The War News.
The city was somewhat excited yesterday morning by a report that a general engagement was going on in front of Petersburg
, and the sound of distant cannon, rapidly discharged, being distinctly heard in elevated positions, the report was generally believed.
As the day advanced, however, the press dispatches announced that nothing unusual was in progress, and our community became again quiet.
The general belief now is that if a great battle takes place shortly it will be brought on by our troops making the attack; for it seems to be Grant
's policy to hard fighting for the present, while he resorts to the expedient of making upon our railroads, and thus embarrassing transportation.
All the contests that have thus far taken place have proved that his troops are no match for the Confederates
in valor, and their conduct shows that they are tired of "butting against the rebel " They are content to dig dirt, in employment which suits them better than fighting, and the Yankee
lines in Prince George will doubtless be protected by formidable fortifications, as they were in Hanover
The enemy having secured a lodgment on the Petersburg and Weldon railroad, proceeded to fortify as usual but they were not to be permitted to remain quietly in that position.
An attack was made upon them in Thursday night, and after a sharp fight they were driven off, and some five hundred of the blue rascals captured.
Our loss in this affair is represented to have been inconsiderable.
This handsome exploit re much credit upon the troops engaged.
The Yankee loss in the engagement of Wednesday afternoon is estimated by competent, judges at something over four thousand in killed, wounded and prisoners; while our own, at the outside, did not exceed four hundred, and some think three hundred will cover the entire casualties.
[from our own correspondent.]
Events succeed each other in such rapid succession that a correspondent has no leisure, and little time to do more than merely chronicle results, without indulging speculations or entering much into details.
Yesterday afternoon Gen. Mahone
, who is when work is to be done, was by the "cavalry people" that the enemy, in strong force, had reached the weldon railway, six miles below here, were fortifying, and were spreading in every direction.
This of course was behaved to be greatly exaggerated, if not entirely romantic.
M., however, at once moved with his division, by order of Gen. Lee
and came up with the "large force," which was engaged in the occupation of destroying the railroad.
They proved to be cavalry, and fled at our approach, having destroyed about one hundred and fifty yards of the track, which will be repaired to day.
M., however, did not stop here, but pushed forward, and about nightfall succeeded in overtaking a part of the sixth corps, and captured about four hundred and eighty prisoners, including twenty commissioned officers.
Our loss was quite small.
The affair was only a brilliant surprise, and our captures were made after a sharp but decisive skirmish.
The enemy being surprised, their chief loss was in prisoners.
Among the missing on our side during the fight on Wednesday evening was Major Mills
, of S. C.
, the brave, accomplished, and well known A. A. G. of Anderson
's division, new commanded by General Mahone
His friends are very certain that he was captured, and not killed.
Last night about nine o'clock there was heavy firing, but it amounted to little or nothing.
A woman was killed by a shell thrown in the city on yesterday evening.--Very few shells have been thrown into the city to-day.
Advices from Burkesville
are to the effect that the enemy burnt it last night, about one o'clock. The high bridge is safe, and will not he destroyed I am quite sure.
This morning about sunrise our batteries on the Chesterfield
side of the Appomattox
, opened a furious cannonade on the enemy's lines near battery No. 5, on the City Point
After the cannonading had lasted about thirty minutes, Haygood
's S. C.
, brigade, of Hoke
's division, was started forward.
They charged the enemy's skirmishers and drove them back, capturing some thirty of them.
Their line of battle, however, was too strong for us, and so our troops had to retire.
Our loss is not over sixty in killed and wounded.
We also lost, I think, a few prisoners, and captured about one hundred.
Since then nothing has been done.
3:20 P. M.--It is again reported that the enemy are moving on the Weldon railroad.
In official quarters nothing seems to be known as to the whereabouts of Sheridan
and his gang.
As we have heretofore announced, they left the White House
on Wednesday, and proceeded in the direction of James river
It was subsequently ascertained that they struck the Chickahominy
at Porge Bridge, and crossed to the south bank of that stream.
