#2 – Col. Orlando B. Willcox

15 02 2009

Reports of Col. Orlando B. Willcox, First Michigan Infantry, of Skirmish at Fairfax Court-House

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 309-310

HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION,

Fairfax Station, July 17, 1861

SIR: After leaving the Old Fairfax road this noon with my brigade, we proceeded with an advance guard in skirmishing order and pioneers with axes, and felt our way until the skirmishers came upon this point. The enemy fled precipitately without firing a shot, but we succeeded in capturing a sergeant, a corporal, and nine men, belonging to the First Alabama Rifle Regiment. They occupied two camps, and are reported to have been two regiments, of about 1,000 men each, from Alabama and Louisiana. We found every evidence of hasty departure—provisions; fires burning; a box of medical instruments, partly consumed; a secession flag, &c., in their camps. Our most extended skirmishers towards the left saw also some cavalry scattering and flying.

The enemy must have been early apprised of our coming, but whether their main body had left before we commenced cutting the road I cannot tell. The earthworks were, as supposed, near the railroad. There was a masked earthwork in the woods farther about a mile west of the station, but no guns in any of them. I await the colonel’s further orders at this point, having promptly returned after following the Fairfax road two and a half miles and communicating with Colonel Miles.

Very respectfully,

O. B. WILLCOX,

Colonel, Commanding Second Brigade

Capt. C. McKEEVER,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Division

[Indorsement]

This is the only secession flag captured during the first Bull Run campaign.

S. P. HEINTZELMAN,

Colonel Seventeenth United States Infantry

—–

FAIRFAX STATION, July 18, 1861

Capt. J. B. FRY,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Fairfax Court-House:

SIR: I have just received a dispatch from Colonel Heintzelman. He is still at Sangster’s, waiting orders. Not knowing whether he has succeeded in communicating with you otherwise, I deem it best to report the fact myself.

I can get guides to Wolf Run Shoals and Bacon Race Church. I deem it necessary to have both telegraphic and railway communication with Alexandria. Have sent word to this effect to General Runyon, and hope it is approved by General McDowell, but would respectfully suggest that orders be issued.

If we could have struck this point and Sangster’s about three hours earlier we might have taken about three thousand prisoners. The bridges beyond have been burnt by the enemy.

Very respectfully,

O. B. WILLCOX,

Colonel, Commanding Second Brigade

Please forward the inclosed. Can I have a small mounted party of soldiers for carrying dispatches? I have to communicate with yourself, Colonel Heintzelman, and Alexandria, and the horses have to be taken from the teams.

Respectfully, &c.,

O. B. W.

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