December 4.—The Maryland Legislature organized to-day by electing Mr. Berry Speaker of the House, and Mr. Goldsborough President of the Senate. The Governor’s Message was transmitted. It is eminently loyal and patriotic. He says he has convened the Legislature in special session, in order that they may at once perform clearly the express will of the people, by taking such steps as will seem most effective to vindicate the honor and loyalty of the State, by undoing, as far as possible, and remedying the evils of the legislation of their predecessors. He urges measures for the payment of the State’s portion of the national tax for the expenses of the war. He says the rebellion must be put down, no matter at what cost. The State must bear her share, and he hopes it will be done with no niggard hand. He urges a loan for the purpose; also, that it is due to the pride of the House that immediate provision be made for raising and equipping Maryland’s quota of volunteers for the war. He also recommends legislation for the summary punishment of persons in Maryland, who shall be convicted of aiding or abetting in any manner these who are in arms against the Government.
—A Spirited skirmish took place to-night near Anandale on the Little River Turnpike, Va. It having been ascertained that a number of rebel cavalry were in the habit of coming out toward the pickets in that locality, and driving in or capturing them, last night Colonel Taylor, with twenty-five or thirty men from the Third New Jersey regiment, went out toward Anandale, where the rebels were said to appear occasionally, coming down the road at full gallop. They tied a piece of telegraph wire across the road, just high enough to trip the horses and throw them with their riders, and then placed themselves in ambush beside the road. About half-past eleven forty or fifty of the rebel cavalry approached, galloping down the road.
The head horseman tripped and fell, and the others rushing on, several tumbled over in the confusion, in the mean time swearing and shouting. The Nationals poured a volley into them, unhorsing several, killing six or seven, and capturing three, one of whom was a lieutenant. The rebels managed to get some of their killed and wounded away. One private on the National side was mortally wounded and died soon after. The captured rebel lieutenant was shot in the leg and made fight with his sword when the National soldiers went to pick him up. A bayonet prick, however, quieted him.— Philadelphia Inquirer.
—The Memphis Avalanche says: “We unhesitatingly say that the cause of justice and the cause of humanity itself, demands that the black flag shall be unfurled on every field—that extermination and death shall be proclaimed against the hellish miscreants who persist in polluting our soil with their crimes. We will stop the effusion of blood, we will arrest the horrors of war, by terrific slaughter of the foe, by examples of overwhelming and unsparing vengeance. When Oliver Cromwell massacred the garrison of Drogheda, suffering not a man to escape, he justified it on the ground that his object was to bring the war to a close—to stop the effusion of blood—and that it was, therefore, a merciful act on his part. The South can afford no longer to trifle—she must strike the most fearful blows —the war-cry of extermination must be raised.”
—A Bill was presented in the Tennessee Legislature, requesting the Judges of the Supreme and Circuit Courts, Chancellors, and Justices of the Peace, not to hold their courts, during the continuance of the war, for the trial of cases wherein debts and money were involved.—Louisville Journal, Dec. 12.
—The “Confederate” Congress passed yesterday, unanimously, and President Davis signed to-day, the following:
Be it Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States, That the thanks of the people of the Confederate States are eminently due, and are hereby tendered, to Major-General Sterling Price and the Missouri Army under his command, for the gallant conduct they have displayed throughout their service in the present war, especially for the skill, fortitude, and courage, by which they gained the brilliant achievement at Lexington, Mo., resulting, on the 20th day of September last, in the reduction of that town, and the surrender of the entire Federal army there employed.—Idem.
