Friday, July 12, 2013

VON ORMY IN THE CIVIL WAR: THE NEW MEXICAN CAMPAIGNS



       In 1861, Texans voted to leave the United States and join the newly formed Confederate States of America.  They began preparations for the inevitable civil war, including raising an army.  Locally there was much discontent about the prospect of leaving Texas to fight on the eastern front, resulting in low rates of volunteerism into the Confederate Army.  This sentiment drew the ire of newly-elected Governor Francis Lubbock who vigorously supported Confederate conscription, opposed draft exemptions for able-bodied men as unfair and the substitution system as advantageous to the wealthy.  Aliens, including those born in Mexico, Ireland, Germany and elsewhere, residing in Texas were also made subject to the draft.  However, Gov. Lubbock exempted frontier counties, including Bexar, from the Confederate draft and enlisted their residents for local defense against Indian attack.
        Many residents of Garza’s Crossing (present-day Von Ormy) and the surrounding areas initially opted to form their own Texas Militia unit rather than join regular Confederate Army.  Dr. Theodore Heermann, who resided on Quesenberry Road on land he purchased from the Hernandez family, organized the 30th Bexar Militia, known as the "Medina Guards."  The call went out to all able bodied men and they mustered on October 21, 1861 at the Herrera Ranch at Paso de las Garzas.
     An election of offices resulted in the following: 

Theodore Heerman    Capt.
J. K. Harper               1st Lieut.
J. A. DeCourey         2nd Lieut
Edmand B. Pue, Jr.    3rd Lieut










     These in turn appointed the following non-commissioned officers:

Lewis W. Nackolls    1st Sargt
Walter Mahony         2nd Sargt
Thos. C. Applewhite 3rd Sargt
John C. Stanfield      4th Sargt
Francis W. Avant      5th Sargt
Jop. M. Bright          1st Corpl
Blas Herrera, Jr.        2nd Corpl
Wm. J. Miller           3rd Corpl
Lott W. Johnson        4th Corpl
G. W. Mudd             1st Bugler

     The remaining entered service as privates: 

Ankron Que. C.
Applewhite, Jesse
Applewhite, Steven
Cass, Josiah
Casillas, Santiago
Castagnon, Luis
Caufield, A. C.
Cerda, G. de la
Cruz, Gaspar de la
Delgado, Gregorio
Diaz, Jesse
Diaz, Jose Maria
Diaz, Victoriano
Flores, Felix
Garcia, Juan
Garza, Antonio
Garza, Miguel
Guzman, Eustachio
Hernandez, Jesus
Hernandez, Katarino
Herrera, J. Jose
Johnson, H. C.
Johnson, Virgil J.
Kenney, Michael
Kennedy, Patrick
Kerr, Wm. H.
Know, Felix A.
Macdona, W. C.
McKelery, Jesse
McMuligan, Patrick
Mercado, Juan Jose
Miller, Arnold G.
Miller, J. L.
Miller, Martin V.
Mitchele, W. F.
Ojos, Francisco
Powell, James M.
Pue, Saml. B.
Quisenbury, Graham
Reyes, Juan
Reyes, Manuel
Rodriguez, Francisco
Rodriguez, Juan
Rosco, Desiderio (Orosco)
Ruiz, Eugene
Sanchez, Manuel
San Miguel, Felipe
Telles, Luis
Thompson, H. L.
Tomer, Henriques

