there is a counter excitement on the part of the people, giving circulation to the wildest rumors. The James River Canal is frozen up. No boats have been able to pass down it since the last cold snap, which greatly reduces the amount of provisions in the city. The people have no confidence in the late meeting. It was reported yesterday morning and night before last that Charleston was being evacuated, and it is believed that the War Department has information to that effect. Night before last the troops north of the James were under marching orders, but no movements have been made. It is said preparations are being made to move the sick and wounded away from the hospitals in Richmond, but no intimation is given as to where they will be taken. No reports from either army since you left.
T. S. BOWERS,
FEBRUARY 11, 1865.
Major General GEORGE G. MEADE,
Commanding Army of the Potomac:
Through our scouts we have news from Richmond by an agent who left there yesterday. Our friends in Richmond say that an extraordinary excitement is prevailing there, and that it is impossible for them to distinguished truth from falsehood in the rumors. The war excitement is used by the Government for the purpose of bracing up the people, but there is a counter excitement on the part of the multitude which is giving room for the circulation of the wildest reports. It is certain that the James River Canal is frozen, and that no boats have been able to pass down it since the last cold snap, thereby greatly reducing the among of provisions that are brought into the city. It was also currently believed in Richmond yesterday that the South Side Railroad was in the possession of our forces, and other alarming disasters to the Confederate cause are continually reported, showing that the people have no confidence in the late meetings or their effects. It was reported from mouth to mouth in Richmond yesterday morning and night before last that Charleston was being evacuated, and our friends say that they have reason to believe that the War Department has information to that effect. Night before last the alarm bells were rung in Richmond, and everybody turned out upon the streets. The case of the alarm could not be distinguished, except in the unsettled state of the public mind. Night before last and the day preceding it was understood that all the troops on the north side of the James were under marching orders. Gary's cavalry command had had marching orders for two or three days previous, but had not yet moved; in fact, there have been no military movements whatever since late operations. A prominent merchant in Richmond told our agent yesterday that preparations were being made to move the sick and wounded away from the hospitals in Richmond, but nothing further could be ascertained in reference to the report, nor could it be learned to what point it was intended to take them.
GEO. H. SHARPE.