Saturday, March 28, 2009

The High Water Mark Of The West

On the Santa Fe Trail on March 28th 1862 the end of the Confederate push happened at the Glorieta Pass.

The Glorieta Pass is to the southeast of Santa Fe, New Mexico on the southern tip of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. On the morning of March 26th 1862 Union Major John M Chivington led about 400 troops to the pass. At about noon they captured some advanced Confederate soldiers. This was when they learned about the 300 Texans under Confederate Major Charles Pyron. The Union force moved on the Confederates, but were pushed back by artillery fire. Chivington than split his men in half and caught the Confederates in a crossfire. Pyron pulled his men back to a narrow part of the pass and prepared a defensive line. Again the Union caught them in a crossfire, this time forcing the Confederates into a camp at Kozlowski’s Ranch.

The next day, March 27th 1862,  there was no fighting. Lieutenant Colonel William R Scurry reinforced the confederates with about 1000 troops, while the Union line saw an increase of about 900 men arriving with Colonel John P Slough. Both sides decided to attack early on March 28th 1862, and they met in the canyon at about eleven. The Confederate held their ground through out the afternoon. When the fighting ended Slough retired to the Ranch with Scurry following him thinking he had won the battle.

Chivington’s Union soldiers however had destroyed all of Scurry’s animals and supplies. This forced the Confederates to have to retreat to Santa Fe, and on back to San Antonio Texas, making this the Confederate high water mark in the west. The Battle at Glorieta Pass became the turning point of the Civil War in the New Mexico territory.

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