Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 15, 1862 (Monday): Scouts Move Toward Fairfax Court House

Fairfax Court House, Virginia

                                                            Fairfax Court-House, Va., July 15, 1861.
Col. Thomas Jordan,
            Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:
   SIR: The enemy send out large bodies of scouts, so that it becomes more and more difficult to get news of his approach and of the strength of his advancing forces.  In view of the fact  that the enemy will probably advance in large force, and of the further fact that I must retire by Germantown by a road which is directly along my line of battle, I respectfully inquire whether I shall fall back to Centerville on receiving reliable information of his advance, or shall I first engage him to test his strength?  If I engage him I will scarcely, then, be able to know his forces till his column from Falls Church by Flint Hill shall be so far advanced as to endanger the safe retirement of Williams” and Kershaw’s regiments and Kemper’s battery.  I do not propose to move till the enemy come, but I would be glad to have explicit instructions as to whether I shall wait to engage him or not when I find him moving on the three approaches to Fairfax Court-House and Germantown.
            I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                                                                        M. L. BONHAM,
                                                                        Brigadier-General, Commanding.
   P. S.—I have this moment heard from a citizen near Accotink that the enemy have moved down three regiments to Dogue Run, on the Telegraph road.  Two miles lower on the same road they had a force of 300 on yesterday morning, a few of whome went down as far as Accotink, as it is said.            
                                                                        M. L. B.

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 51, Page 171

Bonham and Ewell occupied advanced positions in the vicinity of Fairfax Court House and were seeing scouts out in advance of McDowell’s forward movement toward Fairfax and Centerville.  Accotink was a creek in the area of Springfield.  The transition from parades and camps of instruction to real war is going to be a rapid one in July of 1861 in Northern Virginia.

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