     Of these 64 men, 11 brought pistols, 20  carried rifles, 24 possessed revolvers and 45 owned horses. 
     The Medina Guards, a cavalry unit,  rode to San Antonio and reported to Brig. General R. M. Braham of the 30th District Texas Militia, who gave orders to drill as a light infantry unit.   This caused great concern among the men who understood the perils of facing Indian attack on foot. 
    The resulting discord bought an end to the Medina Guards.  The 45 men on horseback were transferred to Company B of the Texas 2nd Cavalry under command of Capt. Charles L. Pyron, known as Pyron’s Mounted Riflemen  Other area men had already joined this company,.   The remaining 14 were assigned other State Militia units. 
    Capt. Pyron’s Company was given orders to ride to Ft. Stockton, then onward to join the Confederate Army of New Mexico under Brigadier General Henry Hopkins Sibley. The other units under his command were the 4th Texas Mounted Rifles and 5th Texas Mounted Rifles (both of which had batteries of mountain howitzers), five companies of the 7th Texas Mounted Rifles, six companies of the 2nd Texas Mounted Rifles (which also had an artillery battery attached), and several companies of Arizona Confederate mounted volunteers.
     Company B of the 2nd Texas Calvary, CSA included the following men:

Capt. James D. McCleery
Capt. David M. Poor
1st Lt. William C. Durand 
1st Lt. William G. Jett 
1st Lt. C. H. Lee
1st Lt. A. A. Thomas
2nd Lt. Joseph L. Hogan
2nd Lt. Frank G. Robertson
3rd Lt. Charles S. Johnson
1st Sgt. Samuel B. Luckie   
1st Sgt. M. R. Shepherd
ACS Thomas D. Reeves 
Comsy. Sgt. W.S.J. Adams
 
Sgt. James Conly
Sgt. Franklin Cook  .
Sgt. James M. Daulson
Sgt. Erastus Dunson
Sgt. James W. Lackey
Sgt. Robert McCulloch
Sgt. John G. Newcomb 
Sgt. Lorenzo Trevino
Sgt. Oliver J. Turner
Cpl. Samuel J. Barker   
Cpl. Thomas P. Bruce   
Cpl. J. Hanley   
Cpl. Samuel K. Hayhurst 
Cpl. Marion J. Langeley 
Cpl. Alejos Perez 
Cpl. Lycurgus Small   
Cpl. Franklin Smith   
Black. Isaac Doolin   
Black. Thomas Nolan
Bugler John Day   

Privates

Adams, Fitch S.
Areda, D.
Arriola, Lewis
Arriola, Thomas
Arocha, Periosino
Augustin, David
Baker, John C.
Bearfield, James O.
Beitle, Francis J.
Bela, Paulonio
Bennett, George H.
Bennett, Samuel J.
Benson, Dye P.
Bins, A.
Blanco, Santo
Boyles, Noah
Brown, John
Brown, Will J.
Brownrig, Junius
Calderon, Ramon
Calvillo, Francisco
Cardenas, Juan
Cardenas, Rafael
Carillo, Joseph
Carrayal, Lewis
Carter, Henry A.
Casias, P.

Casais, Santiago
Cavillo, Pancho
Coleman, Denman
Cook, S. F.
Cooper, George W.
Cordover, Morcal
Cortinas, Jose
Cosey, -
Cowart, William S.
Cox, B. F.
Cox, Joseph B.
Cox, Thomas N.
Criffin, Thomas T.
Crownover, Aaron
Crownover, Jasper
Crownover, Levi
Crownover, John
Cruce, Marcelin
Dancer, Jonas T
Deen, Jesse A.
Delores, E.
Duncan, Francis M.
Durand, Macleto
Dye, Benson A.
Fayos, Jayadon
Flores, Pedro
Flores, Salvador
Garza, Esteban
Garza, Jesus
Gerloff, Andreas
Graham, Charles L.
Guerra, Manuel
Guerrero, Felipe
Hardin, W. H.
Harris, Daniel A.
Harwood, Ed.
Helmerick, William
Henricks, Joseph
Hernandez, Jose Maria
Hernandez, Mauricio
Herrera, Francisco
Howard, John
Hudson, Amos
Hutchinson, William C.
King, Joseph A.
Kuffus, Edward
Lambert, Joshua K
Lane, Wesley C.
Langeley, Seaborn
Lauer, Charles W.
Leal, Alphonso
Lester, Calvin
Lewis, W. C.
Lopez, Leonito
Menchaca, Bernabe
Martinez, Jesus
Marshal, John
McClelland, Joseph P.
Miller, J. P.
Miner, O.
Montes, Anchacio
Montes, Joseph
Muller, William
Muncio, Hernandez
Murphy, James W.
Navarro, Sexton
Neal, Joseph A.
Ogden, John
O'Grady, Robert J.
Olivari, Paul
O'Neil, James R.
Orby, J. M.
Oyos, Francis
Palmer, Austin
Pancho, Oyos
Perez, Desidero
Perryman, W. W.
Petmecky, Frank W.
Phillips, W. J.
Poor, Frederick
Reitzer, Joseph
Reyonalds, Robert
Ring, J. A.
Rivas, Andrew
Rivas, Frederico
Robinson, William H.
Rodriguez, Checacio
Rodriguez, Miguel
Rodriguez, Jose
Rubio, Francisco
Ruiz, Eugene
Rutledge, Jeff J.
Rutledge, R. W.
Rutledge, William R.
Ryman, H. A.
Semons, A. M.
Sierra, Juan
Smith, John H.
Stephanes, Henry F.
Thomas, Griffin T.
Tremble, Fred W.
Williams, Thomas



