WINCHESTER, VA., July 15, 1862.
I herewith make the following report: The Garibaldi Regiment, commanded by Major Hilderbrandt, with one company of cavalry, was ordered to this point from Front Royal by way of Middletown, where I had stationed them to protect stores. They were attacked this evening, after passing Middletown 1 1\2 miles, by three columns of rebel cavalry, supported by infantry. He deployed the right and left of the road to prevent being flanked, and after a sharp engagement had to fall back; 2 men wounded and 4 missing. The enemy were in sight until he passed Newtown.
He arrived at this point at 9 p. m.
A. SANDERS PIATT,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF VIRGINIA, Washington, July 16, 1862.
Your dispatch received. A regiment of infantry in such a court is more than a match for a dozen regiments of cavalry, and ought never to retreat before them. Neither do I quite understand your calling an affair in which 2 men were wounded a "sharp engagement." I hope you will infuse a much bolder spirit in your men. The idea of retreating before a cavalry force with only 2 men wounded is hardly up to the standard of soldiership. In such a country no cavalry force is able to make your infantry give back a foot if they will only fight. How is it known that these cavalry columns are supported by infantry; who saw the infantry, and, if there were any, were they not dismounted cavalry? Please investigate the matter thoroughly. I do not like the idea of an infantry regiment of this army retreating without more loss and better reasons than are set forth in your dispatch.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF VIRGINIA, Washington, D. C., July 16, 1862.
The cavalry of the Fifth Corps, under General Bayard, moves forward to-day to Culpeper, with orders to report to General Hatch. I desire to push the cavalry forward boldly to the front for the purposes I have named to you.
With such a cavalry force as Hatch now has there is opportunity for great successes, not against masses of the enemy, but against their lines of supply and communication. Could we destroy the road from Charlottesville to Lynchburg and the canal along James River the evacuation energy. Do you think the officer left in command at Front Royal a suitable person for that position? It will be well to send a good staff officer there to inspect and see that all is going on as it should be. Intrenchments should be thrown up, as well as block-houses.