A Supplemental account of the service of Texas commands Outside that State-Compiled from the official records.
in the battle of Valverde
, fought near the ford on the Rio Grande
above Fort Craig
, the Federals
were commanded by Gen. E. R. S. Canby
, and Col. Thomas Green
was in immediate command of the Confederate forces.
The action was brought on in the morning of the 21St of February, 1862, by an attack upon a reconnoitering party under Major Pyron
, who was reinforced by a battalion under Scurry
At noon, Green
, who was threatening the fort on the south side of the mesa, was ordered up to the scene of action, and he brought into the fight several companies of his regiment, and the lancers of Captains Lang
under Major Lockridge
, sending three companies under McNeill
to drive the enemy from the mesa.
then took command of the line of battle by order of General Sibley
Describing the action he says:
About 3 p. m. a most galling fire was opened upon Lieutenant-Colonel Scurry's command, on our right, by 300 or 400 of the enemy's riflemen.
Captain Lang, of the Fifth regiment, with about 40 of his lancers, made at this time one of the most gallant and furious charges on these light troops of the enemy ever witnessed.
His little troop was decimated, and the gallant captain and Lieutenant Bass severely wounded, the latter in seven places.
The enemy was repulsed, and our right was for some time unmolested.
Large bodies of the enemy's 150
infantry having crossed the river about 3:30 p. m., bringing over with them six pieces of splendid artillery, took position in front of us, on the bank of the river, at a distance of 600 yards. In addition to this body of troops two 24-pounder howitzers were placed on our left flank by the enemy.
These were supported by a regiment of infantry and a regiment of cavalry.
The heaviest fire of the whole day was opened about this time on our left, which was under the command of the gallant Lockridge.
Our brave men on that part of the line maintained the unequal fight with desperate courage, though overwhelmingly outnumbered.
Lieutenant-Colonel Sutton, now coming up with part of his battalion, took position on our left.
The enemy now being on our side of the river opened upon us a tremendous fire of round shot, grape and shell.
Their force in numbers was vastly superior to ours; but, having the most unbounded confidence in the courage of our troops, I ordered a charge on their battery and infantry of regulars in front, and at the same time Major Ragnet of the Fourth, with four companies of the same, and Captain Ragsdale's company, of the Fifth, were directed by me to charge as cavalry upon the infantry and Mexican cavalry and the two 24-pounder howitzers on our left flank.
Our dismounted troops in front were composed of parts of the Fourth and Fifth regiments, Texas mounted volunteers, and parts of Lieutenant-Colonel Sutton's and most of Pyron's battalions, and Teel's, Riley's and Woods' batteries of artillery, numbering about 750 on the ground.
Major Ragnet's cavalry numbered about 250, making about 1,000 men in the charge.
At the command to charge, our men leaped over the sandbank, which had served as a good covering to them, and dashed over the open plain, thinly interspersed with cottonwood trees, upon the battery and infantry of the enemy in front, composed of United States regulars and Denver City volunteers, and in a most desperate charge and handto-hand conflict completely overwhelmed them, killing most of their gunners around their cannon and driving the infantry into the river.
Never were double-barreled shotguns and rifles used to better effect.
A large number of the enemy were killed in the river with shotguns and six-shooters in their flight.
While we were occupied with the enemy in front, Major Ragnet made a gallant and most timely charge upon the infantry and cavalry of the enemy on our left flank.
This charge was made against ten times the number of Ragnet's force, and although we suffered severely and were compelled to fall back, he effected the object of his mission and occupied the attention of our powerful enemy on our left, while our dismounted men were advancing upon those in front and running them into the river.
So soon as the enemy had fled in disorder from our terrible fire in front, we turned upon his infantry and cavalry and 24-pounders on our left flank, just engaged by Major Ragnet.
We charged them as we had those in front, but they were not made of as good stuff as the regulars, and a few fires upon them with their own artillery and Teel's guns, a few volleys of small arms, and the old Texas war shout completely dispersed them.