NEW MEXICO

     For years, residents in the southern part of the New Mexico Territory had been complaining that the territorial government in Santa Fe was too far away to properly address their concerns. The withdrawal of the Regular army at the beginning of the war confirmed to the residents that they were being abandoned. Secession conventions in Mesilla and Tucson voted to join the territory to the Confederacy in March 1861, and formed militia companies to defend themselves. In July 1861, Lieutenant Colonel John Baylor led of a battalion of Texas mounted rifles into the southern portion of the New Mexico Territory, entering Mesilla and repulsing the attack of the Union garrison of Fort Filmore at the Battle of Mesilla. The victorious Baylor established the Confederate Territory of Arizona south of the 34th parallel.
     The 1862 campaign was a continuation of this strategy formulated by Sibley in a plan presented to Confederate president Jefferson Davis. Sibley's strategy called for an invasion along the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, seizing the Colorado Territory (then at the height of the Colorado Gold Rush) and Fort Laramie (the most important United States Army garrison along the Oregon Trail), before turning westward to attack the mineral-rich Nevada and California. He planned to take minimal supplies along with him, intending to live off the land and to capture the stockpiles of supplies at Union forts and depots along the Santa Fe Trail. Once these territories had been secured, Sibley intended to take the northern Mexican states of Chihuahua, Sonora, and Lower California, either through purchase or by invasion.
    On December 20, 1861, General Sibley, in command of the Army of New Mexico, issued a proclamation taking possession of New Mexico in the name of the Confederate States. He called on the citizens to abandon their allegiance to the Union and to join the Confederacy, warning that those "who co-operate with the enemy will be treated accordingly, and must be prepared to share their fate."
     Sibley envisioned that he would invade New Mexico with his army, defeat Union forces, capture the capital city of Santa Fe and then march westward to conquer California and add it to the territory of the Confederacy. Sibley's first step was to gather an army in El Paso, Texas and lead it north along the Rio Grande with the objective of capturing Fort Craig and the supplies in the fort and defeating the Federal army under Colonel Edward Canby. On Jan 3, 1862, Sibley left El Paso with three regiments and one partial regiment of mounted Texans comprising 2,510 officers and men. Fort Craig, 140 miles (225 km) north of El Paso, was the major obstacle in his path. Canby awaited him there with 3,800 men of whom most were infantry. Only 1,200 of Canby's men were seasoned soldiers. The remainder consisted of 2,000 New Mexican volunteers, 100 Colorado volunteers, and 500 militia. Kit Carson commanded the First Regiment of New Mexican volunteers.

