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Doc. 91.-report of Col. Davies.

Headquarters, 2D brigade, 5TH Division, Alexandria, July 14, 1861.
To Col. Miles, Commanding 5th Division Troops, Department of Northeastern Virginia.
Sir::--In pursuance of your verbal order of yesterday, I made a reconnoissance on the Fairfax road, seven miles out, and on the Richmond road about ten miles, and on the Mount Vernon road as far as Mount Vernon. The pickets on the Fairfax road captured a newly-painted ambulance, containing a set of harness and two bags of buckwheat. On the curtain, on the inside, was distinctly written in pencil, “John Hughes, Fairfax.” The picket on the Richmond road saw three horsemen, who, by a dexterous turn, evaded a shot from the picket. The picket on the Mount Vernon road, in its diligence, discovered, on the premises of one John A. Washington, formerly a resident and still an occupant of a large estate near Mount Vernon, what was supposed to amount to eight thousand pounds of bacon, and seventy-five barrels of fish. The officer in charge of the picket was informed that these provisions were to be sent for to-night (July 14) by some person who was to convey them and the negroes on the plantation to the Southern army. On this representation, he took into possession three horses, and the negroes harnessed up one four-mule team to a wagon, and one two-mule team to a wagon, and got in, to the number of ten, of their own accord, and drove to my camp.

Deeming the transaction of sufficient consequence to merit my individual attention, and supposing that I might capture the force sent to convey these provisions away, I immediately ordered out three companies of the 10th Regiment, and, taking the two teams referred to and two others, proceeded to capture the provisions and bring them to camp. On arriving at the plantation I proceeded to make inquiry and ascertain if such an amount of provisions was really upon the place. I could not find any thing like the quantity of bacon — not more than sufficient, in my judgment, to carry on the operations of the plantation, whatever might have been there in the morning; but I found twenty-five barrels more fish (one hundred in all) than were at first represented. On looking the whole matter over, whatever may be my individual views as to the confiscation of the property of rebels, who are using it and its income to overthrow the Government, I considered that the case was not sufficiently plain to authorize me to retain the mule teams, or seize upon the fish and bacon, although their owner is well known to be an officer high in rank in the rebel army, and now in active command.

As to the negroes, there being no law or orders directing me either to cause them to remain at home or to prevent them from volunteering to do team duty in my brigade, I shall allow them to remain until otherwise directed. I, however, have placed a guard over the provisions, the mules, and the wagons on the estate, and shall await your orders for their disposition.

Thomas A. Davies, Colonel Commanding 2d Brigade, 5th Division Troops, N. E. Army, Virginia.

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