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——— In the American war it is curious to mark how success seems to alternate between North and South. All natural surmises from the news of one month as to what will be revealed

the next appear to be falsified by the actual course of events. We learn, often by late telegrams following in the wake of the mail, that the Confederates are nearly exhausted, and that the war will soon come to an end ; or that the Federals have done their utmost, and might not be indisposed to treat for peace. And almost in every instance the subsequent mail contradicts the expectations which have been formed from the preceding one. There was but little of a very encouraging character to the friends of the South in the news brought by the September mail. Though the attack of Gilmore on Charleston harbour had not resulted in the total destruction of the works or in the capture of the city, still great damage had been wrought, and it seemed only to require another spirited assault by the Federal soldiers to make the extensive fortifications a heap of ruins. The Confederates were also making extraordinary efforts to maintain the war, and to furnish the necessary supplies of men and money. They were manifestly working the 'rebellion,' as their enemies call it— the ' patriotic cause,' as they themselves designate it — at high pressure ; and even they who believed them to be mainly in the right could not blind their eyes to the fact that their prospect was rather a gloomy one. The news by the last mail, however, has   quite changed the aspect of affairs. We have now full particulars of the fight at Chattanooga, which was amongst the most terribly destruc- tive of all the battles which have been fought, and in which the victory was decidedly with the South. Rosecrans was thoroughly beaten after a hard fight of two days. General Bragg handled his army with admirable judgment, ind by the careful disposal of his forces, pour- ing in his men where the enemy's lines were weakest, he drove him from the field. It appears to have been the old story ; the Con- federates conquered by superior generalship. Even some of the Northern papers confess that the defeat of the Federals is to be ascribed to the superior tactics of the Southern Grenerals. Rosecrans seems to have been com- pletely baffled by the careful plans of Bragg. By feigned attacks on one part of the enemy's lines he caused other portions to be weakened, and then, taking advantage of the weakness which he had himself caused, he poured in his forces with extraordinary impetuosity, broke the lines of the Federals, until a large part of the army became a mere disorderly and demo- ralized flying rabble. The victory at Chatta- nooga, or more properly at Chickamauga— ' the stream of death'— has created great excitement and no small exasperation in the North. A considerable force had been detached from the grand army of the Potomac, under the command of General Burnside, to succour Rosecrans. But it would appear that there is but little chance of this force being of much use, According to the latest intelligence

in the Home News, the Confederates have entrenched themselves on Burnside's left, and thrown a force over the Hiawasse River on his right, which has compelled him to fall back beyond Athens, a station on the Virginia and East Tennessee Railway.' And by this movement, he is said to be completely isolated from Rosecrans. Bragg, therefore, is master of the situation. The Washington Cabinet have again adopted their usual course. We see from our latest telegram that Rosecrans has been superseded by General Thomas. Another commander has passed over to swell the ranks of the incapables, and to leave room for some other aspiring soldier to show his qualities, and then, pro- bably, to be set aside like those who have preceded him. We have more than once ex- pressed surprise, in common with most outside observers, at the extraordinary incompetence shown by the Northern Generals. While in the South the men who commanded the army in the beginning command it now, except in the case of a few men of mark who have fallen in the strife, first and foremost of whom was the brave and lamented ' Stonewall' Jackson, in the North almost every battle has been fought by a new General, and the Federals seem as far as ever from raising up from the dull medio- crity of field-officers any man of commanding ability possessed of the qualities of a superior General. Until such a man be obtained we may expect still to hear of disasters to the Northern arms. When the September news left, Lee and Meade were watching each other on the Rapidau, and it was then understood that as soon as the Confederate commander obtained reinforcements he would at once assume the offensive General Lee has been anxious from the beginning to force the war on Northern territory. His policy has been to keep the enemy as far from Richmond as possible. His long-expected movement has taken place. On the 8th October he crossed the Rapidan with his whole army, and made an attempt to turn Meade's right. The Federal General, being either unable or unwilling to give his adversary battle, fell back to the north bank of the Rap- pahannock. During his retreat, though he kept his army in good order, he is reported to have suffered heavy losses from the Confederates, who harassed his rear. On reaching the Rappahannock, he was unable to make good his position, and he had to retreat