by Ted Fisher


While in the past I have primarily written about the Confederate Navy, a recent trip to the South- west in which I visited Mesilla, Forts Fillmore, Craig and Union as well as Glorietta Pass intrigued me regarding this little known Civil War theater of operations. Since my return, I have given you bits of the total picture, now this is an attempt to tie those pieces together into a formal presentation for your enjoyment. Some critical factors regarding these campaigns and the Federal responses: Three adversaries were involved, each bent on destroying the other two- Confederates, Federals and Apaches. Secondly, the availability of water in this arid land determined the course of each Confederate campaign and the Federal response, and the Rio Grande Valley became a highway for invasions and retreats because of it's proximity to the river. Each of the forts mentioned above is located near large sources of water. Where water holes had to be depended upon, such as for the advance of the California Column, advancing units had to be broken down into squads of 100 men as they moved across the landscape as 100 was the maximum number of men which could be serviced by many water holes in any 24 hour period. Hence it would take at least 20 days for an army of 2000 to advance over a land where they were dependent upon water holes. This text is broken up into the following sections: Provisioning the Confederate Southwest Campaigns
Baylor's Campaign
The Federal Response to the Invasion
Hunter's Arizona Campaign
Sibley's Campaign
The Federal Retaking of the Confederate Arizona Territory
Spotted throughout the above categories are the actual Confederate Battle and Skirmish Reports by the Confederate Commanders as researched by researcher Bill Manley. These do much to give this offering the flavor of the period.


Georgian David Emanuel Twiggs was the son of a distinguished Revolutionary War Officer. Born in 1790, he was a favorite of Andrew Jackson. Twiggs' military career spanned 50 years and included service in the War of 1812, the Seminole War, the Black Hawk War and the Mexican War during which he was brevetted to Major General for meritorious conduct at Monterrey. Following the Mexican War, Twiggs was given command of the Department of Missouri headquartered in St. Louis, a post he held until his retirement in 1857. This retirement was to be short-lived. In November 1860, at age 70 and no longer suited to command, he was recalled to active duty and given command of the Department of Texas by President Buchanan. At that time, Twiggs was second in seniority to Winfield Scott and was in line to assume the duties of Commander in Chief had Scott retired. The headquarters of the Department of Texas was in San Antonio which also served as the main quartermaster depot for supplies to the 17 Texas forts under Twiggs' span of control. 

Twiggs arrived in San Antonio and took command in a department beset by the issue of secession. In January, 1861, the Texas legislature approved the calling of a Secession Convention. On January 28, 1861, the Secession Convention assembled and passed by a vote of 168-7 an Ordinance of Secession, which provided for the final separation of Texas from the Union. During the month, a Committee of Public Safety was appointed to negotiate with Twiggs the surrender of all Federal forts with their arms and equipment within the state. To give further teeth to their negotiations, the Committed of Public Safety appointed Ben McCullough (later killed at the battle of Pea Ridge) the task of raising a militia to insure the surrender.
Though a Southern sympathizer, Twiggs procrastinated because his duty was clearly to retain all Federal property. Further, he also did not want to be the man to fire the first shot in a Civil War. He reported the situation to Washington asking for guidance, but got none from the lame-duck Buchanan administration. 

Deeming negotiation to be a failure, the commissioners ordered Ben McCullough to seize the San Antonio garrison. On February 16, 1861 about 1000 Texan militia united with secessionist San Antonio militia companies and surrounded the 3 garrison buildings manned by 160 troops. A detail was sent to Twiggs' house, intercepted him on his way to work in a buggy and brought him at shotgun point to Ben McCullough. McCullough demanded surrender of the garrison. At first Twiggs refused, but finally he surrendered the installation in San Antonio and further agreed to evacuate all 17 Texas forts on condition that the troops would be allowed to take their weapons and light artillery to Corpus Christi where they would embark on ships sailing to the north. 
The evacuation of the northern troops was never completed for political and distance reasons. For example Fort Bliss near El Paso was 550 miles from San Antonio. Much time was needed to get dispatches there, and have the troops march across Texas to their departure destination. Additionally, the Confederate government considered Twiggs agreement with Texas to be null and void. Earl Van Dorn stopped the evacuation and imprisoned the Federal troops at Camp Tyler for the duration of the war. 

