New Mexico

Battle of Glorieta Pass   

Other Names: La Glorieta Pass

Location: Santa Fe County and San Miguel County

Date(s): March 26-28, 1862

Commanders: Maj. John C. Chivington and Col. John P. Slough [US]; Maj. Charles L. Pyron and Lt. Col. William R. Scurry [CS]

Forces Engaged: Northern Division, Army of New Mexico [US]; 4th, 5th, and 7th Texas Cavalry Regiment, artillery, and a company of independent volunteers [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 331 total (US 142; CS 189)

Description: Glorieta Pass was a strategic location, situated at the southern tip of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, southeast of Santa Fe, and on the Santa Fe Trail. In March 1862, a Confederate force of 200-300 Texans under the command of Maj. Charles L. Pyron encamped at Johnsons Ranch, at one end of the pass. Union Maj. John M. Chivington led more than 400 soldiers to the Pass and on the morning of March 26 moved out to attack. After noon, Chivingtons men captured some Rebel advance troops and then found the main force behind them. Chivington advanced on them, but their artillery fire threw him back. He regrouped, split his force to the two sides of the pass, caught the Rebels in a crossfire, and soon forced them to retire. Pyron and his men retired about a mile and a half to a narrow section of the pass and formed a defensive line before Chivingtons men appeared. The Yankees flanked Pyrons men again and punished them with enfilade fire. The Confederates fled again and the Union cavalry charged, capturing the rearguard. Chivington then retired and went into camp at Kozlowskis Ranch. No fighting occurred the next day as reinforcements arrived for both sides. Lt. Col. William R. Scurrys troops swelled the Rebel ranks to about 1,100 while Union Col. John P. Slough arrived with about 900 men. Both Slough and Scurry decided to attack and set out early on the 28th to do so. As Scurry advanced down the canyon, he saw the Union forces approaching, so he established a battle line, including his dismounted cavalry. Slough hit them before 11:00 am. The Confederates held their ground and then attacked and counterattacked throughout the afternoon. The fighting then ended as Slough retired first to Pigeons Ranch and then to Kozlowskis Ranch. Scurry soon left the field also, thinking he had won the battle. Chivingtons men, how-ever, had destroyed all Scurrys supplies and animals at Johnsons Ranch, forcing him to retreat to Santa Fe, the first step on the long road back to San Antonio, Texas. The Federals had won and, thereby, stopped Confederate incursions into the Southwest. Glorieta Pass was the turning point of the war in the New Mexico Territory.

Result(s): Union victory

Battle of Valverde   

Other Names: None

Location: Socorro County

Date(s): February 20-21, 1862

Commanders: Col. E.R.S. Canby [US]; Brig. Gen. Henry H. Sibley and Col. Thomas Green [CS]

Forces Engaged: Department of New Mexico (combination of regular and volunteer units) [US]; Army of New Mexico [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 389 total (US 202; CS 187)

Description: Brig. Gen. Henry H. Sibley led his force of 2,500 men across the Rio Grande River and up the east side of the river to the ford at Valverde, north of Fort Craig, New Mexico, hoping to cut Federal communications between the fort and military headquarters in Santa Fe. Union Col. E.R.S. Canby left Fort Craig with more than 3,000 men to prevent the Confederates from crossing the river. When he was opposite them, across the river, Canby opened fire and sent Union cavalry over, forcing the Rebels back. The Confederates halted their retirement at the Old Rio Grande riverbed, which served as an excellent position. After crossing all his men, Canby decided that a frontal assault would fail and deployed his force to assault and turn the Confederate left flank. Before he could do so, though, the Rebels attacked. Federals rebuffed a cavalry charge, but the main Confederate force made a frontal attack, capturing six artillery pieces and forcing the Union battle line to break and many of the men to flee. Canby ordered a retreat. Confederate reinforcements arrived and Sibley was about to order another attack when Canby asked for a truce, by a white flag, to remove the bodies of the dead and wounded. Left in possession of the battlefield, the Confederates claimed victory but had suffered heavy casualties. Although the Confederates would soon occupy Santa Fe, they would have to leave New Mexico within four months.

Result(s): Confederate victory

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