in number, having been the gatherings for a few days past, and, owing to the unsafely in sending them by way of Staunton up the valley, they were retained here for further orders.
Wednesday, November 19.-The Richmond papers announcing the occupation of Staunton by the Yankees,and their rapid advance upon Charlottesville, urging the authorities to repair immediately to meet the invaders and drive them where they belong before making any further progress.
Thursday, November 20.-Great excitement among all parties was created by late information received from Fredericksburg, the Yankees having arrived at and south of Fredericksburg. The gallant little army concentrated for the defense of the place and to arrest the progress of the enemy was termed insufficient (by Captain Turner, commanding prisons, in conversation with the commissary and other members of his staff); that unless re-enforced bed the Army of Northern Virginia in due time, should General Longstreet fail to get ahead of the enemy, the army under Lee would be forced to abandon their position. If so, we may look for them in the streets of Richmond next Sunday, the 23rd of November. The available forces then stationed in and about the capital, between Petersburg and Richmond, the garrison of Fort Darling, and the scattered battalions on the Peninsula, numbered not far from 20,000. In my expectation to obtain an accurate account of the number of rebel gunboats, I was greatly deceived, and all which came under my observation were two tug-boats, manned by one 32-pounded each. The monster Merrimac, No. 2, my informant states he had never seen, nor had he ever come across a person that had, and all that is known and spoken at the capital about her is that she was to receive eighteen guns. The unaccountable delay for her getting into readiness for action, he stated, had been overcome; her early appearance might be daily looked for. He also stated that her complement of sailors was received by Government, and have since been sent to man her. All breastworks and forts coming under my direct observation are, if compared, of the same character as the ones thrown up in front of Centreville, only varying in the apparent distance of artillery forts. The south side and the southeast, my informant states, contains the most formidable ones in extent and strength, and that but little change has taken place (save the washing off of the ditch, dismounting a portion of the guns) since General Lee's army has left them. All conscripts from the South are sent, upon arrival, to fill up some old regiment in the field. Of new regiments, there has been but two arrived in Richmond (from North Carolina) since Lee's army has left. They are sent, via Gordonsville, to Rappahannock, and have been the force the rebels boasted of in Winchester by saying heavy re-enforcements had arrived from North Carolina, and were occupying Brentsville, threatening to outflank General Sigel.
The appearance of Richmond, as a general thing, resembled that of a manufacturing city, the untiring tick of the hammer, the smoke of the foundries, the hundreds of females rushing in crowds to the windows and doors to have a peep at the Yankee prisoners; there is no doubt but that Richmond is the lever in supplying the army in Virginia with nearly all it had, and yet her cannons enjoy a bad reputation, and it is to the worthlessness of the Richmond guns and insufficiency of proper ammunition they ascribe their artillery blunders. It was the United States guns, they claim, that saved Jackson and his corps (35,000 men in number) from surrendering to General Sigel on Friday, at Bull Run,