General Twiggs was accused of treachery and fired. He became a Confederate Major General but died 6 months later.

Thus the Texas Confederates gained the arsenals, border forts and logistical support of an army. Much of this material was later used in the Confederate campaigns in the South-west.


The Arizona Territory (which encompassed the present states of New Mexico and Arizona) was sympathetic to the Confederacy and in convention in 1861 formerly declared that the territory was part of the Confederacy. The territory asserted that all it's problems (especially Apache depredations) were due to neglect by the U.S. government. While of little value to the Confederacy, Arizona was essential because it connected Texas to southern California with it's strongly pro- Confederate population. and the possibility of making the Confederacy an ocean to ocean nation. Confederate Lieutenant- Colonel John Baylor embarked on the "Arizona Campaign" in June 1861 utilizing 350 Texas Mounted Rifles stationed at Fort Bliss. The balance of his troops remained at Fort Bliss to protect the fortification. The invasion route was up the Rio Grande Valley and it's initial target was Fort Fillmore in present Messilla, New Mexico (just south of the present day city of Las Cruces). Fort Fillmore was garrisoned by 700 members of companies A, B, D, E, G, I and K of the 7th U.S. infantry under command of Major Isaac Lynde, a 34 year veteran of infantry service. Companies C, F and H were en route to Fort Fillmore from Fort Craig to the North and Fort Buchanan to the West in present day Arizona. Vastly out numbering the Texans, Lynde was supremely confident of victory and ordered the garrison to attack the Confederates in Mesilla on July 25th 1861. But after losing 4 killed and 7 wounded in the Battle of Mesilla, Lynde withdrew. He had Fort Fillmore burned and commenced a 150 mile retreat of his troops to Fort Stanton. The Texans in pursuit first encountered 200 troops of Lynde's rear guard who had lived up to the 7th Infantry tradition of being a unit with an alcohol problem. The Federal troops had filled their canteens with whiskey prior to leaving Fort Fillmore and were found by the Texans strung out along the trail, dehydrated and too drunk to walk, much less fight and barely able to comprehend their capture and transport back to Mesilla by wagon.

The Texans reached Lynde's main force and demanded surrender even though they were outnumbered by the Federal troops. Federal officers begged Lynde to attack and defend their honor. Lynde instead choose to surrender. Three days later, the Federal prisoners were returned to Las Cruces where they were paroled and commenced a 300 mile march to Fort Union where they were immediately put to work to repulse the invasion. 

Upon learning of the fall of Fort Fillmore and Lynde's surrender, commanding officer B.S. Roberts of Fort Stanton ordered the forts abandonment and destruction with it's supplies by fire. A storm came in behind the retreating forces which put the fire out. This allowed the Mescalero Apaches to salvage all that the semi- destroyed fort had to offer. Upon their arrival, the Confederates were attacked by the Apaches and while able to take the fort, were unable to control the Apaches and abandoned the fort. 

Baylor issued the following proclamation to the people of the Territory of Arizona on August 1, 1861: "The social and political condition of Arizona being little short of general anarchy, and the people being literally destitute of law, order and protection, the said territory, from the date hereof, is hereby declared temporarily organized as a military government until such time as congress shall otherwise provide. I, John Baylor, Lieutenant- Colonel, commanding the Confederate army in the territory of Arizona, hereby take possession of said territory in the name and on behalf of the Confederate States of America. For all purposes herein specified, and until otherwise decreed or provided the Territory of Arizona shall comprise all of that portion of New Mexico lying below the 34th parallel of North latitude."

Baylor designated Mesilla the capital, organized a military government, and appointed himself governor. He ordered the evacuation and destruction of Forts Buchanan and Breckenridge. This action enabled the Apaches to take repossession of the area and start their depredations anew. The people of Arizona subsequently elected Granville Oury to the Confederate congress in Richmond and on February 14, 1862 Jefferson Davis issued a proclamation accepting the Confederate Territory of Arizona.

