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camp Union, Virginia, June 1, 1861.
Sir,--I have the honor to report, pursuant to verbal instructions received from the Colonel-Commanding, that I left this camp on the evening of 31st of May in command of a detachment of Company B, Second Cavalry, consisting of fifty men, with second Lieutenant David S. Gordon, Second Dragoons, temporarily attached for the purpose of reconnoitering the country in the vicinity of Fairfax Courthouse. Upon approaching the town the picket guard was surprised and captured. Several documents were found upon their persons, which I herewith inclose. On entering the town of Fairfax my command was fired upon by the Rebel troops from the windows and house-tops. Charged on a company of mounted rifles, and succeeded in driving them from town. Immediately two or three additional companies came up to their relief, who immediately commenced firing upon us, which fire I again returned. Perceiving that I was largely outnumbered, I deemed it advisable to retreat, which I did in good order, taking five prisoners, fully armed and equipped, and two horses. Nine horses were lost during the engagement, and four wounded.

The force actually engaged at the commencement of the engagement were two companies of cavalry and one rifle company, but reinforcements coming in from camps adjacent to the Courthouse, which I learn from reliable authority, increased their force to upwards of 1,000 men. Twenty-five of the enemy were killed and wounded. Captains Cary, Fearing and Adjutant Frank, of the Fifth New York State Militia, accompanied the command as volunteers, and did very effective service. I regret to state that Captain Cary was wounded in the foot.

(The concluding paragraph of Lieutenant Tompkins's official report is omitted as unnecessary.)

The following report by General McDowell, commanding, had been previously made to the Adjutant-General:

Arlington, June 1, 1861-12 M.
Sir,--The following facts have just been reported to me by the Orderly-Sergeant of Company B, Second Cavalry, commanded by Lieutenant Tompkins, the commanding officer being too unwell to report in person. It appears that Company B, Second Cavalry, commanded by Lieutenant Tompkins (aggregate about seventy-five), left its camp about 10 1/2 last night on a scout, and reached Fairfax Courthouse about 3 A. M., where they found several hundred men stationed--Captain Ewell, late of the United States Dragoons, said to be in command. A

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