still further, until he reached Manassas Junction, where he appears to have made a stand. Here he was fiercely attacked by Lee on the 11th October, but after a des-   perate fight the Confederates were repulsed, if the Federal accounts are to be trusted, with a severe loss. We know not how much con- fidence may be placed in the later telegrams ; but according to them the tide of success appears to have turned ; for we learn that Lee was in full retreat from Manassas Plain towards Richmond, destroying in his retreat the railway on the Rappahannock ; and that Meade was pursuing him. If this be correct there has probably been another severe battle fought which has ended unfavourably for the Confederates. As it is the evident policy of Lee to press the war northward, we may safely assume that only a signal defeat would have led him to fall back. He is evidently a cautious General, and, though never slow to assume the aggressive, he is too wise and feels too strongly the responsibility which rests upon him to commit any great indiscretion. He has again and again fallen back on his base of operations, and as often has he come forward and bravely challenged the enemy when he felt it safe to do so. Much as we may hate slavery, and glad as we should be to see the North succeed, if we had the slightest ground for believing that their success would ensure the downfall of the monstrous evil, it is impossible to suppress our admiration at the masterly way in which the Confederates have defended themselves during the whole of tho war, and especially at the surpassing skill and courage displayed both by officers and men. That the Federals still regard their position as a serious one which will require strenuous efforts on their part to make successful is apparent from the fact that President Lincoln has again called for 300,000 volunteers. Whether he will obtain them is another question. It is as easy to call for troops as to summon ' spirits from the vasty deep;' but 'will they come?' The Northern journals still speak confidently, if not arrogantly, of eventual success. They ' bate not one jot of heart or hope :'

but, as far as we can see, the war is no nearer its termination now than it was twelve months ago. The South is as resolute in defence as the North is bold in attack. We can never predict, of course, what may be thrown up by the various turns of Fortune's wheel ; but if we may judge of the future from the past, then we may confidently assert that the power of the Confederates to defend themselves, and their determination to carry the contest to its final issue, will demand from the North a larger army and, above all, more accomplished commanders than they have yet produced. It is sad to reflect on the terrible sacrifice of life which this unnatural war has involved. A great responsibility rests somewhere; and to prevent the further waste of human blood and national resources we should be thankful to see the war brought to a close, even at expense of interests which we hold dear. We wish we could see the feeblest indication of a disposi- tion to take the question from the arbitrament of the sword to that of negotiation and treaty ; but as long as the Federals proudly refuse to treat with the ' rebels,' as they call them, until they lay down their arms, so long will the war go on ; for we believe the Confederates will fight till the last.

His Excellency's Departure for the South. -His Excellency the Goveraor-in-Chief, accom- panied by the Chief Secretary, the Treasurer, and Inspector Hamilton as Aid-de-Camp, left town at 8 o'clock on Thursday morning for Willunga, in order to be present at the opening of the Odd- fellows' Hall and the fete in connection therewith at that place. The viceregal party intended leaving Willunga for the Goolwa on Thursday evening. Some particulars of the Willunga fete will be found in our telegraphic columns. Public Holidays.— The Government Gazette announces that the 25th, the 26th, and the 28th instant will be public holidays at all the Govern- ment offices. Tasmania.— We are indebted to the captain of the Foam for a Hobart Town paper of December the 10th. It states that it is probable some early attempts will be made to restore the Bass's Straits telegraph cable. Sale of the Kurilla Mine.— On Thursday Messrs. Townsend, Botting, & Kay, acting under the Sheriff's orders, in a suit instituted by the South Australian Banking Company, offered at auction the whole property of the Kurilla Mining Company, comprising the leases of mineral sec- tions Nos. 411, 412, and 415, together with the entire plant, stores, office furniture, &c. It was agreed in the room that the whole should be put up in one lot, and the first bidding was £1,000. After some competition the property was knocked down to Mr. Cotton for £2,100— an amount which will not only clear otf the Bank's claim, but leave, some £700 or £800 for division among the share holders. It is understood that Mr. Cotton was acting for the Hon. George Hall and a few other gentlemen, who have formed themselves into a fresh Company for the working of the mine. St. Peter's Collegiate School. -The half yearly examination of St. Peter's Collegiate School' was held on Thursday, December 17. There was a large attendance of ladies and gentlemen, inclu- ding a number of the old scholars. The Lord Bishop presided, and the proceedings consisted of the reading of the examiners' reports, recitations, speeches, and the distribution of honours and prizes. Accident.— On Thursday evening a carriage and pair while proceeding up Gawler-place knocked a man down, but fortunately inflicted no injury beyond a small cut in the arm. A considerable crowd assembled. Wesleyan Mutual Improvement Associa- tion.— The Rev. J. Watsford will deliver his lecture this evening on 'Edgar A. Poe and his Works.' in connection with the above Association, in the Lecture Hall, Pirie-street,  