The following are the official Confederate Battle and Skirmish Reports of Baylor and his subordinates as researched by Bill Manley:
July 25-27,1861,- Skirmish at Mesilla
Report of Lieut. Col. John R. Baylor, (C. S. Army, of the skirmish at Mesilla, and the surrender of Union troops at San Augustine Springs, and subsequent operations.

Arizona, August 3, 1861.
SIR: I have the honor to report that I had an engagement with the U.S. forces, numbering over 500 cavalry and infantry with four pieces of artillery, at Mesilla, on the evening of the 25th of July, in which the enemy were repulsed with a loss of 3 killed and 7 wounded.

On the 27th, I captured at San Augustine Springs the entire command of the enemy under Major Lynde, consisting of eight companies of infantry, three of Mounted Rifles, with four pieces of artillery, together with all their transportation, arms, ammunition, commissary and quartermaster's stores, all of which , with Fort Fillmore, are now in my possession.

Too much praise cannot be given to the officers and soldiers under my command, and especially to Captain Hardeman and company, who were the only part of the command engaged with the enemy.

I have thought proper to release upon parole the entire command of officers and men, as I could not, with less than 300 men, guard over 600 and meet another force of 240 of the enemy that is looked for daily.

I have the honor to be, respectfully,
John R. Baylor,
Lieut. Col., Comdr.. Second Regiment Mounted Rifles, C.S.A.

Dona Ana, Ariz, September 21, 1861.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the engagement at Mesilla on the 25th of July, the capture of the United States forces the day after the next succeeding at San Augustine Springs, in the Organ Mountains, Territory of Arizona, and of my operations in the Territory up to the present time:

On assuming at Fort Bliss I ascertained that the United States forces were concentrating in force at Fort Fillmore, and the proximity of that post I supposed that the object of the enemy was to attack the forces under my command at Fort Bliss. I was satisfied that if I permitted them to concentrate, my command was too weak to maintain my position. I therefore determined to attack the enemy in detail, and prevent, if possible, the contemplated concentration. For that purpose I sent a detachment, under Major Waller, to reconnoiter Fort Fillmore and see the position of the enemy pickets, and also whether the fort could be approached without discovery. The report of Major Waller satisfied me that I could easily gain a position between the fort and the river (Rio Grande), and cut off the animals as they went for water, then the enemy would have to attack me in a strong position, thus rendering the protection afforded by the fort of no use. I accordingly took up the line of march in the night of the 23rd of July with 258 men, and in the night of the 24th succeeded in taking a position on the river near Fort Fillmore. The surprise of the enemy would have been complete except for the desertion of a private from Capt. T. T. Teel's company who reported to Major Lynde our strength and position. The long roll call was distinctly heard, which apprised us that our approach was known to the enemy.

On the morning of the 25th I determined to occupy Mesilla, and prevent, if possible, the enemy from getting a position there, as it was one that would be easily held, and would enable them to hold the country. I reached Mesilla in the afternoon of the 25th and was soon informed that the enemy were marching to attack us. I posted my men in position and awaited the arrival of the enemy. At about 5 o'clock I discovered their cavalry approaching the town by the main road, and soon after the infantry came up in sight, bringing with them three howitzers. They formed within 300 yards, and were, as near as I could tell, about 600 strong. A flag was sent in to demand the "unconditional and immediate surrender of the Texas forces," to which I answered that "we would fight first, and surrender afterward," the answer was followed by the enemy opening on us with their howitzers. After four or five rounds of bombs, grape, and canister, the cavalry formed and marched up within 250 yards, preparatory to making a charge. Captain Hardeman's company, being in position nearest the enemy was ordered to open on them with his front rank, to see if they were within range of our guns. The fire was well directed and proved effective, killing 4 of the enemy and wounding 7. The cavalry was thrown into confusion and retreated hastily, running over the infantry. In a few moments the enemy were marching back in the direction of their fort, but supposing it to be a faint, intended to draw me from my position, I did not pursue them, but kept my position until next morning, the 26th, expecting that they would attack us under cover of night. 