Our cavalry engaged them on Thursday on the Charles City river road, and one account says they were forced back some distance by Chambliss
In the engagement, Lieut Pollard
, who was conspicuous for his gallantry at the time of the Dahlgren raid, received a severe but not dangerous wound in the ankle.
It is reported that another engagement took place on the same day, and that our troops, running short of ammunition, were compelled to fall back.
has reached the James river
, and escaped, he has done so at a heavy sacrifice.
His expedition has been a series of disasters from beginning to end, and the command which started out from Grant
's army so fresh and lively, and with such high expectations, returns discomfited, broken down, and greatly depleted in men and horses.
At a late hour last night it was reported that a courier had arrived with intelligence that our troops had an encounter with Sheridan
's forces yesterday, in which the latter were severely punished.
It is proper to add that we place very little confidence in stories brought by couriers.
There was no information at headquarters last night from this or any other point.
The only additional report we have is connected with the fight on Thursday.
It is stated that our forces drove the enemy four miles, when, their ammunition giving out, they were themselves driven precisely the same distance.
Raid on the Danville railroad.
The Yankee cavalry force sent out from Grant
's army, under Spear
, and Wilson
, after destroying the Petersburg and Weldon railroad, near Reams's Station, assailed the Southside railroad, at Ford
's Despot, about twenty miles from Petersburg
which they burnt, together with two locomotives and sixteen burthen cars, laden with stores, &c, belonging to the Norfolk and Petersburg railroad.
They then proceeded on and struck the Richmond and Danville Railroad at Burkesville Junction, where the road intersects with the Southside railroad, fifty- three miles from Richmond
Here on Thursday night they burnt the freight house, (an unimportant structure,) the water tanks, and tore up the track for some distance.
We are informed that the sills were burnt, but that the rails were not much damaged.
It was reported yesterday that they were fortifying at the Junction
, but we have good reason for stating that this was an error.
Their design doubtless was to destroy the High Bridge
, on the Southside railroad; but learning that this experiment would be attended with some danger to them, they changed their programme, and proceeded on up the Danville
At 11 o'clock yesterday they were reported all along the road from Greenbay to Meherrin's. Greenbay is seven miles above the Junction
, and Meherrin's ten.
They no doubt sent out foraging parties to pillage the inhabitants, but at 6 o'clock last evening it was not known what damage had been done to the road beyond the Junction
The stores had all been removed from Burkesville
previous to the visit of the raiders, and the injury to the road at that point can speedily be repaired.
The latest accounts we have from the raiders represent that they were proceeding on from Meherrin's in the direction of Staunton river
They burnt the depot at Meherrin's and tore up the track in several places between that point and Burkesville
.--It has also been ascertained that the track was torn up in one or two places this side of the Junction
Their design is evidently to damage the road as much as possible, but their career may yet be cheeked.
A detachment of the enemy's raiding force was overtaken yesterday morning at Nottoway Court House by our cavalry under Gen. W. F. H. Lee
, and a skirmish took place, in which the Yankees
They then retreated, with the apparent intention of rejoining the main body.
From Hunter's forces — official News.
Official information from Salem
confirms the main features of the Associated Press
dispatch from Lynchburg
, in yesterday's paper.
The enemy passed through Salem
on the 21st, and took the route towards Lewisburg
, by Newcastle
, with his cavalry, struck the enemy north of Salem
at the Hanging Rock
, and captured four pieces of artillery and disabled six others so that they had to be left.
The carriages were destroyed by the enemy.
The guns, however, are secured--ten in all.
The enemy moved so rapidly that our infantry could not attack him before he got to the mountains, though they marched twenty miles a day.
The enemy did a great deal of damage to citizens in Bedford
, but not so much in Roanoke
, as they were too closely pursued.
All the bridges and depots on the railroad were burnt to Salem
, but little other damage was done to the road.