daily enables us to learn if any considerable force starts off almost immediately as soon as it starts. Except in the neighborhood of Stanton, there are not now north of the Chickahominy 5,000 rebel soldiers, including all the guards on the Central railroad. I have not sent a force to the Rappahannock, but shall do so as soon as possible.
U. S. GRANT,
CITY POINT, VA., March 2, 1865.
(Received 4.40 p. m.)
Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
The following items are taken from to-day's Richmond papers:
Fayetteville, March 1.-No Yankees have advanced in this direction from Wilmington. Other intelligence which could be communicated is contraband, but of an encouraging character.
The Confederate steamer Chickamauga was destroyed by the crew, to prevent her from falling into the hands of the enemy, at Gray's Point, in Cape Fear River, Saturday. She is a total wreck. We omit the first part of the telegram relative to Sherman's movements, in deference to a request sent to the various journals in Richmond about ten days since.
From Petersburg.-Among the indications of approaching hostilities by the enemy in the neighborhood of Petersburg are the scores of deserters coming into our lines every night from every part of Grant's lines, from the Appomattox to Hatcher's Run. For the present, however, the enemy is mud-bound, and there is not expectation of operations until the ground, now rotten with moisture, is in a better condition.
The fall of Wilmington.-We learn from Northern papers that the enemy occupied Wilmington on the morning of the 22nd ultimo. As the last train left, our Whitworth battery, planted at the head of Front and Market streets, was firing upon the enemy, who had appeared upon the causeway on the western side of Cape Fear River. Their main advance was then checked at Alligator Creek. Some few skirmishers pushed forward, but were driven off. Our troops retreated across the North East Branch of Cape Fear River, at what is known as Big Bridge Ferry or McRee's Ferry. It is said that out forces attempted to burn the railroad bridge at Northeast, nine miles from Wilmington, but were only partially successful. Later accounts say that our forces had checked the forward movement of the enemy there. If so, it is probable that Schofield will next try the Fayetteville route, or attempt to effect a junction with Sherman. Since Sherman has already been reported as moving toward Cheraw, there is no impropriety in indicating an opinion that this may be a movement by the flank to cross the Catawba River below the railroad, and thence move on Charlotte along the eastern bank; or it may mean a change of front with the intention to reach Fayetteville and be in co-operation with Schofield.
The enemy reported at Staunton.-We stated on yesterday that the enemy in heavy force, believed to be mostly cavalry, were advancing up the Valley toward Staunton. As yet we have no official information on the subject of their advance.
From the South.-We hear nothing from Sherman, Schofield, or Schimmelfennig. It is believed that bottomless and impassable mud surrounds them all. The roads are still too bad for serious movements of troops. It is stated that our forces under General Bragg have succeeded in checking the forward movement from Wilmington under Schofield on the Wilmington and Weldon road, and that the latter had advanced no farther than Northeast River, ten or fifteen miles from the city. It is thought that Schofield will try to effect a junction with Sherman, via Fayetteville perhaps. An immense war meeting was held in Mobile on the 13th of February, at which patriotic speeches were delivered and appropriate resolutions passed. It is reported that General Hood will be assigned to an important command in Texas. Colonel Hatch, the Confederate agent of exchange, had communication with the Yankee authorities at Wilmington on Friday last, and we are glad to learn an agreement was made for delivery of all the Yankee prisoners in our hands in this State at that point at the earliest practicable moment. Some 3,000 or 4,000 were paroled in Goldsboro on Saturday, and were to be sent yesterday morning to the enemy's lines. Seven hundred or 800 passed this place from Salisbury on Sunday morning for the same point, and we learn that all that are here are to be sent through as soon as transportation can be furnished. Several hundred were sent off yesterday.