The Citt Assessh Eim-His Worship the Mayor nd the members of the City Council sat on Thursday. December 17, as a Court to hear appeals gainst the assessment for the year 1864. An unusually large number of appeals were heard, the chief complaint being that the Valuator had in- creased the assessment without there being any proportionote increase in the value of the proper- ies to justify such a course. The Court com- nenced its sittings at 10 o'clock, and continued to it until half-past 5. As the appeals were not then til disposed of it adjourned until Tuesday next,'at 0 o'clock. ? ? Insolvency Court.-In the Insolvency Court, m Thursday, Mr. Bagot combated the charges which had been laid against Hazelgrove and Mil- steed by Mr. BakewelL His Honor reserved his judgment, and the hearing, as well as that of R. Hazelgrove was adjourned to Monday next, at half-past 10 o'clock. Grocers' Assistants' Association. —Tho innual dinner of the Grocers' Assistants' Associa ion, held at the Norfolk Arms on Thursday even ng. December 17, was a very successful afluir, Vbout 60 persons sat down to partake of an excel ent spread; after which the usual round of toasts, nterspersed with some excellent songs aud per 'oruiances by the band, were proposed and duly icknowledged. Air. Townsend ably officiated as jhairman, and the duties of Vice-Chairman were ifficiently performed by Mr. R. J. Scott. The iroceedings closed at midnight. Socrerr of Arts.— It will be seen from our idvertising columns that the closing of the Exhi bition has been postponed to Wednesday, Decem ber 30, when the Art Union priies will be drawn 'or. The Exhibition is now open from 10 a,m. to 10 p.m., admission Is., but after 7 o'clock only lialf-price is charged. The Committee have au lounced that Thursday, December 24, and Satur lay, December 2fi, will be days of free admission 'for the million.' Excursion Trains.-a correspondent writing from Magill, under the signature 'A Poor Man.' inquires 'whether there will be an excursion train :o the Port on New Year's Day.' Wo have made snquiry at the Railway Office, and, so far as we :an at present learn, it does not appear that there nillbeone. Stow Memorial Church Baz.iar.-No charm

ior aumission was made on Thuredny, the fourth day of the bazaar, and consequently the attendance was very large. In the evening the room was so thronged that it was with the greatest inconve nience that a tour of tho room could be made, to say nothing of the exceeding difficulty of a near approach to the stalls. Tho day's sales consider ably cleared many of the stalls, but a large number of articles still remained on hand, until Mr. William Kay was requested to use his auctioneering abilities in disposing of them. Through his instrumentality many of the goods were Boon Bold. The day's pro ceeds amounted to about jE17-J, or a sum total of more tlian £700. This is a most satisfactory result, gratifying alike to the ladies who have so indefati gably laboured for the bazaar, and worthy of tho object for which it was held. We omitted in pre vious notices to mention the names of Mcsdanica Bungcrt, Suckling, Jacques, and Hubble, who offi dated most creditably at the refreshment-stall and the Christmas tree. A large number of imperish able articles have been reserved for future sale. Presentation to the Bev. f. W. Cox.-On Thursday evening, 17th December,' the members of the Hindmarsh-square Young Men's Society held a public meeting in the schoolroom adjoining the Hindmarsh-aiuare Congregational Church, for the purpose of presenting their President with a silver tea and coifec service, on the occasion of his recent marriage. Nearly 100 members of the Church and other friends were present, and tho room was tastefully decorated with flagB, ever greens, and flowers. The following address was read by the Vice-Presidont, Mr. G. Kirkpatrick, and suitably acknowledged by Mr Cox:-' To the Uev. F. W. Cox, Pastor of the Hindmarah-Bquare Congregational Church. Keverend aud dear Sir - The undersigned, members of the Hindmarsh square Young Men's Society and young meu of your congregation, desire to present to you their hearty congratulations on the occasion of your recent marriage, and to convey their liest wishes for your future welfare. They further beg your acceptance of the accompanying tea and coflee service as a memento of their esteem and regard for you both as their respected Pro sident and beloved Pastor, aud trust that you may long be permitted to occupy these positions amongst them. Again wishing Mrs. Cox and yourself every happiness, we beg to subscribe our selves, yours very sincerely' (signed by tho members of the Society). During the evening, tea and coifce were handed round, various recita tions were well given, aud au efficient choir enlivened the proceedings by performing several glees and pieces of music in a highly creditable manner. Anniversary op the Colony.