By John M. Taylor
While Jefferson Davis commissioned Henry H. Sibley a brigadier normal within the accomplice military in the summertime of 1861, he gave him a bold challenge: to seize the gold fields of Colorado and California for the South. Their grand scheme, premised on crushing the Union forces in New Mexico after which relocating unimpeded north and west, started to get to the bottom of alongside the sandy banks of the Rio Grande overdue within the wintry weather of 1862. At Valverde ford, in a day-long conflict among approximately 2,600 Texan Confederates and a few 3,800 Union troops stationed at fortress Craig, the Confederates slightly prevailed. even though, the associated fee exacted in males and mat?riel doomed them as they moved into northern New Mexico. rigorously reconstructed during this ebook is the 1st complete account of what occurred on either side of the road sooner than, in the course of, and after the conflict. at the accomplice facet, a drunken Sibley became over command to Colonel Tom eco-friendly early within the afternoon. Battlefield maneuvers incorporated a disastrous lancer cost by way of cavalry—the just one through the whole Civil conflict. The Union military, below the wary Colonel Edward R. S. Canby, fielded a superb variety of troops, nearly all of whom have been Hispanic New Mexican volunteers. "The definitive examine of the conflict of Valverde."—Jerry Thompson, writer of Henry Hopkins Sibley
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Additional info for Bloody Valverde: A Civil War Battle on the Rio Grande, February 21, 1862
7 February 20, 1862, Paraje de Fra Cristobal In the cold pre-dawn, Sibley struck camp and headed north. He divided the brigade into two parts. Captain George Milton Frazier, an "Arizona Ranger" familiar with the Fort Craig environs, took the lead with half the command. Sibley placed the wagon train in the center, with the remainder of the command bringing up the rear. After marching four miles, the lead units crested a small rise and could see Fort Craig four miles to the north, on the bluffs across the river.
Satisfied with the deployment, he gave the order to advance. The Confederate battle line moved to the north edge of Milligan Gulch, the last of the major arroyos south of the fort, between one-half and three-fourths of a mile south of the Federal battle line. The flags and Page 28 artillery of Canby's forces were now clearly visible to the advancing Texans. Even the shouts of the Union officers could be heard as Canby's troops continued to pour out of the fort and take up positions in the line of battle.
Canby danced a deadly pas de deux in the sand and cottonwoods of the Rio Grande Valley. Infantry, cavalry, artillery, and even lancers were involved; and, when all was said and done, the Battle of Valverde would be described by some as one of the fiercest battles to that date on the North American continent. Moreover, the violence and trauma suffered by Sibley's army in this "victory" set the stage for the Confederates' ultimate defeat a month later at Glorieta Pass and their empty-handed retreat back to Texas in the late spring and early summer of 1862.