The enemy not appearing, I sent my spies to reconnoiter, and discover, if possible, their movements. The spies reported the enemy at work at the fort making breastworks, and evidently preparing to defend themselves. Upon hearing this, I sent express to Fort Bliss, ordering up artillery to attack the fort on the arrival of my re-enforcements

On the morning of the 27th, a little after daylight, my spies reported a column of dust seen in the direction of the Organ Mountains, distant 15 miles, on the Fort Stanton road. I could from the top of a house with a glass the movements of the enemy. I immediately ordered the command to saddle and mount, for the purpose of intercepting them at San Augustine Pass. I had reached the river, distant 1 mile, when I received intelligence that a messenger had arrived from the fort, and stated that the enemy had fired the buildings, that it had been extinguished, and but little had been destroyed. I at once ordered Major Waller to take a detachment of men and go to the fort, and save, if possible, the property therein, and to leave enough men to guard the post, and then to overtake me as soon as possible. On reaching the foot of the mountain, distant 15 miles, I could see the rear of the enemy, composed chiefly of famished stragglers, endeavoring to make their way to water. I disarmed and collected a number of them, and finding most of them dying of thirst, we gave them water we had, and were compelled ourselves to go to a spring in the mountain for water. Lieutenant Baylor and Mr. Barnes, a citizen of Las Cruces, who acted as a guide, found 24 of the enemy at the spring, who had from exhaustion gone to sleep, whom they captured.

After getting water for my men I started in pursuit of the enemy, who had passed through San Augustine Pass. I was delayed for some time waiting for Major Waller, who, mistaking my orders, had carried with him the whole command, except Captain Hardeman's company, to Fort Fillmore. So soon as they joined me I started in pursuit, and found the enemy's cavalry drawn up to cover the retreat through the pass. These I charged with Captain Hardeman's company. They retreated in haste, leaving behind their wagons and artillery and all their supplies. Upon gaining the summit of the Pass, a plain view of the road to San Augustine Springs was presented. The road for 5 miles was lined with the fainting, famished soldiers, who threw down their arms as we passed and begged for water. At the springs the enemy had drawn up in line of battle some 200 or 300 strong. I ordered Major Waller to charge with Captain Hardeman's company until he reached the end of straggling soldiers, then to form and cut them off from the main body. I followed, disarming the enemy, and as fast as out jaded horses would go. On reaching Captain Hardeman's company, who were formed, I saw Major Waller and Captain Hardeman riding into the enemy's lines. I was in a few moments sent for by Major Lynde, who asked upon what terms I would allow him to surrender. I replied that the surrender must be unconditional. To this Major Lynde assented, asking that property should be respected. The articles of capitulation were signed, and the order given for the enemy to stack arms.

Major Lynde's command was composed of eight companies of infantry and four of cavalry, with four pieces of artillery, the whole numbering nearly 700 men. My own force at the surrender was less than 200. I regret to report that the regimental colors were burned by the enemy to avoid surrendering them.

I was delayed at the place of surrender for two days on account of the condition of the enemy and the want of transportation. As soon as possible I marched them to Las Cruces and there paroled them, as I was informed that Captain Moore was enroute for Fort Fillmore, from Fort Buchanan, with 250 men. I could not guard the prisoners I had and meet the coming forces. Being desirous, to, to afflict the enemy in every way, I considered that it was much better for them to bear the expense of finding the prisoners than for me to do so.

After getting rid of the prisoners, I immediately selected a strong position near the village of Picacho to await the arrival of Captain Moore's command. Here I was joined by Brig. Gen A. S. Johnston, with a party of officers of the U.S. Army, who had resigned and were en route for Richmond, Va., also a party of Californians, under Capt. Alonzo Ridley. I tendered to Brigadier- General Johnston the command of my forces, believing that the best interest of the service required that I should relinquish the command to an officer of his rank and distinguished ability, which he did me the honor to accept, and remained in command until there was no further necessity for his services. He sent Captain Coopwood's spy company to meet the enemy and send him word where they were, and to watch their movements and prevent any communications with them. The spies discovered them on the Miembres, and reported them moving carelessly, evidently not suspecting danger. On the evening of the 6th of August an express reached Captain Moore from Fort Craig, telling him of the defeat of Major Lynde's command, and ordering him to burn up his transportation and supplies, and to make his escape to that place. This was done. The jaded condition of our animals alone prevented us from capturing them.

