by forced marches to Albuquerque
, his depot, which Canby
, advancing from Fort Craig
, was seriously threatening.
He reached it in time to save his supplies, but only to realize more completely the impossibility of attaching New Mexico
to the Confederacy
, or even of remaining in it. He evacuated it on the 12th of April, moving down both banks of the river to Los Lunal, thence to Peralto on the east side, where he found Canby
looking for him. Some fighting at long range ensued, with no serious results; but Sibley
, largely outnumbered, crossed the river during the night, and pursued his retreat down the west bank next morning, Canby
moving almost parallel with him on the east.
The two armies encamped at evening in plain sight of each other.
, in his weakened condition, evidently did not like this proximity.
“In order,” as he says in his report, “to avoid the contingency of another general action in our then crippled condition,” he set his forces silently in motion soon after nightfall, not down the river, but over the trackless mountains, through a desolate, waterless waste, abandoning most of his wagons, but packing seven days provisions on mules, and thus giving his adversary the slip.
Dragging his cannon by hand up and down the sides of most rugged mountains, he was ten days in making his way to a point on the river below, where supplies had been ordered to meet him, leaving his sick and wounded in hospitals at Santa Fe
, and Socorro
, to fare as they might.
He naively reports that “sufficient funds in Confederate paper was provided them to meet every want, if it be negotiated
;” and honors the brothers Raphael and Manuel Armijo
--wealthy native merchants — who, on his arrival at Albuquerque
, had boldly avowed their sympathy with the Confederate
cause, and placed stores containing $200,000 worth of goods at his disposal.
He states that, when he evacuated Albuquerque
, they abandoned luxurious homes to identify their fixture fortunes with those of the Southern Confederacy, and considerately adds, “I trust they will not be forgotten in the final settlement.”
In closing, Gen. Sibley
expresses the unflattering conviction that, “except for its political geographical position, the Territory
of New Mexico
is not worth a quarter of the blood expended in its conquest ;” and intimates that his soldiers would decidedly object to returning to that inhospitable, undesirable country.
These and kindred considerations had induced his return to Fort Bliss, Texas
, and now impelled him to meditate a movement without orders still further down the country.
wisely declined to run a race of starvation across those desolate mountains, in the rear of the flying foe, but returned to Santa Fe
, whence his order, of even date1
's official report, claims that the latter had been “compelled to abandon a country he had entered to conquer and occupy, leaving behind him, in dead and wounded, and in sick and prisoners, one-half of his original force.”