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Southern news.

From the latest journals received at this office we make up the following summary:

The enemy on the Southern coast — Escape
of the Gray Cloud — Collision between a French steamer and a Federal Cruiser.

From the New Orleans True Delta, of the 11th inst., we copy the following:

The steamer Gray Cloud, which has been lying concealed from the enemy for some time at Biloxi, ran out on a venture Wednesday and came through the sound safely, arriving here early this morning. She reports only six of the enemy's vessels around Ship Island, although there have been as many as twenty-two in sight from the mainland at one time. Col. James, of Biloxi, who came passenger on her, furnishes us with the following budget of news from a quarter that is now invested with deep interest on account of its proximity to the enemy and to our own homes.

On Tuesday, the 7th instant, three French naval officers, with sixteen men, landed at Biloxi and desired to communicate, by telegraph, with the French Consul at New Orleans. The office at Biloxi having been closed, Lieutenant Pradat, who had acted as interpreter on their arrival, volunteered to accompany them in their boat to Bay Saint Louis, whither they went accordingly.

They reported the fact that their vessel, a side-wheel steamer, had been run into accidentally by one of the United States steam vessels-of-war, and that their craft had been badly crippled in the wheel-house, and was lying outside of Ship Island. She was one of the Anglo-French naval squadron, which they reported to have arrived off our coast, twenty-four sail strong. On Wednesday, they returned and obtained their answer, by telegraph, from the French Consul.

Since the visit of the enemy to Biloxi, on the 31st ult., they have not been near the mainland. On that occasion they came in three gun-boats, one of which, the Henry Lewis, towed thirty-two launches, and was crowded with troops. The two little cannon in the place were given up to them, as it would have been madness to resist; but the Home Guard, consisting of about sixty old men, kept their arms. Captain Smith told the Mayor of Biloxi, Captain Fewell, that he was perfectly well acquainted with the number of their arms and all their resources.

All of the towns on the lake coast are being deserted, and the people are moving into the interior. It would be useless to send troops there while the enemy have command of the sound and can shell the whole coast with impunity. Seven negroes have proved traitors and gone off to the fleet. Four of them, belonging to Mr. Alfred Lewis, were chased by their master, when a Yankee gunboat came to their rescue and took them on board. Two others belonged to a widow lady at Biloxi, and one to Mr. Jas Higgins, All the other negroes are sent into the country.

From Bowling Green--order for the removal of women and children — brilliant skirmish.

The Bowling Green correspondent of the Nashville Union and American, of the 7th inst., write:

An order has been issued by the commanding General of this post, warning citizens, women and children of the imminence of an early engagement, and advising them to remove from the city before the occurrence of actual hostilities. Dwelling-houses in front of the fortifications are to be vacated by the present tenants, and either be used for defence or destroyed, as the occasion may require.

A brilliant skirmish occurred at Boland's Ferry, in Ohio county, day before yesterday. Lieut. Heint, of the army guides, left here Tuesday for the ferry, in command of ten men, and was joined on the route by an independent company from Germantown, Tenn. A number of Dutch have for a long time been stationed near the river for the protection of the ferry, and to aid in the crossing of stock stolen from citizens living on the south side of the stream. The party reached the river at day dawn Wednesday morning and advanced in two squads from different directions upon a jog-house in which the Lincolnites were.

Our boys charged close up to the side of the house, which was loop-holed, and took the enemy completely by surprise, who at first refused to surrender, but afterwards yielded. Nine Enfield rifles, with bayonets, belts, filled cartridge boxes, and one Kentucky rifle, were seized. A quantity of dry goods and groceries, belonging to a Southern rights citizen, were loaded on the wagon, the property of one of the prisoners, and brought here yesterday.

A portion of the Confederates recrossed the river and ascended the bank to take another view of the surroundings, when they discovered a man with a musket running to the river bank from a house some four or five hundred yards distant, evidently for the purpose of firing on our troops. The Lincolnites, named Culbertson, was shot and fell into the river.

After burning the log-house and destroying the boat, the party returned yesterday morning, without any accident having happened to them.

Health of the army at Columbus.

The Columbus (Ky.) Confederate News, of the 7th inst., says:

‘ Our inquiries as to the present physical condition of the army at this place justify us in saying that, with the exception perhaps of the Louisiana troops, their health is rapidly improving. The weather has been favorable to our Southern soldiers, yet pneumonia and cold prevail and we greatly tear that if a cold, wet spell sets in, which is much to be apprehended, the thoughtlessness of the robust man will induce an unnecessary exposure that may bring on the diseases common to such weather.

Efficacy of prayer.

The most remarkable instance of the power of prayer, says the Cincinnati Commercial, happened in the case of Governor Tod, as related by himself in an address he made lately to the Briar Hill miners, on the occasion of leaving Briar Hill to prepare for assuming the chair of State. Governor Tod said:

‘ In the spring of 1817, when about to leave home in the service of our National Government, you met on this and gave me your prayers and good wishes for the safe return of myself and family; and I have felt that to those prayers and good wishes, in part, am I indebted for that safe return; for not only did Mrs. Tod, myself, and all the children we took away with us (five in number) return safely to you, but we brought back two more.

A Yankee account of Gen. Polk's Bravery.

