The War News.
Yesterday was the most quiet period that has occurred since the commencement of active operations in the vicinity of Richmond. No reverberations of cannon broke the stillness of the air, nor were there any exciting "rumors from the front" to disturb the equanimity of the inhabitants. Persons from the lines report that Grant is moving his forces around our right, but what his purpose is remains to be developed. In the absence of official information, we forbear to speculate upon probabilities. We have a commander who anticipates every movement of the enemy, and in their confidence in his skill and sagacity the people rest securely.
Yesterday morning a detachment of Fields's division was sent forward to skirmish with the enemy near Cold Harbor.--They picked up some twenty five prisoners on the way and sent them to the rear.--Finding the enemy's first and second lines of fortifications deserted, they proceeded on to the third, wherein were two Yankees, who fired upon the small squad approaching, wounding one of them through the left shoulder. This reconnaissance established the fact that the enemy had changed their position, and beyond this, and some slight skirmishing, nothing took place yesterday worthy of note.
A number of wounded Yankees were brought in last evening, some of whom had lain in front of the works where they fell since Friday. Most of their wounds were of a severe character. We saw one whose right leg was off and his left shot through.
Everything remains quiet at Bottom's Bridge and on the Southside.
A report obtained circulation in the city that it was three guns of the Fayette artillery which was temporarily captured by the enemy last week. This is a mistake. That battery though in all the fights has not lost a gun even temporarily. It is under the command, and has been since the spring campaign opened, of Lt. Clopton.
The late Lieut. Col. Brown.
Col. Bradley T. Johnson, commanding the Maryland Line, has caused to be issued the following general order with respect to the death of Lieut. Col. Ridgely Brown, who was killed in an engagement with the enemy in Hanover county on the 1st inst.:
Headq's Maryland line, June 6, 1864.
General Order No. 26.
Lieut Col Ridgely Brown, commanding 1st Maryland cavalry, fell in battle, on the 1st inst, near the South Anna. He died, as a soldier prefers to die, leading his men in a victorious charge. As an officer, kind and careful; as a soldier, brave and true; as a gentleman, chivalrous; as a Christian, gentle and modest; no one in the Confederate army surpassed him in the hold he had on the hearts of his men and the place in the esteem of his superiors. Of the rich blood that Maryland has lavished on every battle field, none is more precious than this and that of our other brave comrades in arms who fell during the four days previous on the hill sides of Hanover.--His command has lost a friend most steadfast, but his Commanding Officer is deprived of an assistant invaluable. To the first he was ever as careful as a father; to the latter as true as a brother.
In token of respect to his memory the colors of the different regiments of this command will be draped, and the officers wear the usual badge of military mourning for thirty days.
By order of
Col Bradley T Johnson.
Geo W Booth,
A A G.
From the Valley â€” Staunton occupied by the enemy.
The information published yesterday morning of the advance of the enemy from two directions upon Staunton gave rise to some apprehensions for the safety of that place, and early in the day rumors of a miscellaneous and exaggerated character were in circulation. The news which we give below is based upon official dispatches, and may be relied upon as correct.
The enemy advanced on Sunday from Port Republic, by way of Mount Crawford, as far as New Hope Church, eleven or twelve miles from Staunton, on the Valley road, where they were met by a force under Gen. William E. Jones. An engagement ensued, at an early period of which Gen. Jones was killed. His command, overwhelmed by superior numbers, and their leader shot down, were compelled to fall back. The enemy finding this obstruction removed from their path advanced, and at a subsequent period took possession of the town of Staunton.--After the death of Gen. Jones, the command of our forces devolved on Gen. Vaughan.--All, or nearly all, the Government stores had been previously removed from Staunton to a place of security.
We are assured that the report that the enemy have occupied Waynesboro' is without foundation; nor is there any confirmation of the extravagant rumor that a raiding party visited Lexington and burned the Washington College and the Virginia Military Institute.
In the death of Gen. Jones the cavalry service has lost one of its brightest ornaments. He was a native, we believe, of Abingdon, and commenced his military career in the present war, soon after its commencement, under Gen. J. E. B. Stuart. Being ordered to Southwestern Virginia, he proceeded to reorganize the cavalry in that department, and soon rendered it an active and efficient arm of the service. Brave and gallant almost to a fault, he inspired his men with confidence, and had he not, by his dashing courage, sought the post of danger, which to him proved fatal, it is quite probable that the result of the fight at New Hope Church would have been far different.
A Dash upon the enemy's rear.
It is cheering to know that Hunter's advance upon Staunton was not altogether without annoyance. We learn that on Sunday week Major Harry Gilmer attacked the rear portion of the Yankee army in Newtown, seven miles from Winchester, and completely routed the whole force, which consisted of about 160 cavalry. Thirty-five of this number, including commissioned and non commissioned officers, were captured.
Eighteen wagons, heavily loaded with coffee, sugar, army supplies, &c., were also captured and burnt; 68 fine horses, neatly harnessed, were safely brought away. From what we can learn at least $2,000,000 worth of property was destroyed by Gilmer's daring little band. Our loss was trifling, only two slightly wounded; that of the enemy was severe, considering the numbers.
Confederate States Congress.
The Senate met at 12 o'clock M on yesterday, Mr Hunter, of Va, in the chair.
House bill to amend the act imposing regulations on the foreign commerce of the Confederate States was considered and passed.
Senate joint resolution of thanks to Gen E Kirby Smith, and the officers and men under his command, was considered and adopted.
House bill to increase permanently, to the amount of seven dollars a month, the pay of non-commissioned officers and privates in the Provisional Army, was considered.
Mr Jemison moved to amend by striking out the word "permanently" and inserting the words "for the period of one year," which was agreed to, and the bill as amended passed.
