The Situation on the Peninsula.
We had rumors all day yesterday of the occupation of Richmond by the Federal army. The report at the time of writing this is not confirmed, but it may be before our paper goes to press. It is evident at least that Gen. McClellan at Cumberland and Gen. Franklin moving southwest from West Point are driving all before them. The rebel army at last authentic accounts had not crossed the James river, but was beyond the Chickahominy, and falling back as rapidly as they could cover their retreat. Energetic and well-combined action on the part of McClellan, McDowell, Banks, Burnside and Goldsborough, may yet, we hope, crush the rebel host before it gets out of Virginia, which will amply atone for the long and costly delay in our Eastern military operations.
The capture of Norfolk gives Wool direct communication with Burnside, who can now be reinforced quickly and without the hazard of a sea voyage, and will thus, if his small army is properly strengthened, be able to give check to the enemy in North Carolina.
With West Point and Norfolk in our possession, Richmond is not far enough inland to make the hazards of battle for us serious, even if the chances of victory or defeat were equal, which they are not. The Galena and the gunboats with her should be by this time up to City Point, and can prevent any attempt of the flying rebels to strike off to Petersburgh. McDowell and Banks will, it may be supposed, so operate with McClellan as to keep the fugitives within the bounds set for them, without hazarding themselves too greatly. Burnside should prevent their retreat through North Carolina, if they get out of Richmond; and should they attempt to make their way over the Southwestern Railroad, by Lynchburg, into East Tennessee, then Fremont will have an opportunity for a blow; while Mitchell and his gallant band have relieved us of any fears of the eastern rebel army rushing suddenly to join Beauregard, and enabling him to turn the tide of victory against us at Corinth.
With the Monitor and Galena released, we may hope to hear before many days that our flag once more floats over Fort Sumter; the movements of Farragut against Mobile must give us that city, within a week; and while Halleck prudently refuses to give his opponent the chances of a battle, his maneuvers are surely overcoming Beauregard, to whom retreat is defeat.