Numbers 3. Reports of Brigadier General George D. Bayard, U. S. Army, of operations July 21-September 2.
HDQRS. CAV. Brigadier, THIRD ARMY CORPS, ARMY OF VA., Camp at Upton's Hill, Va., October 13, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication announcing your desire to have a report of the operations of my brigade during the advance toward Gordonsville and our subsequent retreat. At this late day I must depend much upon my memory, as many of my papers have been misplaced, and it is impossible at present to find them:
The last ten days of July were occupied in scouts toward Madison Court-House and the Rapidan River. Madison we occupied, and our parties always went to the Rapidan, which was uniformly reported to be strongly picket upon the opposite bank by the cavalry of the enemy.
On the 1 st of August I was ordered by General Crawford, commanding the United States forces about Culpeper Court-House, to proceed to Barnett's Ford and make a demonstration there, so as to attract the attention of the enemy. At the ford there is a mill, which was occupied by the enemy as the headquarters of their advance picket, and from which they were driven by a battalion of the First New Jersey Cavalry, under Major Beaumont. The skirmish was quite brisk, and I had 2 men wounded, but owing to the enemy keeping at long carbine-range I lost no more, although for some hours there was a constant cracking of carbines. The enemy suddenly disappearing, the cause was shortly explained by an express from General Crawford, stating that he had taken Orange Court-House..
The next few days were occupied in establishing my line of pickets along the Rapidan from al point 5 miles below the railroad up as far as Cave's Ford, while my headquarters were moved from Elm farm, between the Robertson and Crooked Rivers, to a point 2 miles beyond Cedar Mountain. This made a line of at least 14 miles, to be picketed by two regiments of cavalry, much reduced by long and hard marching. I marched into Madison Court-House one day and returned the same evening with the First Pennsylvania Cavalry. Along the entire line skirmishing was continually going on, and the men were obliged to exert themselves continually to maintain this line of pickets so far in advance, and supported only by the weak and worn-out reserve that I could give them.
On the night of the 6th the enemy captured 2 men and the horses and arms of 6 men at one of my advanced posts. For this negligence I at once reduced to the ranks the commanding non-commissioned officer. My headquarters were now moved to a point 2 miles south of Cedar Mountain.
On the night of the 7th enemy crossed the river at a private ford (Walker's), and also at Cave's Ford, from which I had been compelled to withdraw all my forces, and not at Barnett's Ford, as General Pope states in his report. At daylight on the 8th, doubtful of the report that the enemy had crossed in force, as reported, I advanced to reestablish my pickets. Lieutenant-Colonel Karge, with one battalion of his regiment (the New Jersey), took a road to the right, with orders to get around the enemy and scout off his retreat to the river, while I, with another battalion of the regiment, moved to re-enforce Colonel Owen