trying to come toward town. I therefore returned to town, waiting for her to come up. Captain Labarge addressed me, asking me not to shot, as there were no armed men aboard. On examining into the case I found that he had been forced to stop by a squad of rebels lying in ambush behind a wood-pile, he having landed to set two passengers out. They made him unload his deck freight and put 160 or 175 horses on, and then he had to go across with an equal number of men. From the testimony given by the passengers, among whom is the adjutant of the Eighteenth Wisconsin Volunteers, I had no reason to suppose that the captain had a previous understanding with Porter, but only blame him for crossing these last 10 back again, as he had force enough in deck hands on his boat to resist them even with their arms. After he had come to this side he could have come to us, for he must have known that we were Federals and would protect him if he was innocent. From what I heard those on the boat say these 10 men, so as to bring them down to the boat, in order to cross below. They even mistook us for their friends, and did not see their mistake until they had come within gun-shot range; but just where we saw them the road makes a turn around a house, whereby they were protected from our guns and made good their escape. If the captain id not know of Porter's intentions before he certainly cannot have had very great objections to helping them over. I therefore ordered him to report to you forthwith on his arrival at Jefferson City, and charged said adjutant also to give you a minute statement of the occurrence. i did not make any arrests on the boat, because I thought you would do so if you saw proper, and the boat herself is bond enough that he will obey my orders, which I suppose he has already done by this time.
Porter himself has probably not crossed yet. The force he had left on this side at Portland scattered for the time being, but has since probably collected again, for the Mexico mail-carrier reports a force of about 200 going northward, whom he met near Concord. We did not get through about Portland until near dark, and could therefore do nothing more. I had strict orders to be back the same evening, and therefore marched back here, which made nearly 55 miles traveled during the day, without taking time to feed. I had to give the horses rest to-day, and as the colonel is sick, and being unable to ride for a day or two yet on account of a fall from my horse, I cannot tell how soon we will be able to go after them again.
I judge that Porter had about 300 or 350 men in Portland ready to cross. One hundred and sixty or 175 did cross; the rest are on this side yet. Those who went over, I am told, intended to tear up the railroad track and cut the telegraph wires, so as to keep you from getting on the them quick.
Hoping that you will be able yet to follow those who have crossed, I remain, respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN E. BRUERE,
Surgeon, First Battalion of Cavalry, Missouri State Militia.
Commanding Jefferson City, Mo.