The accompanying abstracts of quartermaster's subsistence, medical, and ordnance stores will show but a part of the property captured, much of it having been stolen and destroyed while I was awaiting the enemy at Picacho and some since I left the command to Major Waller. A number of muster rolls are lost, the remainder only showing about half of the prisoners captured, and the correspondence with the commanding officer in reference to his regimental colors was lost. I regret the loss of these papers, but in the hurry and excitement it was unavoidable. I can only give the number of the enemy as it was reported to me by the officers captured.

On the 10th of August an express reached me from Fort Stanton, stating that the news of the capture of Major Lynde's command had created a stampede among the United States troops, who hastily abandoned the fort after having destroyed a considerable portion of their supplies and Government property of all kinds, and all would have been destroyed but for a storm of rain, which extinguished the fire intended by the enemy to destroy the fort. The few citizens living near the fort took possession of it, and saved a valuable lot of quartermaster's and commissary stores. The Mexicans and Indians in large numbers demanded the right to pillage the fort, which was granted. The citizens being too weak to resist, and not knowing that they would get aid from me or not, were forced to abandon the fort to the Mexicans and Indians. Captain Walker's company, on receipt of the express from Fort Stanton, was ordered to that post, and he succeeded in recovering a portion of the property stolen. For particulars of his operations I refer you to his report. I sent a train to bring from Fort Stanton all the property and stores of value. The invoices will acquaint you with the property recovered from the post. I will mention, among other things, four pieces of artillery, two of which are uninjured and two so much injured as to be of no use. Believing that the interest of Arizona demanded imperatively some form of government, I issued my proclamation, of date 1st August, 1861, to the people, a copy of which I forward to you.

I cannot conclude this report without alluding to the courage, fortitude, and patriotism of the officers and soldiers of my command and to those citizens who participated with us, all did nobly their part. I cannot make distinction between men so willing and ready to do their whole duty. To the courage of my officers and men the country is indebted fro the success of our arms and the acquisition of a Territory valuable in many respects.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieut. Col., Comdg, C. S. Forces in Arizona

Asst. Adjt. Gen., C. S. Army, San Antonio, Tex.

August 2, 1861.--- Fort Stanton, N. Mex., Abandoned by Union Troops
Report of Lieut. Col. John R. Baylor, C. S. Army.

SIR: I regret to report that the United States troops, consisting of four companies-- two of cavalry and two infantry-- that were en route from Fort Buchanan to Fort Fillmore, succeeded by ignominious flight in making their escape. On the night of the 7th instant an express reached them from Fort Craig, when they immediately burned all their transportation and supplies, and fled in great disorder and haste, saving nothing but their arms and animals.

By express from Fort Stanton I learn that upon the receipt of the news that Major Lynde had surrendered, Colonel Roberts, in command of that post, fled in haste, leaving the post on fire, which was extinguished by a storm of rain. Most of the commissary and quartermaster's supplies were saved and a battery. On the receipt of this intelligence I sent Captain Walker's company to occupy Stanton, and will send a train for the commissary and quartermaster's stores, leaving only a two months' supply for the troops now there. The families there were at the mercy of Indians and Mexicans, and I thought it proper to garrison the post, at least until I could learn the wishes of the Government. I have also established a Provisional Government for the Territory of Arizona. and made appointments to fill the offices necessary to enforce the laws. I have proclaimed myself the governor, have authorized the raising of four companies to hold the Territory and afford protection to the citizens, and extended the limits of the Territory to the parallel of 36 degrees 30 minutes thence due west to the Colorado, and down that stream to it's mouth.

The vast mineral resources of Arizona, in addition to its affording an outlet to the Pacific, make its acquisition a matter of some importance to our government, and now that I have taken possession of the Territory, I trust a force sufficient to occupy and hold it will be sent by the government, under some competent man.

I urge acceptance of the companies I have raised, as they are composed of the very best material, and are invaluable as soldiers. Captain Coopwood's company has been of great service to me. as spies cannot be supplied.

I have acted in all matters relating to the acquisition of Arizona entirely upon my own responsibility, and can only refer the matter, through you, for approval of the government. 

