[correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
Portsmouth, April 24, 1861.
We have been busily engaged since Sunday morning preparing batteries at the Hospital and Craney Island
The former is nearly completed.
Several Dahlgren guns are already mounted.
The old ship United States
was towed down to the buoy off the mouth of the Western Branch
, but has been brought back for the purpose, as I learn, of putting guns on board of her. Everything is moving forward with celerity, and very soon our state of defence will be unite complete.
Now we have no fears of a successful attack — indeed, it may be well supposed that, for the present, nothing of the kind is designed.
Yesterday three fine volunteer companies from Georgia
They are a noble looking set of men. Some intercourse I have had with a good number of them has impressed me with their high-toned and gentlemanly character.
In one of the companies is a gentleman sixty-five years of age. He is of high social position, and in all that pertains to him there is furnished an illustration of the power of those influences which prevail among our people to hear for ward such men to the front rank to meet the despised foe.--The Captain
of one of the companies is a Baptist minister of some distinction, eminent for his piety, which is in true consistency with this devotion to the cause of truth and righteousness in which he is now engaged.
boat which arrived this morning met in the Bay
five large steamers heavily loaded with troops, supposed to be on their way to Washington
As the Geo. Peabody
passed Old Point
this morning to your city, she was called to by a heavy fire across her bows.
The sound of the guns was heard here, and it was supposed that the boat due here had been called and was prevented from coming up. Very soon the supposition became a positive affirmation, and a hot excitement was diffusing itself when the boat arrived.
Let our people, far and wide, beware of cherishing every supposition and enter ning every rumor-- infinite mischief is done by this course.
Since Gen. Gwynn
has become commander of the forces here matters move on systematically, and every assurance is held by us. He is the man above almost every other man, to whom the respect, yes, the affectionate regard, of this people gushes forth.
For many years he was resident among us, and we know him.