BATTLE OF VALVERDE

     Sibley led his brigade to within fifteen miles south of Fort Craig during the evening of February 13. Judging the fort to be too strong to be taken by assault, Sibley deployed his brigade in a line for the next three days, hoping to lure the Federals into the open, but Canby, not trusting his volunteer troops, refused to attack.
    As they were down to a few days rations, the Confederates could not wait indefinitely, so at a council of war on the 18th, Sibley ordered the army to cross the Rio Grande and move up the eastern side of the river to the ford near Valverde, six miles north of Fort Craig, hoping to cut Union communications between the fort and their headquarters in Santa Fe.
    Next morning, February 21, Sibley sent an advance party consisting of four companies of the 2nd Texas Mounted Rifles under the command of Major Charles Pyron to scout ahead to the Valverde ford, with the 4th Texas Mounted Rifles under Lieutenant Colonel William Read Scurry following close behind. The rest of the brigade remained in camp, intending to follow later.
     Union scouts informed Canby of the Confederate movements towards the north. Canby then sent a mixed force of infantry, cavalry, and artillery to the ford under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin S. Roberts of the 5th New Mexico Infantry. The infantry and artillery slowed the column down, so Roberts sent Major Thomas Duncan ahead with the cavalry to secure the ford. Following Roberts' departure, Canby sent additional reinforcements from the fort's garrison, and assigned several companies of New Mexico volunteers to "watch the movements of the enemy, threaten his flanks and rear, and impede his movements as much as possible."
    When the Confederates under Pyron arrived at the eastern side of Valverde ford they found that Union forces were already there blocking their passage. Pyron sent for reinforcements from the 4th Texas while his men took cover in an old river bed, which served as an excellent defensive position. At first, despite having a numerical advantage, the Union cavalry deployed in a skirmish line instead of trying to drive the Confederates out of their position. This forced the Union artillery to remain on the western bank of the Rio Grande.

