George H. Pettis, Brevet Capt., U. S. V., late Lieutenant commanding Company K 1st California Infantry, and Lieutenant and Adjutant 1st New Mexico Infantry.
The buffalo hunt1
of Captain John R. Baylor
culminated on his reaching El Paso
, on the border of New Mexico
, in the first week in July, 1861, with about three hundred men of his regiment, the 2d Texas Mounted Rifles, C. S. A., and occupying Fort Bliss
, across the river, which had been abandoned by the regular troops.
He was warmly welcomed by the few secessionists in that neighborhood, prominent among whom were Colonel B. Magoffin
, Judge Simeon Hart
, and Judge
J. F. Crosby
From a photograph.|
, who were the wealthiest persons in that vicinity.
On the 23d of July Captain Baylor
, with about two hundred and fifty men, advanced up the Rio Grande
, crossing to the west side of the river at San Tomas
, and proceeding to La Mesilla
On the afternoon of the 25th Major Isaac Lynde
, 7th U. S. Infantry, who was in command at Fort Fillmore
, a post about four miles distant from Mesilla
, proceeded against the rebels with about four hundred men,--artillery, cavalry, and infantry,--and after a desultory attack on the town, involving a loss, of three men killed and two officers and four men wounded, he cowardly returned to the adobe walls of Fort Fillmore
On the morning of the 27th Lynde
evacuated the fort without reason, and commenced a retreat for Fort Stanton
, having about five hundred men. When near San Augustine Springs
appeared in his rear with less than three hundred men; and without a shot on either side Lynde
surrendered his entire force, which consisted of seven companies of the 7th Regular Infantry and three companies of Mounted Rifles.2
In the meantime, Fort Buchanan
, situated near Tubac
, and Fort Breckinridge
, on the north side of the San Pedro River
and above its confluence with the Gila
, had been abandoned, and the troops ordered to Fort Fillmore
Upon reaching Cook
's Cañon, this command, consisting of Captain Isaiah N. Moore
, 1st Dragoons, with four companies, were informed of Major Lynde
's disgraceful surrender, whereupon they destroyed a large amount of Government stores which they had in charge, as well as private property at the eastern end of the cañon, and fled precipitately to Fort Craig
On the 1st of August Captain Baylor
issued a proclamation organizing all that part of the Territory
of New Mexico
lying south of the thirty-fourth parallel
of north latitude as the Confederate territory of Arizona
, the seat of government being at Mesilla
, and the authority of governor being assumed by himself.
August 2d, Fort Stanton
, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Benjamin S. Roberts
, 3d U. S. Cavalry, was abandoned, all the public stores that could not be carried away being destroyed.
During the month of September Baylor
sent several small parties northerly toward Fort Craig
, who had a number of skirmishes with the Union
troops, in which the latter were usually worsted.
On the 8th of July, 1861, the Confederate Government at Richmond
authorized General H. H. Sibley
(who had formerly been a major in the army, and had recently served in New Mexico
) to proceed to Texas
and organize a brigade of troops for the conquest of New Mexico
On the 18th of November Sibley
was ready to move from San Antonio, Texas
His brigade consisted of Colonel John R. Baylor
's regiment of Texas Mounted Rifles (then in New Mexico
's 4th Regiment, Green
's 5th, and Steele
's 7th Regiment of Texas
mounted troops, and he arrived at Fort Bliss
on the 14th of December, and assumed command of all the “forces of the Confederate States
on the Rio Grande
at and above Fort Quitman
, and all in the territory of New Mexico
,” and his command was designated as the “Army of New Mexico.”
By General Orders, No. 97, November 9th, 1861, the United States
Department of New Mexico was reestablished and placed under the command of Colonel E. R. S. Canby
, 19th U. S. Infantry, who had previously relieved Colonel W. W. Loring
, commanding the regiment of Mounted Rifles, who had tendered his resignation to the President
, and had left his station before its acceptance.
's surrender, New Mexico
, south of the Jornado del Muerto,
was in possession of the rebels, and Canby
set about enlisting and reorganizing the militia of the Territory
He also caused Fort Craig
to be strengthened by throwing up earth-works, while Fort Union, in the north-eastern part of the Territory
, was changed from its old location under the mesa, and moved about a mile into the plains, and converted into a field-work, all the quarters, both officers' and men's, being made bomb-proof.
in the meantime were causing much trouble to both the Union
and rebel commanders in their respective districts.
The Mescalero Apaches
, Kiowas, Comanches, and Navajoes were constantly making forays on Canby
's district, while in the southern district the Gila River
and Chiricahua Apaches were causing trouble for Baylor
During the first week in January, 1862, Sibley
commenced the march up the Rio Grande
with his command, and arrived at Fort Thorn
On the 7th of February he left Fort Thorn
for Fort Craig
On the 16th a reconnoissance in force was made to within two miles of the post, which was met by the dispatch of a force of cavalry, whereupon the Confederates
withdrew a short distance down the river, and on the 19th crossed over to the eastern bank.
