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I shall be pardoned, I trust, for introducing my name into this statement of the situation, but the circumstances will excuse, if not make it necessary, I should have done so. The only companies then at Fairfax Courthouse, on the night of the 31st of May, were those I have mentioned. They had seen no service, and were entirely undisciplined. The cavalry companies were badly armed, and Colonel Ewell, in his official account of the affairs which subsequently occurred, says: The two cavalry com speak for himself by publishing his official report: 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
May 31st, 1861 AD (search for this): chapter 7.64
Reminiscences of the war. By General William Smith. Skirmish at Fairfax C. H., May 31st 1861. [None who knew him could fail to admire the enthusiastic courage with which Governor Wm. Smith, of Virginia, threw himself into the thickest of theare sure our readers will thank us for these interesting sketches by this gallant old hero.] On the night of the 31st of May, 1861, Lieutenant-Colonel Ewell (subsequently General Ewell), just out of the Federal lines, in which he was Captain of ca and no ammunition, and took no part in the affair. So here is the number and character of our entire force on the 31st of May, 1861, and the only force in any way concerned in the affair of the next morning. In this state of things, the enemy hastice they should be exposed. I repeat that the whole Confederate force at Fairfax Courthouse, on the night of the 31st of May, 1861, was composed of the companies and of the character and description I have heretofore named; and I will add, that th
June 1st, 1861 AD (search for this): chapter 7.64
d in the affair of the next morning. In this state of things, the enemy having determined on a scout, I have concluded to let Lieutenant Tompkins, commanding, speak for himself by publishing his official report: 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, wwounded 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, S
June, 1882 AD (search for this): chapter 7.64
force; and that the only force which did join us were the companies of Captains Harrison and Wickham, for whom Colonel Ewell had sent, and they did not arrive until some time after sunrise. Lieutenant Tompkins officially reports that, twenty-five of the enemy were killed and wounded. This is most inexcusable mendacity. I again say that except from the chance-medley firing of the enemy as he passed through town, we did not sustain the slightest injury. At the first collision we received no injury, and are not aware that we inflicted any. At the second and last, we certainly received no injury, but inflicted considerable damage upon the enemy, and forced him to seek safety by retiring from the contest, through the fields of an adjoining farm. I have thus presented the facts of this little affair, most of which are within my personal knowledge, whilst those contributed by others have been adopted, only after the most patient investigation. Wm. Smith. Warrenton, Va., June, 1882.
enant Tompkins says: It will be observed, that he was in command of a detachment of Company B, Second Cavalry, consisting of fifty men, with Second Lieutenant David S. Gordon's Second Dragoons temporially attached. He subsequently adds: Captains Cary, Fearing and Adjutant Frank, of the Fifth New York State Militia, accompanied the command as volunteers. General McDowell says: It appears that Company B, Second Cavalry, commanded by Lieutenant Tompkins, (aggregate about seventy-five). General Bonham, after an examination of the three prisoners taken, reports, the enemy was eighty to eighty-five strong. Colonel Ewell in his official report says: Three prisoners were brought in, who separately reported their strength at eighty, rank and file. And two of the prisoners taken by the enemy, intelligent men, with whom I have communicated, think the enemy's force must have been from seventy-five to one hundred men. All this testimony with what I saw, satisfied me that Lieutenant Tompkins
ent 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 report of Company B, Second Cavalry, consisting of fifty men, with Second Lieutenant David S. Gordon's Second Dragoons temporially attached. He subsequently adds: Captains Cary, Fearing and Adjutant Frank, of the Fifth New York State Militia, accompanied the command as volunteers. General McDowell says: It appears that Company B, Sec
cavalry companies of Harrison and Wickham, camped at Fairfax Station, three miles from the court-house. Captain Thornton, I was informed, went on this duty. Neither man, nor beast, that I could ascertain, sustained the slightest injury in this collision. Having been left to my own discretion, and perfectly satisfied that my position was untenable against any mounted force of dash and courage, I followed immediately on the retiring footsteps of the enemy. It was not until I had reached Cooper's wagon shop, ascertained by recent measurement to be one hundred and ninety-five steps west from the court-house, that I found a place which satisfied my judgment. Here I found a new post and rail fence, on each side of the turn-pike — the one on the south side, helping to enclose the wagon shop yard. Feeling safe in this position, I at once divided my command, placing it on opposite sides of the road, and protecting it by the post and rail fence. I stated to the men, if I was not much m
William Lee Davidson (search for this): chapter 7.64
ollow me. Without hesitation, they jumped the the fence, and at the corner of the court-house lot on the sidewalk leading from the church to the hotel, I, without the slightest knowledge of tactics, commenced to form them into two files. I had nearly completed my work, when hearing a disturbance at the head of the column, I walked rapidly up the line to hear what was the matter. Nearing the head of the column, I heard Lieutenant-Colonel Ewell, in his impetuous way, say to one of the men (Davidson), What, sir, do you dispute my authority? To which the young man, in a very proper manner replied, I do sir, until I know you have a right to exercise it. Taking in the situation, and aware that The Rifles and this officer were strangers to each other, I at once said, Men, this is Lieutenant-Colonel Ewell, your commanding officer, a gallant soldier, in whom you may place every confidence. Of course this ended the trouble. The men might well be excused for doubting Colonel Ewell, for whe
R. S. Ewell (search for this): chapter 7.64
ived that day (the 31st), and had not seen Colonel Ewell, nor been seen by him, he being out on a shem, and after a gratifying interview with Colonel Ewell (whom I knew well, but had not seen for mahe cavalry companies were badly armed, and Colonel Ewell, in his official account of the affairs wh they found several hundred men stationed--Captain Ewell, late of the United States Dragoons, said d been fired at him; on the contrary, Lieutenant-Colonel Ewell speaking of the alarm, says: This washis return. It was during this march that Colonel Ewell told me how he came to be in his then condwell's porch below Gunnell's, and accounts for Ewell's tardiness in reaching The Rifles. He then sr occupied a very short time, during which Colonel Ewell was engaged in getting his courier, and prthat our cavalry, for the reason stated by Colonel Ewell, I suppose, took no part in the affair --tof Captains Harrison and Wickham, for whom Colonel Ewell had sent, and they did not arrive until so[14 more...]
ry 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 pkins says: It will be observed, that he was in command of a detachment of Company B, Second Cavalry, consisting of fifty men, with Second Lieutenant David S. Gordon's Second Dragoons temporially attached. He subsequently adds: Captains Cary, Fearing and Adjutant Frank, of the Fifth New York State Militia, accompanied the command as volunteers. General McDowell says: It appears that Company B, Second Cavalry, commanded by Lieutenant Tompkins, (aggregate about seventy-five). General Bonham,
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