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From General Lee's army.

[from our own correspondent.]
Army on Northern Virginia,
Banks of the Chickahominy, May 31, 1864.
We are too near to the enemy to speak with much particularity of the military condition in front of Richmond. Grant, as you are aware, has brought his whole army across to the south side of the Pamunkey. His right rests on or near the Central Railway, and his left on the Tolopotomcy creek, whilst his front is protected by two strong lines of entrenchments running for some distance along the crest of the hills on the north side of the last mentioned stream. His position is a strong one--so strong, indeed, that I hope Gen Lee will be able to give him battle upon some other field.

A reconnaissance was made yesterday afternoon to ascertain the true position of the enemy's left wing. Pegrant's brigade, commanded by Col Edwin Willis, of the 12th Georgia, alone was engaged. A sharp combat ensued, in the course of which it became necessary to charge upon one of the enemy's batteries, with a view to its capture. The brigade behaved handsomely, and was gallantly led, but unfortunately Col Willis received a mortal wound in the groin from a grape shot, froth whish he died this afternoon about 2 o'clock. He was one to the best and bravest officers Georgia has ever sent to the field, and one of the most promising, morally and intellectually. He graduated a short time before the war broke out at West Point, and served some time with General Jackson, who was so much impressed by his merits that he recommended him for the appointment of Brigadier General. Indeed, young as he was, he had attracted the attention of Gen Lee, Gen Ewell, and of almost every prominent officer in the army. There is hardly an officer in the entire army who did not know the young hero. I was with him a short time before his death, and found him calm and quiet brave, resolute, and confident, yet modest and meek as a Christian warrior should be when he is brought face to face with death. Painful and grievous as this war has been, and numerous as are the offerings which have been laid upon the crimson altar of this stricken land, one can but pause amid the din and rush of the mighty conflict to drop a tear over the grave of one so young, so gentle and yet so brave, so full of promise, so modest, so in his aspirations for peace and independence.

There has been heavy skirmishing along the entire lines to day. At several times during the forenoon the artillery fire was quite heavy, but no actual engagement beyond a rapid and almost continuous fire by the pickets and skirmishers occurred. During last night our lines were ratified somewhat along the centre, but only a portion of our forces took up the new position assigned them by the Chief Engineer of the army. This left a gap, into which the enemy were moving rapidly this morning, when Maj Costin, of Gen Kershaw's staff, discovered the danger, and immediately moved Humphrey's veteran Mississippi brigade up to the point of danger at a double quick. This timely movement was successful in thwarting the enemy, and preserving the integrity of our lines.

Grant is believed to be repeating the manœuvre by which he turned our right flank at the Wilderness, at Spotsylvania Court-House and Hanover Junction. At each of these places he made vigorous demonstrations on our left, and having attracted our attention to that quarter, he availed himself of the night and moved rapidly past our right, advancing each time somewhat nearer to Richmond. His great desire now is to form a junction with Butler, either by bringing Butler to him, or, what is more probable, by going himself to Butier. He has established his base at West Point, at the confluence of the Pamunkey and Mattapony, whence his supplies are sent by boats of light draft to White House, and thence by wagons to his army. Let us hope that when he attempts to cross the narrow peninsula between the Pamunkey and the Chickahominy he will find it as fatal as the Red Sea was to Pharoah and his hosts.

It is not believed that Grant will move out from his present position to attack Gen Lee. If there is a battle in the next few days the Confederates must take the initiative, or it is not probable that there will be one.


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