Numbers 343. Reports of Major J. Stannard Baker, First District of Columbia Cavalry, of operations August 9 and September 3.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CAVALRY,
Sycamore Church, Va., August 10, 1864.
COLONEL: I beg leave to make the following report in regard to the capture by the enemy of certain men and quartermaster's stores, made on yesterday, the 9th instant, beyond my outposts:
About 8 o'clock in the morning the officer in command of the picket-line (Lieutenant Wilkins) came in and informed me that the quartermaster-sergeant of my regiment, with two teams and drivers, had been captured only a few minutes before on the stage road, from half to a third of a mile beyond his outpost on the right. I ordered Lieutenant Wilkins to take what men he happened to have with him and follow the gang that made the capture as rapidly as possible. I then took my entire available force and moved down the road leading south from Sycamore Church, leaving a strong picket guard along the road as I advanced. In two hours after the capture was made I had a strong chain of pickets extending from the point marked A (vide rough pencil map inclosed with this) to the point B, and from thence to D, connecting at D with the pickets of the Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry. I thus cut off their return, and partially surrounded them. I then communicated with Major Stratton, informing him of what had been done and requesting that he would co-operate with me in the attempt to capture the gang. I then took that portion of my command which was not already employed, and scoured through the country which I had surrounded. At about 10 o'clock at night, my men being much exhausted, and failing to receive any aid from the Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry, I drew in my pickets and returned to camp, after having captured eight of the gang. The casualties of my command were two men wounded.
I ascertained during the day the following facts: The entire gang consisted of from twenty to thirty men, some mounted and some dismounted, some of whom were soldiers, and some citizens; that they were aided and co-operated with by several of the citizens living in that neighborhood. In regard to the amount or kind of public property captured by the gang in the morning I know nothing definite. Neither myself nor my quartermaster was accountable for any of it.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. S. BAKER,
[Colonel S. P. SPEAR,
HDQRS. SECOND CAVALRY BRIGADE, KAUTZ'S DIVISION,
August 12, 1864.
Respectfully referred to the commanding general of division.
No teams pass over any road now without a proper guard. At the time of the loss of this property I was in charge of the picket-line.
S. P. SPEAR,
Colonel, Commanding Second Brigade, Kautz's Division.