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Sorry I can't do that yet for some reasons and I hope somebody else will do that for you instead.
But anyway I just recognized that you already have a working system (sorry 'bout that) and you're just trying to boot a newly built kernel right?; so your /etc/fstab is probably ok. You can know the proper root device that your should pass as an argument to 'root=' by doing 'cat /etc/mtab' or 'cat /proc/partitions' or just running 'mount' to have a list.
Maybe the problem is caused by your "working system" and "bare PC" having different hardware and your kernel and/or initrd having hardware-secific stuff in them. How similar/different are the computers?
Red Hat nash version 3.5.14 starting
Mounting /proc filesystem
Creating block devices
Creating root device
Mounting root filesystem mount: error 6 mounting ext3
pivotroot: pivot_root(/sysroot, /sysroot/initrd) failed: 2
umount /initrd/proc failed: 2
Freeing unused kernel memory: 224k freed
Kernel panic: No init found. Try passing init= option to kernel.
If only we can tell what's causing that error. Is the kernel built with support for ext3? Also there's probably a bad parameter for the initrd. For example, in gentoo, real_root needs to have the final root that will be mounted after booting on a temporary ramdisk.