June 1, 1861: Skirmish at Fairfax Courthouse

Sometimes called the first skirmish of the Civil War, although I do not think that is accurate, the skirmish at Fairfax Courthouse on June 1, 1861 was certainly one of the earliest of the approximately 10,000 skirmishes of the Civil War.

On May 31, 1861 at 10:30 PM, Lieutenant Charles Henry Tompkins of the 2nd US Cavalry led a reconnaissance party from Camp Union in Falls Church Virginia to scout out the Confederate force at Fairfax Courthouse.  Tompkins’ force consisted of 50-86 regular cavalrymen and dragoons and a few volunteers.

The Confederate force at Fairfax Courthouse consisted of about 120 cavalry and 90 infantry.  Lieutenant Colonel Richard Ewell, who would rise to fame as one of Lee’s corp commanders, was in command of the force. (more…)

Published in: on June 1, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on June 1, 1861: Skirmish at Fairfax Courthouse