CAIRO, Sept. 10, 1861.
EDITORS JOURNAL: — At a late hour last evening I concluded a letter to your journal, which I think contained all the military movements that I was authorized to communicate.
The gun boat is still down the river, but I learn is safe at Norfolk, where one regiment of troops are stationed. No troops have arrived to-day, and there has been no change in the position of those in this vicinity that has come to my knowledge.
Immediately after dinner to-day a difficulty occurred between H. C. Kelly and Dr. Peterson, of the 8th Missouri regiment, of a very serious character, and is greatly regretted by the friends of both these gentlemen.
Mr. Kelly for four months past has been the Cairo correspondent of the Missouri Democrat, and has been connected with that paper for nearly a year. Some weeks since a scurrilous article was published in the Zouave Bulletin, at Cape Girardeau, in which mention was made of Mr. Kelly. This article Mr. Kelly considered an insult, and as Lieut. Col. Peckham, of that regiment was the author, when he came here to-day Mr. Kelly sent him a challenge, which was not accepted. Dr. Peterson came out of the dining room of the St. Charles and met Mr. Kelly in front of the office, when an angry discussion commenced in relation to the controversy. Dr. Peterson was heard to call Mr. Kelly a "dirty puppy and a liar." Mr. Kelly made a move to draw his pistol and fired just as Dr. Peterson was turning to retreat. — The ball entered the spinal column and at present is considered a very dangerous wound. The civil authorities at once took possession of Mr. Kelly and lodged him in jail.
Those who have known Mr. Kelly here since he has been located at this post, though not justifying the rash act which he has committed, yet feel a great sympathy for him, in his present difficulties. I may perhaps be prejudiced in Mr. Kelly's favor, as I have actually known him for four months; and only a few months before the difficulty occurred, he related the facts connected with his controversy with Col. Peckham, and said that he would make them retract what they had said in relation to him, or fight, or suffer the consequences. Dr. Peterson undertook to defend Col. Peckham, and got hurt, and I hope that it will learn the officers and men of that regiment, who have, since they have been in the service, played a pretty high hand — a severe lesson. Once in a while they will pick up the wrong customers to trifle with. Kelly is a very quiet man and attends to his duties very closely, and up to this unfortunate affair has been universally respected.
Three thousand muskets arrived here on Saturday from St. Louis. A portion of which have been issued to our troops. Experienced military men declare that these weapons are not as effective as would be desirable in an engagement, as it is impossible to get them to go off. I noticed the guard this morning, who were armed with these weapons, making ineffectual efforts to discharge their pieces. Who ever purchased them for our troops must have been a knave or a fool, as a single glance at them by any person that knew anything about war, would satisfy any inquiring mind that they were of no account.
Gen. Prentiss is expected here to-night. Some days since I noticed an article in the Missouri Republican in relation to the romantic career of a certain young lady, who enlisted in the Iowa 2d and was detected while prominading the streets of St. Louis and obliged to resume the habiliments of her sex. This lady was passing along the streets to-day and was pointed out as the identical young lady. I at once recognized her as the notorious "Mountain Charley," whom nearly all Pike's Peakers will recollect, kept the Rocky Mountain bowling saloon in Denver. The history of this woman is some what remarkable. Some years ago she first habited herself in male attire and engaged as a teamster for Russell, Majors and Wadell. In their employ she made two trips to Salt Lake City, and was at Fort Laramie when the news arrived of the discovery of gold at Pike's Peak. Being in the vicinity, she started with a company and arrived in Auraria, (now West Denver,) in time to become one of the original proprietors of that city. During her residence in Pike's Peak, she always dressed in male attire, flourished a revolver and bowie knife, and always used a reasonable amount of rum and tobacco. Becoming involved in a difficulty, in which an unfortunate Frenchman lost his life, Mountain Charley disappeared from that region. She is now here waiting for her regiment to be paid off, to claim her pay for three months' service. Notwithstanding her hardships and vicissitudes, she is still rather of an interesting appearing young woman. The Illinois came down to-night with troops from Cape Girardeau. All quiet this morning at Paducah.
8 o'clock, P. M. — The gunboats Lexington and Conastoga have just arrived from an expedition down the river, and report that quite a skirmish took place between them and the rebel gunboat Yankee, and the rebel batteries on the Missouri shore. I have been unable to converse with any of the officers who accompanied the expedition, to learn the particulars of the engagement, but an informed that the rebel gunboat was very much disabled, and was supposed to be in a sinking condition. Both of her smoke stacks were swept away and her wheel house knocked to pieces. Our boats then attacked and dislodged the enemy in six different positions along the river. The enemy for a short time kept up a brisk fire from the batteries, but fired no shell.
The Commodore of the fleet distinctly saw the encampment of the Confederates with his glass, and thinks that they have nearly all recrossed the Mississippi, obedient to the Proclamation of Gov. Magoffin. Col. Dougherty's regiment is encamped down the river at Norfolk, and this afternoon sent up six men who came to their camp claiming to be persecuted Union men. They were all sent up here and placed in the guard house, as Col. Dougherty had suspicions that they were playing possum, and came up after information. We begin "to fear the Greeks even bearing gifts."