HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
June 4, 1863
Chief of Staff.
SIR: I have the honor to make the following report:
I found General Sykes near Bank's Ford, and gave him the order to report any movement of the enemy, and learned from him that the enemy's cavalry pickets near the ford were this morning relieved by infantry. General Ayres, commanding the First Brigade of Sykes' division, on picket at Banks' Ford, reports a brigade of rebels on picket on the opposite side of the river. The officer in charge in charge of the balloon reports that at 6 a. m. artillery and infantry could be seen moving to the rear of Fredericksburg. Near Scott's Dam is an extensive earth work, in which can be distinguished six heavy guns. At 11 a. m. very little could be seen. Near Ely's Ford was a small cloud of dust, not more than one or two regiments would probably raise. All the troops near Bank's Ford have either moved, off or are hidden in the woods, with the exception on one brigade, which is on picket at the ford.
I gave the order to watch for clouds of dust and the glitter of bayonets, and to make frequent reports, and I left the four orderlies with the officer in charge of the balloon.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
J. C. BATES,
Lieutenant, and Aide-de-Camp.
JUNE 4, 1863.
The major-general commanding the army was telegraphed this morning to ascertain in the contemplated transfer of the troops from West Point to the White House had been made, not knowing but the change might have caused the commotion observed this morning in the rebel camps opposite me. Subjoined is the reply:
WASHINGTON, June 4, 1863.
Nothing heard from General Dix for several days. He is directed to inform you of any movement he makes.
H. W. HALLECK.
As it is the first information I have received of what is expected from you at headquarters, I request that you will inform me if the movement referred to has been commenced, and how far it has progressed.
Colonel Kilpatrick's command crossed the Rappahannock without resistance on Monday.
FORT MONROE, June 4, 1863.
The force was withdrawn from West Point on Sunday night [May 31]. I intend to move from two points in my department at the same