On the 20th a considerable force of Union troops left the fort, and, crossing the river, made a feint of attack on the Confederate
camp near the river crossing.
The Confederates immediately placed all their artillery in
Map of the campaign and of Sibley's retreat.|
battery and commenced firing, whereupon the Union
artillery and cavalry returned to the fort, leaving the infantry to watch the enemy, who that night made a “dry camp” in the sand-hills directly opposite to and within sight of Fort Craig
, at a distance of less than two miles. No operations were attempted by either party during the night, with the exception of “Paddy” Graydon
's mule attack upon the Confederate
Early on the morning of the 21st Sibley
made a demonstration toward the fort, while the main part of his command, having abandoned a number of wagons at the camp with their contents, proceeded northerly, passing near the eastern end of the Mesa de la Contedera
, and approaching the river again at Valverde
's command in this region consisted of about two thousand men.
's command consisted of 3810 men, composed of 5 companies of the 5th, 3 of the 7th, and 3 of the 10th Regular Infantry; 2 companies of the 1st and 5 of the 3d Regular Cavalry; McRae
's and Hall
's batteries; and Ford
's company of Colorado Volunteers.
The New Mexico
troops consisted of Kit Carson
's 1st regiment, 7 companies of the 2d, 7 companies of the 3d, 1 of the 4th, 2 of the 5th, Graydon
's Spy Company, and some unorganized militia.
As the enemy commenced its movements at about 8 o'clock A. M., Colonel Benjamin S. Roberts
with the regular and volunteer cavalry, two sections of McRae
's (provisional) battery, Hall
's section of 24-pounder howitzers, Captain David H. Brotherton
's company of the 5th, Captain Charles H. Ingraham
's company of the 7th, and two (Mortimore's and Hubbell
's) selected companies of volunteers were sent from the fort to intercept them should they attempt to approach the river at Valverde
's battery was composed of men of Company G of the 2d, and Company I of the 3d Regular Cavalry. Captain Alexander McRae
, 3d Cavalry, was in command, with
, 5th Infantry, and I. McBell
, 2d New Mexico Volunteers, as lieutenants.
's Spy Company, and five hundred mounted militia under Colonels Pino
and Robert H. Stapleton
, had already been sent to the eastern side of the river to watch the movements of the enemy.
was too late to prevent the Confederates
from reaching the river: when he arrived at the ford at the foot of the Mesa de la Contedera
he found them already there.
The action was immediately begun by sending Major Duncan
with his regular cavalry across the river, who were dismounted and skirmished on foot.
The enemy were soon driven back, the batteries were established on the western bank, and Roberts
crossed his command to the eastern side.
The action commenced at 10 o'clock A. M., and consisted of artillery firing on both sides, charging and counter-charging, and by 12 o'clock the Confederates
had been driven from all the positions they had taken, and were forced to move their heavy guns to a position higher up the river.
During these hours the Confederates
kept coming upon the field in companies
and parts of companies, being strung out on their march.
At 12 o'clock Colonel Roberts
was reenforced by Captain Dick Selden
's battalion of regular infantry and Colonel Carson
's regiment of New Mexico Volunteers.
These new troops were soon placed in position by Colonel Roberts
, and every movement made by him up to this time was successful.
Several parties of the enemy had been driven from their positions, to take up new ones farther away, and the superior service of the Union
guns, under the skill and conduct of Captain McRae
and Lieutenant Hall
, silenced the Confederate batteries and seemed to assure victory to the Union
Thus matters stood when Colonel Canby
reached the field and assumed command at 2:45 P. M. The enemy had been driven by Colonel Roberts
from all their positions, and had retired behind a high drift of sand, where they re-formed undiscovered, and prepared to storm the two Union batteries.
After a short lull in the action, the two storming parties, armed with shot-guns, squirrel rifles, revolvers, and lances, and on foot, made a charge with great fury.
The force that charged on Hall
's battery, on the Union
right, met with such a gallant resistance from the battery's support, consisting of Captain Brotherton
's company, Major Duncan
's dismounted cavalry, Captain Wingate
's battalion of regular infantry, and Kit Carson
's regiment of volunteers, that they were repulsed with great slaughter, and fled from the field.
But the result was different on the Union
's battery, though held with heroic determination, with the loss of every horse, and more than one-half the gunners
killed or disabled, was taken by the enemy.
and Lieutenant Mishler
were both killed at the guns.
The Confederate charge was made on foot, and was led by the gallant Major S. A. Lockridge
, of Colonel Green
's 5th Regiment, who was the foremost to reach the battery.
