[Same to Mr. Dayton, No. 550.]

Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.

No. 946.]

Sir: The official information received from the different commands, when carefully digested, is even more satisfactory than the somewhat confused accounts which you will find in the first despatches.

[Page 894]

We receive advices of laborious and heroic efforts made by our land and naval commanders in Louisiana to save their forces and material in that State and in Arkansas, and to restore the prestige of the government in the region west of the Mississippi. Major General Canby has been very vigorous and successful in sending re-enforcements to Generals Banks and Steele from the shores of the Mississippi, and it is presumed that the new commander will very soon reach the field in person. It is not true, as represented in rebel journals, that General Steele surrendered his army at Camden to Richard Taylor on the 27th ultimo. General Steele’s aid has arrived here, having left the general with his command safe at Little Rock on his return from Camden.

Major General Sherman seems to have inaugurated his new campaign in Georgia with his usual sagacity and diligence. He has brought General Scofield down from Knoxville through Cleveland, and upon the flank of the enemy at Dalton, while Sherman moved against him in front from Ringgold, over Tunnell Hill, and General McPherson struck at Resaca at the enemy’s communications with his base at Atlanta. Thus assailed, Johnson abandoned Dalton, and was then pressed in flank and rear by Sherman and Scofield until Saturday the 14th, when a severe engagement took place in front of Resaca. General Sherman took eight guns and one thousand prisoners, and Johnson retreated southward from Resaca. Sherman is pressing upon him, and expecting confidently to take Rome.

The three days’ sanguinary battles between the army of the Potomac and the insurgent forces in the old Wilderness closed on Friday, the 6th instant. During the night of that day Lee left his position and retired southward towards Spotsylvania court-house. General Grant advanced. He brought the enemy again into battle on Sunday morning, the 8th, drove him out of his intrenchments, and forced him across the Po. Here the enemy again threw up fortifications. On Monday, General Grant, against very obstinate resistance, and not without considerable loss marched across the Po and formed in line of battle. On Tuesday, the 10th, the rebels accepted cheerfully the challenge, and made several vigorous assaults upon our positions, but they were repelled. Our lines were maintained and portions of the enemy’s lines of defence were wrested from him. It seems to myself like exaggeration when I find that in describing conflict after conflict in this energetic campaign, I am required always to say of the last one that it was the severest battle of the war. Six thousand of our men were placed hors de combat in this battle of the 10th of May. Wednesday, the 11th, was spent in skirmishing. Thursday, the 12th, brought a new and severe conflict, with results encouraging to the Union arms. A division, a brigade, and a regiment were captured, with forty guns. At eight o’clock on the night of that day General Grant sent a despatch to the War Department, in which he modestly expressed himself, concerning the state of the campaign, in these words: “We have now ended the eighth day of very heavy fighting. The result to this time is much in our favor. Our losses have been heavy, as well as those of the enemy. I think the loss of the enemy must be greater. We have taken over five thousand prisoners, while he has taken from us but few, except stragglers.”

The battle was continued on Friday, the 13th, with decided advantage to the Union army. On the morning of the 14th it was ascertained that Lee had again retired. Yesterday morning, the 16th, General Grant reports from the army that there had been continual rains for five days; roads had become impassable, even so that ambulances can no longer make their way with their wounded from the battle-fields to the hospitals at Fredericksburg. General Grant waits for twenty-four hours of dry weather, when he will advance. The enemy last night were in position across the direct road which leads from Fredericksburg to Richmond, and our army is confronting them. The lieutenant general writes cheerfully, hopefully, even to the tone of confidence. We have [Page 895] now nine thousand prisoners in our hands, captured in these battles, including four hundred officers.

Major General Butler has been very active and successful in intercepting Lee’s expected re-enforcements below Richmond. He has destroyed the insurgent railroad communications between Weldon and Richmond, and between Petersburg and Richmond; and at the date of our last advices had threatened Fort Darling, which protects the river approach to that place against our ironclads. They have made five successive sorties, sometimes at night, other times by day, and have been as often repulsed. Their iron-clads have come down from Richmond and been driven back by our fleet. General Butler writes in fine spirits.

During the last week Major General Sheridan made an expedition with 13,000 cavalry in the interior of Virginia, surrounded the insurgent army, destroyed the insurgent railroad communications and telegraph communications through the Virginia, Central, and Orange and Alexandria railroads, with an immense quantity of military stores, and finally crossing the peninsula, joined Major General Butler below Richmond on the James river on Saturday last.

General Averill, sent by Major General Sigel through the valley and across the mountains, has destroyed the rebel communication by the Virginia and Tennessee railroad at New creek, and thus Lee is supposed to be cut off from supplies and re-enforcements by railroad, except on the circuitous route of the railroad passing from Richmond through Danville to Raleigh.

On the other, hand, we are rapidly sending forward no inconsiderable re-enforcements to General Grant, and are thus supplying the dreadful waste which the army of the Potomac has suffered in conflicts which they have waged, not only with the greatest heroism, but also with compensating advantage to the national cause. The re-enforcements already sent amount to 30,000 men.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

C. F. Adams, Esq., &c., &c., &c.

[Same to other ministers in Europe.]