ We understand that a most terrific rumor prevailed in Richmond on Saturday, relative to Petersburg. Some re(lie)able person appeared in the streets of the former city, almost out of breath and scarcely able to articulate for the time; yet managed to gain forth to his hearers, that 20,000 Yankees had landed at City Point, and marched straight ahead and captured our beautiful city. The re(lie)able person had no time to wait for the departing trains, but started at a rapid doubt quick on the railroad and arrived in Richmond ahead of all the engines and telegraph too. We are informed that the good sense of the people of Richmond prevented their believing any such news. No, gentlemen, we have not 20,000 Yankees among us yet, and from present appearances, are not likely to have them shortly.

The Yankees in Suffolk, Va.

During Tuesday last 200 Yankee cavalry entered the town of Suffolk, took possession of Temperance Hall and one of the churches, and then roamed about the streets, with an air of indifference to danger that could not have been surpassed by Southern troops. The citizens were entirely defenseless, and there were no soldiers to ‘"molest them or make them afraid. "’ Had there been a parties leader, with the spirit of a Marion, anywhere about, the Dismal Swamp would have been ambushed, and not a Yankee horseman would have returned to Norfolk to tell the fate of the fellows. One cavalry company could have bagged the whole party without difficulty. The bare mention of Col. Wright's Take Georgia regiment, by a shrewd negro boy whom they attempted to catechize, cause a rush to the saddle and a stampede towards Portsmouth which was ludicrous in the extreme.

On Wednesday, only eight of the invaders returned to Suffolk, demanded the keys of the jail, released every prisoner, quartered their liberated felons and themselves on a respectable citizen, impressed the wagon of another to drag their filthy persons to Portsmouth, and then left at leisure.

The enemy in Arkansas.

The Memphis Avalanche, of the 10th inst., has the following editorial news relative to the movements of the enemy in Arkansas:

‘ A gentleman just from Newtown, Arkansas, states that the Federals had about 4,000 troops at Pocahontas, and about 5,000 more under General Curtis, were daily expected. The Federals were overrunning Arkansas, and it was reported that large bodies were moving on Little Rock and Jacksonport — They had not reached the latter place 1st Saturday.

The Federals approaching, Little Rock are said to be accompanied by Lane, of Kansas, whom they design to make Governor of Arkansas, in place of Governor Rector.

The Federals at Pocahontas had taken possession of the Gazette and Herold office, and from it were issuing a paper devoted to local matters and the affair of the Federal troops. The editor of the Pocahontas. Herold and Gazette Capt. Martin, is raising a guerrillas brigade.

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