— An advertise ment in another column announces an excursion by rail and water to Glcnelg and back on the 2Sth December, being the anniversary of the founding of the colony. A train will have the Adelaido station in the morning at 9.15, and will await tho return of the steamer in the evening. It will be seen that Biilficicnt time will be allowed passengers to witness the pyroteclmical display at Gleuclg in the evening. Should the weather 1« fine we have no doubt a large number of persons will avail them selves of what ought to be a pleasant excursion. Supposed Suicide.— We havo received Infor mation from the police of a man having been found dead in one of the huts at the Matta Mine. There was every indication of death having been caused by strychnine, a bottle of which was found in the hut. The case was reported to Mr. Swann, J.P., but from some cause no inquest was held. The particulars of the case have been commu- nicated to the Government by Police-trooper Paynter. The deceased went by the name of Shepperd. He had worked at Kanyaka, and, before coming to the colony, had been a soldier. The body was much decomposed when found. The Wellington Ferryman.— A well-known resident of Wellington writes as follows:— 'In your notice of the late public meeting at Strath albyn respecting the Wellington Ferry Mr. Run kine is reported to have said that, with all his respect for Mr. Carter, he was out of bin placo when not in the ferry-lwat. Of course he could not have meant that the ferryman should be a permanent fixture, like one of the 'thwarts' of the lxKit, and I am unwilling to think that tho observation was made sneeringly. Still, as the remark might possibly convey an unfavourable impression of Mr. Carter in quartern where he is not so well known and appreciated as hero, I think it but justice to Btate that Mr. Carter's assiduity and attention, whether as Ferryman, Postmaster, or Telegraph Stationmaster, have gained .him universal respect and esteem.' Hay Valley.— A correspondent sends the fol lowing:— 'The anniversary of tho Sunday-school In connection with the Primitive Methodist Chapel at Hay Valley was celebrated on Sunday and Mon day, December 13th and 14th. Sermons wero preached on Sunday by the Bev. Messrs. Wright and Raymond. On Monday afternoon the chil dren, to the number of 50, were regaled with tea, cake, &a At 5 o'clock a public tea was provided by the ladies of the congregation, to which a con siderable number sat down. A public meeting was held in the evening, and was presided over by Mr. Appleton ; appropriate addresses were delivered by the Bevs. J. G. Wright, 8. Eayraond, and others. The children gave several recitations at each service in a very pleasing manner. The amount realized by the tea and collections amounted to £V. Votes of thanks having been given to the ladies, teat-heir, and Chairman, a very interesting meeting closed with singing and prayer.' The Mauritius Wheat Market.— The Port Louis Commercial Gazette of November 0 says of the wheat market:— 'More than 25,000 bara havo been received during the month from different parts, and fine Doodah has been realized with difficulty at from $3 75c to $3 80c Cape and Australian arc quoted at about $3. However, more activity prevailed during this lost fortnight, and transactions were made for Doodah at from $3 BQc to H and |3 35c. to $3 45c for Australian.' State of China.— The following curious passage from a private letter, written by a gentleman of nuch ocuteness now in the English service' in 3hina, will at once support the conclusions w-) have steadily pressed on our readers as to the issue )f our present policy there, and illustrate the nodus operandi:—' China,' he ssyB, 'it in rightful state, only held together by h tssistance. . . . We can't go on fighting for hem for ever, and the moment we cease to supply hem with men and ships the whole vast empire rill break up, and it is not improbable that you rill some day hear of me as Governor of a pro* rince five times the size of England. .... -uel fate is driving us to acts we all deplore, lere, for instance, is a city with hundreds of housands of inhabitants, and the Governor :omes trembling to me on any alarm, md trusts entirely to my action to de end his walls against rebels and pirates. If he gunboat placed here for the protection of our nterests went away, the rebellious Chinese would wmbard the city. Fancy a letter like this :— 'Shih, »f the great pure dynasty, Intendantof the ? District, Comptroller of Customs, &c, &c, to the treat English officer— Whereas, I have been In brmed that rebels infest the Islands, to the testruction of harmless traders, will the honour ible officer who loves the people as his own ihildren direct the senior naval officer to go out ind punish the guilty, so shall security be restored in the coast!' On which L the honourable officer, ?0 on board the gunboat, and steam down to the slands, where, in the midst of scenery like paradise, lirstes abound. We go into a quiet nook, and Ind ten junks, which open fire upon us from all heir guns. Our C3-pounder is run out with an ight-inch shell in it. A great crash, and up goes unk No. 1 into thin air. Another discharge Tape sends the pirates on shore, when thecountr teople come down and poke at them with long pears. The junks are taken into port, and solo , the honourable officer, have cleared the seal nd had a delightful trip. The week after, the pirates are all back again in other junks. The Chinese do simply nothing.' The English must rule China before long, on the old principle that nature 'abhors a vacuum'.—Spectator.