Inventories of all property captured from the Army will be sent to you as early as possible. I regret to say that a good deal has been stolen by both prisoners and Mexicans, but in the excitement of the time I could not avoid such acts, my time being occupied with other matters. The arms and ammunitions are valuable, and many that are broken and injured by the enemy can be repaired. I will send down to the arsenal by the first opportunity, the artillery (twelve pieces) can be used by mounting them again, as no damage was done to the guns except spiking them.

I cannot conclude without alluding to the manner in which my men have conducted themselves in this short campaign. They have endured hunger and fatigue without complaint, and for a week did not eat more than a meal in twenty-four hours. For four days they did not unsaddle their horses, and during the whole time behaved worthy of veterans.

Yours, very respectfully, 
Lieut. Col., Comdg. Second Reg't Texas Mounted Rifles

Commanding Department of Texas

SEPTEMBER 25, 26, 1861.-- Skirmish at Canada Alamosa (25) and near Fort Thorn, N. Mex. (26th). Report of Capt. Bethel Coopwood, Confederate Forces

Dona Ana, Ariz., September 29, 1861

SIR: In obedience to your order of date September 18, 1861, I started from Camp Robledo on the 22nd instant to make a reconnaissance of the country around Fort Craig with a detachment of 112 men, including officers, detailed from Captain Pyron's company, B, and Captain Stafford's company, E, Second Texas Mounted Rifles, and my spy company, as shown by lists from the different companies, hereto annexed; also one man, the Rev. William J Joyce, of Captain Hardeman's company, A, Second Texas Mounted Rifles.

Having obtained reliable information that a company of U.S. volunteers had started from Fort Craig to occupy the town of Alamosa, 35 miles from Fort Craig, I marched with all precaution to that place, and on the morning of the 25th instant succeeded in getting between that place and Craig without being discovered. I immediately marched my force into town, and after some skirmishing captured Capt. J. H. Minks, Second Lieut. Metiaze Medina, and 23 privates and non- commissioned officers. In the skirmish 4 of the enemy were killed and 6 wounded. The remainder of Capt. Minks' company fled early in the action, and escaped by crossing the river and taking to the mountains.

In the camp of Capt. Minks I found an amount of public property, and immediately appointed Lieutenant Poore to take charge of the same; and the duplicate of his inventory, hereto annexed, exhibits the amount of property taken, except for four Sibley tents and a number of saddles and other articles of small value, which were burned by my order, not having transportation for the same. Not having transportation for the prisoners, I administered to 22 of them a strong oath, binding them not to take up arms against the Confederate States during this war unless exchanged, & c., and then set them at liberty without arms; but I held Capt Minks and Lieutenant Medina and one sargeant as prisoners, and delivered them to you to abide your order.

From Alamosa I marched along the river road with the property taken to the place known as E Company Grove, and encamped for the night. On the morning of the 27th, while at breakfast, I was informed that my pickets were running into camp, and, rising to my feet, I saw the enemy pursuing them. In less than ten minutes my camp was surrounded by U.S. troops, numbering about 190. None of the ordinary ceremonies of attack were performed. There being no misunderstanding, we at once commenced business. The firing commenced at 7 o'clock and ended at 11 a.m. The enemy began to retreat before 11, and about that hour fled from the field. I lost 2 men killed, and had 2 severely wounded, each in the arm, besides 6 others slightly wounded, all of which will more fully appear from the list hereto annexed. The enemy removed their dead and wounded as they retreated, so as to evade a discovery of their losses; but, from the number of horses led away with bodies lashed across them, there were 12 or 13 killed, but the number of their wounded could not be ascertain.

The principal portion of the battle was fought with the enemy's force formed in two lines, forming the angle of a square, and my forces formed the same way as theirs, my lines being much shorter. One of my lines was composed of the detachment from Captain Pyron's company and a portion of the detachment from Captain Stafford's company, under the immediate command of Lieutenant Poore, Sergeant O'Grady and Sergeant Browne. My left line was composed of the detachment from my company and a part of the detachment from Captain Stafford's company. This line was under the immediate command of Lieutenant Sutherland, being divided into two platoons, one led by Sergeant Coulter, and the other by Private Tevis, who was named for the special occasion.

