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CANBY PREPARES TO
replaced by appointees of President Lincoln. Her Delegate in Congress, Miguel A. Otero, had issued" and circulated an address to her people, intended to disaffect them toward the Union, and incite them to favor the Rebellion; but her Democratic Governor, Abraham Rencher, though a North Carolinian, upon receiving news of Lynde's surrender, issued a proclamation calling out the entire militia force of the Territory, to act as a home guard; which call, though it added inconsiderably to the effective force of her defenders, was calculated to exert a wholesome influence upon public opinion, and keep restless spirits out of mischief. Col. E. R S. Canby, who had succeeded to the command of the Department, was a loyal and capable soldier, and was Burrounded, for the most part, by good and true men. When the new Governor, Henry Connolly, met" the Territorial Legislature, a very wholesome and earnest loyalty was found well-nigh universal, so that the Governor's cautious recommendation that the act for the protection of slave property be modified, as needlessly severe and rigorous, was promptly responded to by an almost unanimous repeal of the entire act, leaving the statute-book of New Mexico clean of all complicity with the chattelizing of man.
Meantime, Col. Canby was quietly proceeding with the organization of hu militia and other forces for the inevitable contest, crippled throughout by the want of money, munitions, and supplies of all kinds. Even directions and orders, so plentifully bestowed on most subordinates, were not vouchsafed him from "Washing"leb. 15, 1861. 11 Dec
HOLD NEW MEXICO. 21
ton, where the absorption of all energies in the more immediate and momentous struggle on the Potomac and the Missouri, denied him even an answer to his frequent and importunate requisitions and representations. An urgent appeal, however, to the Governor of the adjacent Territory of Colorado, had procured him thence a regiment of volunteers, who, though falling far enough short of the efficiency of trained soldiers, were worth five to ten times their number of his New Mexican levies. Making the best use possible of his scanty or indifferent materials, he was probably about half ready to take the field when apprised that the Texans were upon him.
Gen. H. F. Sibley had encountered similar difficulties, save in the qualities of his men, in organizing and arming, in north-western Texas, the "Sibley Brigade," designed for the conquest of New Mexico. His funds were scanty, and the credit of his Government quite as low as that depended on by Canby; but the settled, productive districts of Texas were not very remote nor inaccessible, while Canby's soldiers were for weeks on short allowance, simply because provisions for their comfortable subsistence were not to be had in New Mexico, nor nearer than Missouri, then a revolutionary volcano, where production had nearly ceased. Two insignificant collisions had taken place near Fort Craig." In the earlier, a company of New Mexican volunteers, Capt. Mink, were routed and pursued by a party of Texans, who, in their turn, were beaten and chased away, with considerable loss, by about 100 regulars from the fort.
2, 1861. n In October, 1861.
The surviving Texans escaped to Mesilla; and Canby occupied the frontier posts so far down as Fort Staunton, leaving Fort Fillmore still in the hands of the Texans.
Gen. Sibley, who had hoped to advance in the Autumn of 1861, was still at Fort Bliss, within the limits of Texas, on the 1st of January, 1862; but moved forward, a few days thereafter, with 2,300 men, many of them trained to efficiency in the Mexican War and in successive expeditions against Apaches and other savages, wherein they had made the name of "Texan Rangers" a sound of terror to their foes. For Canby's regulars and American volunteers, they had some little respect—for his five or six thousand New Mexicans, none at all. Advancing confidently, but slowly, by way of Fort Thorn, he found11 Canby in force at Fort Craig, which he confronted about the middle of February. A careful reconnoissance convinced him that it was madness, with his light field-guns, to undertake a siege; while his offer of battle in the open plain, just outside the range of the guns of the fort, was wisely declined. He would not retreat, and could not afford to remain, consuming his scanty supplies; while to pass the fort without a contest, leaving a superior force undemoralized in his rear, was an experiment full of hazard; lie therefore resolved to force a battle, and, with that view, forded the Rio Grande to its east bank, passed the fort at a distance of a mile and a half, and encamped nearly opposite, in a position of much strength, but entirely destitute of water, losing 100 of the mules of his baggage-train during
the night, by their breaking away, in the frenzy of their thirst, from the weary and sleepy guards appointed to herd them. He was thus compelled to abandon a part of his wagons and baggage next morning, as he started for the river, the smallness of his force not permitting him to divide it in the presence of a capable and vigilant enemy.
When his advance, 250 strong, under Maj. Pyron, reached, at ValVEBnE, a point, at 8 A. M., where the river bottom was accessible, fully seven miles from the fort, they found themselves confronted by a portion of our regular cavalry, Lt.-Col. Roberts, with two most efficient batteries, Capt. McRae and Lt. Hall, supported by a large force of regular and volunteer infantry. Our batteries opening upon him, Pyron, greatly outnumbered, recoiled, with some loss, and our troops exultingly crossed the river to the east bank, where a thick wood covered a concentration of the enemy's entire force. The day wore on, with more noise than execution, until nearly 2 r. si., when Sibley, who had risen from a sick bed that morning, was compelled to dismount and quit the field, turning over the command-in-chief to Col. Thomas Green, of the 5th Texas, whose regiment had meantime been ordered to the front. The battle was continued, mainly with artillery, wherein the Federal superiority, both in guns and in service, was decided, so that the Texans were losing the most men in spite of their comparatively sheltered position. To protract the fight in this manner was to expose his men to constant decimation without a chance of success. 23
"Feb. 19, 1862.
OUR DEFEAT AT VALVERDE.
