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The art and science of War. Wilmington, N. C., December 20, 1864. To the Editor of the Richmond Dispatch; Notwithstanding we have now been engaged in this great contest for nearly four years, and have had experience unrivalled in history, there is no subject so little or so imperfectly understood as that of war! The struggle was commenced with the mistaken and unfortunate idea that generals were born and not made — military knowledge unnecessary; that Bowie-knives, pikes, revolvers and brave men would alone gain battles and give us liberty and independence. The absurdity of such ideas has been proved by a terrible and sad experience. An army not in good discipline, well drilled, and commanded by competent officers, is still but the shadow of an army, incapable of executing great enterprises or of gaining permanent results. Of this the history of war contains abundant proof; and yet, in our own army, we see the elementary branches of the profession grossly neglected.
ck, capturing forty prisoners. "This morning, Torbert attacked Lomax near Gordonsville, and was repulsed and severely punished. He is retreating, and Lomax preparing to follow. "R. E. Lee." From Southwestern Virginia. The following private dispatch contains the latest authentic intelligence we have from Southwestern Virginia. It is reported that Breckinridge had overtaken the enemy a short distance beyond Marion, and that a fight was going on Wednesday: "Dublin, December 20, 1864. "A dispatch, from General Breckinridge to-day, dated at Mount Airy, sixteen miles west of Wytheville, says he had fought the enemy for two days, successfully, near Marion. The enemy had retired from his front; but whether they were retreating to East Tennessee or not, he had not ascertained." From North Carolina. From our telegram from Wilmington it will be seen that the Yankee fleet, which was driven out to sea by the gale of Thursday, has partially returned to the offi