This afternoon a party of Jeff. Thompson's men entered the little town of Commerce, Mo., about forty miles from Cairo, Ill.--a place long noted for the steady and unswerving loyalty of its people — and after tearing down and tramping upon a Union flag which was flying there, they proceeded to plunder the different stores in the town of such articles as suited their fancy. After obtaining all they desired here, they concealed themselves near the landing until the steamer City of Alton came along, intending to capture the boat; but just as she was approaching the landing a lady, Mrs. Eversole, wife of one of the citizens of the place, ran down to the landing, and in spite of the repeated threats of Thompson's men to shoot her if she did not desist, shouted several times to the pilot not to land as Jeff. Thompson's men were waiting to shoot them. The boat had nearly touched the shore before the pilot comprehended what she meant. He then rung the bell to back the boat. The robbers, finding themselves foiled, sprang from their ambush and fired several volleys at the boat, completely riddling the sides of the cabin and pilot-house, but fortunately without injuring any one. The escape of the passengers was almost miraculous, as there was a large number on board, and the balls pierced the cabin in every direction. The boat backed down the river about two miles, to the head of Max's Island, where Captain Barnes obtained some arms and lumber to construct breast-works to shield the cabin and pilot-house. The boat then resumed her course, and passed the town without further molestation, the marauders having in the mean time retreated. Had it not been for the timely warning which the pilot received, they would undoubtedly have succeeded in capturing the boat with her valuable stores, and making prisoners of the passengers, including Commander Porter, of the gunboat Essex, and several army officers who were on board.--Cincinnati Gazette, January 4, 1862.
Twenty-four hundred and sixty cavalry, under Colonel Carr, with fifteen days rations, left Rolla, Mo., destined, it was supposed, for Springfield, Mo., by a circuitous route.
As the steamboat Express, which runs between Old Point and Newport News, Va., was leaving the latter place this morning, a rebel tugboat was seen off Sewell's Point. She carried a Commodore's blue pennant, which was mistaken at first for a flag of truce, but on the Express arriving within range she fired a shot across her bows, followed by several shells. The greatest consternation prevailed for a time on board the Express, which is an unarmed steamer, and the schooner Sherwood, employed to bring water from Newport News, which was at the time in tow, was cut adrift. The Sherwood  was immediately deserted by her crew, consisting of four men, who escaped by the small boat to Newport News, and drifting down with the tide, was taken possession of by the rebel tug and towed to Craney Island. Her captain stuck to her, and was taken prisoner. The tugboat subsequently made her appearance for the second time, but the Express had crowded all steam on, and reported the circumstance to the flagship. After a long delay the gunboats started, and steaming toward the scene, threw a few shells into Sewell's Point and Pig Point batteries, without producing any effect. But for the delay in the gunboats getting to the spot, the rebels might have been intercepted, and the schooner saved. The schooner had been lined with zinc, and fitted out with a valuable force pump for a water-boat.--(Doc. 242.)
A note front the rebel General Huger to General Wool announced that he was ready to send two hundred and forty prisoners of war down the James River from Richmond by a flag of truce whenever they would be received.--Philadelphia Bulletin, December 30.