     When Scurry arrived, he deployed his regiment to Pyron's right, with the regimental artillery on the Confederate left. Although they had gained a numerical superiority, the Confederates were mostly armed with short range shotguns and pistols, which couldn't reach the Union positions three hundred yards away; the Confederate howitzers also couldn't reach the Union artillery on the far bank of the river. Meanwhile, Canby ordered most of the remaining garrison at Fort Craig to march to Valverde, leaving behind some militia to guard the fort. When he arrived, Canby moved most of his command, including the artillery, to the eastern bank, leaving the First New Mexico Volunteers under Carson and the Second New Mexico Volunteers under Colonel Miguel Piño on the western bank as a reserve.
     By early afternoon, the remainder of the Confederate force, the 5th Texas Mounted Rifles under Colonel Thomas Green and a battalion of the 7th Texas Mounted Rifles under Lieutenant Colonel John Sutton, arrived at the battlefield, much in need of water and denied access to the river by the defending Union forces. Sibley, who during the morning had remained with the wagons, relinquished command of the brigade and Green took over, who then handed command of the 5th Texas over to Major Samuel Lockridge. Around 2:00 pm, Green authorized a lancer company to attempt a charge on what they thought was an inexperienced New Mexico company on the Union extreme right; however, the Union soldiers turned out to be a Colorado company which was able to defeat the charge without breaking. Twenty of the lancers were killed and wounded during the charge, with almost all of the horses disabled or killed as well. When it returned to the Confederate line, the lancer company rearmed itself with pistols and shotguns and continued fighting in the battle. This was the first and last lancer charge of the American civil war.
     By 4 p.m., the Union appeared to have the advantage in the battle. Canby decided that a massive frontal assault would fail and instead decided to attack the Confederate left; to do so, he ordered one of his batteries on his right to redeploy closer to the Confederate line and moved several companies to his right, including Carson's First New Mexico Regiment which crossed the river and took its place in line. However, this repositioning of the troops weakened the center of the Union line and the battery on Canby's left. Hoping to stall the Union attack, Green ordered Major Henry Raguet to attack the Union right with his battalion; this attack was repulsed by frontal fire and a flank attack from the 1st New Mexico, and the Union right advanced after the retreating Confederates.
     At this time, Green ordered the Confederate right wing under the command of Scurry to charge the Union center and the battery on its left; the attack force of 750 men was arranged into three successive waves. Nor the least of the motivation of the Confederates was their desperate need for water which could only be reached by dislodging the Union troops blocking their access to the Rio Grande. The shock of the Confederate charge caused over half of the battery's supporting force to rout; Lockridge was mortally wounded during the attack. The Federals countered with a cavalry charge, but the main Confederate force continued to press their assault on Canby's left flank, capturing six artillery pieces and breaking the Union battle line, which soon turned into a panic-stricken retreat of both regular troops and New Mexico volunteers. Sibley was about to order another attack, when Canby sent a white flag asking for a truce to remove the bodies of the dead and wounded, to which Sibley gentlemanly agreed. Canby managed to reorganize his men, minus about 200 deserters from among the New Mexico volunteers, and ordered a retreat back to Fort Craig leaving the road northward toward Santa Fe open to the Confederates.
    Left in possession of the battlefield, the Confederates gained the victory but had suffered substantial casualties, reporting 36 killed, 150 wounded, including Pvt. Francisco Herrera, son of Blas Herrera, who lost his right arm.  Due to the strength of the fort's walls, Sibley decided to abandon his attempt to capture the fort and instead continued northwards towards Albuquerque and Santa Fe, where he hoped to capture much needed supplies. However, he was severely hampered by the losses in horses and mules from the battle, which forced him to dismount the 4th Texas as infantry and to destroy some supplies and wagons.
     Canby reported that his forces had 3 officers and 65 men killed/3 officers and 157 men wounded/1 officer and 35 men missing for a total of 264  He also had additional missing and deserters, mostly deserters, thus suffering a 16 percent casualty rate, including deserters, of about 432 men out of 2,800 men engaged. Considering himself to be outnumbered, he chose not to pursue Sibley, instead sending mounted detachments of New Mexico volunteers against the Confederates' rear for harassment. He would remain with the main body at Fort Craig to cut off the Confederates' supply line and to intercept reinforcements for Sibley, eventually hoping to pin the main Confederate main body between himself and Union reinforcements from Fort Union.
     Neither Sibley nor Canby received high marks for their generalship during the battle. Sibley was indisposed by alcohol and illness and spent most of the day riding in an ambulance. Col. Green was the defacto commander and it was his aggressive attack on Canby's center and left that won the battle. Canby blamed the New Mexican volunteers, mostly Hispanics, for his loss—but his decision to reinforce his right while weakening his center and left was the real cause of the Union defeat. On Canby's right wing, Kit Carson's regiment of New Mexican volunteers saw only limited action but comported itself well. The volunteers were advancing and thought they were winning the battle. They were incredulous when Canby gave the order to retreat.
     The battle represented Canby's low point in his military career and Sibley's high point. Both men would go opposite directions to the terms of reputation after the battle. It was rumored following the battle that the two commanders of these battles, Canby and Sibley, who had been allies and trained together earlier, might have actually been brothers-in-law. However, research showed that there is little if any evidence that they were related by marriage.
    By the 20th the Confederate army, under cover of the hills between it and the river, was opposite Fort Craig. [Confederate Col. Thomas] Green attempted to place artillery on the heights overlooking the river and fort, but Canby had anticipated the move forcing the Texans to make a 'dry camp' on the night of the 20th. About midnight, Union Captain James Craydon tried to blow up a few rebel picket posts by sending mules loaded with barrels of fused gunpowder into the Confederate lines, but the faithful old army mules insisted on wandering back toward the Union camp before blowing to bits. Although the only casualties were two mules, the explosions stampeded a herd of Confederate beef cattle and horses into the Union's lines, so depriving Green's troops of some much-needed provisions and horses.
     Due to the loss of horses at Valverde, the 4th Texas had to be dismounted, with the remaining horses, already in a weakened state, distributed among the other units. They also had lost much of their transportation in the battle at Valverde, causing them to carry the wounded. All this caused the column to travel slower than it could have. Canby meanwhile attempted to trap Sibley's army between his own force and Fort Union. He disbanded his militia and most of the volunteer units, and sent most of his mounted units northward to act as partisans and to "obstruct [Sibley's] movements if he should advance, and cut off his supplies, by removing from his route the cattle, grain, and other supplies in private hands that would aid him in sustaining his force." 
Sibley, whose mission was to capture Fort Craig, outmaneuvered Canby at the Battle of Valverde in February and drove Canby back to his fort, but failed to force Canby's surrender. Instead, Sibley bypassed the fort, and advanced up along the Rio Grande Valley to seize Santa Fe on March 10. Canby remained at Fort Craig to cut Sibley's logistical support from Texas and to await further reinforcements before resuming the offensive. Sibley set up his headquarters at the abandoned Union storehouse at Albuquerque.
     Starting on February 23, the Confederate forces reached Albuquerque on March 2 and Santa Fe on March 13, but due to their slow advance they failed to capture most of the Union supplies located at these cities. The slow advance also allowed reinforcements from Colorado under the command of Colonel John Slough to reach Fort Union. Since he had been commissioned colonel before Paul was commissioned the same rank, Slough claimed seniority and took command of the fort. Canby had already ordered Paul to "not move from Fort Union to meet me until I advise you of the route and point of junction." After learning of the change in command, Canby told Slough to "advise me of your plans and movements, that I may cooperate." He also instructed Slough to "harass the enemy by partisan operations. Obstruct his movements and cut off his supplies." Slough interpreted this as an authorization to advance, which he did with 1,342 men from the fort's garrison.

