The Latest News.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY POTOMAC,
BATTLE-FIELD NEAR SPOTTSYLVANIA, May 12.
Our army this morning is entirely engaged in the fiercest of its battles and pressing on to victory. After a sanguinary but generally unsuccessful battle on Tuesday, the army during yesterday was comparatively quiet. A feeble demonstration against our right wing was repulsed.
This A.M. a reconnoissance was made on the right to face enemy's left, while it was intended to assault the enemy's right in force.
A column consisting of a portion of the 6th corps and Birney's division of Hancock's corps, was first intended to undertake this work, which was afterward abandoned.
In the forenoon two companies on the left of the 6th corps commenced driving some sharp-shooters from their position in a house commanding a partial view of our lines, killing and capturing several of their number.
In the afternoon the rain fell to some extent, continuing until after dark, laying the dust, cooling the atmosphere and raising the spirits of our troops. Fires were built and supplies cooked, and bands began playing. The forest along the lines was undisturbed for once by the enemy's shells. Our soldiers eat heartily and rested sweetly. The enemy had no ammunition to waste. Meanwhile the news arrived towards evening that Sheridan had penetrated to Beaver Dam, on the Orange Court House Railroad, tore up about ten miles of track, captured a rebel supply train, and recaptured about 800 of our men taken prisoner in the Wilderness battles. This news was so inspiring that general jubilee of cheers succeeded its announcement, and during the night arrangements were pushed for an attack by our side. This morning the enemy had been seen pushing troops toward our right and ostentatiously erecting abattis in front of Hancock's troops. It was shrewdly and rightly suspected this was only a blind of the enemy, it was therefore anticipated. After midnight the 2d corps (Hancock's) and the left of the 6th, (Wright's,) was between that and Burnside, who commanded the left on the Spottsylvania road. At 4:30 this morning Hancock attacked the enemy fronting him, opening a fierce and withering cannonade, and making resistless charges against the very heart of his position. The cannonade was replied to with vigor, and the charges of our men were as vigorously resisted, but the determination of the onset overwhelmed everything. The troops rushed in on the rifle pits of the enemy, bayoneting them in their works, cutting their lines, and capturing on the first charge, over three thousand men and several guns, including the greater portion of the Stonewall brigade, belonging to the division commanded by Gen. Ned Johnson, and forming part of Ewell's corps. Gen. Johnson himself was taken prisoner. The assault continued till nearly the whole division was captured, and other troops accounting to one thousand men.
LATER — 11 o'clock. — A dispatch arrives this moment announcing the capture of seven thousand prisoners and thirty guns. The battle is still progressing.
The 6th corps on the left of the 2d has moved into battle, and are pushing the enemy. Warren's 5th corps moved up to its support on the right.
The battle is becoming general. Nearly all of our artillery is engaged, and the clangor of guns, the whistle of grape and roar of solid shot, the roar of musketry and the explosion of the enemy's shells filled the forest with an awful tumult. Shells burst around me while I write.
LATER — 12 M — it is just now reported that Hancock has turned the right flank of the enemy below Spottsylvania Court House, and is pressing on.
The battle everywhere is overwhelmingly in our favor.
Terrific firing has just commenced on the left near Grant's headquarters.
The battle is going on with terrible vigor.
Our success is said to be certain.
Prisoners are constantly coming in.
The following is a dispatch sent by Gen. Hancock this morning:
"Near Spottsylvania C.H., May 12 a.m. — I have captured from 30 to 40 guns. I have finished up Johnson and am now going into Early.
Signed W. J. HANCOCK."
The guns captured have arrived at headquarters.
Brig. Gen. Stuart, commanding a brigade in Johnson's division, was captured.
Burnside's column is reported to have moved down on the railroad towards Fredericksburg, going in on the enemy's rear.
Warren, with the 5th corps on the right, is now sending heavy lines of skirmishers to feel the enemy's works in his front, which are supposed to be abandoned.
It is impossible to ascertain all particulars at this time of writing, but our victory is considered going on to a decisive result. We are pursuing the enemy everywhere.
Gen. Wright is slightly wounded, but still in command of the 6th corps.