June 1st Report of Lt. Charles H. Tompkins, Second U. S. Cavalry

CAMP UNION, VA., June 1, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor the report, pursuant to verbal instructions received from the colonel commanding, that I left this camp on the evening of the 31st May in command of a detachment of Company B. Second Cavalry, consisting of fifty men, with Second Lieutenant David S. Gordon, 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 Court-House. Upon approaching the town the picket guard was surprised and captured. Several documents were found on 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 the 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 forces actually engaged at the commencement of the engagement were two companies of cavalry and one rifle company, but re-enforcements coming in from camps adjacent to the court-house, which I have 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 N. Y. S. M., accompanied the command as volunteers, and did very effective service. I regret to state that Captain Cary was wounded in the foot.

Lieutenant D. S. Gordon, of the Second Dragoons, temporarily attached to Company B, Second Cavalry, accompanied me, and rendered me valuable services. The prisoners, horses, arms, and equipments taken have been this day turned over to the proper authority.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

First Lieutenant, Second Cavalry, Commanding Company B.

Colonel D. HUNTER, Third Cavalry, Commanding Brigade.


The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series I, Vol. II. With additions and corrections. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1902.