There is no falsehood so monstrous or absurd that the journals of the North do not attempt to make its readers swallow. The following appeared in the Paducah Provost Guard of Saturday, the 11th instant:

An Unpublished Fact --A gentleman in this city, who was at New Madrid last August, tells the following: It will be remembered that one of the Confederate gun- boats came up to Columbus and captured the little steamer Equality. At that time General Pillow was in command as New Madrid under General Polk. The latter had just paid a visit to New Madrid when the capture of the Equality occurred. As the Confederate gun-boat retreated down the Mississippi with her prize, she was followed by the United States gun-boats Lexington and A. C. Taylor. A sharp cannonading took place within a few miles of New Madrid. General Polk, hearing the cannonading in his fear imagined that the United States forces were coming after him, and, hastily issuing an order to General Pillow to fail back upon Randolph, himself retreating on board the steamer William M. Morrison., and left for Memphis.

At that time the Morrison and Ohio Belle were all the steamers at New Madrid, and the cowardice of the act was in taking the largest and swiftest boat for himself and staff, and leaving but the Ohio Belle to transport seven thousand troops to Randolph!

The retreat was undertaken, but only one third of the men were able to be moved, leaving the others apparently at the mercy of the United States forces.

The General informs us that curses long and deep were showered upon the head of the preacher General, and that hundreds of them swore they would never fight under such a canting coward!

An Irrepressible reporter.

A letter from Washington to the Cleveland Plain dealer gives the following incident to illustrate the desperate determination of reporters to obtain full particulars of every important event:

Col. Baker's funeral ceremonies took place at Mr. Webb's. The friends, the honorable, and the military filled the house, and the reporters were shut out. Now came the tug of war. One reporter's efforts alone I will give as a sample, selecting the victor in the case Having failed in all other efforts to get in, he braised it up to General McClellan and asked a pass. This was ridiculous of course, as it was neither McClellan's house nor funeral, and reporter was snubbed. Off he goes to Gen. Marcy, chief of McClellan's staff, and was as cavalierly treated as he deserved. Round the house he goes, and finding the omnipresent contraband, gives him a dollar to shoot him down the scuttle hole, when round through larder and lobby he creeps to the side of the parson. But he care not use his pencil lest it bring on a gentle leading out by the ear.--Down he sits with one eye half closed in full funeral flow, and the other on the parson's manuscript. The address over, down knelt the venerable Sunderland to close with prayer — down knelt reporter, meek and mousing; and when all hearts were melting, and all eyes were closed save reporter's one, he stole the manuscript and ‘"slid Canute out."’ Long the weary parson looked for his truant address, but when morning dawned he was enabled to read it entire in the papers.

From Kentucky — Desertions and Dissatisfaction among the Yankee troops.

From a very interesting letter in the Nashville Union and American, dated Bowling Green, Jan. 8, we extract the following:

‘ The Yankees have no doubt completed the repairs of Green River bridge. They are also in small force this side of the stream.--They cross over, sometimes a whole brigade, and again only by regiments, pretend to fortify, fire a few big guns and then cross back again — careful to keep the river between them and danger.

The latest and most direct information from Crittenden's command shows the same spirit of dissatisfaction and insubordination that prevails above. Desertions are of daily occurrence, and hitter denunciations of the acts of the Lincoln Congress universal among the Kentucky troops. Several who have deserted have succeeded in making their way within General Clark's lines at Hopkinsville, Ky, The vandals at Paducah are reported as having resumed their depredations upon the Southern Rights men of Graves county--burning houses and plundering the people.

To-day rumors and reports of a highly important and exciting character reached here from Green river. They are to the effect that the enemy are crossing over in large force at the month of Little Barren, and that they are also crossing in force at several points below. The Kentucky Cavalry, Col. B. Helm, are closely watching their movements. This may not be correct, though the report is just received and from a source which is entitled to consideration.

Arrest of Tories.

Peter French and Harley Miller, who live near Hedgesville, in Berkeley county, (says the Martinsburg Republican,) were arrested on Tuesday last by a portion of Captain Myers's company, and brought to this place and confined. They are charged with giving information to the enemy at Bath, on Friday, the 3d, of the approach of the Confederate forces upon that place. Except for this notification to the Yankees, it is believed nearly all, if not the entire force of 1,500 would have been captured at that place.--French and Miller had observed the movements of Col. Ashby's command in the direction of Bath, and preceded them there in a buggy, representing themselves, we learn, as merchants from Martinsburg, and their object to exchange money for the purchase of goods in Maryland. From Bath they went to Mary land, and returned by Williamsport the day they were arrested.

Desertions to the enemy from Pensacola.

From a letter in the New Orleans Picayune, dated "Warrington, Fla, Jan, 4, we clip the following paragraph:

Since my last writing nothing of moment has occurred, except the desertion of six marines to the enemy. It was a hold step. They belonged to the company of Captain Van Benthuysen, of the C. S. marine corps, and one Sunday, just after reveille, in the grey of the morning, they took a boat and rowed rapidly across, having previously spiked with wood the guns of the battery to which they belonged. It is believed the sentry himself spiked them, else it would have been discovered. They were a considerable distance from shore and rapidly gaining the other side before they were seen; hundreds of soldiers stood on the beach awaiting them. It was very aggravating.

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