Civil War news by Edward Crapsey (war correspondent to the Inquirer)
; J f i , j j ; j ) ; ! j J ' j i , ( , i ' i , ' ! ; , . I : j i 1 1 j j i j ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. Our ITiitiiro ZVXo'cmeiit. GES. LEE BELVG SURROUNDED Our Forces All Keady to Move. THE ARMY BEING PAID OFF. MR. E. CRAPSEY'S LKTTER. Se-cUil Se-cUil Se-cUil Correspondence of Ute Inquirer. IlEAI-QXJARTER4i IlEAI-QXJARTER4i IlEAI-QXJARTER4i ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. Sunday Night, Feb. 26. J Speculation Is rife in our camps as to what Lee may or may not do within the next three weeks. It seems to be universally conceded that he cannot much longer allow Grant to weave his toils around him without either making a determined effort to break through them or as a dernier resort slipping out while a day cf grace remains. There is another opinion that has become so decided in the army that it has assumed the form of a conviction, and that is that the solution of the problem in Virginia is fast approaching its close. A few more days, or possibly weeks, and there will remain of our campaigns in Virginia nothing nothing but history. The canvassing of these questions has become so general throughout the army, that it has risen to the dignity of public mention, as tending tending to show the spirit in which our officers and soldiers approach the completion of their work. What will Lee do, evacuate or at tack? Lose all by a withdrawal to Lynchburg, or bring on with us a great pitched battie, risking the whole Rebellion on its result? These are questions that, In the absence of any definite information of the Rebel plans or intentions, are engaging the attention of all while awaUing the denouement. denouement. . Every one seems to tacitly aumit that he must do one or the other, and that speedily. K;ch hypothesis has its advocates, and a great many are very decided in their opinion as to what they would do if in Lee's position, tvut it is always that they would either evacuate or tight within three weeks. The Armies of the Potomac and the James are but two elements in the problem, Sherman and Schofield.being the other, and not less important oifes. lietween them all, Lee can but exclaim " How happy conhl I be with either. Were t'otkf r dear rharmtrs away." But they are not; they are rapidly getting less ; and less far away. It is their approach that has already, iu connection with our recent extension extension to Hatcher's Run, simplified the question by taking a withdrawal to Danville out of it. The army sees and recognizes the fact that Lee can no more withdraw his army from before us ' and precipitate it upon Sherman below Danville Danville than he can take It to the moon, for should he attempt it, then would come our hour for action. action. Hence, in this section of the Union we hear no talk of any retreat save one to Lynchburg, Lynchburg, or beyond it to East Tennessee. There are others who contend, perhaps for no Wtter reason than that they Ix-iieve Ix-iieve Ix-iieve it would be the better policy, that Ie will himself bring t lie matter to an issue on this very around, by attacking us with his whole available force, hoping by some freak of fortune to shake himself himself loose from the tight cutting hold (.rant ha fastened upon him. by virtue of which he can-ni can-ni can-ni t, with any comfort or safety, stay where he is w tzr awav. It was probably the expectation of some and the surmise of many that he would do some such thing, that last week gave rise to the report "published in a Northern paper that he had done it and had been successful Had that report been true, the problem would be already solved; but it was not, and never will be in its entirety. Iee may possibly attack us: that he can defeat us is not within the range of the possible. All this is but gossip of the army; talk to wile away its present days of inaction; but it is important important to this exteut that here, where the coming coming event can most readily lx- lx- divined, the wand of the diviner cuu raise not even the phantom of a hoje for Lee. He must fight and see the Re-ll!ion Re-ll!ion Re-ll!ion annihilated on the grandest and blxuiest battle-field battle-field battle-field of history, or he must evacuate only to find that in its consummation his army, the sole remaining bulwark of his cause, has been its utterly dissolved as were the ghostly legions that sat in siege around the n ulls of Prague. Either horn of this dilemma is not very pleasant to the Kelel chieftain, but it is all of grace that the opinionsof this army will allow him. And while waiting for this possible or, more properly, probable near future, we are Doing: "othliig-. "othliig-. "othliig-. Absolutely, and in the plain meaning of the words, doing nothing. On all our front to-day, to-day, to-day, a m:t unusually profound quiet existed; not a gun was heard, riot a ripple of excitement anywhere. anywhere. It is doubtful if the City of Philadelphia was, on any Sabbath of her existence, as peaceful, peaceful, as quiet and as orderly as has been to-day to-day to-day in this great city of soldiers. Kome Cliangres In command are transpiring. General Humphries Humphries has returned and again assumed command command of his corps, in consequence or which. General Miles has returned to his command of the First Division, Second Corps. General Smyth, who. during his brief command command of it, added to its laurels and his own, has been relieved of the command of the second Division of the Second Corps, and, as yet, has not boen assigned. IJriga !1er-(Jeneral !1er-(Jeneral !1er-(Jeneral William Ilavs. latelv Assistant Assistant Provost Marshal-General Marshal-General Marshal-General of New York, with his head-quarters head-quarters head-quarters in New York city, has succeeded General .Smj th In the command. The numerous friends of Colonel Murphv Sixty-ninth Sixty-ninth Sixty-ninth New York, as well as the public generally, whom he has served so well, will be glad to jearn that he is fast recovering from the wound he received In the fight of Sundav, the otn. Colonel Murphy will neither lose his leg nor be iH-rmanently iH-rmanently iH-rmanently disabled, oth ot which contingencies it was thought at the time the wound was received it would be impossible for him to escape. Paymaster are with the army in abundance and the long arrears due themen who face death that the Republic Republic may live are being rapidlv liquidated. Some brigades have been already paid, and within a week at farthest, the armv of the Potomac Potomac and t he Government will be square up to the last muster.