The bill to authorize the appointment of graduates of military institutions as Cadets in the Provisional Army, was reported adversely from the Military Committee.
The bill to organize the light artillery was reported favorably from the Military Committee.
House bill to amend so much of the conscript act as relates to the exemption of certain religious sects was considered and passed.
Senate bill, with House amendments, to regulate the pay of the General assigned to duty at Richmond, was taken up, and House amendments being concurred in the bill was passed.
A bill to organize a general staff for armies in the field was reported from the Military Committee and ordered to be printed.
House joint resolution to authorize the Quartermaster General to furnish the President with forage for four horses, and with fuel and lights for his residence and quarters, was reported from the Military Committee and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
On motion of Mr. Mitchell, Senate bill to organize a corps of guards and scouts to facilitate communication with the Trans Mississippi, was transferred to the secret calendar.
House tax bill was ordered to be printed and made the special order of the day for 12Ã‚Â½ o'clock.
Mr Jemison submitted a resolution of inquiry into the practicability of having the Congressional mail distributed without unnecessary delay. Agreed to.
House bill to amend the act to regulate the supplies of clothing to enlisted men in the navy was considered and passed.
Senate joint resolution for the relief of Wellington Goddin was considered and passed.
On motion of Mr. Mitchell, of Ark, the Senate resolved into secret session.
House of Representatives.--Prayer by the Rev. Dr. Read, of the Presbyterian Church.
The Speaker laid before the House several communications from the President, which were appropriately referred.
Senate resolution extending the session of Congress to Saturday the 11th inst., was taken up, and Mr. Foote offered a substitute, that instead of adjourning, the two bodies shall, on Saturday the 11th inst., take a recess of sixty-one days.
Mr. A. H. Garland moved to amend the Senate resolution by striking, out Saturday, the 11th, and inserting Thursday, the 9th inst.
Mr. Miles, of S. C., moved to amend the amendment by striking out Thursday, the 9th, and inserting Tuesday, the 14th inst.--Lost.
Mr. Garland's amendment was lost â€” ayes 36, noes 59.
Mr. Atkins, of Tenn., moved to amend the original resolution by inserting the 4th day of July, instead of the 11th of June. Lost.
Mr. Hilton, of Fla., moved to amend the substitute by inserting the 1st day of September.
Mr. Dupre, of La., moved to lay the substitute and amendment on the table. Lost â€” ayes 40, noes 44.
Mr. Swan, of Tenn., moved to amend the Senate resolution by striking out all after the word "rescinded," so as to fix no day for adjournment.
On motion of Mr. Atkins, of Tenn., the substitute and amendments were laid upon the table.
The Senate resolution was finally agreed to.
Leave of absence for the remainder of the session was granted to Messrs. Lester, of Ga., and Ramsey, of N. C.
The House resumed consideration of the Senate bill to amend an act to reduce the currency, and to authorize a new issue of Treasury notes and bonds.
The bill was further debated and postponed.
Mr. Lyon, of Ala, from the Committee on Ways and Means, reported back, with amendments, Senate bill to authorize the issue of certificates of indebtedness to be given for property purchased or impressed, and for transportation, and to provide for payment of the interest on said certificates in specie.
After debate, the bill and amendments were, on motion of Mr. McMullen, laid upon the table â€” ayes 47, noes 39.
Mr. Swan moved a reconsideration.--Lost.
The consideration of the bill to amend the act to reduce the currency, &c., was resumed.
The bill had thus far been amended by striking out the first section, and the House having refused to reconsider.
Mr. Lyon said the whole value of the bill had been destroyed, and he moved to lay it upon the table. The motion was agreed to.
Mr. Smith, of N. C., moved a reconsideration of the vote by which the bill and amendments were laid upon the table. Carried â€” ayes 40, noes 39.
The question recurring upon laying the bill and amendments upon the table, was decided in the negative â€” ayes 36, noes 40.
Pending the consideration of the subject, the House took a recess until 8 o'clock P M.
A New gun.
--The Mackay gun is attracting attention in England. In the House of Lords recently Earl Derby called attention to it, and said:
Till now it had been a leading principle in the construction of cannon that the windage should be diminished to the greatest possible extent. This new gun, however, proceeded on the principle of utilizing the windage, and rendering it serviceable for the purposes of the weapon. The projectile used was a smooth cylindrical bolt, and the interior of the gun was furnished with spiral grooves. The gas escaping up these grooves communicated a rotary motion to the bolt similar to that of a rifle ball. This system, if it could be successfully worked, would, of course, lessen the necessity for extraordinary strength in cannon and for very heavy charges, and would also reduce the amount of the recoil.
It was stated that the initial velocity obtained at the trial in question was remarkably high. The gun was manufactured at the well-known establishment of the Mersey Steel and Iron Works. It weighed nine-tons, and was fired with a charge of 30 lbs, and a projectile of 167 lbs, at a range of 200 yards. The target, which was 6 feet square, represented the side of the Agincourt, an iron-plated frigate now being built for the Government. It consisted of a plate of iron, 5Ã‚Â½ inches thick, backed by 9 inches of teak, with behind another plate of iron about 1 inch thick, a series of strong bolts, and last of all a thick plank of timber. The bolt struck nearly the centre of the target, shattered the woodwork, and passed through the whole breadth of the target, many yards beyond which it was found, carrying with it a plug of iron which it had drilled out of the plate in its progress. If that statement was correct, the performance was certainly most extraordinary, and it was remarkable that the plug and the bolt were found lying nearly together on the sand, the marks on which showed that the rotary motion had been continued to the last. The bolt was perfectly sound and entire, although the force of the impact had diminished its length and added to its breadth.