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The Latest News.

Desperate Struggle for Possession of the Shenandoah Valley.

Early Soundly Whipped by Sheridan

3,000 Prisoners and Nine Battle Flags Taken from the Enemy.


Gen. Russell among the Killed, on our side.

Plot to Release the Prisoners on Johnson's Island.

Destruction of the Largest Rebel Salt Works in Dixie.

Secretary Fessenden Expected to Resign.

England Protests Against the Michigan's Armament.

Ovation to Gen. McClellan in Newark, N. J.

Gen. Sheridan Made a Brigadier in the Regular Army.

&c., &c., &c.

NEW YORK, Sept. 20 — The Herald's Harper's Ferry correspondent, under date of the 19th, says:

As was expected, the visit of the lieutenant general here was to put in motion some important move of the army.

On Friday morning last the enemy disappeared entirely from the left wing of our army on the Berryville and Winchester Pike, and only made a feint show on our right. This give the surmise that they had either taken up a line of retreat to Strasburg, or had massed to their left on our right for a concentrated movement against us. Gen. Sheridan at once took measures to ascertain this fact, and from information obtained, soon came to the conclusion that the attempted clever movement of Gen. Early was only a feint to get the troops on our left to the west side of Opequan creek. The trap was discovered and the rebel general thwarted in his designs.

The affair yesterday morning at Martinsburg, between the rebels, consisting of artillery and infantry, and our troops under Gen. Averill, showed that the rebels were stoutly guarding the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, with a view of preventing its reopening form here to Cumberland.

Shortly after daylight this morning the enemy were discovered in force on the west bank of the Opequan, when sharp skirmishing and a brisk cannonade took place between the armies.

Maj. Gen. Crook, with his veterans of the West Virginia army, occupied the right of our line, the 9th corps the centre, and the 6th corps the right.

The great battle for possession of the Shenandoah valley has either commenced or cannot long be delayed.

It is said that the rebels have a large reserve concealed in the valley between the North Mountain and Third Hill Mountain, with their headquarters at Jamesburg.

The reports of rebel deserters and others in regard to the strength of this force are so conflicting that it is difficult to settle down upon any stated number as accurate. The fact of the enemy offering Sheridan battle shows they have a good sized army and hope to meet with success.

The Tribune's special, 19th, says news of an important movement of Sheridan's army has reached here to-night. Up to the time your messenger left no decisive result had been obtained. Severe cannonading and skirmishing were going on up to the dispatch time of the train. It was thought that a general battle for the possession of the valley had commenced, or was certain to transpire very soon.

The World's Washington special, 10th, says the steamer Charles Morgan arrived here at 10 o'clock this morning, from City Point.

At an early hour yesterday morning, skirmishing began on our extreme left, and when the Morgan left City Point, at 10 o'clock, it had grown to be very brisk.

Friday the rebels were seen concentrating bodies of troops on our left, either for offensive movements, or in apprehension of an attack by us.

A report has been put afloat to-day that there has been a severe battle on the Weldon Road, and the enemy has succeeded in disloging Gen. Hancock and regaining possession of the road, but diligent inquiry fails to establish any truth in the report.

* * *

Washington, Sept. 20, 9:30 A.M.

To Major Gen. Dix:
Yesterday Gen. Sheridan attacked Early, fought a great battle and won a splendid victory. Over 2,500 prisoners were captured; also, nine battle flags and five pieces of artillery. The rebel Gens. Gordon and Rhodes were killed and three other general officers wounded. All of the enemy's killed and most of their wounded are in our possession.

The following official telegrams have been received by this department:

The department learn with deep regret that we lose Gen. Russell, killed.

HARPER'S FERRY, Sept. 19 — 7 P.M.

Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War:
I have just heard from the front. Our cavalry under Averill and Merritt engaged Breckinridge's corps at daylight, and up to 1 o'clock had driven him beyond Stevenson depot, a distance of seven miles, killing and wounding quite a number and capturing 200 prisoners from Gordon's division, on the centre and left. The enemy were driven about five miles beyond the Opequan, into a line of earthworks, our infantry attacking them in possession since then. As the officer left he could distinctly hear heavy artillery firing, and still continued to this hour. Every indication is most favorable to us.
Brigadier General.

HARPER'S FERRY, Sept. 20 — 7:40 A.M.

Hon. E. M. Stanton:
I have just heard from the front that General Sheridan has defeated the enemy, capturing 2,500 prisoners, five pieces of artillery and five battle flags. The rebel Gens. Gordon and Rhodes were killed and others wounded. Our loss was 2,000. Gen. Russell, of the 6th corps, was killed. Gen. McIntosh lost a leg. The enemy escaped up the valley under cover of the night. Sheridan is in Winchester.
[Signed,] J. D. STEVENSON, Brig. Gen.

Generals Upton, McIntosh, and Chapman are wounded.

Gen. Sheridan transmits to Gen. Grant the following official report, which has just been received by the war department.

WINCHESTER, VA., Sept. 19 — 7:30 P.M.

To Lieut. Gen. U. S. Grant:
I have the honor to report that I attacked the forces of Gen. Early, over the Berryville pike at the crossing of Opequan creek, and after a most stubborn and sanguinary engagement, which lasted from early in the morning up to five o'clock in the evening, completely defeating him, driving him through Winchester, capturing 5,000 prisoners, five pieces of artillery, nine army flags and most of the wounded.

The rebel Gens. Rhodes and Gordon were killed and three other generals wounded.

Most of the enemy's wounded and all their killed fell into our hands.

Our losses are severe, among the Gen. D. A. Russell, commanding a division in the 6th corps, who was killed by a cannon ball. Gens. Upton, McIntosh and Chapman were wounded.

I cannot tell our losses. The conduct of the officers and men was most superb. They charged and carried every position take up by the rebels from Opequan creek to Winchester. The rebels were strong in numbers and very obstinate in their fighting.

I desire to mention to the lieutenant general the gallant conduct of Gens. Wright, Crook, Emery, Sorebert, and the officers and men under their commands. To them the country is indebted for these handsome victories.

A more detailed report will be forwarded.
(Signed,) P. H. SHERIDAN,
Maj. Gen.

Washington, Sept. 20

Full details of the casualties will be given on receipt by the department.
(Signed,) E. M. Stanton,
Secy' of the War.

* * *

Washington, Sept. 20, 1864.

To Maj. Gen. Dix:

The following is the latest information received from Gen. Sheridan:

Harper's Ferry, Va., Sept. 20, 8 p.m. — To Hon. E. M. Stanton: The body of Gen. Russell has arrived. As soon as it is embalmed it will be forwarded to New York.

Gen. McIntosh, with his leg amputated, has just come in, and is in good spirits.

Several officers from the front, report the number of prisoners to be over 3,000. The number of battle flags captured was 15, instead of nine. All concur that it was a complete route.

Our cavalry started in pursuit at daylight this morning.

Sheridan, when last heard from, was at Reamstown.

I sent forward this morning ample medical supplies. Full subsistence for the army goes forward.

If you do not hear from me often it is because of the distance we are from the scene of action, and because I only send you such information as I deem reliable.
(Signed,) JNO. D. STEVENS,
Brig. General.

The president has appointed Gen. Sheridan a brigadier in the regular army, and assigned him to the permanent command of the middle military division.

Gen. Grant has ordered the army under his command to fire a salute of 100 guns at 7 o'clock to-morrow morning, in honor of Sheridan's great victory.

A dispatch just received from Gen. Sherman, at Atlanta, says everything continues well with us.

The reports of today show that the draft is proceeding quietly in all the states. In most of the districts vigorous efforts are continued to fill the quota by volunteering, before the drafted men are mustered in.
(Signed,) E. M. STANTON,
Sec'y of War.