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From Gen. Lee's army.

[from our Own Correspondent.]
Army of Northern Virginia,
Near Orange C. H., Va., Dec. 5, 1863.
A mountain in labor, and behold at parturition a mouse is brought forth. Meade has marched up the hill and then marched down again. Perhaps he reasoned after this wise, "That he who fights and runs away may live to fight another day."--But doubtless some of your hot-house military critics in Richmond who have "never smell gunpowder" will animadvert upon Gen. Lee for not having fallen upon Meade and crushed him before be could get back across the Rapidan. So, then, let me say that whatever Gen. Lee does is for the best, though it is quite true, I believe, that Gen' Lee was disposed to have attacked Meade on Tuesday, but was dissuaded from doing so by the advice of his Lieut. General, and it is equally true that he intended to have fought Meade on Wednesday certain, but Meade had gone.

Meade has combined to put himself behind the Rapidan with but slight loss. We have captured, all told, since the enemy first crossed the river, about 700 prisoners, including those taken by the cavalry. This, with the loss still unascertained by us, which Johnson's division inflicted upon the enemy last Friday evening, besides the mules captured by Mosby and the wagons taken by Rosser, and the performance of our cavalry on Sunday last, make up quite a gratifying exhibit, and show a decided balance in our favor, our own loss being limited mining to that suffered by Johnson's division on Friday evening last, and footing up between four and five hundred in killed and wounded, many of whom, in time, will again be able to meet the foe.

But what was Meade's object? He came with eight days rations and went back, after eating them up, without fighting. My opinion is this: Meade came against his judgment and did not want to fight. He will say, I think, that he intended to fight on Saturday, but was prevented by the rainstorm, and that losing this opportunity Gen. Lee had time to make his position too strong for Meade to risk a fight, and hence he had no other alternative but to go back to Culpeper. He could not well go to Fredericksburg, because of the lack of fuel on both sides of the river and the possibility of the Potomac freezing up this winter, and thus cutting off his supplies. Meade must winter in Culpeper, if anywhere. His prisoners say that he will not go into winter quarters, but will come again and take the route via Madison Court-House. He has now withdrawn his army near to Culpeper Court-House, and will doubtless make that place his headquarters for the present, surrounded by the immoral Botts and the elegant Dug Wallack.

Our troops are returning to camp and very much to their old quarters. The commissary and quartermaster wagons now line the roads daily, conveying supplies to the different camps, and the men are busying themselves in fitting up comfortable quarters for the winter. The religious services which were broken up by the stir of the past week have been resumed, and these meetings are nightly attended by eager crowds, who make the woods resound with praise of the Most High.

The Yankees during their occupancy this side of the Rapidan river re-enacted the scenes of last December at Fredericksburg. Fields were made desolate; houses first sacked and then burnt, and negroes carried off tied. In a word, everything that devilish malice could suggest or do was perpetrated upon the peaceful non-combatant denizens in the line of their march. A few of their outrages I will mention. Capt. Beale, Mr. Lockwood, and Capt. Dick Johnson, were seized and carried off to prison. They burnt the house, kitchen, and barns of Reuben L. Gordon, besides taking all his cattle and grain, at Germanna Ford. They destroyed Wm. Johnson's house and barn yard; the house of the widow Sleet, and also one belonging to Mrs. Ann Finder. They sacked the houses of Mrs. Willis and Col. Rowe. They killed the last milch cow an overseer of Skinker's had. The Locust Grove house was several times fired, but the lady in it managed to put it out. And a most respectable gentleman who has been over the entire ground overrun by the enemy tells me he thinks they carried off every living four-footed animal. To such straits were the people brought by the acts of the enemy that a gentleman, whose character for veracity is undoubted, tells me that he saw some poor children pulling off the fat from the thrown-away entrails of the slaughtered animals in order to subsist; and I have heard of one of the leading citizens of that section, once in great affluence, who was compelled to make application the day after the Yankees left to General Hampton's commissary for bread and meat to feed his family. I also heard of a well-vouched case of rape upon the person of a negro child eleven years old, with other disgusting and sickening recitals of the barbarous conduct of this loathsome race, who carry fire and sword in this cruel crusade more, if anything, against the unarmed and unoffending women, children, and non-combatant men than our soldiers in arms, whom they are by no means anxious to meet in the field in honorable conflict.

The prisoners captured during the Yankee retreat have been brought in, and are quite a shabby looking set. Many of them are conscripts, and not a few of them were, in their own elegant phraseology, "shanghaied into service;" which means that they were set upon by emissaries of the Government, made drunk, and thus induced to enlist. They say Meade brought over five corps of infantry, viz: the First, Second, Third, Fifth, and Sixth, numbering about sixty thousand men, and that with cavalry and artillery he has a force nigh on to eighty thousand men, which he expects to get recruited by spring to one hundred and fifty thousand men, and then the rebellion will certainly be crushed.

The weather for the past two days has been most delightful, and the roads are fast assuming a dry and hard surface again. This kind of weather, however, cannot last long, and "chill December's surly blasts will soon make fields and forests bare," while the bleak winds and raging storms will fall heavily upon our devoted soldiers unless they receive more blankets than they now have. Why should our people hold back? Blankets may not be on hand, but there are carpets all over the land that ought to be sent forward, and at once, to the relief of the soldiers' wants in this particular. It is a duty of patriotism to provide for the wants of the soldier; but, aside from this, it is self-interest to see that he is comfortably supplied. If for one moment this splendid army were disbanded or destroyed, the enemy, like an avalanche, would sweep over the homes of those people so long protected, and the ruin which now stares the people of Spotsylvania in the face would be the portion of one and all. Send blankets to the soldiers, and believe, in thus contributing, that you are doing a noble service. X.

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