GLORIETTA PASS

     In March, Sibley sent a Confederate force of 200 to 300 Texans under the command of Major Charles L. Pyron on an advance expedition over the Glorieta Pass, a strategic location on the Santa Fe Trail at the southern tip of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains southeast of Santa Fe. Control of the pass would allow the Confederates to advance onto the High Plains and to make an assault on Fort Union, the Union stronghold along the invasion route northward over Raton Pass. Sibley also intended for six companies under the command of Colonel Tom Green to block the eastern end of Glorieta Pass, turning any Union defensive position in the Sangre de Cristos.
     Pyron's force of 300 camped at Apache Canyon, at one end of Glorieta Pass, leaving a picket post of fifty men at the summit of the pass. Chivington led 418 soldiers to the Pass and on the morning of March 26 moved out to attack. After noon, Chivington’s men captured the picket post 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 Confederates in a crossfire, and soon forced them to retire. Pyron retired about a mile and a half (not quite two and a half kilometers) to a narrow section of the pass and formed a defensive line before Chivington’s men appeared. The Union forces flanked Pyron’s men again and punished them with enfilade fire. Pyron ordered another retreat, but the withdrawal of the artillery caused the Confederates to become disorganized and start fighting in separate clusters of men. Chivington ordered a mounted Colorado company to make a frontal charge against the artillery; this charge succeeded in capturing several Confederates and scattering the rest. Not knowing if Confederate reinforcements were nearby, Chivington then retired and went into camp at Kozlowski’s Ranch to await Slough with the main body. His small victory was a morale booster for Slough's army.
     No fighting occurred the next day as reinforcements arrived for both sides. Scurry's troops arrived at 3 am on March 27, swelling the Confederate force to about 1,100 men and five cannons; as senior officer present, Scurry took command of the entire Confederate force. Thinking that Slough would attack again and expecting Green to arrive in the Union rear at any time, Scurry chose to remain in place for the day, digging rifle pits. Slough arrived early in the morning of March 28 with about 900 more men, bringing the Union strength to 1,300.

