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Doc. 103.-General McDowell's despatch.

Fairfax Court House, July 18, 1861.
To Colonel E. D. Townsend, Assistant Adjutant-General, Washington:--
The First Division, under General Tyler, is between Germantown and Centreville. The Second (Hunter's) is at this place, just about to move forward to Centreville. The Fifth (Miles') is at the crossing of the old Braddock road with the road from this to Fairfax Station, and is ordered forward to Centreville by the old Braddock road. Barry's battery has joined it. One of Colonel Heintzelman's brigades (Wilcox) is at Fairfax Station. Colonel Heintzelman and his other brigade are below the station, but he has not reported to me since we have been here, and I have not been able to communicate with him. I think they are at Sangster's Station. The four men wounded yesterday belonged to Colonel Miles' division, who had some slight skirmishing in reaching the position.

Each column encountered about the same obstructions — trees felled across the road — but the axemen cleared them out in a few moments. There were extensive breastworks thrown up at this place, and some of them with embrasures resettled with sandbags. Extensive breastworks were also thrown up at the Fairfax railroad station, and the road leading to Sangster's. A great deal of work had been done by them, and the number and size of their camps show they have been here in great force. Their retreat, therefore, must have a damaging effect upon them. They left in such haste that they did not draw in their pickets, who came into one of our camps, thinking, as it occupied the same place, that it was their own. The obstructions to the railroad in the vicinity of the station, including the deep cut filled in with earth, etc., can be cleared out in a few hours. The telegraph poles are up with the wires on them. I hope to have railroad and telegraphic communication in a very short time. Much flour, some arms, forage, tents, camp equipage, etc., were abandoned by them. I am distressed to have to report excesses by our troops. The excitement of the men found vent in burning and pillaging, which, however, was soon checked. It distressed us all greatly. I go to Centreville in a few moments.

Very respectfully your obedient servant.

Irwin McDowell, Brigadier-General Commanding.

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Irwin McDowell (2)
S. P. Heintzelman (2)
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Daniel Tyler (1)
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Dixon S. Miles (1)
David Hunter (1)
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William F. Barry (1)
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July 18th, 1861 AD (1)
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