CAMP DEFIANCE, July 28, 1861.
EDITORS JOURNAL: — There are a great many rumors afloat here in relation to the movements of rebel troops below, and it is certain that a large force has left Memphis and have landed at New Madrid. Several regiments have also joined them from camp Brown. Great preparations of course are being made to receive our visitors at the Point. The two Government boats are busy bringing away all unnecessary stores, horses and equipments, not absolutely required in an engagement. I learned from a passenger who arrived last night from the South, that all passenger trains leading to the scene of the recent battle have been stopped, to prevent the great rush of persons who are anxious to ascertain the fate of their friends who were in the engagement. Hereafter all persons traveling in the South will be required to have passports, which will only be issued to those who can show that they are loyal to the rebel cause.
Several hundred troops were paid off yesterday and left on a special train last evening for their homes.
Gen. Watkins with his secession forces are encamped on Little River, about fifty miles from here. A Union man from that region reports that since the engagement at Manassas the secessionists are perfectly frantic, and are leaving their farms and crops and organizing themselves into companies, and preparing to fight whenever a favorable opportunity occurs. They threaten to wipe out Commerce and Hamburg, which are strong Union towns. There is an organization of Union men at Hamburg, numbering five or six hundred who are well equipped and ready to fight. The secessionists at Paducah illuminated their town on Friday night, and celebrated with great rejoicing the defeat of the federal troops in the east.
I notice that some rascal signing himself "O. P. Q." is writing letters to the St. Louis Republican, and pretends to be very much exercised in behalf of Gen. Prentiss, and has a great deal to say about the military capacity of Auditor Dubois; and in his last letter, the writer intimates that the "JOURNAL" is a great enemy of Gen. Prentiss. The writer of these letters is known, and is in no way connected with the army; and previous to the presence of federal troops here was a strong secessionist. The object of the writer is perfectly patent, and that is to create mischief. I do not think any person here suppose the JOURNAL is hostile to Gen. Prentiss, and as to the military ability of Auditor Dubois, there is no occasion to call it in question, as I have not heard that he has ever been offered or ever sought any position.
Although in the presence of "grim visaged war" places of amusement with which Cairo now abounds, seem to be doing a thriving business. We have here the "Melodeon," a small theater, where for the sum of fifteen cents, a variety of performances entertain the public. A scene not down in the bill occurred a few nights since. A couple of spectators, differed in relation to the merits of one of the Terpsichorean artists and the variance of opinion was settled on the spot, "a la Heanan," to the infinite satisfaction of the bystanders, and the general destruction of seats and furniture. A new theatrical company recently arrived and will hold forth in a large tent on the avenue.
An enterprising German has opened a beer garden in the outskirts of the city, which is largely patronized by citizens and soldiers. A few nights since a ball was given at this place for the benefit of the "Cairo Cavalry company." The dancing party were astonished at the appearance of a file of soldiers, and on an enquiry as to their business, they replied that they had been detailed to hunt up the chaplain of their regiment, who had gone on a spree, and they supposed that the most probable place to find him was there. Upon being informed that he was not present they reluctantly retired, and whether they have yet found the whereabouts of their spiritual adviser or not, I am not informed.
The hotel and saloon keepers are now quite vigilant watching the departure of those who are being paid off, some of whom have been running their faces pretty extensively, and it would be nothing supprising if some of these confiding creditors had made some bad debts. A few officers, I regret to say, have left without having settled all their liabilities. Lieut. Vandenberg, of Bloomington, left last night, and says that he will return in a few days with a full company. It is generally believed he will return.
The sutlers of some of the regiments are experiencing some difficulty in collecting their claims, as the paymaster refuses to recognize the rule that prevails in the regular service, that they shall have their claims deducted from the amount due the soldier. No attention is paid to the claims of the sutler, and they are obliged to rely entirely on the honor of their debtors. A portion of Col. Oglesby's regiment repudiated their debts, and left the sutler behind about three thousand dollars. Col. Paine informed his men that any one of them who would not pay his debts, he would put under arrest, which intimation had the desired effect.
Over one-half of this brigade has already been sworn in, and recruits are constantly arriving to take the place of the three months men who are going home.
Two scouts belonging to Col. Lawler's regiment were captured yesterday in Missouri, nearly opposite Columbus. They have been sent to camp Brown, in Tennessee. The balance of the scouting party returned last night. Citizens are no longer permitted to visit Bird's Point.
Col. Cook's regiment at Mound City, is being paid off to-day.
The most universal disgust is expressed here by all at the fanatical course which has been pursued of late by the two Tribunes. These sheets can but be regarded as powerful allies to the rebel cause. While we are mortified at the defeat of our brave troops, it is to be hoped that the experience we have acquired, purchased as it has been by the lives of hundreds of our gallant countrymen, and at the expense of a stain upon our national banner, may not be without beneficial results.
P. S. The steamer Des Moines has just arrived from St. Louis, having landed Colonel Smith's regiment at Cape Girardeau. She reports that she was hailed above the Cape by the steamer W. J. McClay and learned that boat was fired into last night while on her way up the river and six men killed at Cape Girardeau. The McClay arrived here yesterday from Pittsburg and left last evening for St. Louis. It is supposed that the persons in charge of her were not aware of the presence of federal troops at that point, and that being hailed by a shot across her bows, she started for the Illinois shore, supposing the shots were from secessionists. Immediately upon her changing her course a volley was fired from the federal troops with the above unfortunate result. The above information I obtained from the pilot of the Des Moines.