TwHP Lessons

The Battle of Glorieta Pass: A Shattered Dream

[Painting] Fight at Pigeon's Ranch
(Roy Anderson, artist; Courtesy of Pecos National Historical Park)

A peaceful ranch, once a stage stop on the Santa Fe Trail, rests in a circular valley clasped by steep mountains. Spanish conquistadors named these mountains Sangre de Cristo, "blood of Christ," but in 1862, it was the blood of warring brothers that bathed the land near Pigeon's Ranch.

This battle--the Battle of Glorieta Pass--represented the high water mark for a bold Confederate offensive into Union Territory on the western frontier. Here volunteers from Colorado clashed with tough Texans intent on conquering New Mexico. Victory here would be a necessary prelude to detaching the western states from the Union and expanding the Confederacy to the Pacific Ocean. Referred to as the "Gettysburg of the West" by many historians, this running battle along canyon and ridge from March 26-28, 1862 culminated in the retreat back to Texas of the invading Confederate forces. Glorieta Pass was another great turning point in the Civil War, the battle that shattered the western dreams of the Confederate States of America.


About This Lesson

Getting Started: Inquiry Question

Setting the Stage: Historical Context

Locating the Site: Maps
 1. Southwest United States in 1862

Determining the Facts: Readings
 1. The Gettysburg of the West
 2. A Soldier's Experience
 3. Reports of the Battle of Glorieta Pass

Visual Evidence: Images
 1. The battles of Apache Canyon and
 Glorieta Pass

 2. Fight at Pigeon's Ranch
 3. Pigeon's Ranch, 1880
 4. Glorieta Pass battlefield today

Putting It All Together: Activities
 1. Consider Life as a Soldier
 2. Impact of the Confederate Invasion
 3. War Memorials in the Local Community

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Pecos National Historical Park

This lesson is based on the Glorieta units of Pecos National Historical Park, among the thousands of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Glorieta Pass Battlefield has been designated a National Historic Landmark.



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