Canby, who had reached the field at 1 p. M., considered the day his own, and was about to order a general advance, when he found himself anticipated by Green, at whose command his men, armed mainly with revolvers, burst from the wooded cover and leaped over the Une of low sand-hills behind which they had lain, and made a desperate rush upon McRae'a battery confronting them. Volley after volley of grape and canister was poured through their ranks, cutting them down by scores, but not for an instant checking their advance. They were 1,000 when they started; a few minutes later, they were but 900; but the battery was taken; while McEae, choosing death rather than flight, Lieut. Michler, and most of their men, lay dead beside their guns. Our supporting infantry, twice or thrice the Texans in number, and including more than man for man of regulars, shamefully withstood every entreaty to charge. They lay groveling in the sand in the rear of the battery, until the Texans came so near as to make their revolvers dangerous, when the whole herd ran madly down to and across the river, save those who were overtaken by a cowardly death on the way. The Colorado volunteers vied with the regulars in this infamous flight.
Simultaneously with this charge infront, Maj. Raguet, commanding the Texas left, charged our right at the head of his cavalry; but the disparity of numbers was so great that he was easily repulsed. The defeat of our center, however, soon altered the situation; our admirable guns being quickly turned upon this portion of the field, along with those of the Texans, when a few volleys of small
arms, and the charging shout of the victors, sufficed to complete the disaster. No part of our army seems to have stopped to breathe until safe under the walls of the fort. Six excellent guns, with their entire equipage, and many small-arms, were among the trophies secured by tha victors. The losses of men were about equal—CO killed and 140 wounded on either side. But among the Confederate dead or severely wounded in the decisive charge, were Lt.-Col. Sutton, Maj. Lockridge, Capts. Lang and Heurel, and several lieutenants. Col. W. L. Robards and Maj. Raguet were also wounded, though not mortally. The celerity of the flight precluded the taking of more than half-a-dozen prisoners, among them Capt. Rossel, of the regulars, captured while crossing the river.
Fort Craig was Btill invulnerable; though a flag of truce, dispatched by Canby as he reached its gates, was fondly mistaken for a time by the Texans as bearing a proposition to surrender. It covered an invitation to a truce for the burial of the dead and proper care of the wounded, to which two days were given by both armies; when a Rebel council of war decided that an assault was not justi- ■ fiable, but that they might now safely leave Canby to his meditations, and push on up the river into the heart of the Territory. They did so, as they anticipated, without further opposition from the force they had so signally beaten. Leaving their wounded at Socorro, 30 miles on the way, they advanced to Albuquerque, 50 miles further, which fell without resistance, and where their scanty stock of provisions was considerably replenished. At Cubero, GO miles westward, they obtained more provisions and some ammunition. Still advancine; on Santa Fe. the Confederates encountered," at Cafion Glorietta, or Apache Pass, 15 miles from Santa Fe, near Fort Union, a new Federal force of 1,300, composed partly of regulars, but mainly of green Colorado volunteers, the whole commanded by Col. John P. Slough. The Rebel force actually present, under Col. W. R. Scurry," was decidedly inferior in numbers," but in nothing else. The narrowness of the canon precluded all flanking, enabling the Rebels to span it with a line of infantry, which instantly charged, with the Texan yell, revolver and knife in either hand. Our forces scarcely waited to be in danger before breaking and flying in the .wildest confusion. In a few moments, not a man of them remained in sight of the Rebels.
Scurry halted, re-formed his men, brought up his guns, and fired a few shots to ascertain the position (if position they still had) of his adversaries, and then ordered Maj. Shropshire, with his right, and Maj. Raguet, with his left, to charge with cavalry and develop the new Federal line, while he would lead forward the center at the first sound of their guns. Delay ensuing, he moved to the right to ascertain its cause, and found that Shropshire had been killed. Immediately taking command of that wing, he advanced and attacked—the left opening fire, and the center advancing, as he did so. Three batteries of 8 guns each opened a deadly fire of grape, canister, and shell, as they
* Representative from Texas in the XXXIIId Congress.
came within range, tearing through their ranks, but not stopping their advance. A short but desperate hand-to-hand conflict ensued, our infantry interposing to protect their guns, which were saved and brought off, with most of our wagons. But our infantry soon gave way, and the Texan victory was complete. Their loss was reported by Scurry as 36 killed and 60 wounded; but among the former were Majors Shropshire and Raguet, Capt. Buckholt, and Lt. Milk During the fight, which lasted from noon until about 4c v. M., Maj. Chivington, of Colorado, with four companies, gained the rear of the Rebel position, and destroyed a part of their train, also a cannon, which he spiked; when, learning that Slough was defeated, he decamped. Our total loss was reported at 23 killed and 50 wounded; while in a skirmish with Pyron's cavalry, the morning before, Slough took 57 prisoners, with a loss of only 15.
Sibley entered Santa Fe in triumph soon afterward, meeting no further resistance. He collected there all that remained of his little army, and confiscated to its use whatever of provisions and clothing, of wagons and animals, he could lay hands on. But he found the population, with few exceptions, indifferent or hostile, the resources of food and forage extremely limited, and his hold upon the country bounded by the range of his guns. Never had heroic valor been persistently evinced to less purpose. Before he had rested a month, he found himself compelled to evacuate his hard-won conquest, and retreat
"CoL Scurry, in Ins official report, declares that he had but GOO men present fit for duty.
THE TEXAN'S ABANDON NEW MEXICO.
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.
Sibley, 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, Albuquerque, 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 Arniijo—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 future fortunes with those of the Southern Confederacy, and considerately adds, "I trust they will not b« 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.
Col. Canby 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 date " with Sibley'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, onehalf of his original force."