We are favored with the following extracts from a private letter written by a member of Company C, 1st regiment.
Fairfax Court House,
July 17th, 1861.
Here we are in Fairfax Court House, without a gun having been fired. We only marked five or six miles, but it was an awfully tedious march, for the retreating rebels had cut down trees and stopped up the road (in one place so bad that we had to make a new road), and it was necessary to wait till the axe men had cut down the trees before we could march. In about every 15 minutes there would be a halt, and then we would creep along slowly until another halt was made for the same purpose. The last part of the march was very exciting. The enemy had an extensive earthwork thrown up to protect the road, and we supposed they would make a stand there, but about an hour and a half before we got there they retreated and carried off their cannon. Then we hurried after them. Our advance guard got a good breakfast in the entrenchment that the rebels first evacuated. It had been prepared, I suppose, for the officers. Then we marched into town, and our two regiments are now encamped right about the Court House. The town is a God-forsaken looking place. You cannot find a white woman in the place, so complete has been the exodus.
We found a quantity of hospital stores and camp equipage here, mostly marked S. C. 2d and 3d regiments. I myself have a cup and some other things that the rebel troops left. When we move from here is more than I know, though the U. S. cavalry have gone in pursuit, and I should not be surprised if we were to follow them right on to Manassas, where, perhaps, though I doubt it, they will make a stand.
There are three divisions in all moving towards Manassas. We are the centre, with another brigade. In our brigade we have 12 pieces of artillery and about 300 cavalry. Gen. McDowell is with us, though he commands the whole movement.
Providence Journal 7/20/1861