Battle of Glorieta Pass: An unknown civil war battle of importance
Battle of Glorieta Pass: The Unknown Battle of the American Civil War
This battle occurred from March 26-28 1862 in northern New Mexico Territory. It was part of the American Civil War. Also, considered the “Gettysburg of the West” by some historians. This battle location was located near the southern tip of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico. Glorieta Pass was a strategic position on the Santa Fe Trail. The Territory of Colorado at the time was only about 80 miles from the battle. Surprisingly, the economic activity along the Santa Fe Trail was not affect by the presents of the soldiers on the trail. The major result of the battle was the Union Troops capturing the Confederate supply train at Johnson’s Ranch. This inhabited and prevented any advancement of the Texans northward into Colorado Territory. Also, any control of the pass would allow the Confederate Army to make an assault on Fort Union and advance onto the high plains. The Confederate forces had combat experience in the Battle of Valverde and other less known engagements gave them a slight advantage over the Union forces. Under the command of Sibley force rage a battle with the Union forces on February 21st 1862. The Confederate Army moved northward from Albuquerque and burned and destroyed most of the farms and homes along the way towards Fort Union. Chivington and the Colorado Volunteer Army come down from Denver City on March 25 1862 to set up Camp Lewis near the Native American ruins. When the Texans made there way up from Santa Fe along the Santa Fe Trail, they where unaware of any Union Armies nearby.
The Commanders for the Union Troops were John M. Chivington from Colorado and John P. Slough. The Confederate Commanders were Charles L.
Pyron and William R. Scurry from Texas.
Sibley sent a force of over 300 Confederate Army from Army from Texas. Under the command of Pyron, there was a force of 300 Confederate soldiers that camped at Apache Canyon, at the end of Glorieta Pass. On the other end of the Canyon, Chivington command 418 Union soldiers to the Pass and on an early morning on March 26 moved out to attack the Confederate army. Some historians think that the Bureau of Indian Affairs official James L. Collins suggested the attack on the supply train. While others believe it was by accident that they found the Confederate supply train.
This battle is not a well-known one of the Civil War, but it was important in that it halted any Confederate advancement into the Far West and the Rocky Mountain Territories. Two battle campaigns of importance were Johnson’s Ranch and Pigeon’s Ranch because supply wagons at Johnson’s Ranch and Sharpshooters Ridge near Pigeons Ranch. Sharpshooters Ridge was important because of preventing the Confederate Army advancing northward toward Fort Union.
Some of the goals of the confederacy in 1862 were to capture the gold in Colorado, win over people of Utah to join the confederacy and establish a port in the West Coast. My experiences in visiting this unknown civil war battle changed the way I think about American history in the West. This broadened my mind about unknown history not learned in my educational background.