As he approached the battery Captain McRae
was standing at one of the guns, with his left hand upon the knob of the cascabel.
placed his left hand upon the muzzle of the same piece and demanded McRae
Both raised their revolvers, which were not more than three feet apart, and fired together, and both dropped dead in their tracks.
After the enemy reached the battery, there was a short hand-to-hand fight, in which revolvers, clubbed rifles, and sponge staffs were used, but the support soon fell back and crossed the river in retreat.
A panic now ensued among the New Mexicans, but the regulars and the Colorado Volunteers were all withdrawn across the river in comparatively good order.
The captured guns of McRae
's battery were manned by the Confederates
, turned to the rear, and assisted in producing the disorder that ensued.
retreated to the adobe walls of Fort Craig
, having sustained a loss on the field of 3 officers and 65 men killed, 3 officers and 157 men wounded, and I officer and 34 men prisoners.
The enemy's loss was about 40 killed and 200 wounded. In will be observed that while Colonel Roberts
was in command of the Union
troops everything was moving in their favor, but when Canby
assumed command the tide of battle turned, until finally the Union
forces were beaten and in retreat.
It was the almost unanimous opinion of the officers engaged at Valverde
, that if Canby
had remained at Fort Craig
on that day the Confederates
would have commenced their retreat at that time for San Antonio, Texas
After remaining two days at Valverde
, to bury the dead and give needed rest to his men, Sibley
moved up the river to Albuquerque
, leaving his sick and wounded at Socorro
found, upon his arrival at Albuquerque
, that Captain Herbert M. Enos
, U. S. A.
, who was in command there, had destroyed the larger part of the Government stores
at that place and had retreated with his command toward Santa Fe. On the 4th of March, Major J. L. Donaldson
, U. S. A.
, commanding at Santa Fe
, destroyed the Government stores
at that place, and retreated with his command to Fort Union.
The enemy soon after occupied Santa Fe
In the first week in March, 1862, Colonel John P. Slough
, commanding the 1st Regiment Colorado Volunteers, arrived at Fort Union, having made some extraordinary marches, and relieved Colonel G. R. Paul
, 4th Regiment New Mexico Volunteers, of the command of the Northern District of New Mexico
. Colonel Slough
, who was a thorough fighting-man, proceeded to form a command, composed of his own regiment, with what regulars and New Mexico Volunteers he found at Fort Union, for the purpose of operating against the Confederates
, whose next movement was supposed to be toward Fort Union; or of forming a junction with Canby
's force, which was supposed to have left Fort Craig
His command numbered 1342 officers and men, with a battery of 4 guns, under command of Captain J. F. Ritter
Infantry, and a battery of 4 mountain howitzers commanded by Captain Ira W. Claflin
, 3d Cavalry.
left Fort Union on March 22d.
On the 26th, when at Bernal Springs, he dispatched Major Chivington
, of the 1st Colorado Volunteers, with 200 cavalry and 180 infantry, toward Santa Fe. The enemy were encountered at Johnson's Ranch, in Apache Cation, about fifteen miles from Santa Fe. An engagement followed, in which both sides claimed the victory: the Union
loss was 5 killed and 14 wounded, while the Confederate
loss was 32 killed, 43 wounded, and 71 prisoners. Chivington
fell back to Pigeon's Ranch, and Major Pyron
, who had commanded the Confederates
, was reenforced during the night by Colonel W. R. Scurry
and his command, who had been encamped at Galisteo.
On the 27th Colonel Slough
arrived at Koslowski's Ranch; on the 28th he moved toward Apache Canon, and at 11 o'clock A. M. the enemy's pickets were encountered.
This was a terrible place for an engagement — a deep gorge, with a narrow wagon-track running along the bottom, the ground rising precipitously on each side, with huge bowlders and clumps of stunted cedars interspersed.
The batteries on both sides were brou ght forward, the
infantry thrown out upon the flanks, and the firing soon became general.
had been informed that the entire baggage and ammunition train of the Confederates
was at Johnson's Ranch, and before the action began Major Chivington
's command was sent direct over the mountain, unobserved by the enemy, came down upon their camp, which was guarded by some two hundred men, and fell upon their train, consisting of sixty wagons, which, with their entire contents and a 6-pounder gun, were completely destroyed.
Two Confederate officers and fifteen men were taken prisoners.
This loss was the most serious that the enemy had met with in the whole of their campaign, as all their ammunition, baggage, and provisions — of which they were already short — were destroyed, and it was accomplished without the loss of a single Union man. The fight in the caton continued until late in the afternoon, when Colonel Slough
moved back to Koslowski's Ranch.
