WASHINGTON, May 6. — Official dispatches received at the war department, announce the advance of General Butler with his command, and his successful landing at City Point, Virginia.
The government has received information by way of Fortress Monroe, that Beauregard is at Petersburg, Virginia, with thirty thousand men.
UNION MILLS, VA., May 6 — 9 p.m. — The grand army of the Potomac crossed the Rapidan on Wednesday. The second corps moved on Tuesday to the mills opposite Ely's Ford.
On Wednesday morning at 4 o'clock, the cavalry crossed and drove the rebel pickets from the opposite heights, meeting with no opposition. A position was gained and the corps moved on at 7 o'clock, taking the road to Chancellorville, at which place Hancock would establish his headquarters. The 5th and 6th corps crossed Germania Ford in the course of the route, taking the road to the Wilderness.
Wednesday night Gen. Warren's headquarters were at the Wilderness, Sedgewick at his right, and the general headquarters at Germania Ford.
On Thursday morning the rebels pressed our pickets, and appeared to be in strong force on our right.
The 5th New York cavalry, skirmishing on the Orange Court House road, near Perkin's Tavern, were driven in with severe loss, leaving many wounded on the field.
Griffith's division was marched forward on our right about 11 o'clock, felt the enemy's position, and were met by the rebel General Hill, supported by General Ewell. A severe action took place, in which we captured about 300 prisoners, though it is reported we lost two guns.
In the meantime Hancock worked his corps to the right, to connect with Warren, and had hardly got into position, his left resting on or near Chancellorville, when he was attacked by Longstreet, with his full corps and a part of Ewell's. Hancock, with the assistance of Getty's division of the 6th corps, held his position under a musket fire of two and a half hours' duration, in which his command suffered severely, inflicting much injury upon the rebels.
Other developments showed Lee to have his whole force in our front. This knowledge of their position was, of course, highly important, and was thus obtained only by skill in landing our troops. It not being the purpose of Gen. Meade to advance on the enemy, he ordered the line of battle to be held until morning.
The position of our troops on Thursday night was parallel with and a little in advance of the road from Germania Ford to Chancellorville, the two flanks resting on these points, and the general headquarters at the Wilderness.
Meanwhile in the afternoon the advance of the 9th corps crossed Germania Ford, taking a position on our right flank.
Burnside's rear arrived this forenoon.
It is understood a general attack was to be made this morning, and heavy firing had commenced when I left, at 5 o'clock. Heavy cannonading was heard when I left Kelly's Ford, about 9 o'clock this a.m., which leads me to believe that we had driven them to their defenses, as no heavy guns could be brought into action in their former position.
There ought to be no doubt that there has been a grand victory, as Meade showed his strength by a stubborn and gallant defense without using half the command he has undoubtedly brought into action to-day. The troops are in a high state of enthusiasm.
NEW YORK, May 7. — The Times' Washington special says reliable intelligence from the Valley of the Shenandoah, represents it entirely clear of rebel troops.
Transports are loading at Alexandria for Urbana, on the Rappahannock, our future base of supplies.
The Orange and Alexandria Railroad was abandoned above Union Mills Station, and all government property brought to Alexandria.
PHILADELPHIA, May 7. — The Bulletin has just issued an extra, with news from the Washington National Republican, which says that the government has unofficial advices that after a three days' fight Lee's lines were driven in two miles, and it was believed that Gen. Grant was in pursuit.
Gen. Butler was advancing on Richmond in two columns.
There was great excitement on 3d street on the announcement of the news, and cheering for Grant.
It is reported that Gen. Lee has left his dead and wounded on the field.
WASHINGTON, May 7. — The city has been intensely excited all day with the news from the army of the Potomac, the early publication serving to excite the public curiosity concerning the military movement. The thoughtful came to the conclusion that a single encounter would not determine the contest, and a series of battles may have to be fought before there can be any decisive result. It was telegraphed hence by the independent telegraph line, but refused by the other lines, doubtless for prudential reasons, that a great victory was achieved by Gen. Grant on Wednesday and Thursday, he driving the rebels 2 1/2 miles, with immense loss, and that he was following up that victory on the following morning, by an assault on the rebel works.
The Star, in noticing a similar statement of an afternoon contemporary, remarks: "We should be very glad to be able to confirm this news, but have to say, after diligent inquiry, we are satisfied that the government has received no such information, or any information of more decisive results than that furnished by the Tribune dispatches elsewhere. The fact that General Meade was able to stand the brunt of the Confederate onset, with a portion of his command, is considered a hopeful indication, and we hope soon to be able to announce a decisive victory."
The above contradiction of the Star is believed to be based on reliable information.
The statements which were received here today, which are entitled to belief, are that Gen. Lee made a tremendous and violent attack to pierce our center, hoping thereby to divide our forces, and to secure a victory, but Gen. Hitchcock's corps came to the relief, and amid the murderous fire formed in line of battle and thwarted the designs of the rebels. The loss was heavy on both sides. Gen. Sheridan was profitably engaged in another part of the field and sent the chief in command of a message that he had routed Stuart's cavalry. The attack of Lee was on our advancing columns, who doubtless anticipated a victory by his onslaught before the main body could advance to the field of battle. The appearances on Thursday were that hostilities would be renewed on Friday.
WASHINGTON, May 7. — The Republican has the following:
The government has information this morning, whether from official sources or other, we are unable to learn, positively, at the moment of going to press, that on Wednesday, at daylight, Gen. Grant's whole army was entirely across the Rapidan and marched to a plain a little beyond and near the old Chancellorville battle ground, when Lee was forced out of his works and offered battle, which was at once accepted. The fighting became fierce and lasted until dark — the enemy being forced some distance with great loss, leaving most of his killed and wounded in our hands.
The two armies lay on their arms all night Wednesday, and at daylight on Thursday the battle opened again, and raged with the greatest fury on both sides until dark, when it was found that the enemy had been forced back in the two days' fight about two miles and a half, leaving heaps of dying, killed and wounded on the field to be buried and taken care of by our troops.
We have heard various estimates made of the number slaughtered, but at this moment it is useless to speculate on the subject. Every one knows that it must have been terrible.
On Friday morning at 5 o'clock the forces were marshaling for another conflict.
Gen. Grant is moving on Lee's works.
Up to this time Gen. Burnside's corps, numbering 30,000 men, had taken no part in the battle, but at 5:30 o'clock he was marching into a position to engage in the bloody contest of the third day's battle. Of the result of this day's battle we have no report up to the moment of going to press. The battle commenced at 6 o'clock in the morning. Unless Lee received reinforcements equal to Burnside's corps the battle of Friday must have proved terribly disastrous to him.
The fact that we have received no news of yesterday's fighting leads to the belief that Lee in endeavoring to get away to Richmond, and that Grant is in pursuit.
It is evident that the rebel forces about Richmond cannot be spared to reinforce Lee, as they have discovered ere this that they have enough to attend to there; probably from attacks upon the city by Gen. Butler's forces.