I remained upon the field till 10 o'clock a.m. the next day, but was prepared to receive another attack should the enemy return re- enforced. In relation to the men and officers under me I would say to you sir, that I witnessed such a display of manly courage and perfect order during my experience in the wars. Each officer and man conducted himself as though he thought the destinies of himself and his country were depending upon his action on that occasion. The wounded would not even utter a cry, lest it would be injurious to the cause. A remarkable instance of this was displayed in the case of Sergeant O' Grady. After being severely wounded, and after having fallen to the ground from loss of blood, he continued to cheer his men and encourage them to fight, telling them not to cease firing until they had avenged his blood. This kind of courage was also displayed by others whose wounds were not so severe. Sergeant Quinn, Sergeant Robinson, and Antonio Lambert, after having each received a wound, continued to fight, if possible, with more courage and determination. The officers and men paid strict attention to every order, and acted more like veteran troops than volunteers. I cannot with words express the esteem I have for all who were with me. Nothing short of witnessing a similar occasion can impress you with an idea of the value of such troops and the credit due them for what they have already done. I herewith annex a list of the names of all who were with me, that you may know that number of men by name who did not flinch under the most trying circumstances.

Regretting much that some of my esteemed fellow soldiers have suffered the fate of war on this scout, I most respectfully submit to you this report of the same.
I am, sir, your most obedient servant,
Capt., Commanding Scout

Lieut. Col JOHN R. BAYLOR. 


On September 9, 1861, New Mexico Territorial Governor Henry Connelly issued a call to arms saying "Citizens of New Mexico, your Territory has been invaded, the integrity of your soil has been attacked-----and the enemy is already at your gates". In response to the invasion and Connelly's call to arms, 3500 New Mexicans were recruited as volunteers even though many had been U.S. citizens for less than 15 years. The majority were of Hispanic descent and came from the Northern New Mexican towns of Las Vegas, Mora, Santa Fe, Taos and other surrounding villages. At that time, the population of New Mexico was 80,000 excluding Indians.  Their assistance became vital as all but a skeleton number of regular troops were being moved to the eastern theater. 

Five regiments composed of five to ten companies (80- 100 men per company) were raised and included both infantry and cavalry. The recruits were assembled and organized at Fort Union and Albuquerque under such prominent officers as Kit Carson, Ceran St. Vrain, Manuel Chavez, Miguel Pino, Raphael Chicone and Francisco Chavez.

Throughout the late summer and fall the New Mexico Volunteers were outfitted and received their initial training. In mid- August, those at Fort Union were assigned to construct a star- shaped earthworks to defend against the invading Confederates. Three shifts worked 24 hours a day to complete the work before the Confederates arrived. 

As soldiers, native New Mexicans experienced a multitude of frustrations in the service. First, English was the language of the military and confusion was inevitable. Second, ethnic jealousies surfaced, New Mexicans were labeled peons, greasers and called unprincipled, lazy, cowardly and ignorant. Additional frustrations resulted from poor training and obsolete equipment with the .69 caliber model 1842 musket being a standard issue to the volunteers. 

Colonel Edward R. S. Canby (later commanding officer at the Battle of Mobile and the only general officer to die in the Indian Wars) commanding the Military Department of New Mexico, sought to stem the Confederate tide by protecting powerful Fort Craig (30 miles south of present day Soccorro) and Fort Union so as to control the Rio Grande Valley. At Fort Craig, Canby called in garrisons from Arizona, activated the New Mexico Volunteers and militia, and drew ammunition and supplies from military depots at Albuquerque and Fort Union. In early February, Canby combined Col. Christopher (Kit) Carson's First Volunteer Regiment with regulars of the Fifth and Seventh Infantry (many refugees from the defeats at the forts to the south), detachments of the First, Second and Third Cavalry, and a company of Colorado Volunteers. By mid- February (just before the Confederates arrived on Feb. 16th) Canby had collected 3800 men at Fort Craig, but only 1200 were seasoned soldiers. The rest were of questionable value, hence the reason for combining the novices with the veterans. Canby reasoned that with untried troops, he could fight only under the most favorable conditions. Realizing that he would need reinforcements, Canby contacted the Department of Colorado for assistance.