They fled from the field, both cavalry and infantry, in the utmost disorder, many of them dropping their guns to lighten their heels, and stopping only under the walls of the fort.
Our victory was complete.
The enemy must have been 3,000 strong, while our force actually engaged did not exceed 600. Six splendid pieces of artillery and their entire equipage fell into our hands; also many fine small arms.
This splendid victory was not achieved without severe loss to us. Major Lockridge, of the Fifth, fell at the mouth of the enemy's guns, gallantly leading our brave troops to the assault.
Lieutenant-Colonel Sutton, of the Seventh, fell mortally wounded at the head of his battalion while assaulting the enemy's battery.
Several of our officers were desperately wounded; some of them no doubt mortally.
Among them are the gallant Captain Lang, of the lancers, and Lieutenant Bass, both of Company B, and Lieut. D. A. Hubbard of Company A, Fifth regiment. Captain Heuvel, of the Fourth, fell in the gallant cavalry charge of Major Ragnet.
He was one of the most distinguished of the heroes of the day. Like the gallant Lang, of the Fifth, he could not appreciate odds in a battle.
I cannot say enough in praise of the gallantry of our surviving officers and men. It would be invidious to mention names.
Were I to do so the rolls of captains, lieutenants and men would have to be here inserted.
only mention the principal field and staff in the engagement.
The cheering voice of Lieutenant-Colonel Scurry was heard where the bullets fell thickest on the field.
Lieutenant-Colonel McNeill and the gallant Major Pyron who has been before mentioned, displayed the most undaunted courage.
Major Ragnet, of the Fourth, though wounded, remained at his post and retired not until the field was won. These were the field officers present, as I have just stated.
The captains, lieutenants and men in the action displayed so much gallantry that it would be invidious to make distinctions.
They fought with equal valor and are entitled to equal credit with the field and staff here mentioned.
I will not close this report without a just meed of praise to the general staff, who served me as aides-de-camp during the day. Col. W. L. Robards was in the charge of the dashing Lang, and wounded in several places.
Capt. Tom P. Ochiltree, aide-de-camp to General Sibley, was exceedingly useful to me on the field and active during the whole engagement.
He assisted me in the most critical moment to cheer our men to the assault.
He deserves the highest praise for his undaunted chivalry and coolness, and I recommend him to the general for promotion.
Captain Dwyer was also very useful, gallant and active during the whole action.
I cannot close without the mention of Captain Frazier, of the Arizona volunteer.
To him, more than all others, we are indebted for the successful turning of Fort Craig.
He led us over the high ground, around the mesa to the east of the fort, where we at all times had the advantage of the enemy in case he had attacked us in the act of turning the fort.
I will only personalize further by the mention of my own regimental staff.
Sergt.-Maj. C. B. Sheppard shouldered his gun and fought gallantly in the ranks of Captain McPhaill's company in the charge.
Lieut. Joseph D. Sayers, adjutant of the Fifth, during the whole day reminded me of a hero of the days of chivalry.
He is a gallant, daring and dashing soldier, and is as cool in a storm of grape, shell, canister and musketry as a veteran.
I recommend him, through the general, to the President for promotion.
Our killed and wounded are as follows: Second regiment Texas mounted volunteers, Major Pyron's command,
4 killed, 17 wounded; Fourth regiment Texas mounted volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Scurry's command, 8 killed, 36 wounded; Fifth Texas mounted volunteers, Colonel Green's regiment, 20 killed, 67 wounded; Seventh regiment Texas mounted volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Sutton's command, 2 killed, 26 wounded; Teel's battery, 2 killed, 4 wounded; total, 36 killed, 150 wounded. Since which time Lieutenant-Colonel Sutton, of the Seventh, two privates of the Fifth, and two of Teel's battery, have died from wounds received in battle.
's command then marched on, seizing the stores at Albuquerque