    Both Scurry and Slough decided to attack on March 28 and set out early to do so. Expecting the Confederates to remain in Apache Canyon, Slough sent Maj. Chivington with two infantry battalions, under Lewis and Wynkoop, out in a circling movement with orders to go hide out at Glorieta Pass and hit the Texans in the flank once Slough's main force had engaged their front. Chivington did as ordered and his men waited above the Pass for Slough and the enemy to arrive. But instead of remaining at Apache Canyon as Slough had expected, Scurry advanced down the Canyon more rapidly than Slough had anticipated. Scurry expected the Union force was retreating back to Fort Union; he intended to attack them until Green arrived. One cannon and a small detail was left at Johnson's Ranch, the rest of the Confederate force, with more than a thousand men, marched eastwards along the Santa Fe trail.
    When Slough found the Texans so far forward, he launched an attack, hitting the Texans around 11:00 am about a half mile from Pigeon's Ranch. A provisional battalion of four companies from the 1st Colorado under Lt. Col. Samuel Tappan, supported by both batteries, deployed across the trail. The Confederates dismounted and deployed in a line across the canyon but the terrain caused some companies to become intermingled. Tappan was initially successful in holding his ground for a half hour, but the Confederates' numerical superiority enabled them to outflank the Union line by noon. The Federals were thrown back in confusion before taking position around the adobe ranch buildings. Slough reformed his men a few hundred yards closer to Pigeon's Ranch, with four companies under Tappan and an artillery battery on a hill to the left, the other battery supported by two companies in the center across the road, and the other two companies on the ridge to the right.
   Scurry then launched a three pronged attack on the Union line: Pyron and Raguet were ordered to attack the Union right, Shropshire the Union left, with the remainder of the Confederate force under himself attacking the Union center, supported by the artillery. The attack on the Union left was routed, with Shropshire killed, the attack in the center stalled, while the artillery was forced to withdraw after one cannon was disabled and a limber destroyed. The attack along the line then stalled, with the Confederates fighting by squads "with a desperation unequaled by any engagement of the war." At around 3:00 pm, the Confederates managed to outflank the Union right, but Raguet was mortally wounded. From the ridge (known after the battle as "Sharpshooters Ridge"), the Confederates started to pick off the artillerymen and infantry below them, while Scurry started to press the Union center again. This made the Union position untenable, forcing Slough to order a retreat; Tappan organized the companies on the left flank into a rear guard. Slough then reformed his line a half mile east of Pigeon's Ranch, where both sides skirmished until dusk. Slough retreated back to Kozlowski's Ranch, leaving Scurry in possession of the field.
     Meanwhile, the leader of the New Mexican volunteers, Lt. Col. Manuel Chaves of the 2nd New Mexico Infantry, informed Chivington that his scouts had detected the Confederate supply train nearby at Johnson's Ranch. After watching them for an hour, Chivington's force descended the slope and attacked, routing or capturing the small baggage-guard with few casualties on either side. They then looted and set afire eighty supply wagons and spiked the cannon, and either killed or drove off five hundred horses and mules before returning to Kozlowski's Ranch. With no supplies with which to sustain his advance, Scurry had no choice but to retreat to Santa Fe, the first step on the long road back to San Antonio, Texas. The Federals thereby stopped further Confederate incursions into the Southwest. Glorieta Pass was the turning point of the war in the New Mexico Territory.
.     With limited supplies and ammunition and outnumbered, Sibley choose to retreat to Texas, leaving Albuquerque on April 12 after a small fight a few days earlier. On April 14, Canby encountered the Confederates at Peralta, where the armies skirmished until 2:00 p.m. when a sandstorm permitted the Confederates to withdraw. The retreat continued through Mesilla to San Antonio, during which hundreds of Confederates straggled and fell behind.
     Most of Pyron’s Company B retreated through Coahuila Mexico in order to avoid Comanche territory.  They arrived in Laredo in May and joined with Col. Santos Benavides for the reminder of the war.  Francisco Herrera retuned to Von Ormy to recover from the loss of his arm.  Following the war he served as the first schoolmaster in Von Ormy. 




3 comments:

  1. This is good history, and also good local history. Thanks for including the photo of Blas Herrera, who lived at Paso de las Garzas, and his many descendants also lived there.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am a descendant of the Ruiz-Herrera Family.I see some very strong family resemblances. Blas Herrera looks very much like my father, David Herrera Vargas.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you so much for preserving this history! My great-grandfather was Sgt. Erastus T Dunson of Company B, 2nd TX Cavalry as listed above.

    ReplyDelete