Meanwhile, another potential source of assistance was the State of California and the following deals with that state’s organization of troops and their eventual commitment against the Confederates in Arizona/ New Mexico. The following is from the "California Column" by Lieutenant George H. Pettis, commander, company K, 1st Regiment of Infantry, California Volunteers and describes events leading up to the counter- attack by the Californians." You will meet Lieutenant Pettis again after the counter- attack is launched in the final segment of this presentation." Immediately after the first battle of Bull Run on July 24, 1861, Governor John G. Downey received from the Secretary of War, Simon Cameron, a communication which said: "The War Department accepts, for three years, one regiment of infantry and five companies of cavalry to guard the Overland Mail Route from Carson Valley to Salt Lake City and Fort Laramie." This was the first official action towards organizing troops in California, and it required but a short time to raise the required number of men, and as fast as the companies were mustered in at the Presidio near San Francisco, they were transported across the bay to Camp Downey (in present day Oakland).

The First California Volunteer Infantry and five companies of the First Cavalry were being well drilled and disciplined at Camp Downey when news was received at Department Headquarters that Secessionists in the southern part of the state were becoming turbulent and more outspoken, and on September 17th General Sumner ordered Colonel Carleton's command to Southern California. (There they were to quell the uprising and thus end John R. Baylor's concept of an ocean to ocean Confederacy).

The First Infantry, under Colonel James H. Carleton since July 26, 1861, and the First Cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin F. Davis, arrived at San Pedro and marched some eighteen miles north to lay out a camp for fifteen companies near a small creek (Ballona Creek in present Culver City). They named it "Camp Latham" in honor of one of the California Senators. When the order came for regular Army troops to transfer to the East Coast, Major Edwin A. Riggs of the First California Infantry was sent with several companies to replace those leaving Fort Yuma. Other regulars from Los Angeles, San Bernadino and San Diego were soon assembled at San Pedro for shipment to New York. 

On The 20th of October 1861, Colonel George Wright of the Twelfth U.S. Infantry replaced General Sumner as commander of the Department of California. General Sumner shortly thereafter, was drowned on his way to take command of the Department of Oregon when the steamer "Brother Jonathan" sunk off the mouth of the Columbia River. On November 20th, Colonel Carleton was called to San Francisco to take command of the California troops heading east by the overland route through Salt Lake City. But these orders were superceded when news was received of the successful invasion of New Mexico and Arizona by a force of Texans under Confederate General H. H. Sibley. Within a few days, Wright and Carleton developed a plan to proceed with a command through Arizona and attack Sibley on his flank and rear. General Wright submitted this plan to the War Department on December 9, 1861, and received immediate approval from General McClellan.

It was decided that Fort Yuma, on the California side of the Colorado River, should be the jumping off point for the expedition, and advance units were sent with all promptitude to prepare for the increased activity which would take place in a few months, and to strengthen its defenses in case Confederates arrived there before the main force of California Volunteers. A small camp at Warner's Ranch (near present Warner's Springs), named Camp Wright was enlarged to serve as an intermediate supply and staging point halfway between Wilmington and Fort Yuma. Supplies started moving forward, both by Phineas Banning's teams across the desert and by steamship to the head of the Gulf of California and then up the Colorado by river steamboats of the Colorado River Navigation Company.

The "California Column" originally consisted of ten companies of the First California Infantry, five companies of the First California Cavalry, one company of the Second California Cavalry and Light Battery A of the Third U. S. Artillery. This command contained 1500 men, well drilled, well disciplined, and eager to show what stuff they were made of. Later on, Lieutenant Colonel George W. Bowie's Fifth California was added, bringing the total strength to 2350 rank and file. It should be pointed out here that never did the entire column move as one unit. Advance parties, some quite large, were sent ahead to scout, to strengthen fortifications at camping points, and to collect what food and forage was available for the large groups to follow. Another reason for breaking the column into smaller units was to conserve the water supply at springs and water holes, many of which only had enough water for a few hundred men with their mounts and mule teams at one time".

The Federal buildup of troops at Fort Yuma did not go unnoticed by the Confederates and was one of the major reasons for the campaign of Captain Sherod Hunter and his contingent of Arizona Rangers discussed following Sibley's Campaign.

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