WASHINGTON, May 5. — The Republican has just issued an extra, containing the following important intelligence:
We feel authorized to state, since it cannot now afford information to the enemy, that the army of the Potomac has advanced towards Richmond, and the struggle for the possession of the rebel capitol is begun. Our army moved on Tuesday night, and has now crossed the Rapidan. The crossing was made at Jacob, Culpepper, Germania, and United States Fords, and was effected without serious opposition. Lee has been compelled to fall back from the strong position where he has held us at bay all winter, but whether he will make a stand this side of the defenses of Richmond, we are not advised. It is the opinion of some that he will fight at Chancellorsville, and every hour may now bring us news of a battle; but we are induced to believe that it will be a foot race for Richmond. The rebel capitol will undoubtedly be flanked and invested, should Lee's army occupy its defenses, and the country may reasonably hope that this time it will fall.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY POTOMAC, May 4. — As an earnest spring campaign is about to commence, I send you the following address of Gen. Meade. Its confident tone, patriotic sentiment and inspiring phraseology, all tend to and do beget the same tone and spirit in the hearts of the brave men who will soon march on the foe:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY POTOMAC, May 4.
SOLDIERS! Again you are called upon to advance on the enemies of your country. The time and occasion is deemed opportune by your commanding general to address you a few words of confidence and caution. You have been reorganized, strengthened and fully equipped in every respect. You form part of the several armies of your country, the whole under the direction of an able and distinguished general, who enjoys the confidence of the government, the people and the army. Your movement being in co-operation with others, it is of the utmost importance that no effort should be left unspared to make it successful.
Soldiers! The eyes of the whole country are looking with anxious hope to the blow you are about to strike in the most sacred cause that ever called men to arms. Remember your homes, your wives and children, and bear in mind that the sooner your enemies are overcome the sooner you will be returned to enjoy the benefits and blessings of peace. Bear with patience the hardships and sacrifices you may be called upon to endure. Have confidence in your officers and in each other. Keep your ranks on the march and on the battle field, and let each man earnestly implore God's blessing, and endeavor, by his thoughts and actions, to render himself worthy of the favor he seeks. With clear conscience and strong arms, actuated by a high sense of duty, fighting to preserve the government and the instructions handed down to us by our forefathers, and if true to ourselves, victory, under God's blessing, must and will attend our efforts.
GEO. G. MEADE, Maj. Gen. Com'g.
S. WILLIAMS, A. A. G.