—In the Senate, at Washington, a resolution expelling John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, an officer in the rebel army, was offered, but objected to by Mr. Powell, of Kentucky, on the ground that as Breckinridge had already resigned he could not be expelled. The resolution was adopted by a vote of yeas thirty-six, nays none.—Mr. Wilson introduced a resolution providing for the release of slaves confined in prison in Washington. The subject was referred to the Committee on District of Columbia Affairs. On motion of Mr. Wilson, the same committee were directed to consider the question of abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia, allowing compensation to loyal owners of slaves.—Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, proposed the appointment of a commission, consisting of Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, Roger B. Taney, Edward Everett, George M. Dallas, Thomas M. Ewing, Horace Binney, Reverdy Johnson, John J Crittenden, and George C. Pugh, to confer with a like number of commissioners from the so-called Confederate States, with a view to the restoration of peace, the preservation of the Union, and the maintenance of the constitution, and that during the pendency of the deliberations of the joint commissioners, active hostilities should cease. The proposition was laid on the table.—(Doc. 211.)
—Queen Victoria issued a proclamation forbidding the export from all ports of the United Kingdom, of gunpowder, nitre, nitrate of soda, brimstone, lead, and fire-arms.—London Gazette, Dee. 4.
—To-day, a party of exasperated Union citizens of all parties, attacked a gang of returned rebels from General Price’s army, under command of Captains Young and Wheatley, near Dunksburg, about twenty miles west of Sedalia, Mo., killing seven and wounding ten. Among the killed was Captain Young. None of the citizens were killed or severely wounded. Three of the wounded rebels died.—N. Y. Herald, Dec. 7.
—Gen Phelps’ expedition, which left Fortress Monroe, Va., on the 29th of Nov., on board the steamer Constitution, landed its forces and stores on Ship Island, in what is called Mississippi Sound, in the Gulf of Mexico, near the coast. After landing, Gen. Phelps issued a proclamation to the loyal citizens of the South-West, which called forth some sharp criticism at the North as well as the South.—(Doc. 211.)
—The first independent battery of New York State Volunteer artillerists arrived in New York, from Albany. They number one hundred and fifty-six men, and are under the command of Captain T. J. Kennedy. The majority of the men have been enlisted from the plough and harrow in Cayuga County, and are a fine-looking set of young men. They are fully uniformed but without sabres or guns, both of which wait them in Washington. Their pieces are to consist of four ten-pound rifled Parrott guns, and two twelve-pound howitzers.
—Gen. Prentiss, at St. Joseph, Mo., addressed a large crowd of the citizens of that place, declaring in the most solemn manner that he would compel every secessionist there to take an oath of allegiance to the United States Government, or he would set them at work in the trenches of Fort Smith. The speech delighted the loyal, but sent consternation into the ranks of the traitors.—N. Y. Tribune, Dec. 7.
—This night a detachment of the Federal cavalry made a dash for the Memphis Branch railroad, and succeeded in burning a portion of the Whip-poor-will Bridge, taking eleven prisoners of the guard stationed there. Though wholly unaccompanied with danger, this is the most brilliant exploit of the war in Kentucky. And though the damage done is trifling, and has been repaired ere this, the injury to the Southern cause is serious out of all proportion to the loss sustained. This movement of the Federal scouts will excite a feeling of uneasiness and apprehension in the country, discouraging Southern men and encouraging the few Lincolnites in this section. And there is no excuse for it.—Nashville Courier.—(Doc. 212.)
—Secretary Seward addressed a letter to Gen. McClellan, calling his attention to the fact that slaves escaping from the rebels, and coming within the national lines, had been imprisoned in the jail at Washington. The Secretary pointed out the impropriety of the fact, and declared that such arrest and imprisonment ought to be followed by the immediate punishment of the persons making the seizure.— (Doc. 213.)
—At St. Louis Major-General Halleck issued an important order to his commanding officers in Missouri, directing them to arrest and hold in confinement every one found in arms against the Government, or those who, in any way, give aid to the rebels; and ordering that all persons found within the lines of the army, in disguise as loyal citizens, and giving information to the enemy, and all these taken from the ranks of the rebels in actual service, should not be treated as prisoners of war, but as spies, and should be shot. He further ordered that the provost-marshals of St. Louis should take in charge the numbers of Union families who were crowding into the city—having been plundered and driven from their homes by the rebels— and quarter them upon avowed secessionists, charging the expense of their board to them, on the ground that, although they had not themselves plundered and driven forth these unfortunate people, they were giving aid and comfort to these who had done so.