This engagement is known in Union reports as “Apache
caton,” and at the South
as the “battle of Glorietta
The Union loss was I officer and 28 men killed, 2 officers and 40 men wounded, and 15 prisoners; the Confederate
, 36 killed, 60 wounded, and 17 prisoners. Colonel Scurry
returned to Santa Fe
in a completely demoralized condition, while Colonel Slough
, having accomplished all that was desired, returned to Fort Union.
On April 1st Colonel Canby
, who still remained at Fort Craig
, left that post with a force consisting of 860 regulars and 350 volunteers, and arrived
at or near Albuquerque
on the afternoon of the 8th.
His intention was to effect a junction with the Fort Union troops.
He made a feint of attack on Albuquerque
by sending in Paddy Graydon
's company, supported by a few regular cavalry under Major Duncan
The Confederates were ready to receive them, and fired a few rounds, when Canby
retired and passed through Carnuel Cañon to the little adobe village of San Antonio
on the east side of the Sandia Mountain
, where he soon was joined by Colonel G. R. Paul
and his command from that post.
When news was received at Santa Fe
had attacked Albuquerque
, Colonel Scurry
with his entire force started for that town.
was now in straitened circumstances.
contained all the subsistence stores in the territory, with the exception of what was in the hands of the people, all of which was cached,
or hidden away.
He had no money to purchase with, except Confederate bills, which were valueless.
He could not advance to Fort Union, as Colonel Slough
could withstand any force that he could send in that direction, and he was not strong enough to attack Fort Craig
Accordingly, he determined upon retreating from the territory if Canby
would allow him to do so. On the morning of April 12th, the evacuation of Albuquerque
commenced by the crossing to the west side of the river of Scurry
's and Steele
's regiments, Pyron
's battalion, and a part of the artillery.
's regiment moved down on the east side of the river to Peralta
, where it crossed over, after a serious skirmish with some of Canby
's troops, in which the Confederates
lost 6 killed, 3 wounded, and 22 prisoners. On the 15th and 16th the two commands moved down the river, on either side, in view of each other, and most of the time within easy cannon-range.
's force was double that of the enemy, he would not cross over the river and capture Sibley
's forces, as he easily could have done, for he considered it more expedient to allow them to retreat out of the territory and through the wilderness to San Antonio, Texas
, than to capture the entire party and be forced to subsist them.
This action of Canby
caused great discontent in his command, and the Union
men of the territory never forgave him. On the evening of the 16th both forces went into camp on the river between Sabinal and La Joya.
On the morning of the 17th reveille was sounded in Canby
's camp, but no move could be observed in the enemy's, although their camp-fires were burning brightly.
After waiting a long time for them to commence their march, Canby
sent some scouts across, who soon returned with the information that the Confederate
camp was vacant, and that it had been abandoned during the night.
It was soon ascertained that Sibley
had left the river, leaving behind all his wagons, thirty-eight in number, with their contents, and had proceeded to the westward in the direction of the northern end of the Sierra Madelena
now proceeded leisurely down the river, and arrived at Fort Craig
on the afternoon of the 22d.
's retreat was a most desperate one.
He passed on the west side of the Sierra Madelena
, through the Sierra de San Mateo
, until he reached the dry bed of the Rio Palomas
, down which he continued until he reached the Rio Grande
, where supplies had been sent from Mesilla
to meet him. His command was entirely worn out, and nearly famished.
The distance from where he left the Rio Grande
until he reached it again was over one hundred miles, and the Confederates
were ten days accomplishing this distance with five days of poor rations.
The route was through the worst country in that territory, with no guides, trail, or road.
What artillery they got through with was dragged uphill and lowered by the men, who used long ropes for that purpose.
The undergrowth and brush were so dense that for several miles they were forced to cut their way through with axes and bowie-knives
Nearly all the ammunition was abandoned on the way, as was nearly everything else, except what the men carried upon their persons.
On passing over the route of these unfortunate men, nearly a year after, I not infrequently found a piece of a gun-carriage, or part of a harness, or some piece of camp or garrison equipage, with occasionally a white, dry skeleton of a man. At some points it seemed impossible for men to have made their way. During this retreat the Confederates
were unmolested by the Union
troops, with the exception of the ubiquitous Captain Graydon
who, with his company, followed them alone for a long distance, picking up a large amount of serviceable articles which they had abandoned on their way.
himself arrived at Fort Bliss
in the first week of May, while his command was strung out for fifty miles to the rear.
He remained here but a few days, and upon hearing that the “California
column,” under the command of Colonel James H. Carleton
, was rapidly approaching from Southern California
, he commenced his farther retreat for San Antonio, Texas
His force was entirely demoralized, and moved on its way without discipline or command, every man for himself, until all finally arrived.
's command, when he reached Fort Bliss
, in 1861, numbered nearly or quite 3700 men; when he returned it was less than 2000, making a loss of over 1700 men, the bones of a large number of whom were left on the arid plains of Arizona
, New Mexico
, and Texas